What Is A Five-Minute Practice Session?
5 Minute Practice Sessions are short Play-Along guitar practice workouts.
Think of it like one exercise at the gym. The point is to build some specific guitar playing muscles. Sometimes the emphasis might be on some particular set of chord changes and at other times it might be on a strum.
What Is The Purpose?
The purpose of the 5-Minute Practice Session is to give you a chance to practice a discrete specific issue with guidance from the video.
In my private lessons I would often have my students play with me to help them get better at some challenge issue they were having. I usually would make it a little bit challenging and try to push them a little beyond their current ability.
These little practice sessions lasted about five minutes and really helped them to improve. More importantly it gave them a pattern to use to practice on their own. It helped him to really see what it took to get better.
I’ve modeled these 5-Minute Practice Sessions after this experience.
Who Are 5 Minute Practice Sessions For?
They are helpful for guitar students at any level, but especially for beginners and advanced beginners. I believe if students use these sessions early in their development that they will have a mental model to create their own sessions as they advance.
What Are The Benefits?
- It’s a chance to stretch beyond your current comfort zone
- They provide a good model of how to practice
- You will get good audio and visual examples of how the specific material in the session should look and sound
- It’s a great way to practice timing
- They are also fun and stimulating
How Can I Make The Best Use Of Five-Minute Practice Sessions?
Here are some tips on how to make the best use of these 5-Minute Practice Sessions:
What If The Practice Session Is Too Difficult?
If the session is too difficult you will have to make a decision if this is the right session for you.
If the issue is that you can play the material but cannot keep up with the video it would be valuable to play with the video for a little while, stop, then go back and start again. As you do this push to play more and more of the video until you can play all the way through.
You’ll want to balance pushing your limits along with managing your level of frustration. Be careful not to just play something over and over incorrectly… not helpful. If you cannot play whatever is being presented in that particular 5-Minute Practice Session it would be better to work on the material separately until you can at least play through it at your own timing.
You may also be able to find a 5-Minute Practice Session that is better for you to work on at this time.
What If The Session Is Too Easy For Me?
If you can play all the way through the session two times in a row without any mistakes congratulations… you’re ready to move on to another practice session. You may still want to go back for an occasional review.
If you do make a few mistakes but can play most of the session without error you can use the session a few times a week until you get to the place of smooth and easy.
I find many students want to stop working on something before they have really mastered it… probably because it’s not as challenging.
One of the biggest shifts in my guitar playing happened when I gave up the idea that I needed my practice to always be interesting or stimulating. Repetition and “boring” really is our friend. It’s mostly a shift in attitude as opposed to the exercise itself.
Do You Teach Songs In The Practice Sessions?
Practice sessions are not lessons. I deliberately avoid explaining as much as possible.
The idea is to use the guitar practice session over and over as part of your practice. It would be annoying to listen to me explain the same thing over and over.
What I am doing is isolating specific elements of guitar playing that I’ve found students have the most difficulties with. Once you’ve mastered these elements you can integrate them into your playing whether it’s songs or jamming.
Think of it like a basketball player practicing throwing the ball from center court over and over. This is a skill she can use when playing a game when she has the opportunity to make a hoop from center court (my daughter played basketball).
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