Practice makes perfect, but how much practice?
Hey, rockstars! Wondering how long should you practice guitar a day to maximize your growth? Well, the answer to your question will be found right here! In this article, you’ll learn about muscle memory, how over-practicing can do more harm than good, optimal practice durations, and practicing mindfully! Let’s jump into it!
Importance of regular practice
What is muscle memory?
What you may not know is that playing the guitar, or any other instrument for that matter, is mostly dependent on muscle memory. Muscle memory is when you repeat a task rigorously to ingrain it into your nervous system. Once you have the muscle memory for a certain task, your nervous system will know the exact signals it needs to send to the required muscles to perform the task at hand perfectly. The only way to get muscle memory is through repetition and it is how we learn almost all physical tasks. Examples of muscle memory include; typing on a keyboard, playing the guitar, and riding a bicycle.
You see YouTubers or professional guitarists play songs so effortlessly, but what you don’t see is the amount of practice they did beforehand. To master any song, it has to be practiced over and over again. Constant repetition is what will build muscle memory and get your hands used to the song. With enough practice and repetition, you may even be able to play the song with your eyes closed!
Dangers of over-practicing
During practice, have you ever felt like nothing is going right? Maybe you can’t play a lick that you’ve known for years or you just can’t play the simplest tune without messing up. It’s likely that you’ve gone overboard with practicing. In this situation, it’s best to stop practicing. Continuing practice when you keep failing over and over again is unhealthy and can be discouraging. A break will do you more good. Excessive practicing can lead to burnout, causing you to not want to practice guitar, feelings of hopelessness, sadness and even physical injuries. You can sprain your neck or hands and/or accidentally cut a finger!
How Long Should You Practice Guitar A Day?
How long should you practice guitar a day depends on what level of playing you’re at. As you progress and get better at playing the guitar, you’re going to have to increase the duration and frequency of your practices.
When you’re starting out with the guitar, aim for about 15 minutes to an hour of practice a day. This gives you enough time to practice finger placements, strumming and a song or two you may like. Any more than this and you’re setting yourself up for frustration or a possible injury. Remember, you have to wait till calluses have formed on your fingertips to practice for longer periods of time.
Once you have calluses on your fingertips and are completely familiar with the guitar, you can increase the amount you practice to between 1-2 hours a day. You can start off with stretching, exercises, scales, practice some licks, riffs or any songs you might be learning.
If you’re an advanced player, you probably have a whole routine set and don’t need to be told how long to practice. However, if we were to shell out a number, it could be over 2 hours, but try to keep it under 4 hours to avoid over-practicing.
How to practice mindfully
If you find yourself practicing but feel like you’re getting nowhere, you need to focus on practicing efficiently. A major factor that helped me progress was to focus completely on playing. Don’t let your mind waiver off into dreamland. Feel every note in your heart. Pay complete attention to each movement you make with your hands and make sure they’re all intentional and accurate. It’s completely normal to mess up, but identify and try to rectify those mistakes mindfully. Practicing just for the sake of practicing will get you nowhere.
All in all, your practice sessions should be concise, mindful, and productive. Dragging out your practices just to meet a time requirement can end up hurting your progress. We hope you found the answer to the question, how long should you practice guitar a day!