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Practicing too much guitar, doesn’t exist?!
What is a lot, what is too much? I often get the question: how long should I practice guitar? And often the remark: practicing too much guitar simply does not exist. But still, (too) much practice often means that there is something seriously wrong with the way of training. On the one hand, you should not forget that a human body is not made to do the same exercises and repetitive motions for a long time.
On any instrument, this results in irreversible physical damage in the long run. And on the other hand, a day only counts 24 hours. So why, for example, waste 12 hours = 50% of your time doing “finger gymnastics”?
Virtuosos train 12 hours a day on their guitar!
I often hear people say, “Musician X is a virtuoso and he certainly practices for 12 hours a day.” OK there are of course crazy oeple 😀 who practice for so long, true it is. But ask yourself the question, who has 12 hours a day to practice at all? Add an average of 8 hours of sleep, then that person would have 4 hours left to live, do daily the daily duties, and earn a living.
By the way, what is a “virtuoso”? For me, a virtuoso is someone who naturally has a lot of talent, and by practicing little but efficiently and constructively can quickly achieve a high level. Average musicians who practice 7, 8, 9, maybe 12 hours a day to reach a “virtuoso” level are simply hard workers.
Hard work pays off, that’s right. But in fact, almost anyone can achieve a decent level of playing by practicing 12 hours a day. A virtuoso and a top musician who practices 12 hours a day are 2 completely different profiles for me.
Regularity gets the job done!
Regular practice is way more important and effective than long practice sessions. Training 30min every day has much better results and a faster progression than playing 8 hours a week once a week. An hour a day is even better, 2 to 3 hours a day is also cool, but everything above is at your own risk. Regular exercise is necessary to train your brain and the link with the muscles. Fine motor skills can only develop by efficiently repeating the same exercises and motions every day.
Practicing less guitar = pure profit!
A day has only 24 hours, a human life lasts roughly 80 years of which only about 35 productive high-energy years. In life, you can buy anything except health and time. So, health and time are extremely precious and priceless! So it’s in your favour when you achieve the same results in, for example, an hour and a half as before in 3 or 4 hours. That gained time can be usefully spent on extra guitar exercises and musical activities. Or spend it on totally different things that have nothing to do with music. Or work on your physical and mental health. Or pay your family, loved ones and friends a little more attention!
Quality over quantity
Some students tell me they practice guitar for 4 hours a day! OK, so what? What does it say about your quality as a guitarist? Why should anyone exercise for hours a day at all? On the one hand, there are people who need more time. I am thinking of people with less talent or musical feeling. Or people with physical or motor disabilities, or concentration difficulties, but nevertheless keep fighting to achieve their goals. Persistence pays off! But as a coach, the most common problem I find with my students and mentees is that they simply practice incorrectly. Practicing an instrument and music must be done efficiently, step by step, focused and targeted. Quality is completely superior to quantity. An efficient 2-hour training program can achieve way better and faster results than 8 hours of messing on your guitar.
Get yourself a coach!
Experience tells me that it is usually self-taught guitarists who get stuck and practice inefficiently. Learning to play the guitar through YouTube and websites, I can only applaud this method. Because it is easily accessible, accessible at any time and everywhere, even on the toilet ;-)! And there is a lot of great material to be found on the internet!
But for someone who has to learn it, it is very difficult to separate the chaff from the wheat. And also difficult to create personal structure by means of the one-size-fits-all solutions. Plus, you won’t get feedback on progression or errors. I always recommend combining self-study and internet study with expert personal guidance to get structure, set targets, practice correctly, and correct mistakes in time.
There is nothing as difficult and time-consuming as unlearning learned mistakes. I have often guided self-taught people who learned to play via YouTube for years and got stuck at a certain moment. Usually, they skipped certain steps in the beginning stages. Running a marathon even before they learned to crawl is not the best idea. Then I have to deal with so-called “advanced” guitarists who have to do beginners exercises. Most of them drop out quickly, or even worse, some hook their guitar to the wall. What a pity! An experienced and knowledgeable coach costs money! But a coach saves you a lot of time. And wasn’t time something extremely precious and priceless?
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Baustein aka Manic Youth
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