Monday, January 12, 2009


"Discipline is being able to give yourself a command and then follow it" - Bob Proctor

It's very easy to play the guitar, but practicing is something else. We want to know exactly what we are reaching for in our practice sessions.

Since learning this new program for Portugal, I write down exactly what I'm going to work on during the day. I put the session's work on an index card which is placed in clear view on my music stand. Since I'm practicing 3-4 hours per day, the list usually consists of 5-6 ideas I want to accomplish that day.

I used to write goals for the day in a note book, but invariably, the goals wouldn't be within clear view at all times, and I would easily forget what I wanted to accomplish. With the index card right in front of my eyes at all times, this does not happen.

Every task is clearly written so that I don't fall into the trap of simply "playing" all day. There's a time to play through the repertoire, but while I'm learning music, practice is the top priority.

For example

Sunday, Jan 11, 2009

1. Right Hand arpeggios - working on speed, volume and fluidity (30 - 45 minutes)

a. Tremolo technique and Pami arpeggios
b. Villa Lobos Etude 1 arpeggio

2. Left hand Technique -

a. Chromatic Scale in slurs
b. Scale bursts working on 431 patterns

3. Right hand fingering for Conde Claros. Write in fingering for all difficult sections and drill.

4. Decide left hand fingering for B section of Movement 3 / Sonata Romantica - write in fingering

5. Work on phrasing for Kreneck Suite Movements 2 and 3. Write in ideas.

6. Memorize opening of Sor Fantasia Opus 7. Circle areas which are not clear in memory and drill them.

If I don't get something done that day, it goes onto the next days list. Notice how much writing is done in the session. The reason I write everything down is because I want to record the idea and anchor the idea clearly in my mind. It has been proven that writing ideas down become fixed in the memory far more easily than not writing them down.

This practice list is a lot for most people, but I'm used to this kind of work load. Make sure that you choose goals which you feel you can accomplish in that day - no matter how small. You might decide to solve the fingering for 1 measure - that's fine. If you accomplish that, you've succeeded. If you don't get everything done - just put it on the next days list. Eventually you will get a feel for the amount of work you can do in one day.

It's vitally important that you walk away from the guitar feeling like you've gotten some work done no matter how small it is. Every feeling of success in your practice leads to larger successes. It cannot be any other way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very impressive. Thank you