It always amazes me at the amount of controversy surrounding practicing. Then again, it also makes perfect sense as to why it’s such a divided subject. For starters, one need only visit a guitar forum and read a post by a beginner asking how to get better at something. There most likely will be some good advice, but there’s always the comment, “just practice.”
What exactly does “practice” even mean? Chances are, the people who say only that have no idea themselves. In fact, the great classical guitar pedagogue, Aaron Shearer even stressed to avoid instructors who simply say, “work harder.” Giving a vague answer to a question offers little to no benefit.
For beginners (and even more advanced players), the question oftentimes is centered on “what.” When it comes to practicing, the “what” is important; however, the “how” is crucial.
If I have a student struggling with arpeggios, I most definitely will not say, “just keep working on them.” That means nothing! A student needs to be guided in the most efficient way possible. This allows them to quickly reach a goal, without unnecessary struggling.
Ben Rainy has written a brief article for Guitar World about practicing, and he focuses on three main points: Start small, get specific, and set goals.
You can also watch my video, “Guitar Practice Tips,” or read the transcript. Learning effective ways of practice is crucial to your musical development. Don’t ever listen to someone who simply says, “work harder.”