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Most of us have heard of the power of being consistent in our guitar practice. You know what I mean. Practicing something EVERY day until mastered. But do you do this? I know that in the past, I definitely didn't...

When I first started playing I was a maniac! I had no real structure to my practice. I just put in the hours and hoped that I got better. And I did! But there was a problem. I practiced something different almost every day. My practice "schedule" changed from one day to the next. This created two major negative side effects...

1. Sore hands. For example, I would often go so berserk on alternate picking exercises that my picking wrist would get incredibly sore. It would be so sore that I couldn't practice alternate picking the next day. So what did I do? I then went crazy with legato exercises. So much so that I wouldn't be able to practice legato the next day. So I went back to my trusty alternate picking. Mmmm...there's a pattern emerging here. :-)

2. Slower Progress. Now, don't get me wrong. I progressed faster than any of my friends. But I definitely don't think I progressed at my fastest possible rate. If I had practiced less on an exercise, but did it EVERY day I think my progress would have been much faster.

I guess the moral of the story is to temper your enthusiasm with intelligence. Let's look at how to start to be more consistent with your practice...

*Step One*

Decide on something that you would like to master. Make it something short like a lick, scale or perhaps a few bars of a song.

*Step Two*

Decide on a speed goal for the thing that you have chosen. This will be your target tempo. Make it challenging. Something that will make you a significantly better player once you have achieved it. Of course, you need to keep in mind your current playing level. If you are a beginner and you set a speed goal of sixteenth notes at 240bpm, you are definitely setting yourself up for a failure!

*Step Three*

Decide on how much time you'll invest practicing the thing that you have chosen. I would recommend setting a goal of 10-15 minutes a day. A small amount done daily will give you better results than hours done irregularly.

*Step Four*

Make a commitment to practice what you have chosen on a daily basis. The key is to practice it every single day until your speed goal has been reached. No excuses,no crying, no moaning, no exceptions.

*Step Five*

Get to work! This is the step that requires discipline. It could take weeks or months to achieve your speed goal! Just keep in mind that anyone can write down a goal, but unfortunately VERY few people will follow it though to completion. That's probably why there are so many more guitar OWNERS than guitar PLAYERS ;-)

I invite you to try this approach to guitar practice. I've found that it really helps me, and I'm sure you'll benefit from it as well!
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