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How Fast Should We Practice Guitar? - 3 Speeds For Practicing Success

April 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 95

Do you want to improve the quality of your guitar playing? Do you want to play solos, riffs, and musical pieces with more command and skill? Well, the way you practice is the way you will play. The speed at which you practice new material has a lot to do with how good it will sound and how much impact it will have.

There are three basic practice speeds for guitar we will talk about in this article: Slow tempo, no tempo and fast. We will go over the value each of these practicing speeds has for our playing.

Slow Tempo Practice

I'm going to start with slow tempo because this is the most common speed to practice when we first learn something new. We usually walk through the music (or scale, or chord) one note at a time. We look at the angle of our hands, our fingers, and our wrists. We try to make each note clean. And that is really the goal of slow practice: To make each note clean and avoid making "mistakes". "Mistakes" are missed or unwanted notes.

No Tempo Practice

No tempo practice is the next logical step when we are learning something new. No tempo practice is literally PAUSING. Pausing on a single note in the middle of a riff or section, for instance.

The time to do this is when we are trying to improve our technique with a particular part of a musical piece. During the "pause" we should take mental note of everything in our body. We make the needed changes to make our technique at that spot better.

The result of pausing (no tempo practice) is:

  • We will be able to play that particular part better and smoother.
  • We will be better prepared to connect the entire piece together and speed it up.
  • Also our body will have less tension locked into the particular spot where we paused and took note. Less tension = easier movements and faster playing.

Fast Tempo Practice

I am going to skip past playing at a medium tempo. Most people will naturally attempt something at a moderate tempo, so no need to expound too much on it here.

But playing fast is something people often attempt at some point during learning a new piece of music... and then fail at. Why? They have not done enough slow and no tempo practicing to set their bodies up for success.

But there IS a time and place for trying to practice at max speed. And it isn't just when we've mastered the whole musical piece and can play it perfect at a slow speed. Although we want to limit how often we try to play something very fast, we should still try it for a percentage of our practice time. Something like 10% of your practice on a particular musical piece is good.

Playing fast does a couple of things:

  • It encourages the muscles to push themselves beyond their current limits.(This is also why you shouldn't spend a lot of time maxing out - a little time promotes some development, a lot of time risks injury.)
  • It allows your ears to get a chance to process the sound of playing it fast.
  • It helps you to see a brief glimpse of how much more work you need to do at slow or no speed.

Always remember to be careful when speeding things up. If things start to hurt or tighten up too much, stop and return to slow practice.

So as you can see there's a time and place to play at every speed. By spending most of your time practicing slow or moderately slow, you can make sure things sound clean and your technique is good.

Learn how to play rhythm and lead guitar through guitar lessons in Kalamazoo with Jared Priest at Jared Priest Guitar Instruction. Guitarists of all levels learn the guitar technique, knowledge and skills needed to become the guitar players they want to be with Kalamazoo guitar lessons at Jared Priest Guitar Instruction.

Source: EzineArticles
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