Playing music is a journey, not a destination. It's a continual process of discovery and learning. Whenever we hear a new song or technique we want to play, we have to practice - because practice is the only path to musical improvement.
There are a number of things that we can do in a practice. These include:
How do we choose what tasks are important? How do we structure our practice? How do we make practicing fun and prevent it from becoming boring or something to be put off?
The resources on this page will help you answer these questions and enable you to make practicing an integral part of your musical journey.
The resources listed below will teach you how to practice effectively. All have suggestions on how to organize your practice time and create a supportive learning environment. Most reflect the experience of the authors in their musical paths.
If you want a quick read on how to practice, look at Music Practice: The Musician's Guide to Practicing and Mastering your Instrument like a Professional or First, Learn to Practice. These are concisely written and easy to read.
If you want to explore the subject of practicing in depth, The Musician's Way is an excellent choice. This book is used by some music schools as part of their curriculum. The Practice of Practice is another in-depth book about practicing.
If you prefer video, take a look at products in that medium.
A common recommendation is to start a practice or performance with warm-ups. But what warm ups should you do? As it turns out, warm up exercise can be effective in both limbering up your fingers and improving your technical skills. These resources provide a number of warm-ups to consider.
The Guitarist's Personal Practice Trainer and Warm-Up Plan sets the standard in warm-up products. It's a 90-minute video that completely covers this subject. It also includes worksheets that you can use to plan and log your own warm-ups.
Practice logs let you keep track of what you did during practice and how long you spent. In addition, these forms let you record your goals, keep track of metronome settings, and let you see at a glance how you're doing.
Our favorite product in this category is the Musician's Practice Planner. We like it because it provides ample space for you to plan and log your practices with two pages for each week. It also emphasizes the need to set specific goals for each aspect of your practice. It's also spiral-bound, making is easy to lay flat.
Some of the practicing resources listed on this page cover more than one feature. Here is a comparison of the Practicing resources shown on this page showing the features in each.