One of the things that determines how effective your practice time is is what you are thinking about mentally when you are practising. Obviously, we want to be thinking about our guitar playing, not thinking about:

  • what we are going to have for dinner
  • what we are doing at the weekend
  • what our last assignment at work was
  • the upcoming car MOT




We want to be focussed on playing the guitar. So the first thing we need to do is take a minute when we sit down, to mentally focus on the task at end, and for the duration of the practice time keep ourselves focussed, putting all those other thoughts temporarily out of mind.


Next… we need to know what to focus on. We could be focussing on anything from:

  • which finger we use next
  • how hard to hold down the string
  • where to hold down the string
  • how loudly to play the note
  • how hard we grip the pick
  • where our picking hand is
  • the tension in our forearm
  • the tension in our leg
  • the timing of each note in the phrase / exercise that we are playing
  • the relative loudness of each note in the phrase / exercise we are playing
  • the movement of the pick hand as we strum
  • the synchronisation of the pick hand and fret hand
  • the speed at which the pick hand moves
  • the speed at which the fret hand fingers move


I could go on and on. There is a huge list of things we can potentially focus on. One element of how you will progress is knowing what you should be focussing on and in what order.


And this is the beauty in having a good teacher – you will be told specifically what it is you need to focus on and how. All you have to do to become the guitar player that you want to be is what your teacher tells you to do :)