Setting goals and reaching them relies on a solid practice schedule. If you have been playing for a while, you have probably got one down that suits your needs.
But if you are just getting started or have been looking to improve, you might need some insight. You may be wondering, how much should I practice guitar each day?
Depending on your skill level, a practice session will look different to most players. A beginner will physically only be able to play short sessions before fatigue sets in. Whereas an advanced player will be able to play longer.
How Much Should You Practice Guitar?
You want to make sure to set a practice schedule that allows you to play daily. For a beginner, this will mean 15 to 30 minutes. For an advanced player, 30 to 60 minutes or more. Allocating short daily practice sessions will allow you to reach your goals sooner. Where longer sessions set every few days doesn’t offer the same benefit.
Now, this also depends on what it is you are working on and expecting from the session. Some things are worth the extra time you spend practicing guitar over others.
How Long Do Professionals Practice?
This is a question asked by aspiring guitarists for years. The answer may surprise you. Most professional guitar players only practice for about three hours a day. It’s important to remember that these three hours are spent in dedicated practice.
Many guitar players find that they need to take breaks throughout the day in order to avoid burnout. This is why it’s often recommended that beginners start by practicing for only 30 minutes a day.
As you get more comfortable, you can increase the amount of time you spend practicing. Yet, it’s important to listen to your body and take breaks when you feel like you need them.
Benefits of Shorter Sessions
Throbbing fingertips and sore hands will tell you it’s time to stop. But for those who are doing 4-hour practice sessions twice a week, at some point your focus will be lost.
Usually, this will happen after the first hour, once you begin to tire out. Now, if you are trying to apply something that needs to be held in memory, you are not doing yourself any favors. An hour max is really all you are going to get for efficient memorization.
A strategy called Distributed Practice has been shown to be very effective. Smaller increments of study over a longer period prove to lock the concepts into place. This helps to master the concept by moving it from temporary memory to long-term memory.
It’s a benefit of shorter practice sessions, but you must be sure to make good use of the time. Long sessions are useless if they are filled with noodling and distraction.
Using Your Time Effectively
Guitar practice sessions are very important. They are beneficial if you want to improve your guitar-playing skills. A good, consistent practice period will help you focus on your goals and make the most of your time.
Below are a few steps to help you create a great practice session.
1. Set Goals
What do you want to achieve with your practice sessions? Do you want to learn new songs, improve your technique, or play for fun? Having some goals in mind will help you stay focused during your practice sessions.
2. Make a Schedule
Decide how often you want to practice and stick to it. If you can only rehearse a few times a week, that’s fine. Just be consistent with your practice sessions. This is only possible of course if you make a schedule!
3. Warm Up
A good warm-up will help you avoid injuries and get your fingers ready for playing. You can do some simple exercises, such as scales or chords, to warm up your hands. Remember to keep your nails short, so they don’t interfere with fretting.
4. Proper Breaks
Don’t try to practice for hours on end. Your mind and body will need a break after a while. Take 5-10 minute breaks every 30 minutes or so to rest your mind and hands. This will restore concentration and reset your train of thought.
5. Cool Down After Practice
Just like you need to warm up before playing, you also need to cool down afterward. This will help your muscles recover from playing and prevent any injuries. A few stretches after practice will help loosen up your muscles.
Creating a good guitar practice session can be tricky. But with a bit of effort, you can come up with something that works for you. These tips should give you a good starting point, but feel free to experiment and find what works best for you. Have fun with your practice sessions and keep improving your guitar-playing skills!
Benefits of Longer Sessions
If you have followed any guitar players, you will see some have practice schedules of up to 8 hours or more! This is a long day and some crazy devotion to the art. But is it a bad thing to practice as long as they do? Maybe there is a secret that they know that you don’t?
If you are going to play longer than 2 hours per day, you will want to make sure to have a plan. It’s fine to practice as long as you can to simply work your muscles. You don’t want to try and memorize theory for that long. But working your hand doing simple scales will help increase your strength. This will help with accuracy and speed.
So you may have read articles that will tell you not to practice longer than your mind can handle, and we support that!
But they leave out the fact that it’s also great to just work your hand and strumming arm. The more progress you make quickly, the more you will be motivated to continue, which will make a big difference.
If you want to sit for 4 hours working scales up and down the fret board, you can bet that your accuracy will increase! I mean, don’t let your hand go numb, but work it until you can’t and take a break. If you set enough time to do this regularly, great results will follow.
Practice 2 Hours Per Day
Some people recommend practicing for two hours a day, seven days a week. This may be excessive for some people. But if you can manage it, this is a great way to improve quickly and is the right amount of time to see real results fast.
Of course, not everyone has two hours a day to devote to guitar practice. If you can’t practice that much, try to at least fit in an hour a day, five days a week. This will help you make great progress over time.
In addition to practicing regularly, it’s also important to focus on the right things. You need to be working on techniques and exercises that will help you achieve your goals.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help from a guitar teacher or experienced friend. With the right guidance, you can make great strides in your guitar playing. If you’re serious about becoming a better guitar player, apply more focus on all the right things.
An example of a focused practice:
- First Hour: picking exercises, scales, arpeggios and chord progressions.
- Second Hour: learning and practicing songs and strumming exercises
With a little effort, you can see dramatic improvements in your playing.
Choose the Best Time of Day
As you may have already realized, we are very big on having goals and a plan! The right plan will help you advance so much sooner than just winging it. Your practice schedule is a huge goal to try and keep each week.
But it’s also important to plan the time of day to play. You see, during the day you have other responsibilities to deal with. This all consumes energy.
Waiting until the last part of the night each day to insert your practice is not the best plan if you can help it. Trying to memorize a new skill when your energy is gone is going to make it much more difficult. It also might not be enough time to get into the full schedule.
And maybe for some people, there is no way around it. But if you can help it, try and get it into your day when you have some energy and can provide focus. Even 15 minutes of rested practice time will be far more beneficial than 2 hours while exhausted.
How Many Days Per Week Should You Practice?
There is no one answer to this question, as the amount of practice you can do will vary depending on your skill level. Beginners will experience sore fingertips, which may prevent them from playing some days. Using finger tape or protectors can help alleviate some pain.
Most experts recommend practicing at least a few days a week to make good progress. Obviously, the best answer is to try and play every single day for the best results.
If you’re just starting out, aim for at least 30 minutes of practice for as many days as you can. As you get better, you can gradually increase the amount of time you spend practicing. Once any pain begins to subside and your fingers get tougher.
Ultimately, the goal is to practice as often as you can without burning yourself out.
Planning your Practice Sessions
Filling your sessions with the right materials is a huge benefit. But these things need to be created. Take some time to lay out your routines to have the greatest benefits from a session.
Not all days will turn out the same anyway. If half an hour is your max that day, then that’s ok! But remember, just because your mind is tired doesn’t mean your fingers are! Have something to work on!
Instead of working on theory, maybe you switch after 30 minutes to running scales. They don’t have to be anything but up and down the fretboard one string at a time.
This will help you develop stronger hands. But your accuracy in both fretting and plucking will increase too. You could even do this while watching TV, half paying attention. The idea here is that you are simply exercising your hands. Now that you are finished with the theory for the day.
At some point, either your theory or mechanical abilities will lag the other. If your schedule consists of utilizing your time to do both, you will progress much faster.
Here are a few ways to create a schedule. The table below shows a few ways to set sessions for a one-hour window. Adjust them to your needs and the time you plan to practice.
|First 20 Minutes||Next 20||Final 20|
|Guitar Theory||Song Parts||Scales|
|Song Parts||Guitar Theory||Break|
Even though everything we touched on should drive this point home, we want to make sure it’s clear. Practicing and playing are two very different things. It’s very easy to get sidetracked and noodle around on the guitar when you should be practicing.
This goes for most things when you have not set a clear plan with set goals and expectations. And so take the time to do this regularly, adjusting as you go.
You want to make sure you have created exercises that are focused on improving your talent as a player. The last thing you want to do is be caught with no plan and end up just noodling around playing guitar. This will lead you to lose interest because you do not see yourself improving.
It’s the main reason most people eventually stop playing. So make sure to take action and create your plan today! There is a time for noodling, but don’t let that slip into practice time! If you have limited time, it’s possible to use your session for both practice and play.
Staying motivated is key to continuing with regular practice. We all have the motivation to consider playing guitar in the first place. But taking action to stay motivated to continue is much more difficult.
Some of the things that help people stay motivated:
- Listen to music
- watch music videos
- follow your favorite artists on social media
- play guitar with friends
Find out what drives you to want to improve and do more of it! Maybe it means sprucing up your practice room to entice you to be in there more.
Can you practice guitar too much?
It’s possible to practice the wrong things too much. This can lead to frustration and a lack of progress. This is never beneficial, which is why we speak of having a plan and goals so often.
Do you have a plan with the proper goals in place? Then the time you spend practicing, even if it’s 6 hours a day, it’s never too much. There are guitar players who put in 6 hours a day of practice time. It’s never all at once, of course, but they know what it is they are working on and have the right perspective.
Should I force myself to practice?
We get it, some days you don’t feel like practicing! But if this is important to you, then you have to revisit your plan! If you’re just getting going, you need to make sure you are doing things that are fun! Focus on a song you love to help motivate you.
Reassess your plan to make sure the material you are using is getting you closer to your goals. I mean, you did start out by creating goals, right? Made a solid practice schedule?
Your motivation to play will need to come from a passion to want to progress. It’s just like anything else you do, you need to have some interest in it.
Find for yourself whatever it is that made you want to start in the first place and explore it. Then create your plan. Give yourself time to improve as well, and don’t expect too much too soon.
Is one hour of guitar practice enough?
One hour of guitar per day will help you progress quite rapidly in your skills and abilities. It’s the optimal amount of time to practice each day. We suggest that if you are going to work for 60 minutes, you break the hour into two periods.
It’s a good idea to take a small break after around 30 minutes to get a more effective practice session. This will allow you to focus better when practicing. Cramming in an hour isn’t as effective.
Plan your practice sessions with goals and execute them every day. Your skills will improve, and this in itself will motivate you to continue. So how much should I practice guitar each day comes down to this. Anything more than 1 hour should be considered time to noodle or play the guitar.