For a majority of guitar players, 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 have also asked the question, how much should I practice guitar each day?
Depending on your skill level, a practice routine 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 sessions.
You want to make sure to set a practice schedule that allows you to play daily. For a beginner this might mean 15 to 30 minutes. For an advanced player, 30 to 60 minutes. Allocating short daily practice sessions will allow you to reach your goals sooner over longer sessions set every few days.
Now, this also depends on what it is you are practicing and what it is you are expecting from the session.
Shorter Practice Sessions Are Better For Memorization
For anyone just starting out playing guitar, your throbbing fingertips and sore hands 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 learn 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.
In the academic world, a strategy of learning called Distributed Practice has been shown to be very effective. Instead of trying to cram in study time before an exam, 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.
Practice Sessions Are A Goal!
In our case where guitar theory is the concept, the method is the same and very effective. And so if you are expecting to memorize any theory, chords or notes, it is best to do it in short sessions.
Now this doesn’t mean that extra time is needed to obtain progress. A week will still go by in either scenario.
But 6 days of one hour sessions during the week would do more for memorization than 2 days of 3 hours each.
So make sure to plan your practice sessions as though they are a goal! Because they are in fact a very important goal when you’re progressing.
Longer Practice Sessions Have Their Place Too!
If you have followed guitar players online, you will see some have practice schedules of up to 8 hours sometimes! This is a long day of practice 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 practice longer than 2 hours per day, you will want to make sure to have a plan. It is quite fine to practice as long as you can in one day 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 hand strength which will help with accuracy and speed.
So you may have read some articles online 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.
If you want to sit for 4 hours working scales up and down the fret board, you bet your bottom dollar 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.
Time Of Day Matters
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 out when you play during the day. 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 or learn a new skill when your energy is gone is going to make it much more difficult.
And maybe for some people there simply 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 somewhat rested practice time will be far more beneficial than 2 hours while you’re exhausted.
How Long To Practice Guitar Daily
Creating a plan to practice daily is obviously the first step. If you have that sorted out then there are many ways to get effective practice in.
One way is to start with a plan to do at least 30 minutes of guitar theory and memorization. You will want to start your practice session with memorization drills while you’re still fresh.
If after 30 minutes you are still focused and eager to do more, go for it!
One solid hour of theory is great as long as you’re focused and attentive to what it is you are learning. The moment you feel somewhat fatigued, you should stop and leave it for the next session.
Shape Your Own Practice Schedule
If 30 minutes is your max that day, then that’s ok! But just remember, just because your mind is tired doesn’t mean your fingers are!
Instead of working on theory, maybe you switch after 30 minutes to just running scales. They don’t have to be anything but running up and down the fret board one string at a time.
Not only will this 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 working your hands now that you are finished with theory for the day.
At some point either your theory or mechanical abilities will lag the other. But if your practice routine consists of utilizing your time to do both at different points you will progress much faster.
Here are a few ways to create a schedule for yourself. The graph below are a few ways to set sessions. Adjust them to your needs and the time you plan to practice.
|20 MINUTES||20 MINUTES||20 MINUTES||30 Minutes|
|Guitar Theory||Song Parts||Scales||--------|
|Guitar Theory||Break||Song Parts||--------|
|Song Parts||Guitar Theory||Break||Scales|
Guitar Practice FAQ
Can You Practice Guitar Too Much?
The correct way to look at this question is, are you utilizing your time practicing or wasting it? The end goal with any practice session is to have either learned something or advance slightly.
It is possible to work practicing too much on the wrong things. 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.
But if you have a plan with the proper goals in place, then the time you spend practicing, even if it is 6 hours a day is never too much.
There are guitar players who put in 6 hours a day in 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 going in.
How Can I Force Myself To Practice?
We get it, some days you just don’t feel like practicing! But if this is a consistent thing 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 working towards learning 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 learn. It is 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.