Sitting Down to Play:
When you’re getting ready to play guitar at home, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure you get the most out of your time playing. Below is checklist to help.
1.) Make sure you’re playing is intentional. Will this be a practice session? Or are you trying to learn a song? Are you prepping for a gig? Or is this just time to noodle and have fun?
If you’re time will be used to practice certain exercise, learn a song, or prep for a gig, make sure you have all the necessary materials. Do you have an mp3 of the song cued and ready? Do you have a metronome and timer to systematically go through your exercises? If its noodle time, just make sure you don’t noodle too long and miss any upcoming appointments!
2.) Tune up. Make sure you have a good tuner. And if your tuner runs on batteries, make sure they work. There are a number of decent tuners on the market. The easiest to work with is a clip-on tuner. Snark makes a good, affordable one. Also, if you have a smart phone, you can download a tuning app onto your phone.
If you’re not sure how to tune a guitar, you can go to this article on this site for some help.
3.) Do you have a warm up routine? Warm ups are important for playing the guitar. You wouldn’t play a full on basketball game or soccer game without the proper warm up. Its the same for the guitar. If you want to get the most out of your hands over the years, make sure you have a solid warm up routine to warm up the muscles and tendons in your hands, something that preps both right and left hands for splaying.
The following is a simple warm up routine. It is a good starting point if you don't have any other warm up exercises available. Its a good idea to expand on these. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more exercises.
1 = index finger/ 1st fret
2 = middle finger/ 2nd fret
3 = ring finger/ 3rd fret
4 = pinky finger/ 4th fret
a.) Play 1-2-3-4 on each string using 4 up and down strokes (aka alternate picking) per note.
b.) Play 1-2-3-4 on each string using 2 up and down strokes (aka alternate picking) per note.
c.) Play 1-2-3-4 on each string using 1 stroke per note (but use alternate picking through out ex).
4.) Being organized can’t be stressed enough. Make sure you plan to use your time wisely. If you’re sitting down to practice some new material, make sure you break down the material into workable chunks. Also, using a timer to use your time efficiently is a good idea. If you have multiple exercises to work on, setting up concrete time intervals with a timer is a good way to get the most out of your practice time.