- Before You Start: Practice tips for beginners
- As a beginner, the most important thing to remember is to keep your practice sessions short. Just five to ten minutes a day at the beginning will be perfectly adequate to get used to these new skills without overworking your brain too much.
- That said, make sure you practice regularly. Every day is great, but if that’s not possible for you, try for at least 4-5 days a week. Or, if some days work better for you than others, practice five minutes in the morning, and again in the evening in one day.
- Warm up with exercises that work just one layer of music-making. For example, practice any new chords with a couple rounds of Ready-Set-Go. Or strum along to a song or video without singing or chording, so you can just focus on the rhythm in your right hand. Or remind yourself of the tune of the song you’re about to practice by singing through it and/or with one of the recordings below.
- Keep a practice journal and jot simple notes about what you practiced, what went well, and what goals you’re working toward. Make sure you’re trying different things each practice session so you don’t get used to doing the same thing each time.
- Finally, remember there are important ways to practice without your instrument. My favorite recommendations are waiting in the car at a red light, waiting in line at the grocery store, or even if you have trouble falling asleep. The most helpful exercises in these instances are: 1) visualize your chord changes and/or move your left hand like you would if you had your instrument; and 2) audiate (sing in your head) the songs you’re learning. While these skills / exercises don’t take the place of practice, they can help keep your brain thinking about it between practice sessions and help you develop other skills more quickly.
Song 1: Don’t Stop Believin’
Song 2: Stand By Me
Song 3: Country Roads
Video 1: Learn to play (tutorial)
Video 2: Play along (I know it, I just want to practice playing it through …)
Song 4: Wagonwheel
Song 5: Let it Be
Song 6: I’m Yours
Song 7: Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World
Song 8: I Will