Count Those Practice Minutes

The classic quote “What you can measure you can multiply” can be applied to your guitar practice. By measuring how much practice you actually do in theory you can improve on your score. I can say with complete confidence that in 99% of cases the students who use a practice log to measure their practice are the ones who improve the quickest and rarely give up. But why?

There are several reasons. The analogy I like to use it what I call the ‘Bart Simpson analogy’. His classic phrase “Are we there yet?” is one that if you are a parent have heard many times I am sure. This comes as a result of not knowing how long the journey will take. When we learn guitar frustration sets in because we want to be able to play our favourite songs and we want to know “WHEN?”. Our teachers tell us to be patient and keep practicing but gradually our confidence fades and finally we throw in the towel.

If on the other hand I was able to say to you that with 1000 minutes of practice you should be able to play Smoke on the Water and with 10,000 mins the intro to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ chances are you are going to be more patient. It is not exact science because everyone is different and it also depends on the quality of your practice but it does give you something to work with.

There are also other benefits. E.g. if you measure your practice habitually you start to get a good idea of how much practice equals how much progress. Another example is most people are naturally self competitive. In other words we like to improve on our scores. One of the reasons computer games are so highly addictive is because we want to beat our high score. Imagine if these games had no scores. Would they be as addictive? When you measure your practice I can assure you that in no time you will be trying to out do your high scores. First month you might do 1000 minutes of practice but in the second month you will be looking to exceed that amount. After 1 year you will be doing 5000+ a month and on your way to guitar legend status.

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