Practicing Effectively

metronomeLately I have come to realize that I have trouble practicing effectively.  I have every good intention to practice, but tend to procrastinate before doing so, looking for any excuse to delay my start.  Of course this is a terrible thing to do as it cuts into my already limited practice time.  Part of the problem is that I don’t really have a regular practice routine.  I think about things I need to work on, and may start on them but typically end up playing along to songs I already know.  While some of this is justified as “homework” for band practice, mostly it is just the easy way to fool myself into feeling like I had a good practice session.

In an attempt to change this behavior I have been doing a lot of reading on the subject of practicing effectively.  Turns out a lot of players succumb to this common pitfall. Despite our best efforts, we end up sabotaging our learning process. This got me thinking about my current skills as a bass player and what areas I am weakest in.  As I am mostly a self taught player, I never really got into playing scales, arpeggios, triads, etc. Teach Me Bass Guitar has taught me a lot in this area, but I have yet to incorporate it into a regular practice routine.  My immediate goal now is to seek materials to aid me in this area so that I may practice more effectively.

Another problem I have is that I tend to bite off more than I can chew, so to speak, by trying to do too many things at once.  I want to learn to slap, work on TMBG, play my fretless & my electric upright, learn new songs, record into GarageBand, play around with effects, you name it.  This goes back to my previous post regarding Focus.  Obviously, to practice effectively, I must learn to focus better.  With these realizations I have decided to come up with a whole new practice regiment.  One that I will time, to keep myself on track, one that I will stick to on a daily basis, even if I only have 15 minutes to practice.  Hopefully this first phase will get me started by forming good practice habits that will last.  My plan is to reevaluate in a month to make sure things are working for me and adjust if necessary.  I am confident that once I start seeing improvement and progression, my motivation will kick in and see me the rest of the way.

Up to this point my routine has been sort of one step forwards, two steps back.  When it comes to practicing I am my own worst enemy.  This is why in 3+ years I have still not completed the Teach Me Bass Guitar Course.  Actually I am amazed that I have stuck with it this long, at least I have that.  I know that if I can just focus and learn to practice effectively I can accomplish so much more.  Guess I better get started!

Anybody else struggle with these kinds of issues, or have any tips for staying on track?  I would love to hear about!



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