Feb 02, 2016
I tell my guitar students all the time there is a difference between "playing" guitar and "practicing" guitar. I do both and recommend my students do both every day.
Let's compare a few basic definitions to see if there's a difference between the two:
1. the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use.
2. repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.
1. engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.
So if we follow the definitions above, playing is "engaging in activity for enjoyment" while practicing is a "repeated exercise" or "application of an idea".
I teach my students always to learn new ideas and practice them, and then play—jam, improvise, have fun, for example, and use the ideas they have learned, or put them into use.
Although there are several ways to practice the different ideas one has, here's 3 Practice Tools Every Guitarist Should Be Using:
At the most basic level for keeping time, guitarists should have and use a metronome. A metronome is a device that keeps time at a chosen rate or speed by giving regular sounds or beats, ticks, or clicks. This is the basic starting point, and they're portable and inexpensive.
Using a rhythm or drum machine is the next level for keeping time. With drum machines, you can choose whether you want to jam over an electronic drum kit sound or an acoustic drum kit sound. These are great for simulating jamming or playing with a drummer.
Play-Along software is the supreme tool for guitar practice. Music arranger software or play-along software, allows you to play along with computer-generated accompaniment. You can choose the tempo, key, and various musical styles.
Here's something else that's cool about using play-along software:
If you are just learning to solo with scales and modes—which is challenging and confusing to many beginning students—you can choose to play over a one-chord vamp (a repeating musical figure). This way you can focus on one chord with one scale or mode, and not a several-chord, several-scale, several-key change example.
After jamming on one chord for a while, you can create and play over an endless number of chords in a chord progression (a succession of musical chords).
Using software like this to me is best. It most accurately simulates a full band, and not just ticks with the metronome, or drums only as with a drum machine.
Invest in play-along software and you'll achieve new heights in your guitar playing!
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