First Things First: Determine your objective.
What are you trying to do at the moment in your guitar playing?
Are you trying to learn a song?... or maybe it’s just learning a new chord?
There’s also many times we just want to brush up on our chops, which is more or less like fielding ground balls in little league.
Lets start there since that is probably the most common.
If your focus is doing scales, your goal in 15 minutes is to make sure what you are doing is not forgettable. Make sure it is memorable.
But just how do you do that? Make it challenging!
Whatever scale you decide to brush up on, make sure you are playing it up and down the neck.
If you play the scale from the open position to fret twelve.. and then back down.. You’ve just done the exercise 24 times. That’s pretty extensive, but you’re also doing a great deal of memorizing that you may not realize.
The fact is, you are now learning this scale as a finger pattern, instead of recognizing it as fretboard numbers. This is huge!
Something else that is very important, is making sure you you play the scale correctly each time. That may require you to SLOW DOWN! Make sure that finger pattern gets engrained, otherwise… you may not remember it if your next practice session is a few days away. (Remember the whole forgettable thing?)
Here’s a Tip: Doing the scale slowly in the cycle of 4ths twice around is also 24 times around. Do that 10 times in 15 minutes, and it will be something your brain will easily remember the next time you play.
If your goal is to learn a song and you only have 15 minutes, DON’T START AT THE TOP!
The best way to make use of your time is woodshedding the parts that give you trouble.
Pick a spot, and try to nail it down!
For instance, if the bridge of the song has been giving you trouble, and you can’t play it smooth, then start there, and only work on that part.
Remember.. You only have 15 minutes, if you start at the top of the song, and get to the bridge 2 minutes later and stumble… you just lost a good chunk of your practice time replaying something you’re already playing well.
Make Sense? Good!... Ready for more?
Maybe a new chord has you intrigued, but it’s a big spread, or an unfamiliar fingering.
Here’s the best thing to do if you only have 15 minutes.
Play the chord moving through the cycle of 4ths, and make sure you can do it by placing all your fingers down at the same time.
If you are still putting fingers down on the chord 1 by 1.. You probably don’t need to start doing the cycle of 4ths quite yet. Pick two keys to move back and forth between the two, until you can get all your fingers down at once. It’s hard to do sometimes… and can be frustrating, but let's face it, moving that chord back and forth smoothly all over the fretboard is the overall mission, so try to spend the whole 15 minutes on that.
Chances are… it could take 5 or 6 of these 15 minute practice sessions to get that chord finger movement down.
But… the 15 minute sessions are a whole lot easier to digest than doing 90 minutes on one chord in two keys.
Here’s some great lessons from our site that can help you with practice ideas.
Chords DOMINANT 7th INVERSIONS
Songs CHORD MELODIES
Anyway, Hope this helps, and if you have a topic you want me to talk about.. Please send me an email at email@example.com
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