Even though we practice specific things in specific moments, it's important to consider our total experience. This includes how we feel & think about our playing; how we interact with others. It is good to be totally in it.
We have so many options for how to practice. It can be overwhelming at times. What is the best use of our practice time, especially when it is often so limited?
Building frameworks for our studies creates space for exploration & gives us a sense of grounding & steady growth.
A framework can be many things. The categories on this site are a framework. There are also visual systems, checklists, timelines, & endless possibilities for organizing our practice.
It is ultimately up to each of us, as our own best teacher, to determine what types of frameworks work best for us. This is most often learned through trial & error; through experimentation & awareness of what works & what hasn't.
However we decide to track our musical progress, frameworks provide a view of the territory for exploration. And, views, especially ones that expand our sight, provide a container for our advancement.
When we sit down to practice, we should already have session goals in mind. Defining goals is important, yet we try to keep everything in balance. Session goals are different than long term objectives. And, ultimately, being a musician is a goal-less path. The activity is the end in itself. We consider the moment, rather than projecting into some future fantasy world.
At the center of our studies, is process. One moment is linked to the next with musical action. Musical action has connective threads that create an overall experience. Just because we are doing something doesn't necessarily mean we are making progress, but it is still, all part of a process.
Our physical practice space should contain everything we need, within arm's or foot's reach. We organize our space to allow for the best use of our precious time. Getting up & down, having to reset objects or ourselves can fragment our experience.
We set up our space to reflect our commitment to using our practice time in the most beneficial way. Our practice space is a reflection on our mental organization. Other situations include performing & jamming with friends, or going to music classes or lessons. Every space serves a function. We set up our personal space so it reflects what we think is at the core of our development. The right tools in the right arrangement can energize our practice experience. Our practice space may include a computer, guitar gear, physical metronome, picks, audio gear, etc.
There are many modes or types of listening. In all situations, we listen, really listen.
We try not to take ourselves or the guitar too seriously. We weave humor & lightness into our experience.
One of the most important dimensions of being a musician is working & playing with others. We can be a guitar hermit, yet it is good to get out & at the very least play with a friend. By working with others, we gain insight into where we stand musically [Is my practice effective?].
Performing, like jamming with friends, is a great way to collect information on where we are as musicians. It isn't mandatory to perform, & our decision in this regard is our own to make.
If we don't want to perform, we don't. If we do, we surely expand our musical experience.
Ultimately we are our own best teacher. An external coaches are guides. We can self-study, alone, & this is fine. If we work with a coach, we always strive to maintain independent thought while integrating the guidelines or activities that our teacher suggests.