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Day 2: What to Practice

"Learn to pursue what YOU need to practice, not just what you THINK you should practice." - Douglas Baldwin

Practice does NOT make perfect -- "perfect" practice does. We've heard this time and again from our instructors and we get it; practice the wrong thing, or practice the wrong way, and you'll learn how to play it perfectly wrong. Makes "perfect" sense but what exactly do we practice, and how specifically do we practice it?

Musicians tend to be a little loose when it comes to this kind of a thing. We want to be free to follow inspiration when it hits, even when — especially when — it takes us outside the margins. So let us be clear that we're not trying to clip your wings. Rather, we want to make sure you have a disciplined plan so that you have the time set aside to capture that inspiration — and the chops to pursue whatever path it takes you on.

The question we most often get is, “What should I practice?” Here are 10 tips for practicing smart at TrueFire!

1. Complete Your My Musician Profile

Answer a few quick questions about your interests, skill level, and goals as a guitar player, and we'll be better suited to give you accurate recommendations throughout your TrueFire experience. It only takes a few seconds and is well worth it!

Complete Your Profile

2. Follow a Learning Path

Work your way through your prescribed Learning Path core course, to focus on the specific skills that you should be working on to advance to the next level. Dig deeper and wider into those topics with Learning Path recommended supplementary courses.

Choose a Learning Path

3. Explore a Style

Say you're a rock player but always wanted to dig deeper into the blues. Check any of the style categories on the left-hand bar of TrueFire's homepage. You'll get a huge selection of lessons and courses to choose from. Same goes for several other styles.

Browse Course Styles

4. Improve Your Rhythm Chops

Great rhythm guitar playing is the unsung hero of ALL popular music. We can all call out dozens of our favorite solos BUT it's the rhythm groove that gets our blood boiling and our feet moving. Rhythm guitar is the lifeblood of all popular styles of music!

Browse Rhythm Courses

5. Learn More Licks

If you like getting more licks under your fingers, either to mimic another player's style or to twist and turn them into your own thing, you might first want to check our 50 Licks series. Each course contains a handpicked range of phrases, concepts and techniques.

Browse Licks Courses

6. Favorite an Educator

As you check out more and more lessons, you may find that the teaching style or philosophy of a particular educator hits you just right. Or you may find a certain instructor concentrates on areas you care about, like theory or the blues or acoustic work.

Browse Educators

7. Hit the Gym

Developing solid guitar techniques is particularly subject to the quality and intensity of your practice regimens -- you'll only get so far relying on repetition and frequency alone. Chris Buono's Guitar Gym workouts will take you the rest of the way with six collections of tried, tested and proven intensive workouts.

Browse Guitar Gym Courses

8. Stay Committed

You'll find that many of our courses are planned very deliberately to bring you from Point A to Point B. Instead of throwing a mix of disconnected stuff at you, these courses have a full learning arc. Look for the courses that are more than a collection of licks and follow them through from beginning to end.

Browse All Courses

9. Cherry Pick

Short on time? You can still make the most of those 20-minute windows when you have the right material waiting on your music stand. If you can think of something you'd like to learn, there's a d*mn good chance we've covered it. Got a jones for Albert Lee, or Metallica, or Joe Pass? Search it. Want to get a fingerstyle chart, learn how to use intervals, or grab a few hundred blues licks? Search it.

10. Know Thyself

If you're taking music seriously enough to have enrolled in a TrueFire student plan, you probably have some vision of who you want to be as a player. Use your practice time to get that vision into focus. As the revered instructor and author Douglas Baldwin told us, “Learn to pursue what YOU need to practice, not just what you THINK you should practice."

In the next installment we'll talk about how to manage and start working through all of the learning materials you're compiling. Till then, practice smart and play hard.

"When you practice, make it your prime directive to find out how you learn. Some folks are very visual, some good at memorization, some might be mathematical in thinking, some have great ears. Everyone learns differently." - Thaddeus Hogarth

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