Watch the C Major online guitar lesson by Bruce Arnold from Total Modal
Watch the video clips to get a general idea of how you to use the 19 modes covered in Total Modal. You are going to have to play each mode we introduce in lots of places on the neck in order to get comfortable with playing it in different situations. As I mentioned in the intro you should:
Concentrate on one mode in one key per week or more modes if you have more than an hour to practice each day. You want to learn the mode in all positions, so refer to the mode fingering charts to see how to finger each position of the mode. You should work through all the modes in the key of C first and then move to other keys. So first learn C Ionian then C Dorian, C Lydian etc... and continue through all 19 modes. When you have played all the modes in the key of C you want to start the process over in the key of F. Progress through the keys in the following sequence:
YES this is a lot of work but think what you will have accomplished at the other end: an ability to play over any chord in any key! That means total freedom to express yourself on any chord progression that might come your way. Just so you can gauge your progress, I find that most dedicated guitar music majors in college go through all modes through all 12 keys in 4 months. Obviously you have to practice more than one hour a day to do this. Students that have approximately one hour to practice a day usually go through all 19 modes in one key in about 4 months.
Just a few reminders.
1. Play the mode in all 7 positions think the names of the notes (i.e. C, D, E etc..._) or the degrees that the notes (i.e. C is the root, D is the 2nd, E is the 3rd etc...).
2. Play the mode over a jam track so that you hear the mode and get used to soloing with it. When you are soloing pick a small area of the mode --4 or 5 notes-- and try creating melodies. You may have to think about where the notes are at first but once you know what notes to play forget about their names just listen to the sound and try to hear melodies in your head. This should be the fun part so try it with distortion if you have an electric guitar. Most importantly just be creative.
3. The 4th degree of a major mode is the avoid note. That means you can play the note when you improvise but it will feel like it needs to resolve. Spend some time playing this note and listen for how it wants to resolve.