Pretty happy with my practice schedule, in terms of the balance between technical work, theory, fretboard mastery, etc. One thing may be missing - I practice so many different things, I hardly play real music! I've read a number of people who say that it's important to have a group of songs you know and to regularly play through some of them, start to finish (without woodshedding a lick, polishing a section, etc.). I'd be more motivated if I knew how much of precious practice time to devote to repertoire. 98% of my improvement comes from woodshedding, not playing through songs intro-to-outro. So to put a sharp point on it: if you're still interested in developing chops, and understanding that that development takes a significant investment of time doing other-than-repertoire work (scales, theory, metronome, etc.), what percentage of your practice time do you feel is worth devoting to song play-throughs?...
When I PRACTICEI, I work on stuff that I don't know. When I PLAY, I play stuff I do know.
Sometimes, the two concepts overlap. For example, I PLAY an arrangement of "Misty" that is technically quite difficult and complex. Although I can play through it without any mistakes, I try to constantly polish it, making it flow, making it musically satisfying.
If you are actually paying attention to any aspect of what you do there is hardly anything hthat will not benefit yer progress. As for formulaic constructs for yer studies, that's really a waste of time. Learn what yer interested in at yer own pace is the best way to do it.
Slightly similar is the Q of "what to study / when". Do what seems best to fit yer personal sched !!!!!!!!!!!
While there are semantics, etc, in the study of music, it's an art not a science. If you only study what's formulaic you will likely only sound formulaic.
Relax. Listen to whatever sort of music interests you. Try to hear what's happening. Build on that as you learn the component parts. THERE IS NO END ANSWER !
If you play live for other people, no one besides other guitar players cares about your practice. This IMO, is the story of the rise and fall of shred. Most people want to FEEL something through the music. That is why songs are important, whether covers or originals.
Well, most of my "practice" (still working on dexterity and endurance after health issue 5 years ago) consists of finger exercises. And if the mood strikes me, I'll just run through a bunch of songs I already know, or think I remember( ) but y'know....
Singer/songwriter CHRIS SMITHER talked one time about doing a collection of BOB DYLAN songs, thinking, "I must know about 40 Bob Dylan songs." But when he sat down to run through them, confessed, "It turned out I just knew PARTS of about 40 Bob Dylan songs...."
I'd say that's sort of true for me too. Of the 40 or more Bob Dylan tunes I think I know, I can probably play about 5 or six "end to end". Whitefang
@ YYB, about 80% of my practice time is devoted to play through songs. I may spend all my time on just one tune. I do not consider it practice (even though it is), I consider it my time with the guitar and my music. I spend about 20% of the time running through major and minor scales and little original licks that I like to warm up with. I will devote 100% to theory if that is what I'm working on but that only happens now and then. Most of the theory is built in to what I am working on. I like arranging tunes and substituting chords so that the song comes out to my liking before adding it to my repertoire. I have a base of 20 to 30 songs that I can play in front of an audience at any time from memory. I can play 100's of tunes from the sheets but prefer not to. If I'm practicing for a 5 tune open mic or a 3 hour gig, I will devote 100% of my time to the tunes I intend to play.
Each of us has a different reason for how and why we practice. I'm a singer using the guitar as my back up for playing solo. I do get together with friends every other week for 3 hours and work on and play through 30 or more tunes of mine and theirs...this gives me a chance to play some lead with another guitar and bass player/singers. I like to pick on old tunes from the 30's 40's 50's 60's 70's. I'm cutting out the gigging so I can now devote more time to fewer tunes that I have fun with at home. Many of the tunes I'm working on have many chords and I get into how each of them relate to each other and learn things from them with regard to chords, scales, leads, theory, etc. If you are zeroing in on what interests you whether it be shredding, woodshedding leads, playing through songs, etc., that is what is important and the best use of [your] time.
I don't gig that much anymore, but I'm recording a lot of my own creations and adaptations of other artists material. For example, I recently recorded tracks for my own version of 3rd Stone From the Sun by Hendrix. One thing I think is important is if you want to learn to play another artist's song from beginning to end, learn to play the vocal parts on the guitar if you don't sing.
That's a large part of the FUN of it all, ain't it?
I know there's lots of folks here who don't like the idea of playing familiar songs "note for note", but I think that can come later. I mean, if it's a really "Cool" tune( IYHO) the feeling of accomplishment in learning it in original form can be quite personally satisfying.
Like with my first foray into photography...
I could have bought an "all-automatic" camera( like the Canon A-1) but based on a family member's suggestion( and also a long time photographer) I bought a Canon AE-1, and NEVER put it on "auto" mode( which when merely pressing the shutter would have automatically set the shutter speed and aperture). I would have never learned photography that way. Whitefang
I always just played songs... I'd put on a record and play along and learn the parts and solos... if there was something I couldn't do I'd work on it until I could. And I improvised... I took my cassette recorder and would play a rhythm part and they play it back so I could solo over it...
That's still what I do... but with looping pedals... my rep locally is that I know every song ever written, which I don't... I just know that there's only 10 songs and everything is a variation on those in one spot or another...
Another thought or two... Gerald Klickstein teaches guitar at UNC and says that students usually learn more from fresh music, seemingly due to the boredom factor. No surprise, but that does suggest to me an insight that some of the fascination with repertoire is really about getting bored with the songs we're working on. On the other hand... Fascinating study showed that a concert pianist who seemed to be working constantly and deliberately was actually only playing the instrument in practice about 25% of the time. That suggests that, as important as 'deliberate practice' is (see Malcolm Gladwell's 'Outlier's'), a weakness is that you aren't playing all that much. So that's clearly a point in favor of a robust repertoire.