Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | January 13, 2015




Hi Everyone,

Well here’s the first 6 steps that will accelerate your progress this year (the rest are coming in a few weeks’ time).

Ok, not everyone will be able to implement all of them, but the idea is to get you thinking about how you can practice more effectively particularly as some of these habits only take 5-10 minutes daily or even less!

Being a competent musician and playing your favourite songs and/or styles is like anything else in life-the more effort you give, the more you’ll succeed.

So why not experiment with as many as you can and see which ones work best for you. These are principles that professional musicians have used to reach the top of their field and if I have learned anything since 1976, when I commenced lessons, it is the need to plan my practice and give it some structure based on the habits of what the leaders in music are doing.

Maybe you also have some other ideas on practice. I always welcome ideas/comments/problems and questions from students and readers so send them in via the website or email me.

Can you sneak in an extra 10-15 minutes by doing any of these things ?.

a) Wake up 10-20 minutes earlier and use this as a short practice time.

b) Practice in your lunch breaks.  I use my recess breaks at school to do up to 30 minutes of playing resulting in an extra 90 minutes practice per week during the school term!.

c) Practice at idle waiting times. Maybe while waiting to pick up the kids from sport. I prepared for several Guitar exams whilst sitting in the car. I sat in the passenger seat and wound down the window to let the Guitar-neck stick out. I got some strange looks but I also passed the exams!.

d) Check out a travel guitar or silent guitar for when you are away from home.
( )

e) Turn off TV and electronic gadgets. You won’t die without Facebook for 30 minutes.


One of the easiest ways to learn quicker is to unravel how music works. Music theory is easy to fit in as it can be done just once or twice a week. You will definitely understand the Guitar better making it easier to learn a variety of styles. As a bonus you make less errors because the theory knowledge has prepared you for what to expect in the music.

Students of every musical style are continually telling me about their big improvements in improvising, song writing, fingerpicking, strumming and melody playing etc because they have completed some-easy-to-work-through theory books.


Yes, FUN. You are learning this instrument for a reason and that is to have FUN. Revise old songs/pieces, do some improvising, check out songs on You Tube and try playing along.


Performance can be in many ways. Video yourself playing  and show the family and friends or maybe get it out there on social media.

Nominate yourself to play “Happy Birthday” or Christmas Carols or songs for a special occasion. Performing is a bit nerve-wracking but the result is great fun and the listeners will enjoy it and appreciate your effort. You only have to learn the piece once and then use it over and over again!

P.S. Anyone want to do a duet with me for the website ?. Any style, any level, just a bit of FUN.


Did you know the masters of any musical instrument have 3 different speeds?

  1. Ridiculously slow i.e. half speed or slower!. They know the key to mastery starts by being able to play a piece very slowly.
  2.  At a speed the piece can be comfortably played.
  3. At the intended speed.


For the sake of keeping your practice fresh try this schedule or write down your own.

Monday/Wednesday/Friday -warm up (or technical work book) followed by learning a favourite style/ songs with some fun at the end.

Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday -different warm up (with different technical workbook) followed by different favourite style/songs with some fun at the end.

As ever, I am always able to give you suggestions when next we catch up. And if you have any habits/suggestions that work for you please let me know.




  1. […] completes the 12 habits ( here is a link to the first 6 in case you missed them).  I hope you will employ some of these, as doing so will dramatically accelerate your progress […]

  2. Excellent info Leigh. Having fun and learning new ways to practice and keep the enthusiasm up are always appreciated.

  3. Great post, Leigh. I’m always interested in how to maximise my practice and the tips we can all share are a brilliant way to glean from the learning of others. Going slow – can’t emphasise how crucial that is, but how difficult it can be! My favourite website about learning skills is . Keep up the great work, and keep rockin in 2015!

  4. Thanks Leigh

  5. Wow Leigh!

    The Lord of the Dance & Song gave us “10!”

    You have parred them down to “6!”

    “…..Play on! Give me excess of it!” (with acknowledgments to The Bard of Stratford-on-Avon.)

    The Ancient One, Hugh.

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