My practice routine needs some spice


My infatuation with Paul Gilbert’s solo albums may have dissipated (just slightly) the past few weeks but that humble, shred-tastic man is rarely far from my mind.  Since I have a blank canvas for five more days until I see Danny, I’ve been doing what I want.  In other words, focusing on lead with a few chords whenever I get an itch to play my acoustic.

Yeah, yeah, I know.  I know I should continue a balanced practice regimen but screw it.  This one time (don’t quote me), I’m going to ignore the rule of remaining “balanced” all because I want to take advantage of what energizes and inspires me to practice and improve.

What you may or may not realize is that I’m in limbo.  I’m stuck between teachers and I don’t know what to practice because my current practice materials are concepts I’ve been looking at since the last time I saw Danny–January.  No, that doesn’t mean I’ve been practicing that material since then, but I see it in my folder everyday and mentally urge myself to review it instead.  Okay, I’ll get real with ya… the mental notes do not help.  I’m simply bored of the January material and want to see something new and change things up a bit!  Since I have 5 days until Danny assigns me something new, I’m going to do what I want!

I know what you’re thinking–this girl is wild and out of control.  Yup, I’m being a daredevil and breaking all the rules.  Hopefully, nothing more than just that.  Okay, but seriously, I do fear adopting poor technique habits but what’s a measly 5 days going to do to me?  I shall find out…

Inspired by Andy Wildrick playing lead guitar in the early 2000’s emo/rock band, The Junior Varsity, I taught myself segments of “Park Your Car.”  Of course, it’s sloppy, significantly slower and disappointing but I am hopeful.  Then I decided to take a break and work on some lead exercises to strengthen the connection between my brain and fingers, and of course, increase speed.  So naturally, who do I refer to? Paul Gilbert.  Surprise, surprise.

I just cannot get enough of him!

Anyways… if anything, have (extra) fun with practicing this week because that’s what I’m doing.  If you’re in a rut or bored, play music that’s fun or inspires you to remember the reason why you fell in love with playing music in the first place.

So tell me, how do you spice up your practice routine?

Image courtesy of artur84 /

3 thoughts on “My practice routine needs some spice

  1. Watching this video I can’t help but think of Fur Elise…its those first 6 or 8 notes. My practice routine usually consists of me thinking of a technique I would like to work on and then trying to build a riff off of that technique and some unique notes that I find on the fly. This usually helps me to think outside of the box and keeps my routine fresh. Other times I will focus on rhythmic devices, which are the core of my writing.

    • After you comment, I rewatched the video and you’re so right! When Paul slows the lick down, that’s all I hear now–Fur Elise, lol.

      Your practice routine sounds like a great way to always play around with new material.

  2. heh Kristen. how’s things? It’s funny, I have been playing guitar now for 25+ yrs. One of the first things I got onto was scales, but I struggled more with my ability to play them, compared to my enthusiasm to play them. I never mastered how to play scales very well or even average, If you saw me play a scale today you think I had been playing for about 6 mths. It’s looks very uncomfortable to watch me play them. [child-hood injury, someone roller-scated over my left-hand], It will stuff up your guitar playing every time.

    I did however develop my rhythm playing as my main source of guitar playing, but my desire to play solo’s was never far away from my thinking and I always played them the best I could during band practice in my early days, but they were always crappy to say the least.

    I eventually moved onto meeting a steve vai/ joe satriani style of guitarist, who loved my rhythm playing and I loved his guitar playing ability full-stop, he was brilliant on the axe. We jammed for a couple of years before parting ways, and from there, I then had to start working out guitar solo’s for my songs on my own. “That was a high wall to climb”.

    The ability to write solo’s was there, but my UN-cooperative fingers made the exercise of recording very difficult, I persevered though, writing and recording all my solo’s the best I could. The main objective for me was to just record my songs onto 4 track, [even if it was a bit messy] so I at least had a copy of it for future reference, and also I figured if I don’t have enthusiasm to learn how to play my own songs properly, then I have no hope of learning someone Else’s music. kind’ve of made good sense to me.

    After all these years, I feel I have come full circle. I have recorded a lot of songs that give me great satisfaction, as I’ve achieved more than I thought I was capable of, as far as guitar playing goes. I’ve gone back to playing scale’s now, doing finger exercises and stretching my UN-cooperative fingers to limber and strengthen them up. I know I won’t play the guitar the way I would like to, but I’m far from concerned by that. I love the fact I’M still enthusiastic for it, and I haven’t given up on playing my solo’s and guitar playing in general.

    to answer your question. So tell me, how do you spice up your practice routine?
    For me it’s easy. It’s, how do I overcome my lack of ability and my downfalls.

    At the end of the day, when you are facing those area’s you know you are weak at. The only answer that will help you to succeed is plain old hard work, perseverance and “quit quitting”.[Kristen. l]

    Had to put the last quote in there.

    Have a great day Kristen.


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