Can you really practice guitar in only 15 minutes? The other day I argued that if you practice just 15 minutes a day then you can learn and progress as a guitar player. But to do so you'll need to build a well organized practice routine. Ideally you should spend some time to prepare in advance so that you know exactly what to do when you sit down with your guitar.
To help you along the way here is a simple practice routine that you can fit into only 15 minutes. As you'll see, there is actually room for quite a lot of work in that time if you put your mind to it.
2 Minutes Scale Exercises
As you probably know the major scale contains seven notes. This means that at a steady 60 bpm you can play the scale over eight times in only a minute.
The sliding blues scale up and down the neck contains 15 notes, you can play up and down the pattern two times in only one minute at 60 bpm.
5 Minutes Chord Progressions
Keeping a relatively slow 60 bpm tempo you can play 75 four-beat bars in five minutes. That gives you the opportunity to practice plenty of chord changes.
You could play almost 20 four-bar progressions, one chord to a bar. That covers a lot of the progressions commonly used in major or minor scales. Or you could practice only two progressions, repeating them 10 times each.
If you have a large chord vocabulary then you could simply work through 75 chord changes going through a whole series of different progressions in these five minutes.
4 Minutes Guitar Licks
As well as basic scales and chords you probably want to spend some time working on guitar licks. Whether it's rhythm or solo licks, four minutes is an opportunity to get in a lot of work.
A typical guitar lick lasts between one and four bars, so doesn't take much time to play. At our reference tempo of 60 bpm you can cover between 4 and 15 licks each minute. In fact, if you're not used to playing licks you might have trouble finding enough licks to fill four long minutes.
4 Minutes Song Practice
Finally, give yourself room each day to play a complete song. Most songs last less than four minutes so this is adequate time to play through a song at least once.
There you have an easy outline for a rapid practice routine that actually lets you get a lot done. The essential thing is to spend time up front so you know exactly what you will do with each of your precious practice minutes. Don't waste any of them wondering what to play next, or playing something you already master just because you don't know what else to do.
If you give it a try you might find that 15 minutes of intense practice does a lot of good for your guitar playing. There's no room for time wasting, and it's easy to keep focused on doing a maximum of exercises in the minimum of time. Why not try it over the next week to see what results you get?
Photo by Keo 101.