Our 7 Day Trial – The Practice Makeover

HOO HOO OH NO.

Okay, let’s be honest here. I am not practicing my craft enough. There, I said it. Is it okay? Yes. Can I change for the better? Yes.

I​’ve been playing for 17 years now, so I don’t see vast improvements in my game, not like I used to anyway. 

I​ would violently argue (put your dukes up, I’ll fight anyone) that the hardest part of maintaining a practice routine is looking down the barrel of EVERYTHING you have to get done. If I think about practicing every day until the day I die, I get overwhelmed. I don’t want to practice, and I shut down. 

We need to have good self-awareness – or just one of those overly honest parents – it’s incredible that you can crush them in the name of honesty, just don’t be surprised when no one comes to visit you in that rest home, Sally. 

I​ wrote a decent post (if I do say so myself) on a little trick I call the fifteen-minute rule. If you’re looking for something a little less intense than what I’m proposing, you should start here. 

I​ want you to follow through the link… I know you’re busy. In the post, I argue that although you surely have a bustling, hectic day, you have at least fifteen minutes that you can dedicate to a project or some practice. The most important thing is to be consistent – but the fifteen-minute rule only gets you so far! I will use a movie franchise to prove my point. The truth is that I am a manchild, and I never grew out of that awe of movies. 

To become fulfilled in your work, you have to have those montage moments to get to really get to that place you want to be in life! Have you seen Rocky? Maybe Rocky II? … Okay Maybe Rocky III? How about Rocky IV? No one saw Rocky V, So I won’t even ask.

Creed, have you seen the Creed movies? (Probably more your jam) It’s silly giving a sports analogy in a music blog, but, what do all of these movies have in common? Great music? Yes! Sly? Duh!

Most importantly, they had that training montage! This is what our topic is on today. What that montage looks like in real life. Spoiler alert, it looks really dull. 

The intention is to have a watershed week and drastically improve ourselves! Now, we’re all adults here, and I realize that a week of nothing except practicing is asking a lot. I GET IT! But if you’re wanting to see that exceptional improvement, you have to do this. 

I will share a weekly plan outline, if you’re not a musician, you can still plug whatever you’re wanting to improve on. You MUST have these watershed moments! You have to put your head down, turn off the phone (is that even possible?) and just work at it.

Make no mistake, that montage is one of the most essential parts of you becoming your best self, it just doesn’t look like real life at all.

W​e have a lot of different schedules out there. A couple years ago I had a pretty regular 9-5 job. It was great… 

So you can shift things around to fit your schedule! Now I work nights, and I have multiple jobs, so my old plan wouldn’t work now. That’s okay! I just have to write it out (I’m going to say that a lot in this post).

Here are the rules:

  • You 100% have to get sleep. Do not sacrifice sleep for anything. You will not be sharp, your practice will suffer from it. 
  • Plan out specific times for eating. Don’t bundle it in with practice.
  • S​tick to your schedule as close as possible! Give yourself extra time to travel if that becomes a problem.
  • I​f you have someone that needs your attention often (friends, spouse, boss). Tell them your plan for the week, keep people in the know. 
  • D​ON’T MULTI-TASK!
  • Be specific with what you’re practicing. If you don’t know what to work on. Feel free to ask me, I have a lot of ideas. If you don’t want to send me a message (ouch), then look up practicing routines on youtube. 
  • Y​ou will feel bored and annoyed with this process at some point. Make peace with that. Becoming disinterested or annoyed with something is not a good reason to quit.
  • Avoid songwriting as a practice routine during this week. We’re really working on technique and theory. Songwriting can get a little less structured then we want. 
  • Be specific with what you are working on. When I wrote this out, I wanted to get better with fretboard awareness, major scales, and minor scales. I didn’t just say, “I want to get better at theory.” That is too broad. If you want to work on changing between chords. That is specific and will work. Lazer in that focus! 
  • Don’t plan anything with your friends. Tell your sweetheart what you’re planning on doing (there’s that support crew you’re going to need) you’ve got to get this done today. Don’t make any excuses, just do it.
  • I​’m excited for you! These watershed moments are really cool after you’ve finished up! Good luck and stay focused! 
  • During this week, this schedule owns you. You will not have free time, you will be busy, you will improve. It’ll be worth it! Let’s get good fast.
  • I​’ll give you an old routine I had a few years back.

I wanted four hours of practice every day

Day 1 

Four hours of daily exercise – I know! It’s a lot, remember this is an overhaul.

This is how my day looks – You need to write down your schedule, make sure you write EVERYTHING out! 

  • 6:00am Alarm goes off, and I snooze for 15 mins (just kidding) – Warm-up with the guitar for 15 mins (I usually run a couple warm-up routines here, 4 on a string, hammer-on/pull-off, right hand with the metronome)
  • At 6:15am I am prepping for the day 
  • 7​:00am practice the major scale in every key w/ metronome 1​ hour (dreadfully boring, categorically essential)
  • 8​:00am Breakfast
  • 8​:30am Leave for work 
  • 9:00​am Work
  • 1​2:30pm Lunch – During lunch, I watch a youtube video on the major scales and practice routines
  • 1​:30pm I’m back at work
  • 5:00pm I’m in my car headed home
  • 6:00pm I exercise with minor scales in every key
  • 7:00pm Dinner
  • 8​:00pm I work the major scale in every key
  • 9​:00pm I grab a pen, I map out the notes on the guitar. If I finish this quickly, I start writing out the notes in the major scale in all the keys
  • 9​:45pm preparing for bed
  • 1​0:00pm I’m in bed and turn the lights off

Everyone’s schedule is a little different. My daily routine changes every day since I have multiple jobs. I write out every day hour to hour and make sure I fit my 4 hours in every day. I don’t watch movies when I practice. I don’t play a video game in between my practice sessions. I just work for this week. If your schedule is pretty regular, you’re in luck! Just copy and paste it to the next day! 

M​aybe you don’t possibly have 4 hours a day to give. I get it! Okay, well write down what the most time you can realistically give in one full day, then do that. 

D​ay 2

My second day looks the exact same. Is this kind of boring? Yes. It’s supposed to be!

  • 6:00am I wake up and I warm-up with the guitar for 15 mins 
  • 6:15am I am prepping for the day 
  • 7​:00am practice the major scale in every key w/ metronome 1​ hour 
  • 8​:00am Breakfast
  • 8​:30am Leave for work 
  • 9:00​am Work
  • 1​2:30pm Lunch – During lunch, I watch a youtube video on the major scales and practice routines
  • 1​:30pm I’m back at work
  • 5:00pm I’m in my car headed home
  • 6:00pm I exercise with minor scales in every key
  • 7:00pm Dinner
  • 8​:00pm I work the major scale in every key
  • 9​:00pm I grab a pen, I map out the notes on the guitar. If I finish this quickly, I start writing out the notes in the major scale in all the keys
  • 9​:45pm preparing for bed
  • 1​0:00pm I’m in bed and turn the lights off

D​ay 3

Same for day three – I told you, this is boring.

  • 6:00am I wake up and I warm-up with the guitar for 15 mins 
  • 6:15am I am prepping for the day 
  • 7​:00am practice the major scale in every key w/ metronome 1​ hour 
  • 8​:00am Breakfast
  • 8​:30am Leave for work 
  • 9:00​am Work
  • 1​2:30pm Lunch – During lunch, I watch a youtube video on the major scales and practice routines
  • 1​:30pm I’m back at work
  • 5:00pm I’m in my car headed home
  • 6:00pm I exercise with minor scales in every key
  • 7:00pm Dinner
  • 8​:00pm I work the major scale in every key
  • 9​:00pm I grab a pen, I map out the notes on the guitar. If I finish this quickly, I start writing out the notes in the major scale in all the keys
  • 9​:45pm preparing for bed
  • 1​0:00pm I’m in bed and turn the lights off

D​ay 4

T​oday I have a band practice after work. Does this take away from my personal practice time… NO! It just means I have to shift my schedule, I might not get my full time in, and sure, I broke my rule for 8 hours of sleep, but I’m also really freaking close to my goal. Life happens, I get it, I’m still living like there is a cat god who lives above me and judges me for the promises I made myself at the start of the week. – This is my tough day.

  • 5:00am warm-up routines on guitar
  • 5:15am I am prepping for the day 
  • 6​:00am practice every major scales w/ metronome 1​ hour 
  • 7:00am Breakfast
  • 7:30am I grab a pen, and I map out the notes on the guitar. If I finish this quickly, I work the minor scale in every key. 
  • 8:30am Leave for work 
  • 9​am Work
  • 1​2:30 Lunch – During lunch, I watch a youtube video on the minor scales and practice routines
  • 1​:30 I’m back at work
  • 5:00pm I leave work
  • 6:00pm I exercise with minor scales in every key
  • 7:00pm Dinner
  • 7:30 Head to practice
  • 8​:00pm Band practice
  • 9​:30pm Head home
  • 10:00pm Write out scales in major and minor keys
  • 10:45pm Prepare for bed
  • 1​1:00pm I’m in bed and turn the lights off 

Day 5

I’m back to my regular routine

  • 6:00am I wake up and I warm-up with the guitar for 15 mins 
  • 6:15am I am prepping for the day 
  • 7​:00am practice the major scale in every key w/ metronome 1​ hour
  • 8​:00am Breakfast
  • 8​:30am Leave for work 
  • 9:00​am Work
  • 1​2:30pm Lunch – During lunch, I watch a youtube video on the major scales and practice routines
  • 1​:30pm I’m back at work
  • 5:00pm I’m in my car headed home
  • 6:00pm I exercise with minor scales in every key
  • 7:00pm Dinner
  • 8​:00pm I work the major scale in every key
  • 9​:00pm I grab a pen, I map out the notes on the guitar. If I finish this quickly, I start writing out the notes in the major scale in all the keys
  • 9​:45pm preparing for bed
  • 1​0:00pm I’m in bed and turn the lights off

D​ay 6

This is usually my weekend, it will look different! 

  • 8:00am I wake up and I warm-up with the guitar for 15 mins 
  • 8:15am I am prepping for the day 
  • 9​:00am practice the major scale in every key w/ metronome 1​ hour
  • 10:00am Breakfast
  • 10​:30am I grab a pen, I map out the notes on the guitar. If I finish this quickly, I start writing out the notes in the major scale in all the keys
  • 11:30​am I exercise with minor scales in every key
  • 1​2:30pm Lunch 
  • 1​:00pm I work the major scale in every key
  • 2:00pm Personal time
  • At this point, I’ve made it to my four hours for the day! I’m nearing the end of my practice week. I’ve crushed it. I can start to live again! 
  • 5:00pm Dinner w/ friends and family I have neglected
  • 7:00pm Movie
  • 9​:30pm I grab a pen, I map out the notes on the guitar. If I finish this quickly, I start writing out the notes in the major scale in all the keys
  • 10:30pm preparing for bed
  • 1​1:00pm I’m in bed and turn the lights off

D​ay 7

T​he final day! Stay Strong!

  • 8:00am I wake up and I warm-up with the guitar for 15 mins 

8:15am I am prepping for the day 

9​:00am practice the major scale in every key w/ metronome 1​ hour

10:00am Breakfast

10​:30am I grab a pen, I map out the notes on the guitar. If I finish this quickly, I start writing out the notes in the major scale in all the keys

11:30​am I exercise with minor scales in every key

1​2:30pm Lunch

1​:00pm I work the major scale in every key

2:00pm Personal time

Finished four hours for the day

5:00pm Dinner

6:00pm Catch up with friends

9​:00pm I map out the notes on the guitar. If I finish this quickly, I start writing out the notes in the major scale in all the keys

9:45pm preparing for bed

1​0:00pm I’m in bed and turn the lights off

S​omething(s) to take into consideration.

  • It’s okay to copy and paste things. You want to work on the same aspect continuously. Even if you have it down by day three, keep at it.
  • Y​ou must write down what you’re doing, and you will need to check it off throughout the day. This is important because there is something beautiful about going through a to-do list. This overhaul is SUPPOSE to be tedious. We’re not going to do this forever. It’s for a week, like a cleanse! So pick something hard, but doable as well. By the end of the week, you will be a different person.
  • M​ost importantly, wherever you decide to write it down. On paper, in an app, on a sticky note, in a note on your phone… it doesn’t matter, just make sure it’s the most natural way for you to write it down! If you’re not used to or don’t like employing an app like Trello… don’t use it you, big dummy! 
  • W​ill you miss a few things? You will. Day 4 maybe you only were able to get 2 1/2 hours of practice. This happens, life never goes how we plan for it to go. But we’re still actively trying to make it happen even when we feel like this might be a little overkill. 

I​ know a professional golfer, and he was practicing at least 5 hours every damn day. It’s a job! You want this to be a job, right? And although I feel that wanting to be famous is silly (albeit, something we all dream of) the fact of the matter is, you can make money do this! This schedule is not asking for the rest of your life. It’s asking for a week every once in a while! I promise you will see that improvement and you will be happy you did it. Sacrifice that social life for a week. I promise it’ll be worth it. The road to greatness doesn’t have a soundtrack while you run through Philly. The road to greatness in sitting at a desk, having the disipline to stay seated and work through the boring stuff.

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