The Effective Practice Checklist (tips for a healthy mind~body~fretboard experience)

One of the most important, yet overlooked, aspects of the guitar path is how you can create an inner & outer practice environment that enables you to be productive in all your efforts. Optimum conditions produce optimum results (is that an old saying?) and sometimes the littlest of things can make the biggest of differences (that’s definitely an old saying).

Here’s a checklist to consider that will make your practice sessions more focused, productive, & enjoyable!…


• environment

– a practice space that has a good vibe & energy to it (quiet & peaceful is nice… conducive to creativity)

– comfortable chair (w/ no arms & correct height for stable sitting posture)

– music stand (a good solid one that’s wide so you can look at multiple sheets of paper)

– guitar stand (so you can put it down & pick it up with little to no hassle)

– all the gear you need to be happy & productive when you play (guitars, amps, pedals, etc)


• tools

– computer, laptop or tablet

– metronome (probably on your above favored device)

– headphones, if necessary

– music paper & notebook paper

– blank neck diagrams, chord diagrams & TAB sheets

– pencils & pens

– capo

– slide

– picks!


• mindset

– positivity

– confidence

– focus & concentration

– patience

– humility (defined, in this case, as “being teachable”)

– joy & happiness


• agenda

– goals for the day

– goals for the week

– goals for the month

– goals for the year


• holistic considerations

– sleep

– eat

– stretch (the whole body, not just the hands & arms)


key point = have all these things within easy reach (including your positive & patient attitude)

When I sat down to come up with this list, I purposely strove for a stream of consciousness-based itemization of everything I could think of in the moment. There are thousands of these lists out there, I know. Yet I have never put one together for this blog before. And, to be honest with you, I could write a separate article for every single item on this list. Especially the mindset & agenda items. When I created the 99 Decisions Guitar Program, I wanted to have it be a holistic program because I truly believe that your inner self is as important, if not even more important, than your outer self. Learning technique & songs & theory is just part of the whole process. And by “process”, I mean the process of becoming an artist… who is a musician… who is a guitarist.

It’s all part of the path. And, ultimately, the path is whatever you make it.
I have spent a considerable amount of time figuring this out on my own journey.

This is a fairly comprehensive list, however I’m going to approach it as a work in progress. I’ll add more things as I think of them. And I think you should add things too. Put any ideas you have in the comments below & let’s make this a wiki thing.

It will be interesting to see what some people feel they need to experience an effective practice session.

Who knows?… perhaps someone knows of the most awesome pick holder in the universe.

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