Practice Session Goals

By Andre Pfanz

What is your typical practice session like? Do you figure out the categories you want to work on and then assemble the licks? Do you then just go through them one by one?

There is another goal-based way of practicing. It uses a series of short-term and micro goals. This will give your practice time more focus and direction.

This is how it will work. At the beginning of each week, create an Excel file with 2 tabs: one will be for short-term goals and the other for micro goals. Add in the short-term goals you want to achieve for the week. This can be something like playing a scale sequence at 120 BPM. Then before each practice session, create micro goals based on the short-term goals. A goal like this is very specific. It can be something like playing a scale with the pinkie finger bending or making sure the lower string noise is muted. A micro goal is either complete or not - there is no in-between. If a goal isn't completed, don't worry about it. You just need to note it isnít completed.

After the week is over, evaluate whether you met your short-term goals. If there are any short or micro goals you missed, you can save it for another week.

This approach has a couple of benefits. One is it gives you a sense of accomplishment during your practice session. You also keep a log of your progress so you can look back and see how much you've made.

Andre Pfanz teaches guitar in Houston, Texas