How long to practice?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.

Re: How long to practice?

Postby Peter Kohout » Tue May 14, 2013 5:26 am

15 minutes each and every day.
No fail !
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Re: How long to practice?

Postby Lawler » Tue May 14, 2013 7:27 am

RonC wrote: In response to the question: Can you describe your left hand problem in more detail?, the first pain was at the base of my left thumb. I think this is a result of my thumb being too low while barring. The second pain was a tendon in my palm. I am still pressing the strings too hard, I now have good incentive to stop. After three days of very little practice all is good now. I think I need a rest day once a week.
Ron, thanks for following up with that. You're having specific, localized pain so be very careful. I'd suggest this: when you're playing the guitar and you sense any kind of pain - stop for a few minutes. When you come back to it, if the pain is still there - even if it's just a nagging hint of pain - stop for an hour. When you come back again to the guitar, if the pain is still there in any way, give the hands a day off. Study the music mentally instead for a day.

BTW, what's your guitar's action height (measured in millimeters between the 12th fret and the first string, and between the 12th fret and the 6th string)? And string length?
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Re: How long to practice?

Postby habersatguitar » Tue May 14, 2013 1:55 pm

There is a great book called Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner which gives some good insight into practicing. Basically, practice when you want to, but make sure it is meaningful practice. Saying, "I'm going to practice for four hours" doesn't help you. Meaningful practice for 20 minutes will help you.

Peace
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Re: How long to practice?

Postby George Crocket » Tue May 14, 2013 4:21 pm

Hi habersatguitar.

Welcome to the Delcamp classical guitar forum.

If you have not already done so, please have a look at our welcome page for more information about the forum and its rules, then please introduce yourself here for a proper welcome.
George
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Re: How long to practice?

Postby Mikkel » Tue May 14, 2013 5:31 pm

Hey RonC,

If you wish to practice for many hours every day it is incredibly important to focus on not straining your body more than nessecary. Pain is more often the result of too much tension than it is of too much practice, however practicing for many hours will also make you more tense as you lose concentration. About the left hand pain, working on pressing less, using the wieght of the arm more and (maybe) focusing on keeping your wrist straighter could help. It also helps psychologically (and physically) to come back to tough and straining parts several times a day for 10 minutes each time than spending 1 hour in a row on the same problem.

I have had periods with exams and concert where I've practised for 7 or 8 hours a day with no lasting pain so 4 hours is definetly doable, though I highly recommend you split it in several sessions during the day.
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Re: How long to practice?

Postby robyh64 » Wed May 15, 2013 1:10 am

Hi guys have plenty of time on my side as i am retired, the reason i am posting is that i have arthritis in my hands and legs, i practice for about 2 hours a day with pain in my hands and fingers but to relieve that pain i take Olive Leaf Extract in capsule form and it relieves the pain to the point that i can practice all day if i want to.
I have had both knees replaced because of the arthritis something that i inherited from my father i hope this will some help to others just try and you will be amazed,
Regards
RobyH
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Re: How long to practice?

Postby mk49 » Wed May 15, 2013 6:51 am

After about 1 year of practicing the classical guitar, my left index finger was kind of screwed up. I couldn't bend it without pain. I practiced about 30hrs a week (I still do now). Because it was so painful to bend the index finger, I could only play barre chords and notes on the 5th or the 6th string with the index finger. It took about 2 months to heal. That was a little over 1yr ago.

Before I started playing the classical a little over 2 years ago, I played rock for over 25 years. When I was in high school, I practiced 8 hours pretty much every day without any problem. So, my problem with the index finger last year might be related to my age. I was 41, when it happened. I was no longer 16 years old. :lol:

I started doing simple stretch every night, before going to bed. I haven't had any probelm with the finger since then. I still practice as much as I did. And, the pieces I practice now (BWV 1001 Fugue, BWV 1006 Prelude) are a little more demanding than those I played right before the injury (Passacaille by Weiss, Aria by Frescobaldi). So, I really think stretcing has been helping to prevend the injury.
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Re: How long to practice?

Postby czar » Wed May 15, 2013 7:16 am

My advice; practice until you get bored.


I say practice until you are on the verge of getting bored; but still excited. Leave yourself hungry for more. Also, you don't want any of the boredom induced problems to be worked into your routine.

How long this goes runs in cycles for me; 1.5 to 2 hrs usually, but with some extremes on either side.

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Re: How long to practice?

Postby RonC » Wed May 15, 2013 6:14 pm

In response to Lawlers question:
"BTW, what's your guitar's action height (measured in millimeters between the 12th fret and the first string, and between the 12th fret and the 6th string)? And string length?"

1st string is 3mm
6th is 5mm
Length is 650mm

Its a studio Alhambra made for a lutier here in Marseille (Im an American in France) then he does some final touches, one being to lower the action. Its a surprisingly good guitar for he price, 700 euros. The only thing I dont like is that the neck is slightly too narrow so occassionally the E strings slip off. I recently put high tension strings on it to reduce the problem but that only adds more stress on the hand. I think Ill go back to normal tension, its time to get a better guitar anyway...

I do practice til I get bored.The problem is that I dont get bored because Ive worked hard to learn the Suite Populare Brazilian and Im nearly at the point of playing it well. So thats the carrot that keeps me going.
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Re: How long to practice?

Postby PAN A575 » Wed May 15, 2013 6:26 pm

RonC wrote:1st string is 3mm; 6th is 5mm; Length is 650mm

Does anyone else find that action high? Isn't it usually 4mm from top of the 12th fret to bottom of the strings on the basses?
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Re: How long to practice?

Postby robin loops » Wed May 15, 2013 8:00 pm

PAN A575 wrote:
RonC wrote:1st string is 3mm; 6th is 5mm; Length is 650mm

Does anyone else find that action high? Isn't it usually 4mm from top of the 12th fret to bottom of the strings on the basses?

The trebles side is okay at 3mm but 5 is really high for the bass. But more than just being high action it might feel a bit unbalanced (perhaps affecting the playability more than if it were an even .5mm high on both sides for example).
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Re: How long to practice?

Postby Lawler » Wed May 15, 2013 9:12 pm

RonC wrote:In response to Lawlers question:
"BTW, what's your guitar's action height (measured in millimeters between the 12th fret and the first string, and between the 12th fret and the 6th string)? And string length?"

1st string is 3mm
6th is 5mm
Length is 650mm
Thanks again Ron. Details are so important. Your action is on the high side (though I know guitarists who like it even higher. Everyone's different!). The action height on my guitars is significantly lower. I often play 4 hrs per day but I think my left hand would be stressed to do that with the your guitar. :mrgreen: Just to confirm: did you measure between the top of the 12th fret (rather than from the fingerboard surface) and the bottom of the string? If so, given your left hand problem, it would be smart to consider having the action adjusted lower.
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Re: How long to practice?

Postby zerosummer » Wed May 15, 2013 9:54 pm

As well as string height at the 12th fret, string height at the nut also affects playability.
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Re: How long to practice?

Postby Jstanley01 » Thu May 16, 2013 4:08 am

RonC wrote: ...I am still pressing the strings too hard...

Stop doing that, immediately if not sooner. Not only are you injuring yourself, you're never going to get any good on the instrument because you are playing it improperly.
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Re: How long to practice?

Postby Michael McGrath » Thu May 16, 2013 4:30 am

czar wrote:
My advice; practice until you get bored.


I say practice until you are on the verge of getting bored; but still excited. Leave yourself hungry for more. Also, you don't want any of the boredom induced problems to be worked into your routine.

How long this goes runs in cycles for me; 1.5 to 2 hrs usually, but with some extremes on either side.

Czar


I usually start to lose gusto around 1.5 hours, I could push and fill the full two but it's honestly just busy work at that point. The good days are the ones when I'm motivated enough to play for 1.5 hours twice.
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