10 Quick Guitar Exercises for the Busy Musician

Guitar exercisesThere’s one truth you have to face as a musician: learning to play any instrument takes time.  Playing the guitar, as one example, requires time to build up your calluses, learn the guitar chords and strings, and work up to the dexterity needed to play certain songs.  If you have small hands, you may need to take some extra time to stretch your fingers or focus on specific guitar chords that give you trouble.  And of course, finding that perfect beginner guitar will take time, since there are so many options and personal preferences to consider.

You will have to commit some time to really mastering your instrument, but don’t let that stop you from learning!  Even if you only have ten minutes to get away from work, school or other responsibilities, that ten minutes can help!  The trick is to practice with purpose. We’ve discussed effective practice here before – setting specific goals, slowing down and using a metronome, and improving your sight-reading skills, for example.  Heck, you can even practice without your guitar, when you’re out and about.

So even on your busiest days, set aside that practice time.  And as you sit down, consider these 10 quick guitar exercises perfect for those short practice sessions, as suggested over on Fretterverse.com:

1. Chord Inversions – Take one string group and one chord quality (m7, Maj7#5, etc.) and play all of the inversions for that chord in as many keys as you can on that string group.
2. Position Scales – Pick a scale and play it in all 12 keys but only in one position.
3. Sweep Picking Control – Choose an arpeggio and slowly work on keeping your picking hand consistent throughout the sweep so all of the notes are even in tempo and dynamics.
4. Intervals – Pick a scale and play it in 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, or whatever interval you choose.
5. Sing and Play – Sing a melody out loud, and then try to reproduce it on the guitar. Great ear training!
6. String Skipping – Choose a simple major scale. Play every other note one or two octaves higher, which forces you to skip strings and concentrate on fingering and accurate picking.
7. Intonation – Play a scale very slowly, and concentrate on getting your finger to nudge up against each fret every time. Make sure your pick strokes are clearly articulated and full.
8. Name That Note – Without looking, place your finger on any note on the fingerboard. Then look at the note and see how quickly you can identify the note name.
9. Commercial Jam – If you happen to have the TV on while you are waiting around, you will inevitably hear music in the commercials or the show. Try playing along with it; learn the melody or figure out the chord progression and play along with it.
10. Name That Key – Choose a key and name all of the notes. You can also do this with scales, modes, and chords.

What other exercises do you practice when you only have a few spare minutes?  Share your tips with the TakeLessons community – head on over to our Facebook page and leave a comment! Like these posts?  Sign up to receive daily updates right to your inbox!  Click here to subscribe.


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You might also like…
5 Common Mistakes of Beginner Guitarists
Practice Makes Perfect, But Are You Doing it Right?
How to Use a Metronome for Efficient Practice


Photo by Lil Larkie.

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