Question: I am one of those kids that want to become something in life, something big! I know that I only live once and that's why I want to finish what I started. So I was wondering, how much do you recommend me to practice the guitar every day? What did you do to become a great guitar player? I've decided to take Online Guitar Lessons with you. My long term goal is to attain a high level of technique and musical understanding, so that I can play any combination of notes my mind can conjure. I don't have a deadline for this goal. But my question is: Do you think this a realistic goal to have, or is it only for those who practice 10-12 hours a day, 10-20 years? I know it involves a lot of time and hard work... but will it pay off for those who put in the effort?

Tom Hess's Answer: Of course this is a realistic and attainable goal, and no it does not require you to practice 10 hours per day for 20 years (although you do have to practice consistently of course). There is nothing magical about practicing long hours.

Instead of focusing on the amount of time you need to practice, your focus needs to be on learning WHAT you need to practice and learning HOW to practice in the most effective way. Until you do this, the amount of time you put in will yield little or no results. This is key to becoming a better guitar player. In fact, most of my substantial progress as a musician only occurred after I realized everything I said above (and learned what I should practice and how to practice guitar.)

When these things are in place, you suddenly feel empowered and in control, and any goal seems attainable.

Go to my Musical Goals page and read about the specific things that are needed to reach your specific goal. This is also a basic outline of how I would teach someone with similar goals who was a student of mine.

After you have all of the tools above in place, THEN the amount of time you spend practicing begins to matter. But even so, you don’t need to practice a huge amount of time per day to make very good progress (although you can practice as much as you would like). It is much better to be consistent and practice a smaller, reasonable amount of time every day.

Click on the link if you need help creating and managing your personal guitar practice schedule.

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