I think Practice is a subject which should be covered in every
instruction book. A very important subject.
I would like to add to what Pat Cloud and others have said on this
1. Examine your life to determine honestly how much time PER DAY you
are willing or able to practice. Be totally honest with yourself.
Sacrifice some t.v. if you have to. (gasp!) The main point is to actually
examine your life and see "Alright, how much time do I really want to
invest in this? Also, how much time is really feasible and
2. Once you identify "holes" in your day, commit to practicing during
those times regularly, every day. Make the commitment formal by
telling family members and stating it in your mind ("from now on, I'm
gonna practice at 4:30 every day for an hour...") Formalizing the
commitment in this way is very powerful. In addition to a
formal time of practice, you can pick it up spontaneously during the
day for fun. But establish that formal practice time. It's important
to build a sense of "disciplined habit".
3. If you have 5 hours a day available, be smart. Don't think you can
practice that much all at 1st. If you begin to develop hand pain,
back off, even skipping a day or 2. Beware of "mushy" concentration
when you are not really with it and are just smudging along. That's a
sign to take a break. When you practice you should be alert and
If you identify times to practice and do so every day, it becomes
sort of a meditation. A period of no-distractions during which you
are one-pointedly concentrated on the task at hand. After some time,
the discipline begins to feel good. You gain a tremendous amount of
confidence because you know that banjo! Your ears know the sound and
your hands know the strings. Play!