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 topic:

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 practical?"

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 concentrated.

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!

David Crisler