Learning new material: Often twice a day if you can manage it, but not for long. Break your practice time into smaller chunks and repeat them often, especially when learning new things.
....Practice while you drink tea...When:
Ideally: When you are fresh after a great night's sleep. In reality: it often happens that we get home at the end of the day too tired to really get to grips with practicing well, if at all. Before work/school/college is a great time... set your alarms 20 minutes earlier. Tea/Coffee breaks can be a useful time if you are working (buy a small travel guitar - see below - very handy if you can get 15 mins to yourself!).
Practice while you drink tea or coffee.. a great combination, constantly refocuses your mind as you have to stop to take a drink. Got a longer practice time? Try breaking it up by making a drink, taking a short walk, do a chore etc. Most things that we struggle with are easier when we take a break away from it and come back to refocus on the task.
..if you are really, really busy do this: Steal it from somewhere else..
Making time is the biggest area that guitar students struggle with... Even if it's only a short period of say 10-15 minutes, its valuable time; and it's time well spent especially when your a beginner. Just remembering parts of a song, strum patterns, new notes, as a refresher of what was covered last lesson. Remember the old saying: If you don't use it, you'll lose it.. Well that applies to learning the guitar too.
So how do you make time? Well, most people can usually find 10-15 minutes in a day But if you are really, really busy do this: Steal it from somewhere else, which usually means giving up something, hopefully not too important, 20 minutes of TV, socialising, lunch hour (take a travel guitar into work) etc.,
...make a list. Keep it simple, just 3 things...
What to practice?
1) Practice the hard bits, the things you struggle with, the easy bits will take care of themselves.
2) Have a near target in mind: e.g. learn this song/scale shape/arpeggio by end the week.
3) Short list: It may seem obvious but the best way is to make a list. Keep it simple, just 3 things, in order of priority, and don't do other things on the list until the first priority item is done. When you've finished practicing immediately write out your list for your next lesson.
A bit like this article in fact, from original productivity consultant Ivy Ledbetter Lee in 1900:
Travel and Practice guitars
Typical price range in brackets
- Yamaha APXT2... (£180 - £240)
- Martin Backpacker... (£190 - £240)
- Washburn Rover... (£150 - £190)
- Ibanez Piccolo Guitar... (£140 - £170)
- Hofner Shorty - Electric Guitar... (£105 - £120)
- Yafine Pocket Guitar / PocketStrings - the ultimate beginners practice tool?... (£8 - £22)
There are lots of others, but they are more expensive... and this really is about practice, not how nice guitars look or sound.