How often should I practice guitar each week and for how long do I play each session?
In order to develop new skills and get good at anything, you must do it a lot. If you want to progress as a guitar player, then you need to work at it. This means getting your instrument in your hands as much as possible. Obviously, the more you play the better. But, realistically, you may be hard pressed to find time each day.
The truth is, you don’t need to practice for hours on end in order to make progress, but you’ll need to put some amount of time into it. I recommend at least 30 minutes each day in order to accomplish something. It doesn’t have to be all at once. Your practice time can be broken up into smaller sessions with 10-15 minutes here, 10-15 minutes there.
It’s inevitable that you’ll miss a day now and then, but if you plan on playing guitar every day, then you’ll be sure to get it in most of the time. When you have more time available, use it. I’m sure that you can get in a hour or more on at least one day a week.
During busy times in your life when there seems to be no opportunity at all to play, you can probably still get a few minutes in here and there. Grabbing your guitar before you go to bed and reviewing things for 5 minutes will at least help you to retain what you’ve learned and keep your finger calluses from getting soft.
Another key to successful guitar playing and productive practicing is getting involved with some type of guitar activity or commitment. For example, schedule jam sessions with other musicians, start a band, book a gig, study with an instructor, take a guitar class, play at church, or take advantage of any other opportunity you may have to participate in something that involves guitar playing. These ideas will not only increase the time you spend with your guitar in hand, but you’ll also enjoy the activity and social interaction.
This advice is geared toward average guitar players who want to make at least the minimal amount of progress on the guitar without making serious and time-consuming commitments. Obviously if your goal is to advance to high levels of guitar playing, then you need to put more time into it, set serious goals, and work with structured lesson plans aimed at incrementally increasing your skills over time.