Here are exercises and ideas to keep you sharp on or off the road in 5 minutes.
5 minutes of fury is something i came up with long ago that works wonders. all you need? a guitar, and 5 minutes.
If you are on tour or simply pressed for time. The next 5 minutes may change your mind about what can be accomplished in 5 minutes time.
- Write down 6 progressions, all in different keys for 5 minutes straight. This will help you come up with harmonic ideas on the fly. You can become a chord progression king simply by practicing coming up with different progressions in different keys. Heres an example: for the next 5 minutes it is now. 1130 am. I will write until 1135 and see what I come up with. Ready, set, go…
- i V i VI ii V.
- I ii I IV V I vi V iv V7 I.
- I viio7/ii ii V7 I V7 of vi vi V7 of V V
- I ii iii iv V – I ii iii IV V vm7 i
- i IV i ii i vio ii V – i III+ vio7 #vio ii V7 I – Picardy 3rd.
- I IV viio iii vi ii V
- Imaj7 IVmaj7 I6 IV6 V6 IV6
And there we go. 6 amazing progressions that I can’t wait to try out on my guitar or on my computer and compose something with them. They may be good, they may be strange, they may be bad. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I did it. I did my 5 minutes…and Im better for it.
And we all know…its never 5 minutes is it?
- Go over those progressions for the next 5 minutes.
- Write a melody or solo over one of these progressions.
- Write a melody 4 bars – 16 bars long and harmonize it.
- Work your pentatonic in every key.
- Study a key. Arpeggios, chords, and sequences.
- Practice theory by writing down the chord tones to all the basic triads in a key.
- Combine the modes in C Major or any other key up and down the neck. 3 notes per string. Go up one mode and descend another.
- Practice licks slowly and on a clean tone. Then speed them up at the end of your session as fast as you can play. This will get you breaking your barriers of speed. Licks will also give you musical and melodic ideas as well as rhythmic ideas. Check this lesson out.
- Practice strumming patterns. Should always be to a metronome or drum track or drum machine.
- Practice rhythm. From whole notes, to half notes, 8th notes, 16ths, triplets, quintuplets, Sextuplets, septuplets.
- Download Guitar Pro and write out 10-300 licks. Yes 300.
- Brainstorm for 5 minutes, some of your favorite songs and write them down. Now go listen to them for the next few days. This should give you some songwriting ideas and motivation. Listen to your favorite riffs, but first write down that list.
- Write out the C Major scale, arpeggio and chords on sheet music. You can simply draw out 5 lines for your staff if you dont have sheet music. Keep this up for 5 minutes.
Practicing for 5 minutes will get you nowhere. IF, and only IF thats the only thing you do. 5 minutes of practicing is a SUREFIRE way to get yourself to SIT DOWN, and start playing. I betcha you can’t stay there for 5 minutes. You will most definitely, in all cases, stay there for much longer than 5 minutes. Ive been known to hit 4-5 hours. But thats just me. 🙂
- Run through your pentatonic shapes in a single key and try to connect the shapes in new ways. Ways that you’ve never done before. For example, combine shapes 5, 1 and 2. Then 3, 4 and 1.
- Practice out of the box chords such as sus2, sus4, add6, dom7, dim7 etc…Chords that you don’t already know.
- Practice a modal progression such as C Lydian.
- Solo over a C Lydian Progression using the C Lydian scale. Hint: You are in the key of E Minor.
- In the key of A Major write down 5 motives for a melody. For example, two 8th notes and a half note…etc…Keep writing motives until 5 minutes are up. You should now have several really good motives to keep you busy while soloing, composing a melody and/or improvising.
- In the key of your choice start improvising a riff. Once you got that riff try to improve on it. Don’t get crazy, the trick here is to get you to come up with something short that sounds amazing. So that you get used to writing amazing riffs.
- Transpose a riff of yours to another key.
- Do ear training. Use Ear Trainer App. Download for free.
- Read a guitar related article for motivation. 5 minutes tops.
- Watch a 3-5 minute video on youtube on the topic of your choice. Again this is to motivate you. Motivation is a big part of my daily life and it works.
- Write down the main reason you picked up the guitar and put it into a word or pages document. Once you have this. Enlarge the font and keep yourself motivated by looking at it every day.
- Write down some new arpeggio goals.
- Write down some new sweep picking goals.
- Sweep Pick for 5 minutes straight using only 5 string sweeps.
- Come up with an arpeggiated chord riff.
- Work on one of your cover songs for 5 minutes. This might boost your mood to the point that you will elevate yourself out of your chair and write an actual song.
5 minute routines will lead to longer more efficient routines. Gain the habit of picking up, and playing your guitar daily and you will see more RESULTS.
- Play 8th notes for 5 minutes straight in the scale of your choice.
- Play 16th notes for 5 minutes straight.
- Play 16th note triplets only for 5 minutes straight.
- Combine any of the above with the note value of your choice.