Short on time practice

Some days I just can’t find time to practice. I see that Justin recommends practicing even if you can only find 5 minutes.
What would be the best thing to practice if time is short? Should I do a scale, a riff, one song or something else?

Hi Maxine, welcome to the community. I would suggest giving some background information on where you are in the guitar learning process e.g. grade, module.

Working my way through beginner grade 2 on the app. I’ve just about got the F chord and I’m practicing changing from D to F and a few other changes to and from F.

I wrote out chords for Wish You We’re Here and I’m working on the riff. Glad I wrote it down because it disappeared from the app. Copyright issues I’m guessing.

Going to continue work on the Californication riff and House of the Rising Sun.

Thanks for your help!

1 Like

Personally, if I only had 5 minutes to practice I’d work on fun stuff that motivates me. Songs probably. On days that I have more time I’d focus on technique stuff that is not so fun but push me forward.

5 min is too short of a time to not have fun. Or at least I don’t want to pick a guitar up and not have fun at some point.


You could try the pick jar……


Solid advice; I copy
Remember WHY you want to play guitar.
If that means: having fun playing song but you only have very limited time; go for this.
If it is something else; go for that.
When time is very limited, let the heart decide. :wink:

EDIT: This topic was moved to “Just chatting”


I agree with the idea to play a song, or part of a song, that you are working on.

It is fun and feels (more) like real music.

Additionally, with songs, it seems that I need to play them a gazillion times as I learn them. If you play over and over in a longer practice session, not only may you lose some enthusiasm and effectiveness, you may drive your family insane.

Small practices are good for everyone!


Welcome to the Community, Maxine. I’m with the others suggesting focus on songs or maybe playing the licks/riffs you are working on if you have only a short time.

You were right about Wish You Were Here and the app. That said, you can still learn the song from the lessons on the website: Wish You Were Here [1/4] by Pink Floyd | (the links to the other lessons are in the description of this one).

I also encourage looking at the lessons on the website as they provide a little more material than the App equivalent.

We have a Topic where people post short introductions (#community-hub:introduce-yourself), a little personal background, guitar/music history, and aspirations/goals here.

1 Like

I like the idea of pick n mix of the different songs/riffs your working on to learn/consolidate the techniques your learning. That way it’s got the added excitement of finding out what song/riff you’re going working on for those precious 5 minutes.

Do what motivates you to pick up the guitar for the short session. For me, it would be playing a song. Find your passion. Having the motivation is what’s important.

1 Like

Hi Maxine,
Welcome here and the good tips have already been given … I have and wish you the time …
lots of fun here… :sunglasses:

Hi Maxine,

As others have pointed out, with limited time, you have to keep it fun and make sure you don’t burn yourself out with boring exercises. Getting some songs in is going to be important.

If I was setting up a 5 minute per day routine for myself, I think I would do something like 3 minutes of chord changes, followed by 2 minutes of working on a riff or passage. Do that for 2 days and switch to just 5 minutes of playing songs on the 3rd day to keep it fun. Then go back to 2 days of exercises and so on.

I reckon if I just did 5 minutes of songs every day, I would eventually start to get annoyed and demotivated by the lack of progress on those songs, so I’d still want to set myself some amount of time doing exercises to keep the skills development ticking along.

But that’s me. Like @LievenDV says, the question is why do you want to play guitar, what keeps you coming back to it. Build your five minutes around whatever that thing is.

1 Like

My own humble opinion is if you can’t find minimum 45 minutes a day to devote to the guitar, you won’t see real progress. This will lead to your eventually losing interest. Review your daily schedule. It needn’t be 45 solid minutes. 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there is all it will take.

Another vote for song work here if your time is that limited and you’re in the middle of a module , but only if the “technical” practice elements of the module are included, like your changes to F. In which case I’m not sure WYWH is a good choice as there’s no F in that if I remember right?

My opinion is practice as much as you can, and have fun while you’re practicing. Justin says at Beginners Practice Routine | “I will suggest 15 / 20 minutes of practice to start (six days a week) if you can do more then increase the times of all the areas and/or add in some other exercises!” 45 minutes would be lovely, but it isn’t essential. For various reasons it’s only very rarely that I can practice 45 minutes a day, and yet I still see my playing improve over time. I aim for 30 minutes a day on average, and don’t always even make that. In my current practice schedule I have ~ 10 practice items with targeted times of 5-15 minutes each. I reset the timer on my watch at the beginning of the day, and I start it anytime I sit down and practice for 5 or more minutes at a time. 5+ minutes at a time adds up by the end of the day. If you love to play and are having fun learning then practice for whatever time you have.


I have 4 of my guitars on stands (2 wall hangers 2 on a double stand) right beside the TV. I’ll grab one when ever I have a few minutes or hours. Don’t really know how much I practice/play a day.
some day might only be a few minutes but it all add up and your brain and fingers remember it even if you don’t

Hi Maxine - I’m pretty much where you are in terms of level. Working on that F chord. Sometimes I have 5 minutes, other days a half hour, other days things stretch to 3 hours! But I have found particularly with the F chord that it needs daily work to figure out how it works specifically for you and to get it sounding right. Justin told us this! I have now been 8 weeks on Module 10 - really trying to get my F chording down. If I just have 5 minutes in the day I take a song with F in it that I like, and just play it and play it a few times. It has really improved my F chord considerably! Personally I like the “House of the Rising Sun” - lots of F chording. And a throwback song to my youth!