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Practice Schedule

Hey guys!

 I just did a general outline for some details on how and what you should practice and for how long. I hope you find these helpful! This is just a guide. Through the video exchanges we can fine tune this just for you! 

Beginner Dobro Practice Plan



3 Key elements                                                         Time Allocation



 Scales, Rolls, Slides                                                 5 minutes



 Time spent learning a new song/working

 on current song.                                                       10-15 mins


Basic rhythm-

 Chops or strums along with a backing track             3 mins

 or metronome. 



As you’re beginning your Dobro journey, one of the main things to remember is trying to keep practice times short but regular. It’s better to spend a few minutes every day or two rather than an hour or two once a week. Keep the Dobro out if you can so you can grab it a play a few licks when you have a minute. 


Another good longer term goal is to learn to play a whole song all the way through for friends or family. When your people are wondering what your up to it’s nice to be able to play them something more than a lick or a riff. And they are a great captive audience to practice to!


Rhythm is great practice for timing and something you’ll be doing a lot of as you

progress and eventually get into a jam! The lessons in the beginner section will give you all you need for these 3 key elements of practice. Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy playing! 


Optional Practice 


 Make something up! No matter how short


Composition/improvisation portion of the practice routine is optional but can be really cool and helpful. You can literally make up anything that repeats. It’s impossible to get this wrong! Use a scale or simple few notes to get started. 



Intermediate Practice Routine


10 Minutes technique practice- Right Hand: Salty Dog Rolls, Intermediate Rolls, Alternate Picking patterns. Left hand: Slides, Vibrato. 


15-20 minutes. Repertoire- 2 parts. Learn or refine song of your choice. Additionally choose a song from one of these styles to learn/practice, Blues, Fiddle tunes, Waltz (3/4 time)


5 Minutes composition- Make something up! Play anything that you come up with. 



Optional when you have time- Put on a record that you like, and try to play along! 




-You can also make up your own picking patterns! 3 fingers and six strings make for a lot of possibilities. Make sure you keep an eye on how the hand feels. Never play through discomfort. Breath and relax during technique practice. It helps! 


For the repertoire stuff, start to think stylistically. The Dobro is versatile. Blues is a real fundamental one so make sure to spend time on that. But you can learn something in almost any style that interests you. Funk, jazz, bluegrass, rock you name it! Mix it up


For the composition practice, just have fun. I can just be a few phrases that repeat. That’s key to having something sound like a song, is having the parts repeat.  Think in terms of questions and answers. A “question” might be a phrase that ends on the major third or fifth. And “answer” might be something that ends on the root note.




Advanced Practice Routine.


15 Minutes Technique Practice-Right hand: Varied rolls, closed position single string exercises, Speed practice = Thumb Index thumb Middle on the high D string.  Left hand:4 notes per pluck on 1 string using the bar. Vibrato



15 Minutes Repertoire Practice- Again think stylistically. Learn a bluegrass song and get it up to speed. Record yourself playing it and do your own critique. Of course send me a video as well! Keep practicing blues. It’s valuable at any level. 



15 minutes performance and improv-It never hurts to stand and do this. Get yourself ready to play in front of people! Develop an arrangement for a song. Example: 1 time through the melody, 1 time through playing rhythm, 1 time through improv over the chords, 1 time through melody. Play along to a record you like, and do it as if you were in the band. Play solos, backup, rhythm etc. Compose something! Try to compoase a two part song. And A and a B part. Can be very simple! Get into the creative spirit.



--Make sure you’re refining your technique practice and keep those movements small for maximum efficiency. Increase speed using metronome. For left hand, make sure you keep your bar on the strings as much as you can. This makes for a fluid sounds with lots of sustain. 


For Repertoire keep a list! It’s very rewarding to see it grow and it will help you remember what you’ve done. 


When playing along with records, there are two ways to do it. One is to basically solo and explore the instrument with a free approach. Have fun! The other is to be more disciplned. Solo when solos are supposed to happen, do tasteful backup around the vocal, do rhythm chops where appropriate. It’s good to do some of both. 




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