I. Main Ideas 

A)Training small or fine motor skills, not large motor skills.Practice so slow you can not miss a note (Joe Davis). 

B) Accept covering more technique with repetition is over (example: practicing a scale, sequence, arpeggio, or lick 3-6 times each). Beginners need to practice less material with more repetition, while advanced players need to cover more material without repetition. 

C) “No pain, no gain” doesn’t apply. If it hurts, stop. For me, that’s about 1 to 3 minutes until I get to practicing a piece of  music, then that rule still applies. Let pain be a guide. 

D) List all the techniques practiced and journal them consistently in order to avoid doing too much. 

E) Wear a carpal tunnel glove. 

F) Make sure the neck strap is high enough to keep pressure off. 

G) Oil keys moderately but consistently, use Finger Ease for guitar. 

H) Put a dab of oil on saxophone rollers for pinkies. 

I) Put some Vaseline on pinkies. 

J) Clip your fingernails. 

K) Hold elbows out enough to approach instrument at an angle. 

L) Play from back knuckles with slightly curved fingers. 

II. General Details About Practicing 

Beginners: begin with tetrachords of the major scale, repeating each 3 to 5 times. Move to an octave, then play two octaves, then to the very lowest and highest note of that scale. Use a similar process for triads to arpeggios with extensions, and thirds. 

Advanced players: use repetition only on technique that is practiced fast. Otherwise, practice slowly enough that it can be played correctly the first time. Practice applying musical vocabulary over a commonly used form in the genere you specialize in (Example: blues or rhythm changes for jazz players for a couple choruses, journaling the key where you left off for tomorrow). 

III. Specific Details about Practicing 

Listen to your body, practice one to three minutes. 

Do stretches, yoga, pushups, personal grooming, or chores for a minute or so as a quick break from practicing. 

Repeat "A" and "B." 

Working on music, written or improvised, can in my experience be practiced a couple minutes longer. Stop before it hurts. 

IV. Specific Exercises or Stretches  

 A) Pushups. 

B) Make big circles with arms. 

 C) Make small fast circles with arms. 

D) Grab hands behind back cupping the hands, then switch. 

E) Shake out wrists, bend each back gently with the other hand. 

F) Lace fingers behind back. 

G) Place one arm across your chest to the opposite side, place the opposite palm behind your elbow.

H) Weight training.

I) Use a Hand Grip Strengthener (listen to body, and stop if there is pain)


V. Specific Practicing Methods for Guitar 

A) Practice technique high on the neck. 

B) Use light strings. 

C) Practice solos without the bends. 

D) Avoid bending with the pinky if possible, use the third finger instead reinforced by the second finger.

VI. Products That Help

A) The Carpal Solution

(If the  above link does not work any more, search for it by title. See the photo below)

B) Use an anti - inflamatory such as Ibuprofen , while practicing or before performing.

 C) Soak fingertips in Apple Cider Vinegar (dilute with water).