What to practice? Well, there are a lot of variables that can go into this: music genre/type, upcoming gigs, transcribing, goals, etc.
Let’s say we’ve got the whole day or week ahead of us, and we have a lot of time to woodshed on our instrument or the pedal steel. Let’s make the most of it. A lot of great jazz improvisers, and great musicians, recommend treating your practice day as three-fold:
Spend the first-third of time on: technique. (picking exercises, bar control, bar slides, pedal control, different grips, volume pedal use, etc.)
Spend the second-third of time on: scales. (Modes, patterns, runs, exercises, etc.)
Spend the third-third of time on: songs. (Upcoming gigs, Emmons tunes, jazz chord-melodies, classic/traditional country tunes, etc.)
This should ensure you’re working on the multiple disciplines necessary to become a better musician and steel player. Plus, by the time you’ve knocked out technique and scales, you feel very warmed-up and ready to tackle those tunes (which are usually more fun to practice anyways –save the best for last!
To check out some books and literature that have helped me become a better human, musician, and practice more efficiently – Click Here!