Examples of…

Ok, here is a great post about how to effectively practice the guitar. I read this. I know what it says. I understand what it means. I see what I can do better. And yet I don’t do it.

Practicing frequently (several times a day for just a few minutes at a time) will produce better results than practicing for a long time every few days.

I should be able to do this. I always think about taking advantage of the little gaps of time in between responsibilities. But I need structure to my practice to get the most out of those quick practice times.

Muscle memory is developed through repetition. An amateur practices until they get it right; a professional practices until they never get it wrong!

I am an amateur.

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4 thoughts on “Examples of…

  1. Personally I don’t think you should beat yourself up about it. Long ago I realised that getting angry with myself for not practicing enough was counter-productive. These days I just leave a guitar out in most of the rooms I wander through during the day and, if I feel like it, I pick it up. Sometimes I’ll try and learn something new, other times I’ll just strum an old favourite. The key for me is finding out what it is about playing guitar that you enjoy, and then structuring your practice around that.

    I generally like the guitarnoise stuff, but this post just gets it wrong on many levels and is typical of the stuff churned out by people who have a vested interest in making you think you should be doing it their way IMO. “It’s not how much time you put in”? I call BS. If you want to structure your lessons and then remember those lessons, you need a basic understanding of how your short and long memory works together, and how to convert one to the other. Doing this, along with learning styles is unique to each individual. A prescriptive approach like this is thought provoking, but ultimately useless (and potentially counter-productive) if you try to apply it word for word. Just my £0.02.

    • Thank you for the advice. I try not to beat myself up, but my disappointment in myself is palpable on some days. What I keep reminding myself is that I am getting the truly important things done. Family. Work. Church. Home improvement. etc. These are things that impact more people than just myself. And I love hearing about fellow guitar players who have a guitar in every room! I totally agree that having guitars out makes it easier to play. I’ve got them hanging from walls, tucked away in corners, and at work. I do play more than I would if they were put away in their cases.

      As for the guitarnoise post, they certainly have a vested interest in their way of thinking. Perhaps one of my struggles with getting a good practice regimen has been reading all the posts like this one. I understand the generalities for structuring and planning a practice regimen so that it reviews existing skills and knowledge while adding new ones all in a format that is fun and feels productive. Yet actually creating a practice regimen takes time and thought and experience. I have not put in that effort, I just read the quick one liners, nod my head in agreement, and then don’t go through the hard part myself.

      This is especially true with one liners like the guitarnoise post. I’m not trying to defend their post (you appropriately called BS), but I really appreciated many of their points. Like all one liners, they have to be read as principles, not ultimatums. If I were to practice eight hours a day, but didn’t practice anything new, my progress would be much slower than a strong emphasis on building skills.

      Thanks for the comment. Very thoughtful and helpful!

      • Glad it was of use, and I would like to stress that I’m not accusing guitarnoise of anything unprofessional or untoward. I’m sure it is entirely well meaning, and if it has prompted just you and I to have a think about our playing then it was worthwhile I reckon. That article has more good points than bad, but it is very easy for a teacher to forget that not everyone has the same aspirations or learning styles.

        What is important for me is not necessarily getting any better – it is about taking (and occasionally giving) enjoyment from my time with the guitar. IMO that is what guitars and music are for.

      • No worries! I found that the “8 Habits” found here to be very similar, yet recommending some opposite tips. It all comes down to moving forward. For me, getting better is my moving forward. But that’s because I don’t think I take or give as much enjoyment as I could if I could play more songs (or at least play more of what I hear in my head). So it is connected.
        But it is a good reminder IMO to be cognizant of what we are doing when we play. Thanks!

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