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My personal guitar warm up routine

Have you ever practiced this exercise?

1234_3

And have you also practiced all the variations?

1-2-4-3

1-3-4-2

2-3-1-4

4-1-3-2

etc. 

Did you play it up and down the neck with metronome?

Did you also find it boring and useless? 

I used to practice above exercises as a part of my warm up routine. In fact, I spent quite a long time with them believing that I will improve my finger independence and speed.

I’ve seen these exercises all over the internet and in every book I’ve picked so I thought it is really important to practice them. Only later did I find that for most aspiring guitar players  they are totally useless. 

Why? 

Couple of reasons:

  1. boring
  2. non-musical
  3. mechanical
  4. mind dumbing
  5. never ending 

I don’t see any real value in them anymore. Yes, you can build some finger independence with them, but by the time it will happen, you will bore yourself to death. 

Moreover, guitar players who practice them usually don’t know how to do it properly, so they practice it with a wrong position of left hand, bad posture and usually too fast. Therefore, they are just acquiring bad habits and not building any independence. 

If you also use these exercises as a part of your warm up routine, please stop. I will show you some better alternatives that are good for your hands and, at the same time, for your brain.

I believe that what you practice and how you practice has to be engaging for your brain. It is your task to keep your brain interested in what you are doing otherwise you are just wasting time with mechanical exercises that will lead you nowhere.

Are you ready for some freshness?

Here it comes. Continue Reading →

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#1 Key to the most effective guitar practice session you’ve ever had

Human psychology is a fascinating thing.

We say we want something but when there is an opportunity to actually work toward that goal, we do nothing.

We want to become the best guitar players humanly possible but when the time comes to walk the talk and put in the work we start looking for excuses.

We says things like: “If only I had more time…:”, “It’s too difficult…”, “I don’t have talent…”, “I can never be so good…”.

We are searching for an easy way out when we should toughen up and keep our nose to the grindstone.

Even though we understand that the only way how to become good at playing guitar is by deliberately working on things that we can’t do, we pretend that we can get there by half-assing our practicing.

I see it constantly with my private students and there is abundance of this mentality online.

Here are few quotes that I’ve found online:

“I play guitar every day, but usually late night, unplugged in front of the TV. Every night I watch some old Law and Order episode, then pop in my Star Trek DVDs and watch those. While I am watching, especially the Star Treks, which I know almost forward and backwards, I play my guitar.”

“I also play unplugged in front of the TV watching baseball, Sports Center or Lost. Run up and down a few scales in different keys, practice songs I know so I don’t forget them. And work on new songs.”

“I play un-plugged while surfing & watching TV.”

Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing bad about “practicing” your guitar in front of the TV and watching Seinfeld reruns. I am not here to judge people. Do whatever you like.

You can watch all the TV in the world but don’t complain that you are not as good as you wish to be. And don’t tell me that if you just had more talent or more time then everything would be different.

That’s bullshit.

Things will be different only if you change your attitude towards practicing your guitar.

Let me put this straight:

You are not good because you don’t take your practicing seriously.

And the same is true for me:

I am not as good as I wish to be not because I lack talent but because for very long time I was not willing to give what it takes to become a good guitar player.

I believe that mastering the art of practicing is really the first and probably most important step for your success as a guitar player and musician.

Effective guitar practice is no accident. There is a key to massively improve the way you practice guitar.

Do you know what that is? Continue Reading →

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