Tag Archives | guitar player

Your practice time doesn’t have to be tedious chore. Learn scientifically proven ways how to learn more in less time.

origin_536466296We have all heard the saying that only “perfect practice makes perfect” but most of the time we are left alone to find out how that perfect practice should look like.

Generic advice like practice slowly, be more focused or use metronome often are very well meant, but usually useless. What we need is more specific, more actionable advice.

With the development of sophisticated tools, there is a lot of new research that shines light on the way our brain learns complex motor skills such as music. Thanks to that we can eliminate much of the guesswork from the process of acquiring new skills.

Our brain is a fantastic tool, if only we know how to use it properly.

We didn’t get any users manual when we were born and so most people do not really understand how our brain works. That’s why they are not capable to operate it in a way that brings them desired outcomes. All they have is a trial and error approach to learning which mostly produces mediocre results. As cognitive psychologist Bennet Shwartz points out “in many situations, the way that we think is the best way to learn is not, in fact, the ideal way.”

One of the most common misconceptions amongst people is the notion that our brain works like a computer.

People believe that if they just install a new program into their brain once, they are done. If the program is running properly right now, it should also run perfectly tomorrow, right?

Not really.

If you are learning a new scale, you can get it right usually in 5 to 10 minutes. But will you be able to play it the same way also tomorrow? Most probably not and the reason why is pretty simple. What you are doing right now is stored in your short-term memory and most of it will be deleted once you start doing something else. As Dr. Bjork explain in the video below, current performance is a poor indicator of actual learning. Continue Reading →

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How to perform well when it matters?

5227363129_040abe9541_bHave you ever gone into a concert feeling that you are well prepared only to find out that your playing skills almost magically disappeared?

I don’t know about you but this is definitely something I am very familiar with. And if it happened to you before, you know how terribly it feels to practice hard for weeks only to observe that it was not enough.

Your confidence goes immediately down which only worsens the whole situation. And unfortunately, there is not much you can do right at that moment. Basically you can only hope for the best.

Why you cannot perform well when it matters?

The reason why you cannot perform well when it matters is really quite simple. You haven’t prepared enough.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

Maybe you have practiced your songs over and over again (which by the way I don’t think is a good strategy to become extraordinary guitar player) and maybe you have even spent quite a long time with your preparation, but everything you did was done in the safety of your practice room or rehearsal space of your band.

And that’s why your playing suffers under pressure.

This kind of practice won’t prepare you for situations when the stress is high.

It is much different to play when there are one hundred people staring at you than playing in your practice room. Your hands are cold and sweating, your breathing is shallow, your guitar doesn’t feel like yours and you can’t hear what you are playing. These are the real conditions and not your “grab a coffee and watch TV” guitar practice.

If you want to take your practice session to the next level, you’ve got to put yourself and your band members under pressure.  You’ve got to feel that it really matters what you play and how you play it. The better you can duplicate the conditions of a concert during your preparation phase, the more effective it can be.

Of course, the best preparation is to play a lot of concerts in front of people, but that is not always a possibility.

I want to show you few ways that can help you to prepare better for your next gig. It is all about making it harder and putting some pressure on ourselves while we still have time to correct mistakes. In order to be better live performers, we need to reach out of our comfort zone.

These tips really helped me to become more confident with my playing when it counts. Try it and see if it works for you. Continue Reading →

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