Tag Archives | guitar

My personal guitar warm up routine

Have you ever practiced this exercise?

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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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How and why to keep a guitar practice journal

large_4762384399I know you have already heard about the importance of a practice journal, yet you’ve decided not to do it.

I know you are already busy and don’t have time for some extra work.

I know you have a great memory and you can remember everything you’ve been practicing.

But …

Just for this moment, let’s pretend you’ve never heard of this idea. Let’s pretend it is completely new to you. And since you are an open-minded person, you’ll at least give it a try.

Keep reading and maybe I’ll persuade you that keeping a practice journal might not be the dumbest idea.

Are you in?

Ok, let’s go.

The evolution of my practice log

First, let me make a confession.

For a long long time I didn’t have any practice log. Surprised? (Common I am same as you)

For the majority of my life guitar wasn’t that important to me. I liked to listen to a good music but I never thought I would be able to play any of that stuff.

Guitar was just a hobby for me – I didn’t practice, I just played. Maybe three times a week max. That was it. I didn’t want to be a musician; I wanted to be a philosopher (more on that maybe sometimes in the future).

But then something has changed. I started to be more attracted to guitar playing. Suddenly I wanted to be a GUITAR PLAYER.   I wanted to make living by making music.

This change in attitude didn’t improve my playing skills, however. I still sucked badly.

In order to solve my sloppy playing, I did three things:

  1. I found a guitar teacher.
  2. I started to practice guitar (I started to understand the difference between playing and practicing).
  3. I begun journaling how much hours did I practice.

These three things made a drastic change to the results I was getting. Finally, I was able to play something that actually sounded like music.

I hope I don’t have to stress the importance of a good guitar teacher when you are just starting. But I was dumb enough to ignore this advice, please don’t do the same mistake. Also the understanding that there is a big difference between playing and practicing guitar helped me to improve a lot.

And the third thing that I found really valuable was my practice journal.

The first one was pretty simple. After every practice session I just jotted down how many minutes or hours I spent practicing. That was it. It wasn’t very fancy and yes, it wasn’t very helpful.

But it did help me to build a habit of tracking my progress.  At least I knew how much time I spent working on my playing. Better than nothing. And it also kept me accountable because finally I saw how much time I actually spent with guitar. And as you can imagine, there was a big gap between what I was thinking and what the reality was.

From then on, my journal took many alterations, from analog to digital and back to paper. As I was improving as a guitar player, my journaling skills also improved.  Nowadays my practice log looks completely different than how it used to, and it is also much more helpful. Continue Reading →

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