Monday, January 31, 2011

Technique checklist

Here's a technique checklist from my upcoming book on how to practice.
  
Technique Checklist

1.    SLOW DOWN! 


         If you’re having trouble chances are you’re playing to fast.  Play at a speed that feels totally comfortable. 


2.    Check your posture.


         Are you slouching?  Are you relaxed?  Experiment with different positions.  Find the one that is best for you.


3.    Do you have unnecessary muscle tension?


         Chances are good that you do.  Always monitor your muscle tension and work to eliminate it EVERY time you practice or play guitar.


4.    Use a mirror


         Checking your posture with a mirror is a great practice device.  Watch for tensions and places you could improve your fluidity.


5.    Pay closer attention on difficult passages.


         During a difficult section (which are all of the sections for beginners) your chances of tensing up increase big time.   Focus your attention even more during those passages and stay as loose as possible.


6.    Play all the time


         You can’t improve if you don’t play.  Strive to play 5 days a week even if its only for ten minutes.  That’s ten minutes you can work to improve your playing.  It all adds up!


7.    Check your ego


A musical instrument is HARD to play.  Don’t sabotage your efforts by rushing through things.  All the best players have played for many years, play all the time, and they pay the closest attention to these details.  Do you?


8.    Study with a good music teacher


I’ve had several music lessons ranging from guitar, banjo, piano, trumpet, and voice lessons.  Some of those lessons were incredible and have helped me tremendously.  Others not so much.  Do some research on teachers in your area.  Find one that looks like a good fit.  If they’re not,  keep looking for one that is and don’t feel bad about moving on. 

9.    Remember Muscle Memory. 


This is dealt with in detail in chapter 4.  Constantly remind yourself that you are “programming” muscle memory into your playing.  If you are practicing with lots of muscle tension and sloppy practice you will “remember” it that way.  Strive for good muscle memory.

 




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