Practicing and Practicing Practicing
Mastering an instrument is a skill. It takes a lot of practice. But something we don’t think about often is that practice itself is a skill. You can get better at guitar and you can get better at how you practice guitar.
Here are some tips for learning a new song on any instrument.
– Learn the hardest part first.
– Take it bit by bit, a measure at a time if you have to.
– When you are reading the music and learning to play it, hum along, or hum it, then play it.
– Commit that bit to memory immediately, as you are learning to play it
– Master that bit before moving on. Think quality not quantity. Even if all you do is learn one measure in one day, the bottom line is, it has to be mastered. Learn it correctly the first time. It is much easier than having to correct it later.
– When you’ve learned the whole piece or a section of a piece, identify your weak spots. For example, do you always lag transitioning from one part to the next? If you’re only going to play the whole piece or section from beginning to end, it’s going to take a good while before you get your weak spot nailed down, if ever. Practice the transition (whatever it is, maybe its just two chords), just the transition over and over and over… as many times as it takes to master it. If you practice just the weak spot, say 50 times back to back, you will get a lot more mileage out of your time and energy.
– Practice without the sustain pedal or reverb. This will make it easier to hear detail, and will make everything significantly tighter.
– Call it a day when you have noticeably slowed down on how quickly you pick up on things, usually around 2-3 hours.
– End on a good note. Play what you’ve learned correctly, then stop. The last thing you do will be the thing you remember clearest.
– Take a nap. Seriously! That’s how it soaks in and eventually becomes second nature.
Sara Coda is the lead vocalist for electro-pop band Los Angelics, who recently released their new EP, Land Of The Brave and Dangerous, which you can purchase HERE.