Knowing the fact that the approach you use to learn the guitar is the key-determining factor in your success or failure to actually learn, these three conclusions follow:
Its not uncommon to see the player’s advice be summed up in a grand total of three words: Practice! Practice!! Practice!!! Well of course we all know that practicing is the main ingredient. But rarely are we told much more than that. In my long quest to become an excellent player and to help my students do the same I carefully took note of what worked and what didn’t. What parts conventional wisdom is accurate and what parts are (at least in my opinion) are not. I believe the twenty concepts that have proven to bring great results to those who use them are:
Remember that its ok to daydream and fantasize about where you are planning to go, but it can’t stop there. Don’t wish without planning! Don’t dream without doing! And always, always, have a strategy.
Create a strategy! You need a strategy that will layout exactly how you are going to reach your goals. Dreaming alone won’t take you anywhere. Telling yourself that you are going to play your guitar everyday isn’t enough. There is a lot more that goes into being an excellent player than simply playing your guitar.
Ultimately you should work backwards. State your ultimate goals (on paper) then make a bunch of short and medium range goals. Think of reaching your goals as a relay race, NOT as a marathon. Each short term and medium term goal is the end of one segment of your plan and the beginning of the next segment (just like a relay race.) There are many benefits of looking at things this way as you will discover for yourself in your own way.
Now that we have the proper attitude in focus, let’s talk about how to go about “managing” the process of changing bad playing habits. How do we actually conduct ourselves, and our practicing and playing? As I have said, some people become paralyzed, afraid to play, afraid of undoing work done in practice sessions by what they do when they play. And for those who play professionally, it is of course, absolutely necessary that they continue to play, even if they are doing “remedial” work on their technique.
You can undo bad habits you have learned along the way. You can begin the process of undoing bad habits right away, when you begin to acquire the correct understandings, and use the approaches based on them.
Think about the masters of music. Mozart was probably most naturally gifted in only three of the musical areas: technical skill, a great ear (perfect pitch), a great musical memory. But he had to work hard at all the other areas of music just like everybody else.
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