“Practice, practice, practice!” – every music teacher ever.
“Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” – Arnold Jackson, legendary TV sitcom character, whenever his brother would drop a truth bomb on him .
Dear Guitar Student,
You’ve probably heard that you must practice diligently to become a good musician. This is a time-honored concept that has been drilled into the brains of music students for centuries.
But did you know that practicing is optional?
Really, it is.
This may seem like sacrilege coming from a music teacher, but there is no rule anywhere which states that you have to practice your guitar. Continue reading “Practice Is Optional: An Open Letter to Guitar Students Everywhere” »
You’re hangin’ at the local music store.
You take a shiny new electric off the wall and plug in. You unleash your hottest blues licks and the guitar just screams. You don’t have a care in the world except for how you’re gonna convince your wife/mom/significant other that you must buy this sweet new axe. ‘Cause she’s a beauty.
Then, out of the corner of your eye, you see him. He slowly approaches – cue Jaws theme – and stands uncomfortably close to you, staring at you as you play. This goes on for awhile. The vibe gets weird.
Then he says, “Dude, that was pretty good.”
(The guitar critic always says “pretty good”, never just “good”. They have to keep you in your place, you know.)
And because that wasn’t enough, he follows up with, “You just need to get your heart broken a few times. Then you’ll really know how to play the blues.”
By now, the vibe is no longer ‘weird’ – it’s flat-out awkward. Like ‘time to smack a stranger’ awkward. ‘Cause it just got personal.
Or did it? Continue reading “Revenge of the Six-String Critic. This time it’s personal.” »
You’re completely engaged in the music. The notes are rolling effortlessly off your fingertips and you feel the rhythm deeply.
Your confidence level is unusually high. You’re anticipating every musical twist and turn, so that the tempo doesn’t even matter. You feel like you simply can’t make a mistake.
This, fellow six-stringer, is The Zone. Welcome!
Finding The Zone – that feeling of total command – is a beautiful thing and what all musicians aim for when they play.
Of course, athletes often talk about The Zone as well. Whether it’s the basketball player effortlessly swishing three-pointers (“From downtown!” as Marv Albert would say) or the hitter in baseball completely “locked in” at the plate and putting great swings on every pitch, the feeling is that of being one with the game, fully engaged and focused.
In Awesome Point #6, we’re going to explore this concept in more depth, for this is where all of our hard work comes to fruition: in The Zone! Continue reading “The Six Points of Awesome: #6 – Find Your Zone” »
If you’ve been following The Six Points of Awesome, you have:
Now that you’re in the practice room, what do you do?
The simple answer is “practice”…and for getting that one right, I would applaud you.
However, many guitarists treat “practice” as an open-ended, “a little of this followed by a little of that” approach. Although doing a little of this followed by a little of that is perfectly valid and can be fun, it seldom leads to Status: Awesome.
So in this Awesome Point we’re going to talk about how to get the most out of your practice time through good organization, sound strategies, a clear sense of priorities, and even knowing when to say “when”.
[Note: If you happened to answer the above question with, "practice with good organization and solid strategies in place to make the most of my time", then I would not only slow clap for you, but I'd also give you the Guitar Ninja High-Five*.]
In the fifth installment of our series, it’s all about efficiency – in planning, approach and execution. Let’s rawk! Continue reading “The Six Points of Awesome: #5 – Be Efficient” »
If I asked the average person what it takes to be great on a musical instrument, they would undoubtedly say, “Practice.”
And they would be right. Consistent practice is one of the keys to greatness in any skill or discipline. Notice I said, “consistent practice”. The consistent part is pretty important.
Folks that practice haphazardly are likely to get haphazard results. But you wanna be awesome, right? If so, don’t be Mr. Inconsistent. Instead, punch the clock regularly and get down to business.
[Note: If you haven't checked out the first three Points of Awesome, this would be a fine time to do so. They can be found here, here and here.]
In the fourth installment of our Six Points of Awesome series, we’re going to explore why consistency is so important to your success, both mentally and physically; why short but frequent sessions always trump marathon practices; and why keeping your guitar in plain sight is one of the hidden “tricks” to guitar progress. Let’s get started! Continue reading “The Six Points of Awesome: #4 – Be Consistent” »