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Practice makes permanent; how do YOU practice productively?
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TOPIC: Practice makes permanent; how do YOU practice productively?

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#135836
Practice makes permanent; how do YOU practice productively? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
Hi everyone!

I'm trying to change how I practice. Vanessa has been trying to help me to undo my bad habits, chief of which is to play things too fast when I'm still trying to learn and perfect them. I'm too impatient with myself and I end up just spinning my wheels.

I'm definitely trying to slow things down and work on the bits that are casuing me issues in small segments. But I do find it excruciating. I'm better at applying the approach to things that I'm just starting to learn. But... I find it hardest to practice and refine things in a slow and mindful way that I've been working on for a while. I know in my head that Ness is right (and in my heart) but my body is impatient and I'm struggling against myself. ... Actually it probably doesn't help that I've had a bucket of strong coffee. But the struggle is there even in the evening (it doesn't help that I'm tired then too).

I have quite a few things that I've practiced mistakes into; chief amongst them a jump to Bm in Diamonds and Rust. I can do it when I slow it RIGHT down, but I still revert to my thud, thud or stopping error when I play it faster. ... Who knew practicing a mistake for a year was a problem...right?!? I have to admit that I'm now just (or mostly) playing the bits I can do. ... Because they sounds good and they're fun and the other bit is just frustrating. Oooops! Bad Shel!

Why am I writing this thread? Why? Well I guess the most obvious reasons are:
- to say it out loud,
- to make a public contract with myself to change my bad ways,
- I guess because I suspect lots of you out there do the same thing from time to time. Misery loves company as they say. and
- to find out how people have stopped making this mistake.

I've started breaking my 'practice' up into smaller chunks too. I do find its easier to focus in smaller segments. Ok it's not rocket science.

So what do you all do to ensure you're practicing productively?

M
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Last Edit: 2016/04/23 04:11 By michelew.
So many things to learn, so many songs in my 'must learn queue' - if only I didn't have to sleep...wow...that would be great!
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#135839
Re: Practice makes permanent; how do YOU practice productively? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
Unfortunately, I don't practice productively either. I, too, make sure that all my errors and bad habits are permanently ingrained.

The one thing I do to learn a song is download the audio into my DAW and loop over a particular phrase or measure and play it back at 60%. Once I've got it figured out and/or locked into memory I will either increase the playback to 70% then 80% etc. or I will add another measure to my loop until the phrase is complete and then increase the playback speed.

I have come to accept that "permanent" is a temporary thing.
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Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now
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#135840
Re: Practice makes permanent; how do YOU practice productively? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
Hey Shel, awesome question!

Actually I had been meaning to start a thread like this. As you know, it's my favorite subject nowadays.

In general I keep noticing that most students tend to practice the wrong way. I spend quite a bit of time showing them how they should do it instead, even though they actually often already know. I wish I could do that here too. Most problems, or lack of progress, in guitar playing, along with too much tension in the body, are because of that.

I sure hope to discuss it with many IGC-attendees.

Think about this: 'Good practice is knowing the right thing to do, and then making sure your fingers do it!'. So you must know what your fingers should do and then you make them do it, over and over. Or in other words, 'do the right thing and do enough of it'.

But making sure that your fingers are doing the right thing, is only possible when you do it EXTREMELY slowly.

Also keep in mind, whatever your fingers experience doing slowly (with total relaxation), they will be able to do very quickly. (of course, they first need absolutely correct repetition of whatever it is that they need to do, slowly. )

I also notice that 'slow' can be interpreted differently. I of course mean WAY slower, again EXTREMELY slow. I can't stress it enough.

I feel a novel coming up! But i'll leave it to this for now. Think about it.

Ness
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Last Edit: 2016/04/23 09:01 By TGVanessa.
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#135859
Re: Practice makes permanent; how do YOU practice productively? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
Thanks Ness.

I hear you on all of that I really do. And I'm absolutely trying to do it, even though it is ... EXCRUCIATING!

Daryl - yeh I do that too it really helps me as well. Thanks for sharing pal. and yeh, permanent isn't always permanent, especially when it comes to the songs I've learned. I'm not sure where they've gone, but they sure aren't sitting in my memory banks waiting to be played at a moment's notice.
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Last Edit: 2016/04/23 22:26 By michelew.
So many things to learn, so many songs in my 'must learn queue' - if only I didn't have to sleep...wow...that would be great!
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#135864
Re: Practice makes permanent; how do YOU practice productively? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
When your fingers bleed,, STOP!!!
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#135869
Re: Practice makes permanent; how do YOU practice productively? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
Good questions Shel,
I don't usually tend to do any 'practice' as a regimented means to an end, I just like to be trying to learn a new tune all the time and hopefully extending myself through doing so.

I have recently changed tack and chosen a couple of difficult pieces I'd learned and forgotten; I've been playing and practicing them every day to the exclusion of all else to see if I could improve them to recordable standard. I don't know if it'll be a positive or negative for my overall playing but you'll be the judge if I do get to record anything soon.

I'll take Ness' advice and try playing difficult sections slowly, (not something I ever do normally), I wouldn't be a good guitar student one to one!


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#135876
Re: Practice makes permanent; how do YOU practice productively? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
I am probably TG's worst student so I can't say anything I do is very productive in an efficient way, but I have taken the go-slow to heart and have been applying it to everything I learn for a while now and I have to say, it really does help big time. It maybe the best advice I have ever listened too! Ness is so right on body tension, this is a huge issue once you start to pay attention to it. Funnily enough, its the think Ale noticed the most playing yesterday's song, she found so many parts of her body unnecessarily cramp up.

Otherwise, I find myself constantly repeating bits of songs or whole songs endlessly until it works with eyes closed or watching TV.
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#135879
Re: Practice makes permanent; how do YOU practice productively? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
Thanks for chirping in guys!

Willem - yeh I've tried that approach. It works great! Especially for all of those times when you want to reinforce all of your mistakes. You really can't beat it for that.

Dean - I'm looking forward to your next upload. I always enjoy them.
Gosh ... the number of songs I've learned well enough to record and post and then promptly forgotten... Way too many. If I had an appropriate practice regime I'd probably have a few more in the long-term memory, easy recall section of my brain. Lynn's got the right idea. And of course Ness knows what she's taking about.

Chris - you're not alone. and yep! Ness is 100% right about the body tension thing. I recently injured my hand (between the first and second fingers). I think it was due to a combo of things. But it was at least partially because I was practicing something over and over, way too fast and a swhack of tension built up in my fretting hand. I didn't realise it until it was hurting me. It still hasn't recovered and my reach has been shortened. I can't stretch my fingers out as easily. I'm hoping it will just improve slowly over time if I'm just more conscious of what I'm doing, stretching and avoiding the tension again. I guess knowing and doing are different.
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Last Edit: 2016/04/24 21:19 By michelew.
So many things to learn, so many songs in my 'must learn queue' - if only I didn't have to sleep...wow...that would be great!
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#135906
Re: Practice makes permanent; how do YOU practice productively? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
Here is my method, may be wrong but I am impatient and want to play songs.

During the day I will usually pick out 2-3 songs from my 'bank" of 40 or so to work on that evening. My bank of songs are those I like and really want to become proficient with.
I may also watch or re-watch a lesson on TG just to brush up. If it is a new to me lesson then that may be all that I will work on that evening, for instance "Old Man" tough one for me.
When I get home I try to spend at least 30 minutes and if I am lucky and motivated I will take it to 1.5 hours.

So my mix of songs from my "bank" I will try to mix up easy to more difficult so in my opinion I get a rounded practice.

Now my faults.
Yep I try to play too fast and when the errors start flying I try to slow it down. My reasoning for playing fast or up to tempo is it pushes me to do better.
Secondly is my barre chords! I have a tendency to lay my fingers down at the wrong time. Trying to really watch out how I do it and make sure I do it correctly.
There's many more physical errors I am sure, I just don't notice them yet. One of the greatest difficulties for me is the mental, I want results now and I want to progress much faster than I am doing. Gotta keep tellin' myself this is fun!!!

I agree that relaxing is a must as well as how you hold the guitar. I like Neil's advice on a small footrest.

I must admit that since I have joined TG my speed of learning has really improved. The tutelage of Neil and Ness is just great. I can say that I do play my G chord the way Neil recommends but dang that was a workout to change.

Dennis
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#135910
Re: Practice makes permanent; how do YOU practice productively? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
Practice sucks !!

It'd be fun to play guitar.
I'll keep at it !!

Everyone's very lucky, I'm kept behind a locked door out of earshot !!!

Dermot



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