I have seen that I can give students everything they need to learn to play well, maybe play great. With one exception, that is. In fact, there is one most important quality you must have, in order to go through what it takes to learn to play the guitar. That is desire. You must really feel a need for it in your life, whether you want to play on the amateur level, or the professional.
When I find this desire in people, it strikes me as a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, desire alone is not enough. In fact, I have often met people who had that desire, but lost it due to frustration about not being able to make any progress in their efforts to learn the guitar. They assumed they didn't have the talent, and gave up. I have also met many people who have played badly for years, and they bravely keep hoping that all the problems they have with all those pieces they struggle with will someday go away. Someday playing will be enjoyable, and satisfying, and even sound good! Someday they won't fall apart when they play in front of other people.
The person who gives up, and the person who continues playing the same way year after year, assume that the great players have some special natural ability that they unfortunately do not posses. It is a rather hopeless feeling. Even though I think the methods in this book will help anyone, I am writing this book especially for people who are in this state of frustration, so they will learn that the problem is not lack of ability. They just do not have the correct information about how to practice to get results.
Your desire to play the guitar is what makes you begin your journey, and when coupled with the correct information about the mechanics of playing and practicing, your desire will increase and carry you further. I am happy to tell you that if you understand and use the methods in this book, you will have the tools to become as good as you want to be on the guitar.
It is the desire to play well that I draw upon in the student, in order to get them to pay the price that must be paid on a daily basis, in order to play well. Many students resist paying this price. I am not talking about time spent practicing. I am talking about the mental power and focus it takes to develop the AWARENESS that is essential for playing well, and enjoying constant improvement. You develop this awareness by learning how to PAY ATTENTION.
Sounds simple, doesn't it. And yet it is the first thing I have to teach most students. I usually have to teach them that they are not paying attention when they practice, they are not intense enough mentally. They are not noticing all the things that must be noticed to develop the necessary "sensations" required to control the fingers, so they can do their job
I believe that anyone can learn to play the guitar as well as they want to, if they are willing to pay this price. We usually think of all the hours of practice it takes to play well. And yet I have seen people who have put in many years of practice, and they don't play well at all. So the price of playing well can't be just time spent practicing. No, it has more to do with what you are doing when you practice. And not just what you're doing with your fingers, but more importantly, what you are doing with your mind, with your attention. That's why it's called "paying attention".
There is an old saying, "genius is the ability to pay attention to details". If you really understand this statement, you will see that anyone can be a genius. It should really be understood backwards. What we call genius is the result of enough time spent developing a great awareness and sensitivity to something, by continually focusing our attention on it in an intense way.
One of the biggest myths and misunderstandings that I would like to dispel is the idea that a lot of time spent practicing is the key to playing well. It doesn't matter how much time you spend if you don't know the correct things to do, and the correct way of doing those things. Fifteen minutes of correct practice will do you more good than 5 hours of incorrect, unintelligent practice. (Actually, bad practice doesn't do you any good at all. It just makes you better at playing badly!
In order to practice effectively, we must change our idea of what the word "mistake" means. When a mistake happens in our practice, there is usually an immediate emotional reaction. Some annoyance, some feelings of inadequacy, and probably the feeling that it shouldn't have happened, or probably won't again. It was some act of God. (This is especially true when playing in front of someone else, when all the weak spots come out).
The fact is there is always a reason for mistakes. They always have a cause. Usually, the cause is not even that difficult to uncover if you know how to look. If we have allowed our first finger to be held stiffly, sticking up in the air, in reaction to what our fourth finger is doing, we shouldn't be surprised if that first finger misses it's next note, especially in a fast piece.
I have learned over the years that we deserve every mistake we make. In fact, we have created and guaranteed them by the way we practice. They are simply the result, or effect, of our practice. Our practice is the cause. This is good news, because if we change the cause, we will get a different effect, or result. This means we can figure out how to get the result we want.
So begin to replace the word "mistake" with a much more accurate and useful phrase. A "mistake" is just an unwanted result. No emotion attached to it. Our job is to know the result we want, and figure out how to produce that result by working according to our understanding of the mechanics of playing. Title: The Principles Of Correct Practice For Guitar (Second Edition)
Title: The Principles Of Correct Practice For Guitar (Second Edition)