Get INCREDIBLE guitar secrets you won’t find anywhere else!
Subscribe to our mailing list!

* indicates required
The TRUTH about Learning Guitar
The Basics > Practice Theory > Review Is Required
Review Is Required

One of the aspects of a properly balanced practice approach that is very often overlooked is review. The common tendency of most students is to focus on "new" things to play, even if last month’s or last year’s "new" thing was never properly learned. There are a few reasons for this.

Read MoreReasons We Don’t Review: 

1. New is always exciting. There is a certain rush of exhilaration as we begin a new song or piece, especially if we really like it. Some of us are just addicted to that buzz!

2. Taking on something new gives us the feeling that we are "moving along". Well, I guess we are, but where we are going is not going to be any better than the place we just left!

3. Our teacher may want us to "move along" to the next page in the book, or a new song. This is because he/she is afraid we will think we are not learning if we stay to long on one thing, or go back to something we had previously worked on.

4. Going back and reviewing something makes us feel bad about ourselves as guitar players, since we know what is going to happen if we go back and try to get that solo, or that piece, to sound better than it did last time we played it. We won’t be able to! We will hit all the same problem spots, and there will still be problems, and the music will sound the same as it did the last time we battled with it. We will fight the same battles, and we will lose again. That is because we are fighting them the same way! Because we never learned how to practice , we don't know how to improve things!

This is how I used to feel before I learned how to practice guitar correctly. As I began to learn how to practice, how to take a piece of music and make it better, reviewing took on a very enjoyable, even exciting aspect. Since I was getting better all the time, I couldn’t wait to see how much improvement I could create on a piece I really loved, but had problems with.

You must examine yourself, and see where you stand with all of this. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I regularly review songs, pieces, solos, and exercises?

2. Do I see the results of regular review bearing fruit for me in the form of an ever growing repertoire (group of pieces we have mastered and can play)?

3. Is this repertoire getting "better" all the time, or is it plagued with weak spots?

We are, of course, looking for YES answers here. If you come up with "No’s" , "Maybe’s", or "Um, could you re-phrase the question", then you need to take serious heed of what I am saying.

Now, we must, on a regular basis, take on new material. But we must also, on a regular basis, review old material. Let’s look at some of the reasons why this is so.

Reasons We Should Review: Long Range/Short Range Building of Skills

Often, as I give a student something new, I will tell them, "It is not possible for you at the present level of your development, to learn this piece (or song) well enough to be able to play it the way it is supposed to be played." Consider this piece like a tree you are planting. It will take a while, maybe a year or two, to grow fully. Each time you come back to work on this again, each time you review it, it will grow taller and stronger. Right now, we are just going to "plant the seed".

We then work on the piece or song or even exercise, until a first goal is reached. A "first goal" is the level of proficiency that I feel the student is capable of achieving at their present level of development. Of course, this means the level they can bring the music to IF they do their absolute best in terms of practicing it. This may take two weeks, it may take two months, it may even take 4 to 6 months before I feel the student has taken it as far as they can.

At this point, they can stop "working on" the music, and just "play it". It can become part of their repertoire even if it hasn’t been brought up to performance level. Playing it will keep it in their fingers, and in a general way, it may even improve just by playing it, but usually whatever technical problems still remain WILL remain.

Whether the music is still played, or put aside, the point is that at some later time that music must be re-visited. Those technical problems that were beyond reach must be gone back to later on, maybe six months later, maybe a year. If the student has been developing properly they will be able to take that further, beyond their first goal. It is this process, repeated over and over, that builds a solid repertoire, and a solid player.

A good example is a student of mine who was new to fingerpicking. We worked on Dust in the Wind for about 6 months, and I mean the whole song as a guitar solo, chord melody arrangement, including transcribing the violin solo for guitar. He learned it pretty well, but it broke down in a few places due to left hand problems and the fact that he wasn’t properly trained in classical right hand technique ( we had been doing mostly electric and jazz up till then).

We then spent about a year doing classical studies, and recently, I told him to review Dust in the Wind. What a difference! He now can play it very fluently, and it is extremely satisfying for both of us to see the progress that was made. This is the way it should be for all of us.

Review with a "New You"

Robert Louis Stevenson said, "A man who holds the same views at forty that he did at twenty, is a man who has been stupefied for twenty years!" I say, a person who plays a piece of music at the same level now as he did a year ago, does not know how to practice and does not know how to create vertical growth in their playing ability.

At any given point there should be a "new you" when it comes to life, or guitar. When this "new, improved you" reviews an "old piece of music", it should become a "new, improved, piece of music" once again.

article 1
Playing Plateaus - How To Get Off!
Every guitar player gets stuck on a plateau from time to time, unable to get better on guitar. Here is what the great players do..................
>
article 2
Great Guitar Players Give Advice You'd Better Not Follow! Understanding "Auto Correct"
Here is an excellent question about building speed on guitar that is a great area of confusion for guitar students. It shows how careful we must be when listening to the advice of great players!
>
article 3
Creating Coordination with Coupling
Coupling is the bringing together, into one playing moment and motion, of two or more events necessary to produce a note. It is done by intense focus on the tactile sensations of fingers on strings.
>
article 4
Measuring Your Progress On Guitar
Guitar students practice every day, but often have no idea if they are making any progress. There are ways of measuring your progress on guitar, and we have to know them, and use them.
>
article 5
Guitar Speed Exercises: Are They Working For You?
You can find guitar speed exercises all over the web, and in thousands of books. Many guitar students have a pile of these books, but no speed in their fingers. Here's why!
>
article 6
It's Not A Problem, It's A Process
Attitude is everything when it comes to learning guitar. Learning how to see every problem as a process is the key to becoming a great guitar player. In this article, I explain how to do this.
>
article 7
Practicing One Thing is Practicing Everything!
If you know how to learn one thing really well on guitar, you know how to learn anything. If you cannot learn one thing well, you cannot learn anything well. Correct practice changes everything!
>
article 8
9 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Practice
Here are 9 critical things you MUST be aware of when you practice guitar. Lack of awareness of these things is the root of endless problems.
>
article 9
Perfection & Guitar Playing
What does "perfection" mean for a guitar player. You'd better know, or you could be causing yourself a lot of agony!
>
article 10
Playing From The String
"Playing From The String" is one of the secrets of the masters of guitar. All good players are doing this, even if they don't know what it means! Here's what it mean.....
>
article 11
The 5 Minute Practice Session
Finding a block of time for guitar practice is sometimes difficult. Don't go for days without touching those strings you love! Learn how to make solid progress in just 5 minutes!
>
article 12
Am I Too Old To Learn Guitar?
A lot of "grown ups" want to fulfill their lifelong dream of playing the guitar. But. one nasty, nagging doubt holds them back. Cheer's the good news!
>
article 13
Natural Talent - Do I Need It?
What is "natural talent" for guitar? Few people know, yet many people are sure they don't have it when it comes to guitar! Here is what "natural talent" really means......
>
article 14
The 2 Types of Growth On Guitar: Horizontal & Vertical
There are two kinds of growth we can experience on guitar. I call them Vertical & Horizontal Growth.Both are necessary, but Vertical growth is hard to come by!
>
article 15
Agressive Guitar Practice
Many guitar students make little or no progress because their practicing is not aggressive enough. When you practice, your mind must have the energy of a hurricane and the tenacity of a pit bull!
>
article 16
Guitar Principles Recommended Metronomes
A metronome is necessary for guitar practice. Some metronomes are better than others when it comes to doing powerful and correct practice.
>
article 17
Why You Should Use A Metronome For Guitar Practice
Knowing how to use a metronome when you practice guitar WILL make you a better player! Here's why...
>
article 18
Double Trouble
Sometimes the way to make something better on guitar is to make it worse first!
>
article 19
The Importance Of Repertoire
If you have played guitar for more than six months and you do not have a few things you can play from beginning to end, something is seriously wrong!
>
article 20
Changing Bad Habits On Guitar
Virtually all beginners on guitar unknowingly form bad habits. They can last for decades, making you less of a guitar player than you can be. Here is how to get rid of your bad habits.
>
article 21
Guitar Practice Organization
Here's how to find the time for guitar practice and how to organize it. There are 4 essential categories of practice you must organize in your guitar practice they are...
>
you might also like
Technique vs. Musical Feeling
Guitar Foundation Exercises
Play "Day Tripper"!
Finger Rise: A Disease of the Left Hand
Playing Plateaus - How To Get Off!
Great Guitar Players Give Advice You'd Better Not Follow! Understanding "Auto Correct"
Creating Coordination with Coupling
Measuring Your Progress On Guitar
We Never Email More then Once a Week.

156 - Why Is The Principles The Best Way to Learn Guitar?

All other guitar methods have serious flaws that leave you struggling on guitar. The Principles is different....

16 - Learn To Play a Guitar by Learning HOW to Practice!

Everything that happens when you play is the direct result of what you do when you practice. Learn to train your fingers EFFECTIVELY when you practice guitar.

18 - Your First Perfect Guitar Lesson

Many guitar players carry for a lifetime the mistakes they learned when first learning how to play the instrument... Tips to avoid this can be found here!

28 - The Basic Chords On Guitar

These are the chords you want to learn first!