This excerpt from my online guitar class "Getting Started With The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar", where players of all levels and styles FINALLY learn how to train their finger for professional level playing.
Stage 1 Class: February 10, 2018
Topic: No Tempo Practice
No tempo practice is the foundation of “The Principles” and the most important and powerful practice method we use to build a strong foundation of technique. And yet, actually doing it properly is the first challenge every student of “The Principles” faces. The tendency to practice too fast, and not pay attention to what the body and fingers are really doing is strong, and common. It is also the biggest obstacle to your growth on guitar.
Simply put, if you do not do proper no tempo practice on every skill you learn, you will not reach your true potential on guitar. At the start of this class, I talk about one students comment that “she would be mortified to practice so slowly”. This attitude comes from ignorance and ego, and will guarantee that this student keeps all the playing problems she currently has that prevent her from actually making music.
I learn as much from the feedback she gives others as from the feedback she gives me. It's very helpful to see a video of someone's poor technique, her feedback/instruction, then a later video with good technique and Jamie's confirmation. It's even more helpful to post video of myself where I think I've done something just right yet she points out something I've completely missed.
Now that my video is set up I watch myself every time I practice which lets me immediately see and fix problems I'd otherwise be unaware of. Another benefit is I know exactly what to work on every time I practice and I can measure consistent improvement.
At the heart of it I think Jamie is trying to get us to wake up to our own intention and awareness, and she is trying to help us find our deepest practice. This will allow us to assume responsibility for our own development. It's very different. It's highly physical and mental. We're developing whole body awareness and following a strict protocol called The Basic Practice Approach which starts with something called No Tempo Practice.
We have students from all over the world. I've seen a few people not buying it, not have the patience for it, not able to drop their ego, not able to slow down and take it apart, not able to go back to basics, not able to wake up, not able to deepen, and they don't last. This is a tough class. I think the less you know, then the less you'll have to undo. Long time players seem to have the hardest time.
We meet once per week. It's quick paced, intense, and immersive. I learn just as much watching Jamie work with someone as when she works with me. Watching her work with someone teaches me what to look for in my own practice.
In between classes we post videos to a closed Facebook group of our class members. Jamie watches the videos and gives instruction.
I think this needs to be done with the book and/or DVD set. I see people start the class without those things, and they invariably end up acquiring them.
I'm looking forward to moving into Stage Two with my classmates. I really enjoy seeing them and myself improve. This has been just an exceptional experience.
While looking for an online alternative to my teacher, I came across some of Jamie’s videos and knew immediately that they’d fit my learning style, so I joined her “Principles, Stage 1” online class. No songs, no chords, just basics—proper right-and left-hand form, control and speed, working up and down the neck of the guitar.
Jamie’s “Principles” is unique in its use of “No Tempo” practice. “No Tempo” forces students to slow their practice movements to a point where each movement can be investigated sequentially for proper form, ensuring least tension and most relaxation. Once proper form is achieved, students can gradually increase speed until whatever goal they’ve set is reached.
For me, this has been a powerful tool in the few months that I’ve been part of the online class. “No Tempo,” along with the other practices found in the “Principles,” distinguishes Jamie’s approach to introductory guitar. I’d enthusiastically recommend the “Principles” to anyone who’s been disappointed with his or her current approach, or anyone who’s just starting the study of guitar.
I have so much tension and Jamie very patiently keeps working with me and giving me that encouragement I need. I now realize how taking the time to relax and getting your form first is key. It is amazing how that something at no tempo and posing really do work.
I am so thankful that I found Jamie, and if you are struggling then you have come to the right place. Jamie class is so helpful, the feedback you get is invaluable, and being able to go back and review, and watch Jamie work with others in the class lets you see we all have our own struggles and by watching Jamie work with others and getting that feedback also helps you.
Jamies class definitely belongs to these outstanding things.
Before joining Jamie's guitar class I had been trying to play the guitar for several years.
I watched youtube-Videos, was looking for a good teacher and found none.
I even bought an online course.
In lesson 1, video 1 I was shown how to play my first 3 chords, and how to change between them.
The problem was - the teacher didn't show me the basics.
I didnt know how to hold the guitar.
I didn't know how to sit with it.
I didn't know what my right hand should do.
I Ididn't know what my left hand should do.
Lesson 1, video 2 went on with the next 3 chords.
I was wondering if something is wrong with me.
Maybe I just don't get it.. for others it seems to be easy, because the course had hundreds of five-star-reviews.
Or maybe the guitar is just not for me?
Whatever the reason, I quit that other online course, frustrated and disappointed.
Then, by coincidence, I stumbled upon Jamie's youtube videos.
Within 3 minutes I learned more than the last 3 years "trying out this and that".
So I joined her new guitar class and am making progress every day.
The experience is priceless.
I can upload videos every day and get a personal feedback from Jamie.
So instead of having only class once per week, then practising wrong, I get instant feedback and can adjust easily.
Jamie's method is simply brilliant.
She answers _every_ _single__question_ .. no matter how "small" it is.
Because if something is not clear, tension will build up and you get frustrated when you play.
I am still trying to find words on how to describe the course.
It is unlike ever other class I have experienced before.
Yes, you have to do the hard work.
Yes, you will face tension after tension and work on it until it is relaxed.
Yes, it needs time and attention.
Yes, it is not easy sometimes.
But if you are ready to pay the price, its simply amazing.
I make progress every day.
I feel more and more relaxed.. I can play faster .. or better to say:
My fingers can play faster - while I watch them do what I thought to be impossible.
Especially that relaxed.
If you are not willing to spend time & energy to practise - forget about it!
But if you are serious about playing guitar,
I doubt that there is another way than Jamies class.
Just try it out for a month - you will never want to leave again.
Thank you so much Jamie for offering this course!
You saved me from giving up the guitar.
Thomas (from Germany)
Jamie's class truly teaches the fundamentals that all guitarists need to know, yet this information is not included in any of the beginning guitar books you'll find. She teaches you exactly how to hold a pick, how to move your hand, how to keep you hands and arms relaxed, build speed, etc., before we even start with playing songs. This might seem boring, but it's really not and the progress I've made is erasing the years I spent with my hand in a crippling vise around the guitar neck.
Not only that, Jamie is patient, kind and very responsive and always willing to help. I like that we can see recordings of our class videos, everything is organized in a logical manner, and we also get to see each other's posts and learn from that. Very highly recommended!
That seemed interesting, so I bought the Guitar Principles book and videos. There was stuff that nobody had ever told me. I started seeing many problems that I had as a guitarist. So when she opened the online classes, I was able to get into the second class. I completed that and am now in the Stage 2 class.
I have made more progress on this guitar journey with the Practice Principles than in in the past 50 years of floundering around looking for the Holy Grail of Guitar playing. I think that it is too bad that someone didn't give me this instruction when I was a teenager. I wanted to play so bad, but had no idea. I now feel like I am well on my way to becoming the intermediate player that I have been striving for.
Last couple of years I have felt that my development have stopped. I was beginning to think that my limit was close and I would not get much better. This was mainly due to lack of speed and hand syncronization.
Accidently I found a live session with Jamie on Truefire. She addressed exactly what I have been looking for and I joined her online group.
I found out pretty quick that I had some major gaps in my technique and training methods. In just four short months I have reached levels I thought I would never reach. In addition I have also learned how to address new challenges that will come.
Thank you Jamie, you are a gift to guitar students!
The teleconferencing method of having a lesson is working and it has been fun meeting new people from around the world.
Jamie is a good teacher who truly cares about her students and wants them to be better guitar players and musicians.
It is not all mechanics and exercises. There are discussions of practicing versus playing, moving from being a student of the guitar to being a musician who plays guitar, leaving your ego at the door, and much more. Jamie's approach is unique.
Jamie has an amazing depth and breadth of knowledge and experience in teaching the guitar.
This is month six for me as a student of Guitar Principles. Prior to this I could go a month without meaningful improvement. Whereas now, I could tell you in specifics what I improved upon in my last hour of practice. That is sound evidence of the unique gifts this course will give you. My sincere thanks to Jamie and my best wishes to you on your transformative journey!