By Jamie Andreas

November 4, 2022 minutes read



Your Muscles Don’t Know Right From Wrong

Muscle memory is excellent, but it can work for or against you. For example, what happens if you do the right thing once, then the wrong thing, and then various combinations of right and wrong? You end up with some pretty confused fingers!

This is what most people do when they practice guitar.

If you make many mistakes when you play, you are one of these people. So instead, you must be very aware of what your fingers are really doing to practice effectively.

When you practice, do you make sure your fingers do the right thing? Are you allowing your fingers to make haphazard movements? For example, in ten repetitions of a passage, guitar students commonly play the passage ten different ways. As a result, you make mistakes, play wrong notes, and say, “oops.”

Even If It’s Wrong, Your Fingers Remember

Usually, the person practicing must be made aware that they did it ten different ways. It may be something relatively obvious, like using slightly different fingerings, or something more subtle, like tension in various muscle groups or stopping breathing.

The person practicing is unaware of the differences, but the poor fingers are! The player then tries to play that passage for someone... how will they ever know which of those ten ways the fingers might decide to do it?

Your fingers can be your faithful servants and friends or your worst enemy. It all depends on what they are doing when you practice. They have excellent memories, but they have no conscience! They will repeat what they have done before but don’t know the difference between right and wrong. That is up to you to know the right thing to make your fingers do to achieve your guitar practice goals.

How do we do this when we practice? By swinging the hammer slowly!


How to Practice Guitar Effectively: Swing The Hammer Slowly

You may have heard many times, “practice slowly.” And in fact, it is the best advice anyone can give you about effective guitar practice.

But there is one major problem – no one knows what that means. I can guarantee you that unless you are already a pro, you don’t understand what practicing slowly really means - (even seasoned pros sometimes forget!)

You do not know how to practice guitar effectively if you are always “trying to play the music” and have never sat down and made your finger movements incredibly slow... I mean so slow that you are aware of your whole body and your breathing. If you have never played that slowly, you don’t know what slow practice means.

And when you discover it, it will blow your mind!

You will understand why you see so many raving testimonials from people who have used “The Principles.” They learned what slow practice means, and they started doing it. It changed everything for their guitar playing and guitar future.

The Method For Slow and Effective Guitar Practice

Now I will give you the method, the actual thing you must do when you sit to practice. It has a name. It is called “no tempo practice.”

 It takes time to understand and do it well, but you will immediately see excellent results when you start doing it.

Next, I want to tell you about no tempo practice.

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Jamie Andreas

About the author

Jamie Andreas has one goal: to make sure that everyone who wants to learn guitar is successful. After her first 25 years of teaching, she wrote the world acclaimed method for guitar "The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar". She put everything into this method that was essential for success on guitar.
Called "The Holy Grail" of guitar books, the Principles has enabled thousands of students who tried and failed to play guitar for years or even decades, to become real guitar players.

In 2012 Jamie was profiled in "Guitar Zero" (Penguin Press 2012), a study of how adults learn to play guitar. Jamie was interviewed along with some of the worlds leading guitarist/teachers, including jazz legend Pat Martino and Tom Morello ("Rage Against The Machine").

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