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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Tuesday, April 29

Beginner Guitar Practice Techinques

I asked a question several months ago about how to best practice chord changing on a guitar:

My question is, if there are any guitarists out there, how long does it take to get to where you can actually play 2 chords in a row without having to consciously stop and rearrange your fingers every time? Is there a practice technique to speed this up? Time to do some research...

Well, I've barely touched my guitar since then, but I did find what I think might be a useful answer. Basically, it occurred to me to set goals rather like one might for running a race or other "timed" event. I started out counting a beat and focused on changing the chord on the ... oh... 4th measure in 4/4 time - just to see whether I could. I soon realized that I could actually keep up with changing chords every 2 or 3 measures. I wasn't as horrible as I thought! (Which isn't saying much, I know, but it was a pleasant surprise for me). To an experienced guitarist, it probably sounds ridiculous, but it took me a minimum of 8 beats to get my brain and fingers prepared to switch notes. Once my brain and fingers were "ready", it still took me about 4 beats to actually perform the movement.

Once I got a sort of baseline as to what I "could" do, I set goals for improvement. Pretty soon, I could be "ready" to switch in around 4 beats and 1 to 4 beats for the actual change.

Before I came up with this strategy, I really had no idea whether I was really improving or not - whether the practice was actually working. It was very frustrating. Now, when I pick up the guitar, even if it's only for 5 minutes. I have something concrete to work towards and it's a much greater pleasure.

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