Practice Challenges 4 & 5

The “process” for practicing new music

We all have experienced what it’s like to practice a new piece of music that we’ve never heard before. It can be really difficult. The following proven practice method will help you learn new music quickly while also reducing frustration. I call it the “process” or “perfect practice”. The idea is simple, our brains are learning machines. When attempt to learn a new skill, our brain automatically begins to memorize each action on the path to mastery of that skill. However, our brains don’t differentiate right actions from wrong actions. Therefore, if we practice carelessly, we actually are learning to memorize our mistakes.

Check out this guest post by Doug Hanvey from Portland Piano Lab on the topic of great practice habits!

The “Process”

  1. Start with the smallest bite-sized chunks of your new song, 1 measure for example.
  2. Play the measure very slowly once–be sure to use correct fingers
  3. If successful play it slowly several more times until internalized–at least 4-6 flawless repeats
  4. Once that measure is mastered move the the next measure and continue the process
  5. After you’ve mastered two measures separately, “glue” them together using the same process of repeating flawlessly over and over
  6. Repeat the process through the entire song

Using singing to improve your guitar playing

This week’s practice challenge will also help you learn your song faster and more thoroughly. Your voice is your first instrument. Everybody sings even if just a little. Signing your guitar part will help train your ear, help you learn your song more quickly, and keep it memorized longer without the need to relearn it after a break.

Practice challenge:

  1. For this week’s practice challenge pick any song that you’ve already done a note map for and mastered the rhythm on and entered fingerings for (see practice challenges 1-3).
  2. Learn to play the entire song with no mistakes using the “process” as described above
  3. Practice singing or humming your notes while playing the melody on the guitar

Practice Challenge 4-5 is a double. That means you can get up to four stars for playing any packet song with solid rhythm and no mistakes all the way through, AND, up to four additional stars for singing or humming the tune while you play (with zero mistakes).

Good luck!