Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including thoughts on home, the brake / blast method, and more.
Here we go…
#1 – Home
On Saturday, Archie came back home from a week’s holiday with his mum and her family.
He had a great time, but boy did I miss him.
For the first few days, it was especially tough.
I went away to South Wales on a surfing trip with Emma.
We were in Wales on one side of the Bristol Channel.
Archie was in Devon the other side of the Channel.
I joked with Archie we could wave to each other on the beaches from where we both were.
In reality, the Bristol Channel is too wide, but it was a nice thought.
As for my trip, it had been quite some time since I last surfed.
…But it all came back to me after about 30 minutes.
That’s the good thing about getting to a certain level.
It’s the same with anything.
If you get good at a skill, then you can leave it for some time and usually, it won’t diminish too much.
It’s like driving, riding a bike, or even playing the guitar.
Of course, if you leave it for 10 years or more, it can be extremely hard to pick up where you left off.
…But once you get to a comfortable level with anything like playing guitar…
You can leave it for a week or so for a holiday and then come back to it without being too rusty.
That’s a nice point to get to.
So I guess the point of this random thought is all about missing our kids/guitars/things we love, but picking up where you left off.
It’s sure good to be back with Archie…
…And having my guitar around to play again after a little break sure is nice too.
#2 – Brake/Blast
One thing which many music teachers talk about is the importance of slow-tempo practice.
Most people will tell you to practise your songs, scales, chord changes, etc. slowly.
That’s true, of course, but sometimes people forget to mention that focused slow practice is key.
One thing many people don’t say though, is that it’s also important to practise at full speed… sometimes.
Well, practising at full speed feels different to slow practice.
Many years ago, I was practising a technique called “sweep picking” (a commonly used lead guitar technique in rock and heavy metal).
When practising it, I was picking with a “jerky” motion.
It was only when I tried the technique fast that I realised I was doing this.
This was useful as it meant when slowing the tempo down, I knew what to watch out for.
So slow practice is essential and should be done 90% or so of the time…
But you still want to practise things at full speed sometimes too (about 10% of the time).
I call this “Brake/Blast”.
The “brake” is the slow practice.
The “blast” is the fast practice.
It’s a useful practice technique I recommend.
#3 – “Maxing” out what you have got
I had a good call with a DTAA member last week called Art.
We talked about making the most of what you know.
You see, many guitarists are keen to learn more scales, chords, exercises, songs, etc.
…But more often than not, less can be more.
It’s all about what you actually do with what you know.
For instance, you could learn a new scale…
…OR you could use the scale to create more melodies, improvise, or help you learn the notes on the fretboard.
That’s just a simple example of how to make the most of something.
I call this “maxing” out.
There are countless more examples.
Embracing this concept fully can save you a lot of time.
After all, learning new stuff takes time to remember, time to practise, and then there is a chance you may forget to practise this new stuff.
“Maxing out” though, can save you time and help you to make the most of what you already know.
Right, I hope you enjoyed those three random thoughts this week.
…And if you did and you want some more help from me, then you might want to check this out.
You get two courses which are both ideal for beginners, early intermediates, and those struggling to make heads or tails of how to make progress on the guitar.
Have a great week ahead
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.