Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including the benefits of exploring new music, new muscles, and more.
Here we go…
#1 – New muscles
Last week I did two hard sessions of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (which is something I started recently).
I was sore for days.
This included my arms, legs, feet, and even my toes.
I train and feel like I’m in decent shape, but this martial art is obviously using muscles I’ve never really used before.
It’s no surprise really as I learn the fundamentals.
Learning guitar is like that too.
I mean, the movements we make with our hands and fingers when playing guitar aren’t like your typical movements we make throughout the day.
In some ways, these movements are a little alien to our bodies.
In Jiu-Jitsu, sore muscles are part and parcel of it, but on the guitar, we want to avoid soreness at all costs.
That’s why it’s key to work on your technique and stay relaxed.
This means getting in a good seating position, positioning the guitar correctly, making precise movements with your fingers, focusing on breathing, and more.
That goes for both if you’re in the early days of your playing or if you’ve played for a while.
Definitely worth keeping that in mind.
#2 – Can you play blindfolded?
One thing that many beginners struggle with is this…
They feel they have to look back and forth at each hand as they play.
If you ever do this, you’ll probably find it to be frustrating.
The main reason is that looking back and forth usually causes the music to lose all its flow.
So, I urge you to take one piece of music and try to play it with your eyes closed… or even better, blindfolded.
Try doing this with just 1-2 bars of music at first and see how you get on.
If there are any areas you struggle with but aren’t sure why, the “Blindfold test” will likely help highlight what the problem is.
That means you can then go to work fixing the troublesome area.
Definitely give it a try with one section of a piece of music.
Then, once you can play a section blindfolded or with your eyes closed, you can try it with the next section…
#3 – Exploring new music
I often talk about how useful it is to listen to new music.
Doing so can be inspiring, interesting, and fun.
I mentioned this on my Facebook page the other day.
Richard left a good comment when he said:
I used to say to my students, ‘Listen to this. You don’t have to like it, but you need to think “How did he do that? How can I do that?”’
I like that advice.
A lot of music out there is not necessarily what we enjoy, but we can all appreciate it on some level.
For instance, I don’t like most modern radio-friendly pop music.
I can though appreciate that a team of songwriters (usually) have sat down to work on a melody, make it catchy, and create some good “hooks” in the music.
Sometimes there’s even some decent guitar playing in these tunes.
So, if you’re ever listening to music anywhere, take Richard’s advice.
It’s well worth listening on a deeper level and trying your best to work out how it’s being played and what makes it a popular song.
There are some good musical benefits to doing so.
Right, I hope you enjoyed those three thoughts.
If you want more help with these concepts and much more, you may want to find out more about my book bundle below…
Enjoy, and have a great Monday!
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.