Here is another of the weekly posts with 3 thoughts about guitar, music, and life, including tips on muscle memory, celebrating tiny wins, and more.


#1 – Being made to be accountable is important


One thing that I have realised lately, is that during the most successful periods in my life, I have always had someone there looking over my shoulder, making me accountable for my actions.

This could be when I went from being obese, to being in the best shape of my life a few years ago (by having a coach at my gym)…

Or going from broke guitarist to successful business owner (by getting business consulting)…

Or going from having stage fright to being comfortable on stage playing in front of a lot of mostly drunk strangers regularly (by being in a band where we constantly encouraged and pushed each other).

I don’t say any of this to brag or anything, and for some people these are not amazing achievements, but they were pretty cool for me at the time.

The main thing that helped with these successes wasn’t just my motivation, it was having someone else there spurring me on and making sure I took action.

It’s the same with my students.

The ones who have been the most successful over the years are the ones who turned up for lessons every week, who never, ever gave up, who completed the tasks I give them, and who thrived on the gentle pressure of having someone push them.


Definitely worth thinking about with your guitar playing.


#2 – Savour the small wins


Here is an email I got from a member of my Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy the other day. This is what Bill said…


I am progressing about 2-5% a month, every other month. It’s OK, I’m old and do not expect to do more than enjoy the process, and say, “that helps” or “that works” and smile from time to time.  

My objective is to be able to sit in the corner and “noodle” some musical chord progressions and maybe a little melody that people around me can enjoy while reading their book or newspaper or phone.

Thanks for your support,



That was a good email and like I told Bill, “2-5% is great progress and that will compound over time, so keep it up”.

It’s not just that though, it just shows, Bill (like 90% of other members) is playing guitar and learning for reasons of pure enjoyment…

Not with any crazy ambitions like being on stage at Glastonbury or Woodstock.

Even those of you who do want to play live, tell me you are more excited by the prospect of playing an open mic night or just enjoying the buzz and social side of playing music with others.

This all just shows how important smiling and enjoying the journey is.

Don’t get me wrong, if you keep up the good practice, you will be able to play some very cool stuff but having fun in each moment is key.


#3 – Muscle memory


Muscle memory is really important, and for some reason, I remembered this the other day.

When I was a teenager, there was a clip on TV about a football (as in soccer) player called Andy Cole, who was highly successful at the time.

He kept doing drill after drill of the exact same movement over and over.

He did the little routine with absolute precision, every single time.

It was the first time I had really seen anyone do anything like this, and one of the things talked about was muscle memory.

The more he did this drill in training, the more natural and automatic the movement would become, and the more likely it was he would be able to replicate this movement in front of the intense pressure of 60,000 roaring fans.

It’s the same with guitar playing.


Working the muscle memory of fine movements (like a specific chord change or fingerpicking pattern) over and over is key.


Then, when everything is good, you can apply it during your “match”, which for most people is when you put it all together and play a song.

With enough precision and practice, you will be able to make this movement without thinking about it.


If you want more help with muscle memory, getting more wins, and enjoying the journey, check out my Fingerstyle 101 book below…

Fingerstyle 101 – learn how to fingerpick with a step-by-step plan


That’s all I have for you today but have a great Monday.


Dan Thorpe
Guitar Domination



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.

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.