Here are two more interesting emails I have got lately.
I hope you find the emails and my thoughts useful…
“I have a question on how everyone uses their practice time. There are so many different things to learn. I practice fingerpicking, strumming, bar chords, regular chords, singing while fingerpicking and then strumming.
There are so many things and so it seems I don’t have enough time with each of them.
Do you all just concentrate on 1 thing at a time? I want to learn it all!”
This is the eternal question for many guitarists.
It was a question asked inside the Fingerstyle 101 Facebook group.
Although there is so much to learn and enjoy with the guitar, one of the keys to success is to have focus.
Focus on what means the most to you.
It could be learning to strum, fingerpick, play barre chords, understand theory, learning to Travis pick, etc.
Either way, before you begin learning something new, ask yourself, is this what excites you?
I usually say, spend 90% of your practice time on what excites you most.
If you are the type who gets a little bored, then throw in some other stuff (for about 10% of your time to keep it interesting), but really go to town on improving the specific area that means the most to you.
There will be time for the other stuff later on.
Focus is key.
Anyway, onto Email #2
I am predominantly a classical guitar player.
I don’t think it matters whether you can read music or not. To play with expression, you have to play from memory.
Classical performers rarely have music in front of them. I had a teacher at college that would only allow playing from memory in a lesson.
Memorising music takes lots of repetition, but it’s also important not to rush and memorise too much in one go.
You also have to recognise whereabouts in the music you have slight hesitations and spend time on that small section.
Keep up the good work.”
Richard makes a good point.
Although, I actually quite like getting students to play while looking at the music.
When they do, I watch their eyes to see if they are making glances back at the fretboard and their hands.
It gives me a real good indicator as to how comfortable they are with not looking as they play…
…And how much they trust their technique and ability to play the correct notes each time.
This ability is crucial for expression and musicality.
Yes, keep improving your memory and ability to remember more as it will help…
…but also keep trying to improve your ability to not look as you play.
Both are very important.
(Richard also makes a good point about looking for the points in the music where you hesitate).
To learn more about improving such things, you can check out the DTAA membership below where there are lessons on all this and much more…
Have a fab day!
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.