Here are two more interesting emails I have got lately. I hope you find the emails and my thoughts useful…
This is what Greg said about an email I sent last week where I told you about 81-year-old Norma having great fun on the guitar…
“I like these inputs from others as they mention their progress and achievements; this alone can be encouragement to pick up the guitar rather than just look at it in its stand.
…But I think it is also important to ask oneself…who am I playing for?
To play to please others can bring on self-induced pressure because we all want to sound perfect for our performance.
We can get very uptight and nervous to a point of making oneself sick and a drastic ordeal might have the guitar put into its case and hidden in the closet.
There is a need to allow oneself to first play for oneself…
The enjoyment of the sound coming from an instrument and the manipulation of strings by one’s own hands.
Playing through notes and the melody and timing coming together. Voila…guitar playing…and perhaps not at the concert level, but a level of satisfaction all of its own.
Always necessary to set goals, but bite off smaller chunks and appreciate the success… and the confidence gained that it was done by oneself…
And afterwards…a march towards the concert hall.”
There is a lot of wisdom in Greg’s email and lots of realistic but positive vibes too.
You know, there is nothing cooler than picking up this piece of wood and putting in the time and effort to make it sing back to us.
It is a really personal experience, yet it is something we all share in common.
Whether you only want to play for yourself or maybe for others too, enjoying each moment and being proud of your determination and desire to keep improving on the guitar is wonderful.
The fact you are making music on it, no matter what the music is, is pretty darn cool.
Anyway, onto Email #2
Recently, I wrote on my Facebook page about how looking back and forth at each hand as you play is a very bad habit and one you must try to get out of as soon as possible. In reply, this is what Gary said:
“How do you fix this problem? I’m very aware that I do this but don’t know how to fix it?”
It is good Gary is aware of it, quite a few guitarists actually aren’t.
If you do have this issue, the short answer to fix it is to take the simplest thing you know how to play and do this:
- Play 1, maybe 2 bars, and go very slowly, just looking purely at one hand. E.g., the picking hand. Do not look across at the other hand.
- After a few runs through it, switch to looking at the other hand. Again. E.g., this time, the fretting hand.
- Resist the temptation to look back and forth. Instead, patiently learn to feel and hear where things are.
So many guitarists make the mistake of using their eyes to check their fingers are in the correct position.
All this looking back and forth can be nauseating, and it reminds me of watching the audience at Wimbledon with their heads turning back and forth trying to keep an eye on the action.
It is fine for watching Roger Federer play but not so much for playing guitar!
These little looks back and forth often cause frequent pauses in the music, which wreak havoc on the flow.
I have talked about this a lot but never gone really in depth on it, so the other day I filmed a lesson on this exact topic.
It is a new lesson for members of the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy.
This lesson will be released on Friday and will cover the exact steps to break this habit, plus it will include two simple habit-breaking musical examples you can learn right away and lots of little nuggets and tips on how to break this habit.
The lesson will be for DTAA members, and you can check it out below:
Whether or not you join, a good thing to do is film yourself playing something and watch it back.
If you do look back and forth as you play, try the above advice, and try your best to break this habit.
Have a good day of practice!
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.