Sunday, September 19, 2010

Practice Practices

Practicing guitar is one of those weird things for me. I'm never really sure when I should be going on to the next step. Do I have to get everything perfect, or just pretty good? Usually I just settle for pretty good, especially as I don't think there's enough time in the universe for me to get anything perfect.

I try to rely on the fact that some skills will be practiced even when learning different skills. For example, for a while I kind of stalled when learning open chords. I spent a lot of time, weeks in fact, practicing transitions between chords before going on the the next lesson. That time certainly wasn't wasted, as I did get a lot better with the transitions between chords, but that's also something that gets practiced later on as well, as with finger picking.

On the other hand, getting the transitions better made learning finger picking easier. I think the time learning one skill is almost a constant, if I didn't spend the time in one section I would have spent it in another section.

The other problem is learning a new skill while neglecting old skills. Sometimes, as with finger picking and chords, I'm still practicing the old skill while learning a new one. Now, though, I'm learning pentatonic scales and playing the whole fretboard. I really should keep practicing my chords as well, especially barre chords, which I'm still not great at.

The solution is obvious: learn new skills while practicing the old skills. It feels like it cuts into my learning time, but that's the way it has to be. If I want to learn faster, I'll have to devote more time to practicing.

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