#1
Sometimes when I practice a riff or solo that I think is hard, it does not matter how long I sit there and play it the same day. I don't improve that much sometimes even if I sit hour after hour. But then when I play the riff again the next day, it's suddenly much easier after practicing the day before. Sometimes it feels like most of the practice starts taking effect the next day. Why is that and how does it work?
#2
I know that there is a huge amount of anecdotal evidence for this, but I don't know whether it has been tested under controlled conditions. It certainly happens to me. It seems that whatever you are trying to learn gets "hard-wired" into your brain over an extended resting period, maybe longer than a day.
#3
It has to do with your brain. Now, i am no scientist, but i have done my reading on the subject from published works of people that deal with the brain. Technique is not in the hands, it is in the brain. When you practice something on your instrument, what you are doing is not making your hands faster or stronger (except fro callouses), but you are feeding your brain signals so it creates/strengthen the neurons in your brain associated with that action. That is why if you practice something poorly and sloppy a lot, your brain will program that and it will be harder to play better. So if you feed your brain the right kind of information, you can improve drastically in a shorter amount of time. When you are sleeping is the time when the brain does most of this work, processing everything you have done that day. So if you practice a riff slowly and perfectly, the chances are that the next day you can play it a bit faster without it being a trouble.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#5
Yeah you learn while you sleep.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#6


It is not really your brain but more your subconscious part of your mind.

Any habits gets stored here positive and negative without being rejected which is why you can do things on auto pilot and feels natural.

When it comes to practise guitar the optimal goal is to reach the natural point of playing something and that is when that practise reach the subconscious part of your mind.

Now when you practise something and then sleep to find it becomes much more easy and simple to play the next day is the signs of it becoming a habit and it if it sounds right to you then you got a postive one stored. Because of the rest you got it into your subconscious mind right away and accepted.

This happens to me to all the time and an answer could be the above one as it makes the exact truth to the subject for this thread.

Playing guitar is nothing but stored habits anyway. If you play something x number of times you got a habit.

For further exiting study on the mind and how it influences your personal results I can highly recommend: you were born rich on youtube.
#7
I find the human body tends to improve on a destroy/repair kind of thing. You strain it, destroy things, and then it repairs stronger, in order to take the abuse you are running it through. It seems to be like that from callouses to bone density and anything I can think of in that regard.

When you practice something difficult, you feel the burn in your forearm muscles. This is the destroy phase. You can improve live, I know I do, and I think that is because you gain flexibililty immediately, but power is a bit more difficult. You usually get weaker as you practice. Things can become a lot more difficult as you push. Like lifting weights. You can do the first couple of reps, then you get too weak. If you try again pretty soon, it will still be tough, but you repair pretty fast it would appear. So, you can rest and push again and do multiple reps like that, but you will not have fully repaired stronger. Fatigue will always be a factor soon after the stress you've put yourself through.

Overnight, generally, for the kind of thing you would do on guitar, you can come back pretty much fully repaired, and stronger. So this is where you notice more readily the fruits of your labour. It is easier now because you are stronger, and also not tired.

That's the way I look at it, but I'm not a physician. I don't actually know exactly what happens to a muscle when it gets stronger, or fatigued, but the body seems to usually work in a destroy/repair stronger, kind of way, and that would fit with the observations.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Oct 25, 2014,
#8
Quote by Sickz
It has to do with your brain. Now, i am no scientist, but i have done my reading on the subject from published works of people that deal with the brain. Technique is not in the hands, it is in the brain. When you practice something on your instrument, what you are doing is not making your hands faster or stronger (except fro callouses), but you are feeding your brain signals so it creates/strengthen the neurons in your brain associated with that action. That is why if you practice something poorly and sloppy a lot, your brain will program that and it will be harder to play better. So if you feed your brain the right kind of information, you can improve drastically in a shorter amount of time. When you are sleeping is the time when the brain does most of this work, processing everything you have done that day. So if you practice a riff slowly and perfectly, the chances are that the next day you can play it a bit faster without it being a trouble.


Are you sure about this? I haven't done extensive research on this but I took a couple psych classes and we covered this in part, and my understanding was that it's muscle memory that let's you learn riffs.

Also I have no evidence to support this but speaking for myself, I almost always have music going through my head, even when nothing is on. I'll be working things out in my head, keeping in mind how a song sounds, and trying to figure out how to count it correctly, and imagine the intervals on a guitar, then once I've given it a shot, I learn it on a guitar and see where I made mistakes and get better at songs that way. Keep in mind this is basically happening in the background of my mind while i'm doing other things. I'm also fairly certain I do this in my dreams/sleep as well because I'll be asleep and wake up briefly and have a song already going through my head, or wake up in the morning and magically have things more worked out than I did the night before.
#9
Quote by bloodandempire
Are you sure about this? I haven't done extensive research on this but I took a couple psych classes and we covered this in part, and my understanding was that it's muscle memory that let's you learn riffs.


The muscle memory used in playing guitar is controlled by the fine motor skills "section" of the brain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_memory#Fine_motor_memory
#10
Muscle memory is a misnomer. It is to do witht he brain, not the muscles. This sort of thing remains strong even if you don't practice for a long time. This is why people say "it's like riding a bike." Meaning you can go for a long time, and come back to it, no problem. It becomes a skill you have.

However, this is useless if your body has deteriorated to the point where you cannot properly complete the tasks your brain is asking your body to do at the level your brain is asking.

This is why people say "use it or lose it".

Your body adapts to circumstance. if you do nothing, it adapts to do nothing. If you play a lot of guitar, it adapts to that. This means muscle strength, callouses, flexibility, and all that.

But your brain doesn't forget how to do the tasks after disuse.

So, when you practice, you develop some of both. I only ever notice what OP is referring to when I develop strength/speed in my muscles.

I find it very quick and easy to learn anything my physical body is already capable of. That's in everything. If you give me a new remote control I won't have to practice using it. It will be quite fast where I can use it without looking, because it is easy. Same for a gaming controller, although even here, you can see that there is muscle memory you need to develop, even though the muscles are the same for every game basically. It is your mind that needs training in this case. Muscle memory is training your mind to coordinate muscle triggers with desired results. You would have this even if you hardwired your brain to a midi keyboard.

I have not noticed the same overnight thing with video games. I don't get noticeably better the next day.

On guitar I do, but only if I pushed, and felt the burn in my forearms.

Although, it is true that you can practice part of guitar in your mind once you reach a certain level. Athletes do that as well. It is possible that you dream overnight this way, and improve like that, but I know my brain never spends a significant amount of time dreaming about any one thing. My dreams are very dynamic. Dreaming this way will also not be able to improve your muscles or flexibility. It cannot accomplish what that burning feel in your arms is giving you.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Oct 25, 2014,
#11
Quote by fingrpikingood
I have not noticed the same overnight thing with video games. I don't get noticeably better the next day.


Video games are often based more on strategy and decisions than mechanics (even in fast paced games such as SSBM) which isn't really using muscle memory. If you practiced a specific combo in a fighting game or something similar that requires muscle memory, you'd probably get similar effects after practicing and sleeping.