The Practice Process - A Flowchart

Here's my take on the process we undertake when picking up our guitars in the hope of making improvement.

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The Practice Process - A Flowchart
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Here's my take on the process we undertake when picking up our guitars in the hope of making improvement.

Learning whereabouts in this process you're having problems is key IMO to getting out of any rut you find yourself stuck in. See link below diagram for full discussion.

By Paul Swanson, Old Swanner Guitar Tuition

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    oldswanner
    As the author of this article, I'm pleased to see it's stirring up opinion ... but ... to the downvoters I'd love to hear where you think I've got it wrong.
    Guitar-Made-Eas
    Hi Paul, First I'd like to say thanks for submitting - it's always nice to see people helping other guitar players improve! The diagram is pretty cool. I think I can help you understand the down votes. Nothing in the article is wrong at all - the problem, I think, lies with the very small explanation. Some more explanation of how to use this, along with examples, would have been very helpful. Take the example of someone wanting to improve their vibrato, for instance - how do they use this diagram to help them? I can understand it, but a beginner or someone who's only recently started paying attention to how they practice may struggle. Of course, you've got a good explanation on your website - awesome! But people will only click through to the website if they feel they've gained from the original article... which some people unfortunately haven't, by the looks of it. Thanks, and keep doing what you're doing - everyone who helps others with their instrument for free deserves respect! Cheers, Tom
    oldswanner
    I hear you Tom.  Points taken! Vibrato is an interesting one to look at in this way, it usually falls into the "keep doing it and you'll get better" category, which from my experience is not often the case.  Here's my take on systematically improving this skill. I'd say there are three main variables in a vibrato-ed (spelling?) note ... speed, depth and rhythm. According to the approach outlined in the flowchart, I'd set up a test where the student keeps a constant depth and rhythm (I normally focus on a semitone of movement in a swing rhythm), and we measure the top speed at which they can maintain the vibrato-ed note for a defined length of time, say two consistent bars of the required movement.   To improve on their top speed, they have to develop new mental or physical strength, and by monitoring their top speed they are able to see if that is the case.  If things aren't improving, they are eventually forced to accept that they need a different way of attempting to strengthen the relevant faculties, ie. a different way of practising.  This understanding is improvement in itself, and could potentially save many thousands of hours of wasted practice time!  (I speak from bitter experience). I'll certainly be expanding on this sort of investigation over time as it's what interests me the most on guitar, and outlining this approach to vibrato may make a useful blog post in the future.  Of course there's little point in doing it if no one's on board, so your push in the right direction is appreciated. Thanks for the input, and I hope you can get some use from the idea.  Let me know what you think! Paul.