The Most Important Lesson I've Learned in 10+ Years

author: no bs johnny date: 12/26/2013 category: music theory tips
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The Most Important Lesson I've Learned in 10+ Years
"Organize your life to have as few distractions as possible and keep your hands moving on the guitar for hours every day. Play things that you like, so that this experience is enjoyable and you want to keep doing it." -Paul Gilbert, World-renowned rock guitarist, composer, guitar instructor, and writer Hey it's Johnny, OK, this one's going to be controversial. People are going to be disturbed. And some are even going to get upset. Why? Because today, I'm going to kill a sacred cow: Guitar exercises. Specifically, should you do them? When? And how? Allow me to offer an answer to all three using a short story... Imagine two friends, Doug and Pete. Both are busy folks with jobs, kids, and bills to pay. Both are getting older, have let themselves go a little, and are getting concerned with their health. One day they both decide it's time to make a change. They commit to regaining their health and feeling good about themselves again. Do they succeed? Doug goes out to the local gym and signs up. He's excited and pumped. He starts working out hard, and doing everything he can to keep himself pumped and motivated to stick with it. But the excitement soon wears off. He's getting tired, burning himself out, and starting to feel unmotivated. And he accidentally misses a few workouts. By the third month, he's pretty much done. He notices that he's only going to the gym once a week and putting in a lazy effort. He calls and cancels. And returns to life as usual. How about Pete? On the other hand, Pete uses a different strategy. He joins a local tennis club and starts making friends. He signs him up for a monthly competition for fun. He finds a coach and mentor, who gives him tips on his serve and recovery strategies at the net. And after only a few weeks, Pete is seeing good progress. His serves are faster, his backhand is more accurate, and he's excited to show up to practice every day to prepare for the competition. By the third month, Pete has placed 3rd at the local tennis tournament. He's got his first taste of success and it's only the beginning. And best of all, he's lost 10 pounds and feels great again. What made the difference? Both Doug and Pete were equally motivated to get in shape. And both took dedicated action. But only one succeeded. What made the difference? It's simple. Pete had one major advantage over Doug: A fun context - a reason - for the exercise. Listen, I think exercises are great. They focus in on one aspect of your playing (let's say using your pinky)... and maximizes the progress in that one area. It's the perfect way to fix weaknesses in your technique. But guess what? The least effective way to practice is to perform them in isolation. You need a FUN CONTEXT to perform them in. A motivating REASON to be doing the exercise in the first place. When Pete had:
  • A friendly competition to prepare for
  • Some friends who shared his enthusiasm
  • AND the motivation and strategies from someone who's experienced It was 1000% more motivating than what Doug had:
  • The desire to be fit again That alone is not enough. You need every advantage you can get when it comes to long-term goals like learning the guitar (or getting in shape). You need to immerse yourself in a CONTEXT that does that. By creating worthwhile "competitions" in your mind, by surrounding yourself with like-minded people... And yes, by absorbing the motivation and proven strategies a coach (or mentor) can offer you. So do I think you should do finger exercises to learn the guitar? Yes. But ONLY if you do them properly. And learn how from an experienced mentor. About the Author: For more online mentoring and other must-have lessons on learning the guitar, visit the best-kept secret of self-taught guitarists from over 117 different countries. Today, it has become one of the premier sources of accurate information, useful knowledge, and uplifting inspiration for scores of self-taught guitarists. Johnny's lessons have appeared on top guitar websites such as Ultimate-Guitar, GuitarNoise, and many others. He has just released a new book titled: "The No B.S. Guitar Advantage: Secret Strategies Most Guitarists Will Never Tell You About To Go From Beginner To Head-turning Guitar Player Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible." Check it out here.
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