Students Who Follow Their Teacher’s Practice Directions Always Have More Fun with Guitar.
Remember the student I talked about in last week’s blog The Art of Following Directions for Success?
Well… here’s another thing that that student said:
“The most fun thing I did was learn the Pink Floyd song”
The way you told me you are practicing: I would not have fun either.
Everything in life is as much fun as one makes it.
I can’t imagine it being any fun at all, just strumming chords to a song, without actually playing along with the song.
That sounds pretty boring to me.
It sounds like you turned your practice into a dry boring exercise, and then you seem or act surprised that you’re not having fun.
That again shows the importance of following directions.
The inability to follow the teacher’s directions is why you’re not progressing AND not having fun at home with it.
That is another reason why I always tell all my students that they should always play a new song they learn, along with the song.
That is not just me btw.
Every top guitar, piano, violin (any instrument) teacher in Berklee College of Music, Juilliard (and every other top and lesser music school), AND every one of the world’s absolute top best musicians all advocate you should always practice along with the music.
They all agree THAT is how you achieve the best possible results in learning an instrument.
It is also the most fun way.
Music is A Language, NOT Science or Math. Learn it The Way You Learn A Language
Why do all schools, teachers, and top musicians all feel that playing with music or with other people is THE best way to become a really good musician in a much shorter time?
Because music is a language.
The fastest way to learn any language? Move to the country where they speak that language and adapt as you’re going.
Playing along with the song is like immersing yourself in a country where you don’t speak the language.
The musicians you are playing with (either live or in the song you are learning and playing along with), don’t stop.
They keep going.
They speak the language well. You don’t (yet).
You are out of your comfort zone.
Your senses are heightened.
You listen to the other musicians as you’re playing along.
You can tell when you’re playing something wrong because it clashes with what the other musicians are doing.
You quickly fix it and move on.
You try to avoid it from happening again.
Along the way, you learn, improve, lock in with better timing. Your ear is getting better. You notice more things.
You can more easily tell when your sync is off, or when you mess up a rhythm, or when you play a chord too early or too late.
You gradually keep getting better at the language of music through all these experiences and lessons the mess-ups teach you.
You’re playing music.
Not some boring exercise, but real life (or “live) music.
You’re using what you know and discovering things you don’t know yet.
The song is teaching you.
The musicians are teaching you.
You are trying to get it going in a real-life situation: you are playing with other musicians right from the get-go.
Those musicians, whose language (music) you don’ speak very well yet, are the people who you’re learning from as you try to play along with their song.
You are learning how to lock in better rhythmically, how to switch chords on time, how to move your fingers more quickly, how to stop when they stop and start again when they do, how to listen, and so much more.
Jamming or playing along with a song you just learned, is like talking to people whose language you don’t know really well yet.
Not playing with the song, is like learning a language sitting at home with Pimsleur CDs or Rosetta Stone.
It takes 50 times longer to be able to speak the language because you’re not really interacting and using the language.
So you would most certainly have way more fun if you played the songs along with the song recording.
It is way more fun to interact with musicians than to sit all by yourself in silence just strumming the chords to a song without hearing the drums and the bass, and the vocals.
If I give the advice that that is how you should practice, but you choose not to, then indeed: you will not have as much fun.
Understanding There is A Logical Road to Success
As I went on explaining to that student:
It’s all the skills you had acquired beforehand doing the tougher, more intricate stuff (like chords, switching chords, etc… ) that’s made learning the Pink Floyd song fun.
You had fun because you didn’t have to spend hours and hours learning the song note-for-note with that much detail, but only two 30-min lessons (1 hour).
It’s really EXACTLY like eating vegetables.
It’s because you ate lots and lots of veggies (having to play slightly faster than what you are capable of, drilling, etc… “the lesser fun stuff”) that you got to enjoy the cake (learning the Pink Floyd song) so much.
If we had done “Wish You Were Here” BEFORE I had drilled you in prior lessons on developing skills necessary to play that song, you would not have had 1 percent as much fun learning “Wish You Were Here”.
Instead: you would have gotten frustrated at the difficulty of hitting wrong strings by accident, on not being able to go from single string notes to strumming chords, etc.
Learning that song, would not have been fun, but WOULD have been a frustrating ordeal if we had done things out of order. (Meaning: doing this song before we did easier songs that logically built up your skills up to the “Wish You Were Here” level)
So while you might not appreciate the veggies, you would not be able to appreciate the cake either UNLESS you had veggies first.
Van Halen did not sound like Van Halen in his first couple of years after he first picked up a guitar.
Jimi just like anybody started out strumming chords, built skills, coordination, strength, and dexterity that way, kept evolving from there, and later became Jimi Hendrix.
It’s a process that unfolds a certain way with a certain logic to it.
Any advice only has value in how far that a student chooses to do something with that advice.
While I can tell you that this is how you are going to become very good in a reasonably short amount of time, none of that is going to make any difference at all if you get stuck in your beliefs of how you think things should be done.
Learning requires an open mind, an ability to follow directions, and trust that your teacher probably knows better than you do what the best patch and method is for your goals.
Or like they say in ZEN:
“Start every day as a blank sheet that needs to be written”
You do that…
and EVERY song becomes a ton of fun to learn.
Hit me up anytime at email@example.com if you have any questions, or if you would like to book a lesson.
These free lessons are cool, but you will never experience the progress, joy, and results that my students experience in lessons when you’re learning by yourself from blogs and videos.
That is why people take lessons: way better results and progress, much more complete information, exposed to way more creative ideas than you can get from a blog or YouTube video.
There is only so much that self-study can accomplish.
If you want to see amazing results and progress in your guitar playing, buy your first lesson here and get started ASAP.
You’ll impress your friends and loved ones in no time with your guitar playing!
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