Guitar Lessons by Chip McDonald - February 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

Are You Doing Art, or Peeling Apples?

 In the video below, the common denominator in all of these examples is muscle memory. Humans can do amazing, unbelievable things with repetition. A lot of technical guitar playing is not unlike the skills demonstrated in this video.

  These people did not just mess around a few minutes and suddenly gain these abilities. Does anyone doubt that in all of these examples, the results came about by sheer, mind-numbing repetition? And that there was a time when all of them did these same movements at a very, very slow pace?

 It seems I'm having to spend more time with students now emphasizing the fact that they will have to put time in at a very slow rate, and properly.  I can help with the "properly" aspect, but practicing at a slow rate, with discipline, is on the student.   

 I also find some people expect that what I show them will somehow be perfectly executable by the end of the 30 minute guitar lesson.  What can be done in the less is to get the timing right, movements right, comprehension of what's going on, but mostly what is beyond that would be magic.

  I'll write it again: playing fast is really the easiest thing about playing an instrument. If you have the patience to approach it in this simple, mundane fashion you can definitely do any specific movement on guitar quickly.  There are some inherent physical differences between people when it comes to reflexes, and basic quickness, but overall it comes down to repetitive practice.

  But then conversely - just because you can do something that is physically remarkable doesn't mean it has anymore artistic value than the guy peeling the apple at breakneck speed. It's a neat thing, but you've got to use it outside your comfort zone and take a chance, otherwise ... 

..... you're just peeling an apple.

(video brought to my attention by Paige Patton)