Power Practicing: Bricks & Mortar Online Guitar Lessons

Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF

Bricks & Mortar
By Jamie Andreas

There are a number of practice habits which have two characteristics: they are bad, and they are used by a majority of students!

One of these is the very counter-productive habit of practicing something for a long time, and avoiding learning to play the music in the correct rhythm, and of course, to a tempo. In my earlier years of teaching, it was amazing to me how long a student would be content to practice something, over and over for weeks and weeks, and still not get to the part where we "put it all together". Instead, they would come in every week with the music in "pieces".

When I would ask "umm, what about the rhythm, you know, beats and that kind of stuff", I would get this reply, "well, I figure I'll learn the notes first, and then put the rhythm in!".

Well, there is some sense to that, but only up to a point. We do have to learn the moves without rhythm, any Principled Player knows that "no tempo practice" is one of the foundation concepts in The Principles, but hey, enough already! The bird has to jump out of the nest at some point! These students had long passed the point where their fingers "knew the notes", the fact is, they were avoiding the very intense and specialized work required to "sew it all together", that is, connect the notes in the smooth movement process necessary to play music.

This, over time, lead me to develop The Principles, which culminate in "The Basic Practice Approach", which does, inevitably and by definition, string the moves together (however, the exact length of notes, which constitutes the final rhythm, must still be practiced after that, but will now be possible).

The fact is, we should very quickly be getting to the point of "putting the rhythm in" to our music. If you find yourself lingering too long, and waiting for the big day when you make the music sound like music, you are on the wrong track! I always say "pay the devil his due, but don't overpay him"!

Thinking that you can "learn the notes first, and put the rhythm in later" is like thinking you can build a brick house by putting all the bricks in place, and then adding the cement! It is a bit too late for that! They kind of go together, and one follows the other in the process.

The fact of the matter is that the student who practices like this is really spending most of their time scrambling around for the notes they can get, and messing up the rest, and doing severe, and difficult to reverse damage to their muscle memory in the process. Correct practice (read, The Principles!), is the remedy for this disease.

We cannot practice, even if we are rehearsing moves "no tempo", without an awareness of the actual rhythm, and a "fitting into place", rhythmically, the notes as we go along.

So, look around your workspace next practice session, and see if there are any piles of bricks needing mortar. If so, get out your Principles, your metronomes, and get to work!


Copyright 2004 Jamie Andreas.

Back to Power Practicing main page - A site aimed at showing players how to reach their next level of playing ability, no matter what level they are currently at. This is done by teaching how to practice to get results, by using the principles of correct practice for guitar. It is also the perfect start for beginners, because it shows how to begin learning the guitar without getting all of the usual bad habits.

Other lessons and articles by Jamie

Why Are So Many Guitarists Masochists? - Discover Your Discomfort!
Changing Chords - Having a little trouble with those "easy" chords?
The Secret of Speed: Finding the Incredible Lightness
What Should I Practice?
Your growth as a guitarist: vertical or horizontal?
Your Hand is Your Band: The Importance of Fingering
Review is Required!
Teaching By Travel Brochure
Natural Talent
On Memorizing - Part One
On Memorizing - Part Two
Changing Bad Habits - Part One
Changing Bad Habits - Part Two
Aggressive Practicing
Thinking: What A Concept!
Conductor's Mind
Stage Fright Part 1
Stage Fright Part 2
Stage Fright Part 3
Teachers Lounge
Becoming a guitar teacher
Lost In Time
Climb Every Mountain
Making it
Becoming the music
Scales, who needs them? Why and What For, Anyway?!
Pulling Up The Slack: Mining Your Potential
Can I Teach Guitar?
Bricks & Mortar
The Inner Master
The Alone Place
The Meaning of Life
My personal work habits
How to nail a solo
Removing The Barriers To Musical Expression
AC/DC - Back in Black
Metallica's "One"
What Is Real Practice On Guitar?
The Learning Curve of Various Styles of Guitar

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