The Perils of One Sided Practicing

One thing that I find myself always going back to when trying to help students out with songs of all difficulties is this idea that I call compound practicing vs. isolation practicing. Through my experience I have found this balancing act to help quite a bit. Let’s talk a little bit about what the difference between these two ideas are, and what problems can arise when students don’t find a balance between them. Isolation Practice- This is what most people think of when they think of practice and it is absolutely vital. This is when you take a particular section of a song that is either a problem area for you, or completely new, and really focus on that part. This is extremely important,

The Mental Side of Practice

One of the most important things that I try to do as a teacher isn't just teaching the material that a student and I may be going over, but also how to approach these things when I'm not there. The fact of the matter is that I'm only with a student for half an hour out of every week, so I need to try and instill ideas that can help them approach practicing on their own. I always like to tell people the amount of time you practice is absolutely important, but in my opinion, not nearly as important as how you practice. Practice methodologies are a very important thing for me, so I'll be making plenty of pretty detailed blogs in the future about techniques that I've come across. For now,

The Four Steps to Musical Mastery (and pretty much anything)

I have always found with both my students and my own practice, that having a clearly defined path of specific goals can not only be motivating, but much more effective than running head first into the dark. Through some of my research, I have come across a four step process that I have found to be the most clear and powerful. To be honest, I don't quite remember how I initially stumbled across it, but it became immediately apparent how well it could be applied for musical practice. Knowing what step of the process you're on for a given piece, and knowing ways to mentally approach each step has done wonders for myself and my students. Here I will lay out the four steps, and give quick tips

Using Fundamentals to Your Advantage

No one likes practicing their fundamentals. Scales are boring, exercises are draining, and music reading can be dull. A lot of good students know, however, that this is what they need to go through to learn how to play. Here's what I have found as a teacher that I find to be so interesting though: Even the best and most studious of my students will work so diligently on their fundamentals, but won't know how to actually use them to help them play pieces of music. Now I'm not saying this makes fundamentals a waste of time. Obviously, working on the not so fun stuff can really hone our chops, but a lot of students see their basics as something totally seperate from playing actual songs, whic

The Mental Side of Transitioning Between Chords on Guitar

Welcome to the biggest obstacle every beginning guitar player has to face. As someone who remembers this time well, and helps tons of students get through this process, there is no doubt that the period of time when you can play chords, but can't quite switch between them as fast as you would like to is one of, if not the, most frustrating stretches of time we guitar players have to endure. The cold hard truth is that this is mainly a matter of time, The more you put yourself though it day by day, the quicker you'll be able to strum along with your favorite records. However, there is one key thing that I have found a lot of guitar teachers, and music teachers in general, tend to skip o

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