Our Very Own Private Jungle
So how does all this relate to guitar?
The Three Phases Of Learning Guitar
The Learning Phase
You have to spend a whole practice session learning the musical alphabet and how the notes are arranged across the strings. You play each string 3 times forwards and 3 times backwards to make it stick, it takes a long time and is a little bit daunting or frustrating.
The Learning Phase requires the most mental effort to understand the topic, and may take a few additional sessions for you to really understand the topic and to make the info really stick. The goal of the learning phase is to understand and retain the information so that you can improve upon it when practicing.
The Improvement Phase
You now understand the concept and are actively working to improve it. You no longer have to spend 30 minus every session reviewing the information and trying to make it stick, you spend 10 minutes practicing the exercise. In fact, it only takes you 1 minute to do the first two strings because you know them so well, and about 2-3 minutes each for the other strings.
In the Improvement Phase you keep working at something session after session with the attention of improving it. Sometimes it will be easy, and other times it will be hard, stick with it.
The Maintenance Phase
After a couple of weeks of memorising the strings you will notice that you can get through each one in a matter of seconds, and that doing things three times is rather mundane & unnecessary.
If you reached this point then Congratulations, you have entered the Maintenance Phase. This is where it is more beneficial for you to reduce your practice time from say 10 minutes down to 2 minutes so that you are running through things enough times to ensure you retain them in memory or skill, but don’t waste time playing over things for no additional benefit.
The Maintenance Phase & Beyond
Hopefully after reading this you have a better understanding of how the three phases of guitar practice work and can adapt them into your practice routine. Doing so will allow you to take the right mindset to each phase and apply the right amount of time and effort to the skills and concepts you are trying to learn and improve. Doing so will make practice much more enjoyable and seem a whole lot less daunting.
About The Author
When he isn’t adventuring deep in the heart of the Wantirna South Jungle Michael Gumley is teaching the best guitar lessons in Melbourne Eastern Suburbs from his home studio in Wantirna South.
Michael has the personal mission of raising the standard of musical education worldwide and hopes to do so one student at a time with enlightening articles that offer deep insights into the psychology of learning and the art of practicing.
If you’re struggling to make progress on guitar consider booking a FREE guitar lesson with Michael so that he can share with you some effective practice strategies to help you move forward.
Visit the Melbourne Guitar Academy main page to book a free guitar lesson in person or live on Zoom.