What benefits will you reap from playing slowly?
Surprisingly enough you might become a faster guitar player and more important,
you will become a better musician and guitarist!
How is this possible?
Life is full of surprises. Many people have experienced that they somehow have
run away from life by hurrying all the time. Well, what has this to do with you
as a guitarist!
First of all I would like to state that from personal
experience I have found that many guitarists practice scales and licks faster
than they should.
What do I mean with that?
Our present technical
skill as a guitar player sets a limit as to how fast we can play scales and
licks without doing damage to ourselves in various ways. What can happen if you
play too fast?
Here is a list of things that can happen when you practice
scales and other exercices or solos too fast:
1. If you play guitar in a
speed that is above your technical skill level you will probably build up
tensions in the muscles controlling your finger movements and also in other
muscles that should not be used. You are also exposed to muscle injuries that
might take a long time to cure.
The muscle tensions that is present when
you practice on your guitar will tend to be there when you perform also. The way
you practice is reflected in how you perform.
2. Always playing fast on
your guitar deprive you of the opportunity to find out new things all by
yourself on the guitar. I remember that one of my guitar pupils once came to me
and said that he experienced a "dearth of licks" in his guitar playing.
One way to develop more interesting solos is to practice slowly. This will give
your fingers and brain time to take other paths on the guitar frets. This will
help you find your own style and help you play in a more innovative way.
3. The risk of making mistakes on your guitar increases the faster you play. If
you want to learn a lick as fast as possible, the most effective way is to
practice slowly without mistakes. Every mistake you make as you practice slows
down your progression as you confuse your muscle memory with things that
shouldn't be there.
How can you start to play slower?
1. Use a
metronome. If you don't have one already you can buy a cheap digital metronome.
You can adjust the volume so not to disturb your friends around you. I don't
recommend that you use a metronome all the time but part of your practice time
and especially when you want to play slowly and when you practice new material.
Some players feel like the metronome slows down when they play. Actually these
players of course speed up unconsciously. It really is an art to keep a steady
pace playing slowly.
2. Use part of your practice time to play extremely
slowly with your concentration on playing as relaxed as possible in your whole
body. Focus on pressing down the frets with minimal force and holding your pick
with as little force as possible.
3. Learn to be aware of tensions in
your entire body and especially in your hands. Be careful never to play faster
on your guitar than your technical skills allows you to without building up
tensions in your hands and the rest of your body. The way your body reacts when
you practice is the way it will react when your perform.
In order to
understand and be aware of tensions in your body I recommend that you learn
muscle stretching and apply these exercises before, during and after your guitar
practice sessions. Also learn muscle relaxation exercises.
relaxed you are as you play the better you will play on your guitar and the
faster you will learn new guitar exercises. You will enjoy your guitar playing
more and even your audience will feel the difference.
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson invites you to download your
guitar tablature, free sheet music, ebooks, music lessons and read his
sheet music blog at Capotasto Music.