An Ethereal Guitarist's Path

Thursday, September 25, 2008

80% of free time?

Ok 90-100% of free time just isnt doable. I need time to rest my mind, to listen to music, and talk to friends. Once i get upt to 6 hours thatll be sufficient. Today I got up to 3, and will definitely get one more in. I just gotta find some more things to practice. Time to work on some songs or something. Ever since I learned to fret as well as pick with my rear deltoids (rear shoulder muscles, right above your latissimus dorsi) I have not had my left wrist's tendons swelling or hurting which is a very good sign. I can also play better as a result. One thing ive noticed when I play scales is that my fingers are someitmes too far over the strings and im trying to correct that. Rule of thumb is that you should be able to play regularly and then be able to slur (hammerons and pull offs) without repositioning your hand/fingers. So thats one thing Im correcting myself on. Also, As a result of my improved fretting technique, I can concentrate more on placement of fingers and hold them in a position high on the neck for longer periods of time. Why is it good to fret and pick with your rear deltoid muscles? Well they are connected to your arms number one. They are the largest muscle that will be able to control your arms. Smaller muscles such as triceps, biceps, forearms, even hand muscles, can not take a lot of tension because well...theyre small. My former guitar teacher told me not to press hard with my thumb (i think it was him?) on my left hand. Good advice but he didnt offer an alternative to it. After thinking a lot about it, you can see why its good though. Also, body building (my new sport) has helped my guitar playing. Not only does it require the same sort of mental discipline to get sufficient results, but it helps a shit load on creating a muscle-mind connection. That might not seem like much but when you start knowing how to isolate muscles such as your deltoids, it effects your performance greatly. Isolating a muscle means using one muscle for a particular movement and making sure other muscles arent used in helping the primary muscle with the exercise. Sometimes other muscles are used to stabalize though. I am in no way saying or implying that you need to body build or lift weights to develope the muscle-mind connection. You can do exercise movements without weights for one. Also a lot of it has to do with relaxing. Once you can relax well, you will become more apparent to tension and will be able to feel where that tension is much more easily.

On to my next topic
Ive noticed there are several phases of practicing guitar or any other art. This will be able the guitar though. Generally for me, in the first hour of practice, its all about warming up. The warm up is key to playing fast, to playing well, on time, accurately, and to express yourself better. Warmingup means to get the blood flowing through your muscles and making them more flexible for a period of time. Well not just your muscles, but more imporantly your tendonds. Warming up will lessen the stress on them, thus allowing you to move more easily.

Phase 1.5 This is sort of part of phase one and not so much its own phase, but it is a significant part in any sort of art as well. Establishing the muscle-mind connection as stated above. The benefits to this are pretty obvious. Become aware of the muscles you use, how you use them and how to RELAX them. All important concepts. Making the muscle to mind connection will allow you to establish coordination with all of your fingers. Building your fingers' strength is very important.

Phase 2 is to broaden the muscle to mind connections? So far thats what it seems like. After you make the first connections you must broaden them so that you can expand your fingers better, shift better, move aroundf the guitar better.

Im still in the process of examining the art of practicing guitar, so right now I have those 2 phases down. For me those are the first things to do when practicing. It usually takes a good 45 minutes for stage 1 and 1.5.

This then leads to my final topic. Guitar/music philosophy. I think at a certain age, at a certain and experience/time with music and more specifically guitar, one starts developing their own philosophy on the instrument. That is learning to apply other concepts not directly related to the instrument, to the instrument. I cant tell you what my philosophy on guitar is, i doubt anyone can, but there are many philosophies on the smaller spaects of it. I think my own philosophy is starting to develop at this point. Its happening whenever I think about guitar/practicing/music outside of being involved with it. Music can be applied to nearly everything in life it seems and thats one quality that makes it so meaningful to myself.

Anyways, im not sure what else to put in this post or how to make it more in depth yet. I just figured i would post before i forget all this. Just making simple observations. I learned a lot of this just by thinking of it. THat is ultimately the best way to THINK.

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