The Drag About Practice


When I sat down to practice as a kid, there was something natural about the way that I played. There was a certain 'proficiency naturale' I had with a pick as a student of modern and highly amplified music. Great guitar, big beautiful tube amp that broke up perfectly, and a pick... check. Let's play!

Fast forward a couple of decades to when I switched to flamenco and classic guitar technique as an adult... wow, I had to work so much harder because of how I was practicing. I rode a wave of natural ability and came to realize that my work ethic when it came to unnatural things was, for the lack of a better kind of word, abysmal.

Because of how I learned flamenco, by watching and listening, I neglected the age old rule of 'perfect practice makes perfect'.

I stood up an old mirror against the wall of my studio to monitor my posture [wrist angle, shoulders, etc.], played with a metronome or compás percussion loop, kept a constant eye and ear on tone production, and evaluated all of the small details that made my playing less than efficient. Once I had a good idea about what I had to fix, I chose tempos that would allow me to play pieces [or particular compáses or falsetas] that promoted excellence. I came to a realization that I could play my pieces and those of other guitarists well but it wasn't masterful because of how I decided to practice my physical mechanics.

So, do what you want with it.

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