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costancr

Odd thing happening during practice...

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Hi All,

Thought I'd put this here since it's pretty general, but I'm currently struggling through the first half of session 4 (for about 2 months) in Learn and Master Guitar and session 3 in the Song Hits, and although I practice every day I seem to be becoming sloppier and less productive.  Sometimes I play something perfectly the first run through, then I can't do it again.  Or no matter how slow I go or how much I review individual measures, I cannot play something right that I've practiced correctly 50 something times.  I have no one to blame but myself, but I'm also not sure what I'm doing wrong as I don't consciously do anything differently.

I was wondering if guitar practice was almost like working out.  Do I need "recovery days" where I just do some finger stretches and run through some Session 1 material?  Have I hit a plateau and need to change my routine?  Wasn't sure if anyone else did anything similar and how they managed it?

Any input appreciated, this is starting to really discourage me, but I don't feel I'm ready to move onto Sharps and Flats yet.

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@costancr This sounds like normal growth, but let's address this "I cannot play something right that I've practiced correctly 50 something times". That's discouragement, and we want to get back to feeling good about practicing. Yes, you need recovery periods. They can be a short as a few minutes or as long as a few days. Too much repetition at one sitting is indeed counterproductive. Let some things rest a while; a little forgetting is actually beneficial to learning, because recalling strengthens memory. As you progress, you might notice something else: your standards keep rising. The proficiency that once seemed fine now isn't good enough, and your spirits momentarily sink. That's all good. I can't stress this enough, and I've been in education many years: how you feel is no indication of your progress. Keep chipping away. Make it enjoyable. We've all been there! 🙋‍♀️

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Posted (edited)

Very wise words from Diane. Yes, this a very normal part of your development - we've all been there. Plateaux do regularly occur and the cause often seems unfathomable, then one day they mysteriously clear without apparent rhyme or reason and you're climbing again (my wife rides a horse for a hobby and she finds exactly the same thing!).

The key is to NOT let it discourage you. Yes, you do need 'recovery days' and my wife and I often talk about how, in our respective hobbies, the challenges seem to often miraculously sort themselves out when you're not actually practicing. 

I have found that sometimes it can help to have a day off physical practice but practice in my mind instead, visualising the practice - strangely I make less mistakes that way 😁.

Finally, the most important point. Guitar playing is FUN. Don't let practice become a chore that you don't look forward to. Give yourself some time to just mess around and explore the instrument. Do some crazy stuff with it, experiment and have fun.

Keep going, you WILL progress with patience, perseverance and practice.

Ian

Edited by IanD
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Good comments from both Diane and Ian, plus I would like to add one that works for me. I have found myself with the same predicament as "Costancr" and when that occurs, I simply switch guitars. If I have been practising with an electric guitar, simply switching to the acoustic gives me a different feel or mindset.

Henk

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Posted (edited)

What you're experiencing is normal. Your mind is changing its attitude. It's a matter of expectations, like your mind is going from "Am I playing it right?" to "Darn, did I make a silly mistake?" As Steve would say, "Keep up the good work." Lotsa luck.

Edited by John Wells
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@DianeB @Oldjock @John WellsThanks all for the responses and the advice!  I took today off.....mostly.  Just ran through some stretches and warm up type things and a few songs from Easy Pop Melodies.  I think maybe next week I'll switch to practicing on the electric for a couple days.  Hopefully I can break out of the routine and move on in Session 4.  The standards piece is something I hadn't thought about before, but it makes a lot of sense, now that you all have mentioned it.  And on a side note, @IanD I actually taught beginner horseback riding for a couple years and never would have thought that and guitar playing could be related!

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