When we practice our guitars, one goal is to develop our guitar muscle memory. This implies that the muscles can take over and we can check our brains at the door. But, in fact, the memories are stored in the brain like a library of frequently enacted muscle tasks.
Through repitition, you can get very good at playing guitar — if you’re doing it right.
When you’re practicing a guitar tune over and over, your goal is to continually improve. However, that muscle-memory brain you’re building can’t tell if you’re doing the task well or badly. If you’re practicing the tune over and over, continuing to make the same mistakes over and over, you’re going to get very good at making those mistakes.
Once that happens the old saw, “Practice makes perfect,” turns into, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
Building Guitar Muscle Memory
So the secret to building good guitar muscle memory is to focus on the quality of the repititions. You can do that by…
- Going slowly.
- Practicing small chunks at a time.
To learn something really well, don’t rush into learning the entire tune all at once.
- Break the piece up into small chunks.
- Practice each chunk slowly enough to play it flawlessly. Consider practicing with a metronome to keep yourself honest.
- Keep your guitar practice sessions focused. Take breaks. Consider using a timer to keep yourself focused.
Be patient. Practice does make perfect, as long as you’re practicing perfectly.
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