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Old 02-07-2019, 09:41 AM
Dino Silone Dino Silone is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Northern New Jersey, NYC Metro Area
Posts: 203

Within the last week, Tony Polecastro posted a segment about the differences between learning, practicing, and rehearsing. I’d add performing to that continuum, after rehearsing. And I’d also add, “messing around with a guitar in our hands...”

When we’re practicing or learning, it’s appropriate to stop at a mistake, and then work through that passage - maybe just a few measures - until we get it right. We should do that mindfully, understanding what’s tripping us up, slowing it down until we’re aware of every nuance, getting it to the point where we almost can’t get it wrong. Also, revising and potentially simplifying the bits where we keep making the mistake. (At least for me, those mistakes often happen in the same place over and over - maybe not 100% of the time, but often enough. Sometimes, you just have to cut your losses and simplify the error-prone measures, even if you’re no longer doing it exactly the way you originally wanted to.)

Moving from practicing to rehearsing a song involves learning to play through mistakes, figuring out coping strategies when mistakes happen. This process can be helped by starting at arbitrary points in the piece, learning to just pick up from anywhere. This develops “temporal independence” (I just made that up). What I mean by that is the ability to know where you are in a piece, and knowing how to proceed from that point, without having to “retrace your steps” to start over. This has to be practiced, just as learning the song itself has to be practiced.

Having a good feeling for the underlying chords and how to keep the backbone up when you’ve lost the melody also helps, especially with finger-picking.
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