Tuesday, September 21, 2010

improving by not practicing

due to various reasons, in the past i have not touched the guitar for quite some time (think years rather than months). now that i have started again, i am learning that this period of not practicing (and performing) has been immensely productive for my playing.

first of all, as i started again, i found that very quickly i could do things i had been practicing years before, and which i expected to take a long time to build up again. apparently, my body remembers much more that i am consciously aware of. this has been a great relief, because it made me lose the idea that i needed to practice a lot each day in order to 'keep up my chops'.

i was very surprised by this, and this was great in another way: i was actively and eagerly listening what came out of my hands. and this is an ability that makes a big difference: rather than trying to direct my playing with my thinking, there is a constant loop between my fingers and my ears, with my brain taking the backseat.

so i can advise everyone to try this exercise (which may not be so simple, if you are atttached to your practicing routines or the habit of playing while watching tv): put away your guitar for a couple of weeks. success guaranteed!!

(for the slightly less daring people: take my words as a comfort that whenever you are not able to play, this is not something to lament, but rather to cheerfully welcome).

1 comment:

  1. There is a theory in neuropsychology that states that muscles have memories, which explains why you can still swim even if you haven't practiced it for years. Or drive cars with manual gear boxes. Or play a guitar. I went through the same experience, not touching my instruments when I was doing my PhD research. Now back at the strings I find I can play better than I ever thought I could.