This ‘Learn Music Faster’ series of posts highlights things my best students do that contributes towards their success. There are no secret formulae or magic tricks. Learning to play well still requires hard work, dedication and above all, practice. However, my students who do these things seem to improve quicker than the others.
Look away from your fingers
We all know the stereotype: teenage kid hunched over guitar, back bowed, straggly long hair falling over their face, staring intently at the fretboard. However, I’ve found that students who move their eyes away from their fingers become more fluent, more quickly than those who don’t.
Aside from the inevitable back problems there are a lot of other good reasons to get your eyes up and away from your fingers as soon as possible.
– Your brain gets in the way
– You focus more on the sound
– You give a more emotional performance
– You connect with the audience better
– You don’t get a double chin
You may have to look at your fingers too start with when learning a new phrase or technique, but as soon as it is becoming reasonably comfortable try looking away from the guitar. It will be harder at first but it with a little practice it will soon be just as good as when you were looking. Ultimately it will be much better for having taken the slightly harder route.
You may have to look back at the guitar for big position jumps (more than 2 frets) but try to look up again as soon as possible. If it’s something you’ll be playing a lot, try to practice the position shifts without looking. This is hard, but if you can master it you will have a real fluidity across the fretboard.
Previously on Learn Music Faster – The importance of practicing slowly and precisely.