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Traditional guitar instruction methods are essentially the same. They teach you the notes on the first few frets, then they show you what your fingers need to do to play them. Or, they show you a few chords, and give you a song to play.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of students will be unable to do these things in any kind of comfortable way, they will struggle to make the movements, and no matter how much they practice, they will be unable to actually make music. As time goes on, their physical problems in playing will increase, and they will have a mountain of music they play badly. "More practice" will only make things worse, because beginners are never aware of the tension being built into the muscles through the power of muscle memory - more practice only makes locks in more tension. I have seen this hundreds of times in my 43 years of teaching guitar.
This course is vastly different, and it's effectiveness has proven itself with students of every style, every level, and every age since it's publication in 1998. Our focus is where it needs to be, and must be, in the beginning: learning to train your fingers so they become professional grade guitar playing fingers, capable of making smooth movements. That is the only way you can become a guitar player who can make music.
The first fret is the hardest place to play. No beginner can do that without struggling and building harmful tension into the muscles. This tension will limit or prevent your development as a guitar player. We avoid that with a special set of exercises that begin up the neck, where the left hand should begin its training.
When you are done this course, you will have the strong foundation in both your hands you need to make continuous progress, and be a happy guitar player! You will also know an effective practice method you will use to learn all new music.
If you are a beginner, this is the course you need to start correctly, and continue learning without hitting the usual playing plateaus. If you are one of the many long time players who have been stuck for years, and can't get better, this course will break down the barriers to your progress.
"The Principles" method is the most effective guitar learning method in existence, and it will work for you!
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|Section 1: Preparing To Practice Guitar: The Basics|
Hello and welcome to "How To Practice Guitar Effectively and Really Learn To Play"! I am very happy you are here, and I want to give you an idea of what we are going to do!
Everything about your guitar progress begins with how you sit and hold the guitar. Incorrect posture with the guitar will prevent your hands from developing, and even cause pain down the road. I often have to fix this for students who have been playing decades, and are stuck in their progress, or experiencing pain in the hands and body. So, we really need to get this right!
Once we are sitting correctly, we need to know how to position the right hand, for both pickstyle and fingerstyle guitar. These positions are critical because proper functioning of the pick or fingers depends on them.
|Section 2: Developing Right Hand Ability|
Before we actually pick notes, the large muscles of the shoulder and upper arm must be trained to move the hand to each string. The "Right Hand String Shifting Exercise", steps 1 & 2, will do that for us.
There is a lot to know about doing a simple down or up pick on guitar. We have to be especially careful to avoid tension in the hand. Here are the details you need to know.
Now we are ready to do down and up picks on each string. We will do this with a pick and also with the thumb, for those wanting to learn fingerstyle guitar.
In order to learn to play fast, pick movements on each string must be carefully practiced with no tempo, super slow, then with the metronome. We go from slow tempo to faster tempos using the Basic Practice Approach.
|Section 3: Developing Left Hand Ability|
Discovering the Floating Arm and Light Finger
Most guitar students have left hand problems due to improper training at the beginning. Here we prevent this as we teach all fingers to move lightly across the strings with the neceswsary curvature in each joint.
When we walk, we must constantly lighten one leg while we swing it in the air, meanwhile balancing on the other leg which is firm and supporting our weight. This is exactly how the fingers must function on the neck of the guitar. Here we learn to firm our fingers and add the weight of the arm - one of the secrets of great guitar playing!
Before we work with individual fingers, we must learn to move all the fingers across the strings using the heavy arm and firm fingers. This helps us keep the large muscles of the shoulder relaxed as we play.
Our first experience with using individual fingers should be with light, relaxed fingers. Here we will practice using the 3 primary finger combinations, 1-4,1-3 and 1-2, keeping them light as we move. This will help us greatly to stay relaxed in our playing.
Here we put everything together, using the heavy arm and firm fingers to walk across all strings with the primary finger combinations. Of course, when fingers move they are light, and become firm again as they press the strings to the fret, using the weight of the arm to help. In the accompanying pdf you will also find The Basic Practice Approach, which is used to effectively learn new material. We will use it here to work up speed, step by step, with the Foundation Exercises we have been learning.
Here are a few parting words from Jamie about how to continue developing as a real guitar player.
Jamie Andreas is the author of the world acclaimed method for guitar "The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar". Called "The Holy Grail" of guitar books, and "The International Bible Of Guitar", the Principles has enabled thousands of students worldwide who tried and failed to learn to play guitar for years or even decades, to become real guitar players.
In 2012 Jamie was profiled in the book "Guitar Zero" (Penguin Press 2012), a study of how adults learn to play guitar. NYU Professor Dr. Gary Marcus interviewed some of the worlds leading guitarist/teachers, including jazz legend Pat Martino and Tom Morello ("Rage Against The Machine"). He said.
"Another teacher who impressed me immensely was Jamie Andreas. The more we talked, the more impressed I became. Jamie is one of the few teachers who is interested in the relationship between muscle and brain and how to use one's body efficiently. Swim coaches and golf teachers consider such questions all the time, but it is decidedly rare in the field of guitar instruction.
Anyone who wants to be a true artist must start with sound fundamentals, and her classic book "The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar" is the closest an adult could come to developing the kinds of habits that are instilled in Suzuki training".
Leading educators in the field of guitar instruction have also praised "The Principles":
Acoustic Guitar Magazine: "The Principles" is a two time winner of Acoustic Guitar's "Players Choice Award" in the "Guitar Instructional" category
Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine:
We highly recommend not only guitarists but all musicians read and consider Jamie’s thoughts on the principles of correct practice….
David Grimes, Soundboard Magazine:
I have recommended “The Principles” highly in my Guitar Pedagogy class…an excellent supplement to any other method book, and it is enormously useful for teachers
David Issacs, Professor of Guitar, Cerritos College, CA: “The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar” by Jamie Andreas changed my life! I gained immense confidence in my ability to communicate with my students. My students are playing better, learning faster, and accomplishing more. Through the use of Jamie’s terminology in this book, I can explain technique in a way that anyone can understand."