Week 6: Days 35 to 41

Day 35: Monday, May 3rd 2021

Practice Time – 40 mins

Here we go again!

Today I worked on all my open chords through a number of different chord progressions and songs to keep things interesting. And yes, I used the pick.

Current Thoughts:

The more time I spend in these early stages of learning, the more I realise it’s all about the fingers – finger dexterity, finger independence, finger stretch, and finger strength.

With this noted, I started adding chord extensions to my current chords. I did this to give my fingers a more thorough workout in a bid to fast track their conditioning. The chord extensions were a nice addition, and they also sounded musical.  

Day 36: Tuesday, May 4th 2021

Practice Time – 45 mins

Today I practised for 30 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. 

During the morning session, I randomly ran through some Oasis songs. No real reason, other than because it felt good. A lot of Oasis songs are played with fingers 3 and 4 anchored throughout, so I’m hoping they’ll help me improve my 4 finger G chord.

I also ran through all the other chords. However, I’m still feeling limited by my fingers lack of conditioning. So, very reluctantly, I decided to throw in a traditional technical exercise hoping that it would help fast track my technique a bit. As expected, it really bored me, but I do sense that my fingers are a little sharper. 

The evening session was far more relaxed. I randomly picked the guitar up for 15 minutes and strummed through all of my chords and changes. I felt really nice. 

This casual approach seems to resonate with me much more than a disciplined routine consisting of technical exercises and specific amounts of time to practice etc. It might not produce results as quickly (who knows?), but it definitely feels better. And this is really important for me.

Progress update after 28 Days of Practice.

Day 37: Wednesday, May 5th 2021

Practice Time – 20 mins

Today’s session began with a technical exercise. It was boring, but I think it helps a little! 

I then ran through Blowin In The Wind by Bob Dylan (G, Cadd9 and D) and Goodnight Irene by Lead Belly (G, D and A). I know these songs already through playing right-handed. Both songs sound ropey (as is the case right now), but it was fun.

Day 38: Thursday, May 6th 2021

Practice Time – 10 mins

I couldn’t bring myself to practice any technical exercises today (that didn’t last long). Instead, I worked on Little Talks by Of Monsters And Men, specifically to practice the Am, F, C and (4-finger) G chords. 

The C and the F chords are still Last Level Boss chords, and they’re going to need time.

Day 39: Friday, May 7th 2021

Practice Time – 0 mins

No practice today. Just had a very busy day.

Day 40: Saturday, May 8th 2021

Practice Time – 0 mins

No practice again today.  Out and about with the family all day. 

Day 41: Sunday, May 9th 2021

Practice Time – 5 mins

Managed to get 5 minutes in today. Yey! 

Nothing special. Just a very quick strum.

Weekly Round Up

Total Days Practiced: 5

Monday – 40 mins

Tuesday – 45 mins

Wednesday – 20 mins

Thursday – 10 mins

Friday – x

Saturday – x

Sunday – 5 mins

Total Weekly Minutes Practiced:

2 hours

End of Week Thoughts: 

This week started well but seemed to taper off a little towards the end. All in all, I’m quite happy with 5 days of practice out of 7, especially as I’m not forcing myself to practice (which is important to me). 

Progress can be Deceptive

In terms of progress, I don’t feel as though I’ve made much ground this week. I don’t feel that I’ve improved that much. That said, our perception of how much we’re improving can be deceptive. When I watch back last weeks progress video and compare it to this weeks video, I’ve definitely improved a little.

Technical Exercises

This lack of felt improvement led me down a temporary path of Technical Exercises. I’m really not a fan of technical exercises. I just find them really boring and I’d benefit more by practising things that are more musical. Also, as far as I know, all of my favourite guitar players (Jimi Hendrix, Peter Green, Johnny Marr etc) never did technical exercises.

This is one of the problems that people face when their primary focus becomes that of Progress. It takes us down a path where we jeopardise the Process, for Progress. We choose to practice things that bore and frustrate us in the hope for quicker Progress. 

Process vs Progress

This gets me thinking more about the whole Process vs Progress thing. 

In my experience, whenever I’ve been overly focussed on Progress, my learning experience suffered. I’ve always obtained the best results when I’m enjoying the process of learning and playing. So this is what I’m going to be mindful of going forward. 

Enjoy the Process, and Progress looks after itself.

Variation vs Focus

As a general rule, I like to focus more energy on less stuff. But I also like to keep things interesting through variation. So, should I focus my energy on less stuff, or continue to vary things up? Again, the key for me is to follow what feels the best, and I think that’s variation. Variation might not produce results as quickly and as visibly as focusing on less, but it’s a more enjoyable experience for me and it makes me want to practice more.

This said, even though I’m running through lots of different songs, I’m still only practising the exact same chords, albeit in different orders – so there’s that too!