Jimi Hendrix and Free Flowing Guitar Practise

On September 9th, 1969, the great and wonderful Jimi Hendrix gave an interview with Dick Cavett.

During the interview, Hendrix was asked about his approach to guitar practice:

Dick Cavett: “You’re considered one of the best guitar players in the world. Do you have to practice every day the way a violinist does?”

Jimi: “I like to play to myself. Whenever I feel down or depressed, I just go out and play.”

“I can’t practice though. It’s always constantly what do you call it? Like a jam.”

“It’s hard for me to remember any notes because I’m constantly trying to create other things.”

“That’s why I make a lot of mistakes.”

Dick Cavett: “Do you read music?”

Jimi Hendrix: “No, not at all.”

Listening to the interview, It’s pretty clear that Jimi didn’t practice guitar in the traditional sense of following a dedicated practice schedule. Instead, his practice sessions appear to be more free-flowing, spontaneous, and expressive, built upon improvisation and creativity (jamming).

Jimi didn’t consider his practice sessions as “practice sessions”. Instead, he saw them as “playing sessions” that gave him a lift when he felt down.

Although I do believe in the power of a dedicated practice routine coupled with consistent repetition, I also believe in the power of Jimi’s free-flowing, spontaneous, and expressive approach. There’s something wonderful about being spontaneous and expressive. Jamming stuff out and creating new things and making mistakes along the way. It’s just fun. And I think we should all create a little space for these types of free-flowing “playing sessions”.

A practice routine is important, especially when you’re just starting out. But free up some of your practice time for playing time. Just just go with the flow, create stuff with no rules, jam, and feel good about whatever comes out.

Happy practice is healthy practice.

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