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The ultimate speed building strategy
In this blog I'm going to show you exactly how I went from playing like a turtel to shredding like a lamborghini. This is the most effective way, I know, to build incredible technique. It will not only make sure that you progress as fast as possible, it will also give you amazing precision in what you do. I call it The Metronome Game (Tadaaa). And it is truly a game. Besides making your practice sessions many times more effective, it actually makes them more fun. You will find yourself practicing a lot more when you use this method.
Predicting the future
But the best part about this way of practicing, is that it enables you to predict the future. Let me explain: because it's a very methodical and systematic approach to practicing it gives you a way to predict how long it will take you to reach a certain speed level with any given lick. After a few hours using this method - you will have a complete overview of how much you can expect to progress in the near future.
Destroy your self doubts
Because you can predict exactly how much time you have to spend to be able to reach the level you want, you built the certainty that you can accomplish anything. You can sit down and practice any lick that seems impossible for you to play, and then after a very short period of time, you will be able to create a simple plan that will ensure that you will learn the lick. You will build an incredible confidence, based on this strategy, a confidence that will inspire you to practice more. There’s nothing more satisfying, than to know that your path to the stars, is securely laid out in front of you.
Let's get started!
1. Get a metronome!
All right, let's begin. You are going to need a metronome since this is the focal point of this strategy. If you don't have one, you can find an online metronome right here:
2. Get a lick!
Then you need to come up with a lick that you’d like to learn. I suggest you use the lick in this blog if that’s suitable for you.
3. Chunk it and commit to memory
Before you begin practicing with the metronome, you have to learn the lick, so that you can play it without looking at the notes or the tablature. In other words: you have to be able to play it from memory, but you don't have to play it very fast yet. If the link is a very long one, you need to chunk it down into smaller pieces. This is extremely important! Don't try to learn too much at a time, I’ve touched on that in a previous blog.
Take a break and try this rather hysterical blues lick. It requires a little stretching but it's worth it!
4. How high can you fly?
Now that you can remember the lick, and you have reduced it to a managable chunk, you are ready to begin. You now need to find out how fast you can play it while still maintaining precision in what you play. So start the metronome and play to the click. Then take it as high as you can and write that number down on a piece of paper, or even better: in a notebook that you have for that purpose only.
5. Go back 10 and play it 50 times
Now the challenge is to surpass that maximum level, and this is how to do it: Note at what time you begin your practice session. Then take the metronome back 10 clicks. This is the speed at which you will start practicing the lick. You now need to come up with the number of times you are going to repeat the lick, before you move on to a higher level. So let's say your highest level was 96 you then took the metronome back to 60 and started playing the lick at that speed. Then let's say you decided on repeating the lick 50 times before moving on. So you would play the lick 50 times, starting on the number 60 on the metronome.
6. Move it up, push beyond and measure
When you’ve repeated the lick 50 times - you move the metronome one step up. This increase in speed will seem almost like nothing happened. But be patient here; the benefit will be obvious later. Then repeat the lick 50 times again. Then move one step up on the metronome and so on. At a certain point you surpass your previous highest level, and this is where you feel gooood. Then continue as far as you can, and try to push beyond what feels comfortable, when you reach your new highest level. Then write down at what speed you lost accuracy and precision. This will be your new benchmark.
7. What time is it?
Now it's time to look at the clock, and write down how much time you used to get from where you were to where you are now. Write that number down as well. Then repeat the process, go back 10 clicks on the metronome, and let this be your new starting point. So again let's say you started on 96 then you went back 10 clicks to 60. Then you work your way up playing the lick 50 times before proceeding to the next level. Then you surpass the 96 and went all the way up to 104. Then you go back 10 steps down to 66 on the metronome.
8. Can't go any higher?
You can experience two things in this process:1. You surpass your previous highest level 2. You keep hitting your highest level and can't seem to go any further. In case number one everything is fine and dandy, you are on the right track. In case number two you must increase the number of steps you go back on the metronome, or the number of times you repeat the lick at every stage. If you can't seem to go beyond your current level of speed, then you have either hit the upper level of what is humanly possible, or you need to increase your numbers. Also be aware of the size of the lick you are practicing. A good guiding rule for you would be not to practice anything above 12 or 16 notes at a time. Unless you are playing a much bigger pattern consisting of little patterns that you have already practiced to perfection.
9. Predict the future and feel certain
Now it's time to predict the future. Look at how much time you’ve spend, and how far you went during that time. Then decide what would be your optimal speed. Then calculate how much practice time you are going to need to get to your destination. Though you might adjust your prediction as you go along, the more you do this, the more precise your predictions will be. This is an important step because it makes you realize how simple it really is to achieve incredible levels of speed.
People used to call me “Extremely talented!” some even thought I possesed some super human power that allowed me to play with such precision and speed. But I knew that it wasn’t anything close to talent and that the only super power I had was that little game with the metronome. Now it’s yours - so run with it!
In my next blog I will show you how to gain an extra 4 hours of practice a day. So be sure to sign up for those RSS feeds or register to recieve an email when I publish the blog. Have great fun until next time!
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