Celebrating your victory

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A powerful experiment

I'd like to add a little note to yesterdays article. Most people that I have introduced these two methods to, has been very sceptical to whether they would really work or not. If you feel the same way, here's my recommendation:

Pick a one or two string lick that you would like to master. Then practice playing it to the point where you can do it without referring to the tablature. Then use the methods I described in the previous article and practice tapping and "picking" them for a few minutes. Then use this practice method for an entire week and don't practice the lick on the guitar at all!! This is important. Don't even attempt playing them before the week has past. Be sure to practice using these two methods several hours a day during the week.

Do it while you watch TV, while you sit in meetings, while you talk on the phone and even while you attend to more private matters in rooms with mirrors and water and stuff. Then when you've been doing that for a full week sit down and practice the lick on the guitar, using the metronome game. In the beginning you won't be able to play it any faster than you did a week ago, but you'll progress with ten times the speed! Why? Because you've spend a week contraction the muscles in your fingers, in the same sequence as you do on the guitar. And once the brain connects the "tapping" and the "picking"  exercises of the week with what you do on the guitar, it jumps to hyper speed very quickly. Try this little experiment and you'll be hooked on these strategies forever!

How to stay focused during the ten days

Ten days can be along time to stay focused on a single decision. So here are 5 quick tips to how you can make sure that you don't forget your plan and that you stay committed:

1. Read inspiring magazines

Buy a couple of guitar magazines and put them in places where you're most likely to pick them up. On your bed side table, in the car and in that room with the mirror and the water and stuff.

2. Read catalogs

I never met a shred happy person who didn't enjoy shopping for gear. Go to a music store and pickup several catalogues that you find interesting. Then scatter them around the house! You might even promise yourself something from one of the catalogues, when you've finished the ten days.

3. Concert movies

Order a live performance movie with one of your favorite artists and watch a couple of minutes of it each day.

4. Listen to inspiring music

Carry an MP3 player where ever you go and be sure to listen to the most inspiring music you have.

5. Desktop wallpaper and screen saver

Download a new wallpaper for your computer desktop. This will expose your eyes to something new and remind you of your ten day challenge. Also consider changing your screensaver to something inspirational.

Alright, now what do you do when the ten days are over?!

Celebrate your accomplishment

No matter how it went, celebrate! You've put yourself on the line. You've stepped out of the crowd and you've done something most people would never attempt. At this point it's not important whether or not you followed your plan exactly. But it is important to evaluate what you did right, and what you can do better the next time. and this is the key; ask yourself these two questions and write down the answers in a short list form:

1. What did I do right?

2. What can I do even better the next time?

These are the questions that will lead you towards more progress. Write as many answers down as you can on a piece of paper. It's important to write it down, because that will ensure that you remember it.

What to avoid at all costs

Just so you know what to avoid, I've created this list of questions you don't want to ask yourself:

1. Do I have the talent necessary to do this?
2. How come I can never follow through with anything?
3. How come I have no self discipline
4. Do I really have what it takes?
5. Was it really worth the effort?

If you ask yourself questions like these, you will destroy your chances of achieving your goals completely. So avoid them at all cost! Every answer you need, you will get from asking yourself these two questions (again):

1. What did I do right?

2. What can I do better the next time?

Time to rest

Wait at least ten days before embarking on a new breakthrough period. It's important that you take a long break in order for the brain to digest all the information you've been giving it. Again, this is not just a cute idea, it's crucial that you give your mental muscles time to grow and build themselves up, after this period of concentrated focus. Specifically it looks like this:

No preplanned structure

No preplanned structure on your practice sessions for the next ten day minimum. You can practice as hard as you want as long as you do it because you are naturally motivated. Don't attempt to use self discipline. Get right back to playing for fun! When you pick up the guitar, do it because you feel like it, not because you've planned a practice session.

Another Sick Approach to a Paul Gilbert Lick

This lick is an idea derived from a Paul Gilbert lick I learned a long time ago. It's not easy! But it's fun to play.

Give the 3 licks a break

See if you can avoid playing them at all, for at least 3 days. Then practice them again, but don't push yourself. Spend some time fooling around with the licks, integrate them with other things. If you can wait as much as ten days before you practice them again then that would be ideal. I'm sure you've made some serious progress during the ten days, but it's the pauses that gives you the greatest effect.

Practice something entirely different

During the next ten days try focusing on playing something entirely different from the 3 things you practiced. If your three licks where alternate picking licks, then practice your sweep technique or your economy picking routines instead. This will increase the likely hood of your brain getting the necessary break from the challenges you've been putting it through.