I was delighted to come across this site. I'm a self-taught guitarist (largely electric guitar) and am continually looking to improve my playing and practice techniques. The change of running my thoughts past a group of like-minded experts (I hope!) is very appealing.
It's almost like a bit of a review I'm looking for: am I doing it right, are there any suggestions for improvement? Note, I am talking about practicing the physicality and mental aspect, not theory currently. I'm gearing up to record an album.
So, the number one principle I follow is that you need to be able to play something (let's say a phrase) slowly and without any tension before it can be played quickly. I'm in a band and mindset where most of the time I write fairly fast material that I know I cannot play perfectly and without tension at full speed, meaning I hope that I'm continually improving.
I actually wrote some guitar training software for myself so I can automatically record and adjust tempos for phrases. This is in lieu of a 'real' teacher but works the following way:
- Metronome plays on loop, pre-programmed to a low tempo (1/2 or less of target speed), with the correct time sig and # of bars in the phrase
- I hit a USB footswitch when I recognise I have tensed up at all, or made a mistake
- 5 successful phrase play-throughs in a row = tempo increased by 1 BPM automatically
- 5 mistakes in the last 5 phrase play-throughs? = tempo decreased by 1 BPM automatically
It also times the total time spent on each phrase/total across all phrases daily and across all time. So I do about 30-100 mins a day at the moment.
I think this is a good idea because it means I should never be far off playing it perfectly and without tension. If I improve, tempo goes up (slowly).
I have doubts too though: when I come back the next day it's plenty of mistakes and often the first say 15-20 mins are warming up/getting into the groove again.
Is there a flaw in all of that? Thanks!