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foreyez

I'm a software engineer in my profession but I've always loved playing music too. I play various instruments: celeste, harp, guitar, ukulele, oud, and various synths. I think programming and music are very much related. I use the same thought process in both. It's all about structures and loops. After playing for many years and learning from so many of my mistakes I can give you two of my biggest takeaways:

Rule #1: Don't ever use anything that tells you how to play something. That includes sheet music, tabs, etc. In my own practice all these things are banned. All too often teachers use sheet music as the primary way to teach music but in my opinion it just isn't effective. Tabs are just as bad. Both methods just show you what to press. Instead, develop your ear and musical vocabulary so you can "speak" it. You do this by learning music theory (scales/chords), playing any song you hear by ear, and practice improvising.

Rule #2: Don't look at your fingers when you play. It's the same as touch typing on a computer keyboard. If you look at your fingers, you train yourself to rely on visual patterns instead of developing your ear and muscle memory. Playing music should be as inherent as whistling. You don't look at your lips when you whistle, same should be applied to an instrument. Scales and chords are to be seen as training wheels. Learn everything you can about them, practice them for hours/months/years, and then forget about them. Muscle memory at some point should take over.

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