Are you having a hard time hitting a phrase of notes in a song? I have a quick solution to your tiny problem!
- Our first step is establishing and working out which notes we need to hit, what techniques are used to get the sound we want.
- Our second step is finding out what tempo they’re playing the song, you’d be surprised how often you’re playing the song at the wrong tempo.
Now that we’ve worked through that duh stuff. We need to practice that phrase alone for a dedicated amount of time, let’s say fifteen minutes (I know you have at least fifteen minutes today). Don’t worry about the rest of this song. Just focus on that phrase. Sit with a metronome and put in the work. This is where you will actually improve. YOU MUST PUT IN THE TIME!
Let’s say you’re having a hard time switching to a specific chord.
I like to run this drill if that’s the case. Take your hand and form the chord with your fret hand, then touch your leg with your fretting hand. It’ll look something like this.
I really want to drive this home. You need to use a metronome when you practice. This will keep you straight when you’re practicing. If you’re not able to keep up with the metronome at beats per minute (bpm) the song requires, slow it down 10 bpm. After you’ve mastered that bump, the bpm up 5 till you have that. Repeat that until you’re 10 OVER the speed the song requires! This will ensure your subconscious that you have mastered the part! (Sneaky, huh?) If you absolutely HATE using one, use a drum machine. But the metronome is the best, it won’t let you hide what you need to improve.
- If you’re already up around 200 bpm, you can start over with 8th notes, triplets and 16th notes. I am notoriously bad at 16th notes. This drill has really helped me to improve my stamina and timing. It’s hands down the best drill for strumming/picking technique.
If Having trouble with a full solo?
Break it into chunks that you can understand. 99% of music follows a set of rules. Once you understand that the solo you’re playing is in a G Mixolydian scale, you can switch over to start practicing that. Does the word Mixolydian scare you? It shouldn’t! You don’t have to understand everything about the concept to be able to use it well.
Understand that these things take time dedicated to that specific part.
Sure, sometimes you can pick something up, and it just works right off that bat. But more often than not, you have to spend time working on the part. Don’t be discouraged! It’s part of life, and it’s what makes it rewarding.
Respect your craft and put in the time. Most of the time, it’ll only take 20 minutes of dedicated practice to get something solid. If it’s a complicated part, sure it’ll take a couple hours. But that’s really not that long if you think about how many hours you have in your life, or just spend bingeing Nextflix! I believe in you!
As a sign of good faith, here’s America’s sweetheart flipping you off