I’m goint to give you four rules for HOW to learn. It will help if you keep these rules in mind as you learn how to finger pick your guitar. I recommend that you write them down, or copy them off my site and print them. Keep them in your guitar case. Before each practice session read these rules again, think about them and then start your session. Then it’s important that you make sure you DO NOT BRAKE these rules as you practice. Learn to use them as you learn new finger picking patterns. This will help you to make those important memory connections between those neurons in your brain sure, thick and strong. Following these “four rules” you will make the fastest and best progress while learning the difficult art of finger style guitar. You will see!
Remember and practice these 4 rules when Learning HOW to finger pick.
#1. Repetition – This is the key. If you repeat a finger picking pattern over and over, enough times, you will learn it. I like to tell my students that you want to “burn” that pattern into your brain. Sheer repetition is what will make those connections (Synapses) between the neurons in your brain stronger and stronger. You want them to be thick and strong. Repetition is the key to memory! Repeat over and over!!!
#2. Start slowly – Start slowly and gradually increase speed. It’s important not to make mistakes. If you do - STOP! DO NOT PRACTICE IT WRONG! When you make a mistake, Stop immediately! DO NOT LEARN IT WRONG! Start again but this time slow way down again and get it right. Then very gradually increase speed again. Remember that for now, doing it right is MUCH more important than speed. You will find that speed will come in time. So be patient with yourself. Each time you practice a pattern you will be able to increase speed. I strongly recommend using an electric metronome, rhythm guide or drum machine for this purpose. Using the machine as you increase speed will help tremendously and you will “see” your progress as the days, weeks an months go by. This will also help encourage you!
#3. Keep learning sessions short – When learning a new picking pattern make sure you do not over do it. Work on it for only about 15 minutes and that is all. Then go on to something else you already ‘know.’ If you want to practice one hour a day on learning a new picking pattern, then make it four fifteen minute sessions. This is because the mind learns best when it’s fresh. Think in terms of making progress in the long run rather than doing it all right now. Measure your progress on a monthly basis. Anytime it becomes too difficult during a practice session and you start to make mistakes, and slowing down doesn’t seem to help – STOP your learning session completely! DO NOT PRACTICE IT WRONG! Your done for now!
You will find that the next time you practice, your speed will have improved. REMEMBER - With the drum machine, you will “see” your progress!
AGAIN……. I’ll repeat this;
I recommend that you copy these rules and put them in your guitar case. Each time you begin a LEARNING session with the picking – First read the RULES and then do your practice session using them. DO NOT brake the rules! If you do this you will learn at the fastest possible rate and you will have better sucsess in mastering your guitar playing.
For me personally, the worship of and service to my God is ABSOLUTELY without question the most important thing in my life. So understand me when I say this – “use these RULES for learning “RELIGIOUSLY”!!!! If you do, then your learning abilities will be at their peak performance, and you’ll improve rapidly.
There are many other suggestions that will help you too. But that’s for later! You will see these on the finger picking patterns pages.
Oh YES! Rule #4 Did you think I forgot?
Have fun! Very important RULE!
That’s why we do this! Practice sessions should be enjoyable! If you’re not having fun then go do something else and come back to finger picking at another time. If not having fun becomes a habit then I suggest taking up something else!