We all know that we need to practice something to get better at it, but why?
Why do we have to practice to get better? It must be having some effect on our body… but what is it?
There is a conceptual and a physiological answer to this, and I will briefly go over both.
Conceptually, we are looking at making playing guitar easy. I may have used this analogy before, but indulge me. Untie your shoe lace. Now tie it back up. Was that easy? Did you have to think about it at all? Could you do it with your eyes shut? Easily! Why? Because you are a virtuoso at tying your shoe laces! You don’t have to consciously think about it at all, you just do it.
Now… can you remember when you started tying your shoe laces? I imagine it was pretty difficult, right? You may have wondered if you would ever get it. But, you persisted. Not learning to tie your shoe laces was never an option. You practised over and over… and you got it. Then you proceeded to do it every single day, several times a day, for years, possibly even decades! That is why it is so easy. That, is why you can tie your shoe laces almost completely subconsciously.
That is what we will do with your guitar playing.
I’m sure you have felt that mental struggle when you are trying to do something that you are not yet very good at. Whether it’s a sport, playing an instrument or some mental process like doing maths. What causes that feeling of mental frustration?
Everything we do, think and feel is based on patterns of neutrons in our brain. When we “think” or “do” something, a little pulse of electricity flows through a set of patterns in our brain, triggering other flows, which ultimately leads to a movement, or a thought. When we struggle to do something, it is because our brain is struggling to find the right “route” to send the electrical signal down. Now fortunately for us, if the route doesn’t exist, or isn’t very good, the brain will improve it for us. The brain will create new connections and strengthen existing connections… but only if it needs to. It decides which connections need work based on how recently they were used. This why your brain has such excellent connections for the “shoe lace” neurons. After making the correct connections, the brain then makes them more efficient by adding a chemical called “myelin” to the connection. This helps the signal flow better. The more we repeat an action, the more myelin that gets deposited on a neutron, the better the signal flows… and the less we need to consciously think about it.
This is how we are going to reprogram your brain to turn you into a good guitar player.
The conceptual and physiological ideas we talked about here are the reasons why you practice and what we are working towards achieving by practising.