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stewblack

Stop Practicing Your Mistakes

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I have often suspected that playing the same part incorrectly more than once is actually building unwanted muscle memory.

Seems I'm right. If you see a tough bit coming up then slow down immediately, the first time you play it.

click the link for the science! 

🔗

Edited by stewblack
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I regularly used to have this argument with a previous band! Well, mostly the guitarist...

We would practice a new tune repeatedly, until we got it right. Everyone bar me would then want to move on to the next song. I would try to argue that we had just practiced the mistake six times and the correct version once! And that might have been a fluke...

They wouldn't get the concept, and yet constantly bemoaned the fact that our live shows were never very polished. I gave up eventually and moved on.

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This is very true.

If I start repeating a mistake I either stop or slow down.

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A complementary concept is don't keep practising things you can already play perfectly. It’s tempting but is one of the biggest blockers to getting better.
 

A good balance of things to practice should include tackling things you cannot play, but with moderation - for example take a lick/line you know well, and redo it over different harmony (e.g. minor instead of major), or with different meter/time signature. It really helps develop vocabulary.

When improvising, always play with some kind of chordal accompaniment. Improvising without context is the origin of noodling :)

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I like playing along to the radio.

I don't mean trying to be not perfect, but seeing ho fast I can pick up the key and style, and how well I can anticipate the changes especially in unfamiliar songs.

I couldn't do this for toffee twenty odd years ago, but much better now - has helped give me the confidence to improvise/jam in a rock idiom which has already proven useful (nothing impresses a guitarist more than when you can play along  without asking for the chords 🙂 they are easily pleased).

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On 16/10/2020 at 22:23, Simon. said:

we had just practiced the mistake six times and the correct version once!

That is wisdom, Simon.

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I find that if I play a mistake and don’t stop and go back to correct it I am prone to making that mistake again. I think it isn’t just muscle memory there is all something psychological going on too, this happens when I’m playing my own basslines too!

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Interesting stuff and it makes sense. I have often stopped working on something after the first time I actually nailed it and then have trouble the next time I try it. I'm currently working on some swing stuff (melody) on my DB and Slipped Disc is on my list, not bad slow but I always try to speed up before I can really play it from memory and it goes sideways fast. That article has got me going the slow and steady correct way before trying faster tempos. Thanks for the link. Just poured a coffee and now it's time to get back to the bass and learn to be patient.😋

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