Something I struggled with in the past was the nagging feeling that I wasn’t making progress in some of areas of my guitar playing.
For example, I’d be practising ear training exercises every day and to be honest I wasn’t sure if I was actually getting better at recognising intervals. I felt like I was just guessing the answers even though I was doing everything possible not to.
I’d sing along with the notes, I’d imagine hearing a well known melody continuing after the second note and try to find the notes on my guitar. Basically I was doing everything right but I felt like I was grasping around in the dark.
But I persevered.
And slowly, very slowly my ‘guesses’ were right more often than wrong. And after a while I was consistently correct in hearing the different intervals I was testing myself on.
What I had to accept was that I had to keep doing the exercises and trust that my brain was learning on an unconscious level. My abilities were improving at such a small rate each day, that consciously I wasn’t aware that I was getting better.
But small improvements every day start to add up. Get momentum through that initial shallow part of the learning curve and soon you’ll start to notice that you’re getting better.
Keep practicing, trust that your unconscious mind is recognising the patterns and learning each moment and focus on doing the required exercises regularly.
It’s like any other skill where you have to attune your perception to more details than you would normally. In the same way that someone who wants to become a better cook has to develop their palate so they can discern different kinds of flavours better.
The same way that a dancer or martial artist must gain more precise control of their limbs and a better perception of their body in space.
And the same if you wanted to become a painter you would have to train yourself to really see the colours in front of you and to be able to select the right combinations of paint to represent reality on the canvas.
It’s just that in stead of paint you select notes to bring together in a way that reflects what you hear in your mind.
So whichever aspect of music theory or guitar playing you are working on. Keep practicing, trust that your unconscious mind is recognising the patterns and learning each moment and focus on doing the required exercises regularly.
Even if it’s only five minutes a day. It will all add up and soon you’ll notice real improvements in your abilities.
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