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Technical Exercises

An old saying states Practice makes Perfect.

This statement definitely applies to guitar skills, and it even does so in more aspects than the ones on first sight.

It sounds so evident: practice is required to learn and master a skill. Back to work, guys, on to hard labour on the guitar. With joy and due speed! Studies, scales, slurs, tremolo and rasguado.

Mmmm.. Studies? The word does sound a kind of boring. Why can’t I just make music? Should be sufficient, isn’t it? Don’t look for trouble, just solve problems as soon as they turn up and not a minute sooner.

Will your music turn into artistry right away with this approach? Without practicing your technical skills? I don’t think so..

In order to perform an art, you will have to master your means of expression. You cannot tell a story if you don’t know how to pronounce its words. You cannot write in a specific language if you miss the point concerning grammar and syntax. Nooo, just switching on the spelling- and grammar checker is NOT sufficient!

You acquire this mastership if you practice your skills.

Practice makes Perfect , however, implies some pain in this imperfect world. Prac­tice requires effort and time, both precious matter in a fast and result-horny society in which taking a breath before a final sprint is almost not done and results have to fall virtually down from heaven, because showing that things take effort is not Cool.

When I started playing the guitar, I just hated technical excercises. Scales? Well, that’s no music, sooo boring! Still every little piece has scales. Arpeggios? Are they actually useful, sounding like a kind of sewing machine? Still they are part of many accompaniments. Tricky slurs? Many a lick or riff becomes faster and more easy, using them.

After a while I started to like technical excercises, more in a kind of sporty sense. With a metronome as graduator and an injury as the result. So I got stuck with an ‘excercise-trauma’ in the end.

After almost thirty years of playing, however, I have to admit that as a consequence of my aversion I have missed some tools for making real music. I noticed this as the little annoyances about technical inaccuracies which emerge seemingly by chance but will not go despite practicing the piece day and night. Annoyances which affect the music..

So I restarted my technical excercises. As an enjoyable opportunity to concentrate on technical aspects rather than stumbling over them.

A good advice for every guitar player in the word: don’t wait that long with technical training as I did!

Practice makes Perfect!