Properly digesting new material is integral to mastery of technique, rhythm & harmony, and boosting creativity.
Just like when eating a meal, it is in your best interest to chew the food thoroughly before you swallow. This helps your body efficiently absorb nutrients.
What happens when you try to swallow too big of a bite before you chew? What happens when you aren’t done swallowing and you put more food in?
When you are young and choke enough times, you quickly learn to chew more before you swallow. Why? Because it is highly apparent that something isn’t working properly.
“Choking” while playing an instrument is either when you keep failing at the same phrase, and/or, you are unknowingly holding your breath for extended periods of time. (will have a separate blog on this).
Do this enough times, and instability will be consistent in your playing.
Many players who are struggling are simply not being patient enough to chew the new information at a comfortable rate. The impulse for instant gratification drives them into cramming too much information. You cram the info, choke, then spit up the nutrients. This is not the way.
The answer to a problem you didn’t know you had is PATIENCE.
Being patient on a granular level will allow you to pause and BREATHE frequently without fear of wasting time; allowing you to remain focused for a deep practice session without going brain dead from oxygen deprivation.
A fantastic book called Effortless Mastery, by Kenny Werner, sums this up by suggesting the ACTION of removing your hands from the instrument frequently in practice sessions.
One focused way of practicing patience & precision is working on a phrase or pattern with a metronome like this:
In 4/4, at 100bpm. Verbally count to 4 out loud with the metronome, and then play strictly 1 bar of a pattern. Then repeat with the flow of the metronome COUNTING OUT LOUD to 4.
||: 1 2 3 4 | D D D D :|| (Verify muted strums sound good then use metronome)
then ||: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | D DU U DU :||
Paradiddles for drummers
||: 1 2 3 4 | R l r r :|| then ||: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | R l r r L r l l :||
Equal REST for equal PLAY.
You might need two bars of rest and 2 bars of play. Or 4 and 4.
You can always rest longer, but use a metronome, so the rest values are within the flow.
Repeat as many times as necessary until the phrase feels effortless.
Thank you again for reading. We hope you find this information helpful in your journey towards a better you. If you’d like additional assistance or want to discuss your journey one on one, call us today to get plugged into the community.
Your friendly NAMS staff