Recital Time!

How To Dramatically Improve Your Guitar Playing
In Only 10 Minutes A Day

By Dan Denley

You have to think of your body like an athlete does his or hers, and do a little "conditioning" every day. You should start, NOW. Don't put this off.


                             QUICK EXPLANATION OF THE EXERCISES:

* These are tablature. * Each dashed lined is a string. * The numbers are frets.

(Not finger numbers).

Guitar exercise#1:


|---------------------1234-2345---------------------| <-- E string |-----------------1234---------2345-----------------| <-- B string |-------------1234-----------------2345-------------| <-- G string |---------1234-------------------------2345---------| <-- D string |-----1234---------------------------------2345-----| <-- A string |-1234-----------------------------------------2345-| <-- E string


Guitar exercise #2:

|---------------------4321-5432---------------------| |-----------------4321---------5432-----------------| |-------------4321-----------------5432-------------| |---------4321-------------------------5432---------| |-----4321---------------------------------5432-----| |-4321-----------------------------------------5432-|


Guitar exercise #3:

|---------------------1423-2534---------------------| |-----------------1423---------2534-----------------| |-------------1423-----------------2534-------------| |---------1423-------------------------2534---------| |-----1423---------------------------------2534-----| |-1423-----------------------------------------2534-|


Guitar exercise #4:

|---------------------1324--2435---------------------| |-----------------1324----------2435-----------------| |-------------1324------------------2435-------------| |---------1324--------------------------2435---------| |-----1324----------------------------------2435-----| |-1324------------------------------------------2435-|


You will want to take these all the way up to about the 12th fret. Then reverse them and come all the way back down. Also, you can practice these same exercises picking both up and down, then all down, then all up.

Q: My child doesn't like to practice. Is there anything I can do?
A: Loads of things!

* Establish a set time for practice every day so that it's as routine as eating lunch.
*Clear the area of distractions, including teasing siblings, video games, televisions, loud phone conversations, and the pianist’s own cell phone and I-pod.
*Practice the night of the piano lesson, even though this is hard, so that what was said is still remembered, even fresh.
*Break practice into manageable chunks in the beginning, of say two 10-minute sessions, and work up to longer sessions.
*Take a moment a few nights a week to listen and talk about practice with your child. You’re incredibly busy, but if you make time for it, they’ll know it’s important.
*Don’t say that practice makes perfect, but instead, that perfect practice makes perfect. Learning something new is far easier than having to unlearn something learned incorrectly.

Plus, know that at the beginning you’ll actually need to help. Practice involves counting, note recognition, rhythm, fingering, listening, and that’s the easy stuff. Because beginning students – children and adults – don’t remember everything they have to do, they get frustrated. Help your child focus by having them play several measures well first rather than the whole piece; make practice a game; occasionally use small rewards (jelly bean practice, perhaps); and above all, if your child just cannot sit still, reward progress by letting him or her run up and down the stairs or do jumping jacks at the end of playing a measure or song well.

Finally, know that your not liking to practice placed you in legendary company. Almost everyone, at some point, has balked at practicing. The renowned pianist Arthur Rubenstein credited his mother with getting him through horrendously rough practicing patches and most piano teachers have a few outrageous stories from their own childhoods. Our own alumni tell us that that it was what their parents said and did that kept them going. So yes, there is much you can do. The above will get you started and if you need more ideas, let us know. We have many ideas.
(The Music Studio, Albany, NY)