How a Black Belt Lesson Improved My Guitar Playing

black beltMany years ago, I discovered some very powerful martial arts techniques that can be used to improve your guitar playing. Today we will look at one of these techniques…the 10 Method.

The 10 Method is best used when you are having difficulty learning to play a new song, chord, scale or technique.

The goal of the 10 Method is for you to be able to repeat the music (new song, chord, scale or technique) 10 times in a row without a mistake.  If you make an error on the 9th repetition, you must start all over again on repetition one.  In other words, you haven’t mastered a song, chord, scale or technique, etc., until you can correctly perform it 10 times in a row.

Let’s say you have been working on a song for while now but you just can’t nail down that second riff.  The first thing you should do is isolate the limiting factor of the riff.  In the riff is there one part that you find to be trickier than the rest?  Is there one fingering that is giving you problems? Or, is it that you are having problems memorizing the notes in the passage?

Once you have determined the limiting factor for the riff you want to focus on just that one part.  Let’s say that the riff is 14 notes and you have determined the trouble spot in the riff is a 7 note passage.

Using the 10 Method your goal would be to play the 7 note passage correctly 10 times in a row.  As you apply the 10 Method to the passage you will find that either you will be able to master the passage with a bit of work, or you will discover that there is something within the riff that is giving you some trouble.  You might notice that you are rarely able to get past the 4th note without making a mistake.  If this is the case what you should do is start to break the passage down into smaller chunks.

First, play just the first 3 notes with the 10 Method.  Once you can play the first 3 notes correctly 10 times through, you are ready to add in the 4th note.

After you can play the first 4 notes correctly, start to work on the first 5 notes with the 10 Method.  Simply continue this process by adding in the additional notes and  you’ve got the trouble spot licked.

Now add in the additional notes from the riff and apply the 10 Method to the entire riff.

This just scratches the surface of the possible ways you can use this powerful technique. Feel free to experiment and come up with ideas of your own.


How a Black Belt Lesson Improved My Guitar Playing — 1 Comment

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