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Songwriter September

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Day 3: Work Patiently and In Time

Welcome to the third day of your TrueFire journey and part 3 of our series on Perfect Practice. This is where we establish a plan and start making the most of all the available instructional content.

There are a lot of great ways to jump-start your playing, but you have to give yourself time to learn. That means not only allowing it to take a while but actually dedicating time on your calendar to practice.

Furtermore, any instructor worth his or her salt will tell you that new or difficult parts should first be played slowly, and in time. The "in time" part of that is crucial. A lot of players, anxious to play a part up to tempo, sacrifice feel and fluidity.

Here's a suggested plan of action and 8 tips for working patiently and in time!

1. Use a Calendar

Earmark specific hours on your weekly planner or calendar for practice. Set reminders on your phone or do whatever it takes to stick to a regular regimen. Invitations and obligations will inevitably encroach on your time. Don't be thrown off.

2. Prioritize

Assign practice work according to your priorities. For example, if you decided exploring the blues is a priority, decide how much of your time in the next month will be dedicated to that subject compared to composing or free-jam time. Plot your hours accordingly on a calendar.

3. Take Small Bites

Don't try to do it all at once. You may be interested in soloing, songwriting, recording, expanding repertoire, rhythm playing, ensemble playing, etc. Decide on just two or three core interests for every three months or so, and give them all of your creative attention.

4. Keep a Journal

Use our My Practice Journal tool to keep track of your goals and your progress. Highlight the stuff you most enjoyed and the lessons that inspired the biggest leaps in your playing. Also note your trouble spots and plot time to continue working on them.

5. Take It Slow & Loop

With our slo-mo feature, you can slow down a part of a lesson to the tempo of your choosing without altering the pitch. There's also a looping function within our players so you can set a start-stop points around a specific phrase or part. Increase the tempo incrementally, but not until you can nail a part perfectly at the slower tempo.

6. Use a Metronome

Whether you're working with a TrueFire course or something else that has come across your music stand, you can always tune up using our tuner and set a strict tempo using our metronome. Practicing to a steady beat is a must whether it's a metronome, a rhythm loop, or a backing track.

7. Play Along

Once you've worked a part up to tempo you can play along to the jam tracks or the playalong lessons included with many courses. These backing tracks are accessible through the video player and are the same tracks that back the on-camera artist.

8. Repeat

Repetition is key to burning concepts into your mind and increasing the “muscle memory” in your fingers. For lessons you really love or that really need work, you may want to favorite that lesson or mark it as In Progress. Come back to it anytime you have a spare five minutes.

Hope you're off to a good start. Check back tomorrow for Day 4 of 5 Days of Perfect Practice. Until then, practice smart and play hard.

"Music is memory. Working on it many times throughout the day is better than once every few days." - Bruce Arnold, TrueFire Educator and Guitar Professor at NYU & Princeton University




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