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Day 5: Play

There really was a time, not so long ago, when children taking music lessons were rapped across the knuckles with a ruler when their music teacher judged them to have gone astray. Our approach is just a little different.

We want you to enjoy your instrument. We do hope you'll put in the work, but our conviction is that the better you get, the more you will love it. Phase 5, the final installment of our Perfect Practice program, offers a few thoughts on how practice time merges with play time.

It sounds corny, but your ongoing progress as a musician will depend on your dedication to practice and your courage to push boundaries. Here are 8 tips to push your playing!

1. Get In the Game

Anything and everything you learn should be applied to a true musical context as soon as possible. Scales are just scales and licks just licks until they come to life within a real musical setting. Try out what you've learned against jam tracks. Then grab a jam track from a completely different style and see how your new part might work in that groove.

2. Share Your Music

Throw a few tracks up on YouTube and see what kind of feedback you get. Upload some of your own recordings to Soundcloud, and offer constructive feedback to your peers. Sometimes we get so caught up in sounding right or perfect that no one else hears the music. A fellow musician may unlock a problem for you. Hang it out there.

3. Meet Other Players

The web can keep you connected and collaborating even if you're geographically isolated. Introduce yourself to another player — the Forum is a good place, lesson discussions, or our social media — and see what you may have to offer one another.

4. Try a New Style

Been a Strat-toting rocker for years? Dust off your acoustic and pick up a course on Fingerstyle guitar. Does the playing of Danny Gatton leave you slack-jawed and wanting to quit? Grab a course on Twang and see how close you can get.

5. Learn to Read Music

Soundslice interactive tab lays out examples in both tab and in traditional music notation and allows you to follow along as the video performance is being played. It's a great tool to begin teachng yourself how to read music.

6. Avoid the Rut

The next time you pick up your guitar, try not to play a single thing you've played before. How long can you go before you fall into your well-worn licks, tricks, and grooves? Try something new and you stand to add something to your repertoire.

7. Attempt Something Difficult

Every so often, try reaching over your own head. Test yourself with a something that strikes you as impossibly difficult. Sure, there's a chance you'll find it humbling. But there's a better chance that you will realize it's not so unapproachable.

8. Explore Tone & Technology

It's not too often your meet a fellow guitarist who doesn't share a serious jones for gear. It's one of our indulgences, sure, but new gear and technology can also help a player achieve the tone he or she is searching for. Start with one of our gear-centric courses.

From all of your new buds here at TrueFire, welcome to the inner circle. We count on your feedback to improve our offerings, so please don't be afraid to let us know what you think.

We hope this five-phase program on Perfect Practice will help you get a ton of enjoyment from your new membership. By now you probably understand what we mean when we say&hellp; Practice smart and play hard!

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