Today I want to talk about something critically important for your jazz guitar practice session.
And it happens to be the easiest, most relaxing thing you could possibly do in your session.
It doesn’t require any theoretical knowledge, any technique, or..well…anything.
And yet, it’s perhaps one of the most important things you can do in your session. And skilfully using them can double your results in the practice room.
“What is this mysterious silver bullet you doth speak of?” I can hear you say.
Well, my friend, it’s simple.
Taking short breaks during your practice session.
“Huh? What’s the big deal about that?” (I knew you were going to ask that.)
Here’s the thing:
One of the biggest things I get asked about from my readers is this:
“There’s so much material I need to learn and remember in order to play jazz guitar! Not only is it overwhelming, I’m finding it takes too long in my practice sessions to memorize even a small part of what I need to advance my playing. What can I do?“.
Scientists have discovered something very interesting when observing how humans learn – the primacy/recency effect.
When we spend a practice session learning material (e.g. vocabulary, scales, tunes, whatever), we tend to retain the most of what we covered in the start of the session, and at the end of the session. In the middle of a session, there’s a dip in retention.
But here’s the thing:
If you add a short break in the middle of your session, that means you create an extra ‘end’ (i.e. at the end of the first ‘mini’ session) and an extra ‘beginning’ (at the start of the 2nd mini session).
You can double your retention of material you cover in your practice session, simply by adding a short break in the middle.
Go for a quick walk. Make a cuppa. Have a Kit Kat. Whatever.
Just do something that you like doing, that is relaxing and completely unrelated to your practice session.
Not only does it give your hands a break, it will take advantage of the primacy/recency effect described above.
That’s not all:
Because your mind is refreshed, having a short break will help better consolidate what you just covered – AND you’ll have more ‘attention energy’ available for the next piece of material you want to tackle on your to-do list.
Once you come back from your break, make sure you briefly review what you covered in the previous session – if you do, it will be far more likely to stick in your memory.
So go on, give it a try – take a short break mid-practice session. This is perhaps the easiest practice tip I could ever give you, but one of the most important ones!
Speaking of practice, you also need to make sure you are practicing the right things, the right way.
Help is at hand…
In just 2 weeks, I’ll once again be opening the doors to my online course, Fundamentals of Jazz Guitar Improvisation.
If you want to have a practice session worth having a Kit Kat in the middle of, then make sure you sign up to this revolutionary program.
Subscribe to my site to be informed when the next round of enrolments to the course will be offered (blue box on this page).
May the jazz be with you,