This micromanaging boss could be killing your jazz guitar progress

by | Jan 23, 2018 | Articles, General Updates | 2 comments

Have you been ever at work just trying to do your job, and there’s that micromanaging boss peering over your shoulder every five minutes, making sure you’re doing the job correctly?

Yes, it’s annoying – and gets in the way of your work.


Those “helicopter” parents that hover over their kids, watching and overanalyzing the tiniest details, and giving them a stern talking to every time they make a small mistake.

Here’s the thing:

When it comes to getting better at their instrument, a lot of jazz guitarists are approaching their practice in this “micromanaged” way.

Overanalysing themselves when they make any mistakes.

Wanting to get something perfect right then and there, and spending hour after desperate hour playing endless drills and exercises, but not getting anywhere and giving up thinking “Well, I’m just not good enough for this.”

Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret:

The problem is not their ability – it’s how they’re approaching their practice.

Let me explain:

Basically, the mind has two levels – the conscious mind and the subconscious.

The conscious mind is like the captain of the ship, giving orders to the crew and determining the direction the ship should go.

The subconscious mind is the crew – it’s actually what does all the work when it comes to guitar practice. The conscious mind’s job is simply to present problems to the subconscious mind. The subconscious is what does all the “heavy lifting” – figuring out the problem while you go walk the dog.

You need to leave the subconscious mind to simply do its job and not interfere.

In summary:

The best way to get better at your technique, or improvisation, or anything else, is to intimately know the relationship between the conscious and subconscious mind.

Because when you do…

You can structure your practice session in a massively more effective way, making loads more progress than if you bang your head against the wall for hours a day on end.

So now, the big question?

Are *you* micromanaging your practice, like that annoying obnoxious boss peering over your shoulder?

Greg O’Rourke,

Founder, Fret Dojo

World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

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  1. Ron Davis

    Is this a purely finger picking approach?

    • Greg O'Rourke

      Hi Ron,

      The new course will cover all styles of picking – plectrum, fingerstyle, and hybrid i.e. pick and fingers. I have a co-instructor for this course, Stuart King, who will be taking care of all things plectrum, whilst I’ll be focusing more on the fingerstyle side of things :)


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