Guitar lessons in Edinburgh

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Welcome to the guitar lessons in Edinburgh blog! Here we've got some lesson material mixed in with some musings on learning music in general. Feel free to join in!

 

By Guitar lessons in Edinburgh, Jul 1 2019 09:27PM

A strange topic for the guitar lessons Edinburgh blog, but mental health is becoming an ever more recognized problem in today's society. Whether general mental health has gotten worse than it used to be, or simply that conditions like depression and anxiety are being more widely and openly recognized, it's certainly something that is a great cause of unhappiness for a large number of people. Much of this can be attributed to thought: idle hands and a wandering mind. Worrying about the future, or fretting over the past is occurs when one is lost in thought. Pascal said "Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for miseries and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries". Being distracted or lost in thought leaves one at the mercy of whatever negative train of thought might occur. What does this have to do with Edinburgh guitar lessons? Practicing an instrument is one of the few endeavors in modern life that one can (and should, if good results are to be achieved) concentrate on fully. The practice of meditation is to not be distracted by thought, to focus fully on things in the present (in classic meditation this is usually the breath, sounds and sensations in the body). By no means is it a susbtitute for medititaion (if that is your goal), but really concentrating on guitar practice restricts the amount of negative and unwanted distraction we get from other activites. It's been mentioned on this blog before, but even a technical exercise can be a lot to concentrate on.

"Are both hands completely relaxed? Are you playing with true legato? Are you using the minimum pressure with the left hand? Are you using the very tip of the finger? Are you able to vary the volume at will, or place accents on any beat?". Given the options for how we spend our time, and the activities which allow our minds to be distracted, concentrated guitar practice can be a great way of avoiding negative thought patterns. And the obvious massive side-effect is that after all this concentrated practice you'll have improved at guitar! As always, check out www.guitarlessonsinedinburgh.com for everything more.

By Guitar lessons in Edinburgh, Sep 24 2018 10:12PM

At Guitar lessons Edinburgh we've talked a lot about what to practice, but often just having the motivation or discipline to practice is a challenge in itself. That being said, part of this motivation and discipline IS knowing what to practice; it's far easier to start to learn guitar in Edinburgh when you have some clear tasks in front of you. So perhaps knowing what to play is the first step, sticking to that and actually picking the guitar up must be a close second. Now one aspect of learning an instrument that isn't acknowledged enough is the technical repetition. Whatever it is, a scale, an arpeggio, a lick, these things just need to be played over and over again. Might seem boring? It's definitely a problem for any guitar teacher in Edinburgh However I believe there are two neat ways of getting around this. The first is do it while you're watching T.V. or listening to a podcast or YouTube. A lot of people choose to relax by watching T.V. (or Netflix if you're all modern) so why not get better at guitar while you're doing it? And that really works too, and you really should do it. In fact I'd argue if you want to improve at guitar it's completely crazy to watch anything without the guitar in your hand! The other method of getting around being bored is to do the opposite: concentrate and perfect every single variable within a technical exercise, and slow it down enough until your doing them all at once. Are both hands completely relaxed? Are you playing with true legato (in other words have you left absolutely no silence between the notes)? Are you using the minimum pressure with the left hand? Are you using the very tip of the finger? Are you able to vary the volume at will, or place accents on any beat? That's a lot of questions to answer, and managing to stay on top of all of them takes a lot of concentration, but in a good way, like a kind of meditation. I actually believe this kind of practice carries a lot of the same benefits as what's known as mindfulness meditation, in that your attention is on one specific thing and not distracted with all the neurotic thoughts most of us put ourselves through constantly! So, give them both a try, I promise you good results. As always, check out more at www.guitarlessonsinedinburgh.com.

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