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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

A new approach to playing your guitar in 2013

Carlos interviewed on Radio Nuevo Leon Monterrey, Mexico, 2009

Just because your practise is urgent doesn't make it important too

I have had an idea for 2013. It's so obvious that I wonder why I haven't always had it uppermost in my mind. It's been there somewhere, and I have often acted according to it, but it has not always been at the forefront, rather more often than not it has lurked in the background. The idea lies there for long periods without so much as a peep from it, then all of a sudden rises seeking urgent attention pushing all other cerebral activity to the side.

My good idea will affect all my practise time, and will determine what to play, and how. Like many good ideas it is simple to understand and explain, but so much more difficult to accomplish. That's why my brain pushes it to the back of its in-tray.

Let's face it, our brain's in-tray has lots of things pending, some important and some less so, all competing for our attention. But here's the rub: the most urgent may not be the most important. They may need dealing with right away, so they push aside important activity. Let me give an example. While you are cooking you realise you have run out of salt. You run out to the shops to get some because it is urgent, but in the larger scheme of things it is not important.

What does this mean in terms of guitar playing (or any other instrument)? Our urgent daily activity goes something like this: we practise, we choose to learn a piece more or less within our ability, we dip into scale and arpeggio exercises, we get the fingers going on favourite studies.
But where does this leave the important things in the brain's bigger-scheme-of-things' in-tray?

So, here is my idea for 2013: move the important things to the front of the brain and let them determine the urgent things, not the other way round. Here's an example of how it works for you and me.

- Decide what you wish to be able to play by this time next year or the year after. It may be the Chaconne by J.S. Bach (and why not?).

- Now write a list of all you have to do technically and musically to achieve this. This is your important list.

- Now write a list of all the technical and musical study material on which you have been focussing these past months. This is your urgent list.

- Compare the two lists. If they are identical you are doing brilliantly. If there is no overlap then you better put your thinking cap on!

Here is a summary:
- urgent means thinking sequentially day by day into the foreseeable future.
- important means thinking backwards from what you wish to achieve in a year or two's time to what you need to do in the meantime to achieve this goal.

It's up to you to create a good balance between them, for it is as much to do with psychology and attitude as anything else. And all this applies to me too!

This has been my rough guide to urgent versus important guitar practise.

30th December 2012, Monte Carlo

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=2129 .
© 2019.

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