So I was watching an interesting video today, by Derek Halpern, who was more or less talking about achieving your goals and how to best diminish procrastination- things that are very relevant to a lot of things- Guitar-playing being no exception.
Now we all know what it can be like when you need to practice or just generally do something. We make excuses for ourselves. So for example we might need to practice our Guitar (in this newsletter we will focus on Barre Chords) but we might decide that it’s too late to practice, or you’re too tired, or you have too much other stuff to do or whatever you want say for yourself.
Now I’m not trying to turn this newsletter into a Motivation Speech Letter here (although I sort of am), but I’m going to try something different this week, and give you some ideas on things you could be doing to help you to learn and practice your Barre Chords whilst juggling any pressing matters or busy schedules you may have to fulfil.
Why Barre Chords you ask? There are 3 reasons for this and I shall tell you all of them:-
1. Barre Chords are easy to lose interest in, due to the strain they put on your fingers,
2. I haven’t covered Barre Chords in a while,
3. Because why not?
Okay so with the formalities out the way- here’s a mantra I think you should try!
“Before I go to sleep tonight I will spend 5 minutes practicing my Barre Chords.”
Sounds almost disappointingly simple, I know. But it really frickin’ helps! I even did it with this Newsletter. I knew I wouldn’t have time to write it all in one evening, so I could have put it off for a few days but alas I didn’t- I started it. I did something minuscule like 100 words, but at least it’s a start. People can whine about procrastination but we’re all guilty of just not wanting to start things.
Maybe you’ve never played a Barre Chord before. That’s cool. Well then before you go to bed tonight, make a to-do list and include your Guitar practice on it. Do not allow yourself to go to bed until you have at least tried it! Honestly- I want you to guilt-trip yourself! It sounds sinister but you know that you’ll feel better for it afterwards! Chances are you’ll sleep better knowing you’ve tried, even if you picked up the Guitar, stared at it and cried in confusion for 5 minutes. It’s better than nothing! Use the confusion you feel to write a song about confusion… the possibilities are endless!
“Split up your Goals into manageable pieces”
As obvious as this may seem- it makes a whole lot of sense, and people instinctively avoid it. If you’re reading this then there’s a strong chance that you’re Male (men tend to play Guitar more than women) and then I shall now use my shopping bags analogy.
This is the stereotype that men and women differ in their approach to carrying shopping from their car to their home. Of course this is speaking stereotypically, but I’m sure us men could benefit from the self-critism. So the stereotype is that women carry their shopping bags through in bits and pieces at a time- they make multiple short trips. Whereas men (stereotypically) take the “brute force and ignorance” approach and just try to carry everything at once, clutching multiple bags in each hand. I too am guilty of doing this. The reality for this Brute Force approach is that you tend to tire yourself out, hurt your fingers and sometimes snap the bags in the process. Even if you get there- you’ve knackered yourself out in the process. Whereas the woman has had no major stresses and trots back into the house quite happily. The woman split the job up into manageable pieces and saved herself a lot of effort in the process.
I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. Now enough with the mild sexism- let’s apply this to some gosh-darn Guitar-playing.
So you want to learn Barre Chords? Then chop it down into 5-minute pieces and do them every night. How long is 5 minutes? It’s nothing! Chances are you’ll end up carrying on for longer half the time anyway. For example- if you’re completely new to Barre Chords then over the course of a week try something like this:-
MONDAY- “5 minutes learning what Barre Chords are and how to use them”
TUESDAY- “5 minutes learning the difference in shape between E-string root and A-string root Barre Chords”
WEDNESDAY- “5 minutes learning the difference in shape between Major and Minor Barre Chords”
THURSDAY- “Practice E-string Major Barre Chords”
FRIDAY- “Practice E-string Minor Barre Chords”
SATURDAY- “Practice A-string Major Barre Chords”
SUNDAY- “Practice A-string Minor Barre Chords”
There we go! You might want to deviate from that plan but it’s just an example of something you could try! You could add to it by playing Barre Chords along to relevant songs, and whatever else your Barre-Chord Heart desires!
I hope you have liked this article anyway. I realise it is different from normal but alas change is necessary and inevitable (although next week it will probably be back to normal so perhaps you should partially ignore me). Whether you take these ideas or not; I wish you happy Barre-Chording!