All progress from previous day is gone in the next day, is this normal?


#1

Hello, I’m new to this community and I apologize for not making a proper introduction. This issue is killing me:

I am trying to teach myself how to play the guitar, and everyday I drill the same exercises for hours hoping that it’s going to be slightly easier the next day, but it never is and it’s surprising to me how my fingers manage to forget (after steadily increasing the tempo by 1 bpm over the course of an hour) how to play the lick that I just had managed to increase the tempo by over 50 bpm. Is this normal? I’ve seen people using this method supposedly being able to pick up from about 10-15 bpm less than what they reached in the next day, but I have to start it all over again, 50 bpm slower than where I was after finishing the previous day. I am quite good at learning motor skills at everything else, but the guitar is being exceptional at destroying me.

I wonder if I should change how I practice, but so far nothing has been effective. I tried spaced and random practice as opposed to blocked practice, but to no avail.

Do you guys have any idea how I could address this issue? All I want is for the practice to stick just a little bit so I don’t feel like I’m wasting hours of practice everyday to not improve at all.

Thanks in advance!


#2

That used to happen to me. Try recording yourself when you’re playing your best.Then record your best playing 3 or 4 days later and see if you sound any better. Then record yourself 2 weeks later and see if you’re better. Progress might not be noticeable from one day to the next but you should notice progress from one month to the next. If you don’t improve after a month then something is wrong.


#3

Read this: What's your metronome technique?

Watch this video from @milehighshred: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTPpa5PnxKE

Slowly increasing the metronome can be - as you noticed - a big waste of time. Practice a lick slowly and make sure that the mechanics that you are using are all good. After it is under your fingers, speed it up as far as you can go- right when it starts falling apart. Figure out what is going wrong and then try to fix it. Work from both sides, as slowly as you can, and as quickly as you can. I find that working with licks/exercises like this helps me build speed and remember them later.


#4

Thanks for the responses guys. I’ll try both things for one or two weeks and see if it gets me anywhere. That thread is full of new advice for me, so thanks for linking it!


#5

https://bulletproofmusician.com/why-the-progress-in-the-practice-room-seems-to-disappear-overnight/

I’ve experience this in the past when I has trying to push for speed with a metronome. I’m practicing differently now,: I switch things up every 3 minutes. I haven’t measured my performance to a metronome but I do feel like I’m progressing a bit from day to day.


#6

I’m using that technique now, alternating between 4 exercises/licks and spending about 2 minutes on each. After that, I rest for a minute and start practicing again. For some reason I can feel a better flow in my fingers’ movements whenever I come back from that one minute break.


#7

One thing that I have found that works for me when practicing short licks or phrases, is to move it chromatically 1/2 step up of down on every repetition. At first I started doing that to make sure that my left hand could play it everywhere, but I noticed that it actually made me progress faster. I guess it forces my brain to stay much more focused.


#8

Makes sense. It seems then that the ‘sweet spot’ lies in not doing the same thing for too long, but not too short either, so that it can become muscle memory. Can you feel your brain being forced to become focused or is it unnoticeable?


#9

Well I do notice that if my hand just stays one the same spot to play the same lick over and ove for too long, my minds wants to wander, and staying focused would feel hard. But I noticed that by just moving the lick one half step, that doesn’t happen. I just feels like I don’t start losing focus. I don’t feel like I’m exerting more mental effort though, it’s more like the opposite, it removes the effort to stay focused.