How To Play “Shut Up And Dance With Me”
Visualization for Guitar Practice
Here is a practice tip you can use practically anywhere and any time – visualization. I got this idea from watching the Olympics years ago and noticing athletes prepare for tumbling runs, ski jumps, and bobsledding runs. Just prior to their runs, I watched athletes run through their performances in their mind prior to actually doing them. Athletes at the very top of their game, best in the world, competing at the highest level, and they were using the power of visualization to improve their performance. How can we apply this to practicing guitar? I did a little research on visualization and perfromance and found that there happens to be a LOT of research around the issue of visualization and performance, but it boils down to this quote from Psychology Today:
Brain studies now reveal that thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actions. Mental imagery impacts many cognitive processes in the brain: motor control, attention, perception, planning, and memory. So the brain is getting trained for actual performance during visualization. It’s been found that mental practices can enhance motivation, increase confidence and self-efficacy, improve motor performance, prime your brain for success, and increase states of flow – all relevant to achieving your best life!
Here are a few ways you can use Visualization to practice when you don’t have a guitar.
- Print off small versions of a scale pattern you are trying to learn and tape them up somewhere you can reference like your locker, your cubicle, your dashboard, etc. Look at the scale pattern for a minute and study either fragments of the pattern, or the whole thing. Then look away and visualize the pattern. Can you duplicate the pattern easily and quickly in your mind? Try the same thing as above only with chord shapes.
- You can add physical movement to visualizations like the above as well. Try recreating the scale patterns or chords with your fingers. The people on the train with you might think you are strange, but this will help to connect the visualization with movement.
- Use visualization to overcome stage fright – visualize a perfect performance and include as many details as you can. Place yourself in the environment you will play in, what will it feel like, look like, sound like, etc. Image yourself flawlessly performing your tunes and getting a standing ovation.
- Practice visualization often. Make it a regular part of your commute or chores, or whenever you are doing something that doesn’t require your complete attention.
One of my students often talks about having “Aha!” moments as he was learning how to play guitar. Moments when something just clicked for him and he came to understand a concept or skill. For example, he spent hours drawing out scale patterns for the major scale starting from the first fret and working his way up the neck – the F Major Scale. He diligently copied the scale chart out of one of those reference books every guitarist buys at some point. (You know, the one with every single scale charted out in little black dots.) Well, Once he had the F Major scale memorized, he set out to learn the G major scale and started drawing out the dots on a fretboard diagram. It took him way to long to recognize that the patterns he was drawing out looked familiar, but when he realized that they were the same patterns he used for the F major scale, only in a different position on the neck, he had an “Aha!” moment. These “Aha!” moments are cool experiences as they often lead to big leaps in understanding for my students. Realizing that you don’t have to memorize separate scale patterns for each and every key is a relief! I would love to hear about any “Aha!” moments you have had. Feel free to drop your story in the comments section below.
Yamaha Announces New THR Amp Models
Every year, the North American Music Merchants show hosts music gear manufacturers eager to show off their latest gear and this year was no exception.
This year, three new THR Amp models from Yamaha caught our eye. These small, low wattage amplifiers seems like they would make a great practice amplifier.
Yamaha announced three new THR amps to their THR line and there’s now a model that fits your style of music from clean to high gain. All models share some similar characteristics, for example, the footprint, inputs and outputs are the same across the models. Where they differ is in the amplifier models and effects they feature.
For Acoustic players, the THR5A is optimized for use with electric-acoustic and Silent Guitars. Utilising advanced modeling technologies developed by Yamaha, THR5A offers simulations of classic tube condenser and dynamic mics combined with studio-grade effects to create recording-studio tone direct from your guitar and wherever you are.
For high gain players the THR10X is dedicated to guitarists that want more gain, more distortion and the unmatched response of a cranked high-output stack. With 5 different channels from 3 amps, all delivering dynamic, intense distortion, THR10X perfectly delivers the subtly different distortion characteristics of each amp or channel to give a tone and response perfectly suited to everything from classic rock to extreme metal.
For boutique tube junkies on a budget the THR10C takes the personal-amp concept to a new level of audio fidelity. The finest tube amps respond to a player’s every touch – with picking dynamics and playing style adding as much to the tone as your guitar and pickups. Using Yamaha’s exclusive VCM (Virtual Circuitry Modelling) technology, THR10C perfectly recreates the unmistakable response and dynamics that only a boutique tube combo can provide.
Video demos:[viddy f=’yt_QCDY6rZTri8′ trax=1 p=0]
Why we like this amplifier:
- Small form factor
- Easy to carry to jam sessions
- Sounds great!
- Audio In for jamming with our backing tracks
- Serves as a USB interface for recording
- Operates on batteries or plugs in
- Low wattage allows for great sound without ear splitting volume.
Check out this new series of Jazz Licks our own Gary Potter did for Guitar World. Gary filmed these recently on a trip to the Big Apple. These Lick Packs are available for download through Guitar World’s Lick of the Day app which can be found in Apple’s App Store. Check them out and let us know how you like them.[viddy f=’yt_3oSRGZ8ZpAQ’ w=480 h=270 p=0 s=0]