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Video lesson: two ways of practicing – only one works

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This exclusive MusicRadar video lesson is brought to you in association with our friends at Guitarmastery.net. Check out their site for more lessons and courses.
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In most sports you cannot practice without making mistakes. You can't slow gravity down so you can hit that ball perfectly every time.  Does perfect practice make perfect? When you practice something with no mistakes at all, will you then develop perfect skills faster? 

For most aspiring guitar masters, practicing without making mistakes all the time doesn't really seem realistic. And if you feel the same way you MUST read on.

You must take your best shot and fail over and over and over again until your brain finally creates the connection between different approaches and a successful result. This takes time because you cannot control the process.

It is very true that in most sports perfect practice is simply impossible. You have to make mistakes in order to learn. But his is definitely not a method you want to use when you practice guitar…

Mastery method 2: practicing with zero mistakes

Practicing is the process of programming the brain to perform movements that doesn't come natural to it

With guitar practice it is the complete opposite. If you are practicing while making a lot of mistakes - chances are you could at least triple the speed at which you develop by eliminating the mistakes almost completely. And the skills you develop when you're not making mistakes will be perfect.

Practicing is the process of programming the brain to perform movements that doesn't come natural to it. You install new patterns that you were not born with – and that naturally takes some repeating.

If you program a computer and every 5th line of code contains an error, then you might succeed in creating a program that does something in the end. But it will be full off flaws and bugs. Chances are it will not be of much use when you're done programming.

Stop practicing and program your brain instead.

The same thing goes for programming the brain. You will get good at what you practice. And if you're practicing making mistakes all the time, that's what your brain becomes really good at.