As someone who follows the Law of Attraction, I am no stranger to the power of visualisation. If you can see it, then you can be it- as the saying goes. What has this got to do with how you learn to play guitar? Well this technique (which is backed up by neuroscience) can actively wire your brain and create muscle memory for your guitar playing practice.
Quite instinctively, I used to use visualisation as a technique for practicing and learning to play the drums. This was because I didn’t have a drumkit at the time or I wasn’t always with my drumkit, which may have been locked in a rehearsal studio for example. I would go through my drum parts either hitting books spread out on my bed with my drumsticks, or simply twitch my hands and feet as if playing invisible drums. This video touches on the subject when applied to learning how to play guitar. I think it’s a wonderful concept to take with you on your how to play guitar journey.
I watched the above video and picked up my Daisy Rock Pixie electric acoustic guitar. I tried out the guitar parts he demonstrates. I have been playing guitar for twenty years but I am self taught and don’t do much finger picking as I prefer chords. I am therefore very proficient at what some would consider a basic level. I found out pretty quickly that this video is not really aimed at the beginner guitar player in terms of skill level to play along. It can be done though with persistence, so give it a go and see how you get on.
The Key is to Visualise.
I think the main thing to take away from it though, is that you can move your fingers in order in thin air, when you are not with your guitar. Apply this technique to your own guitar parts that you have written, or ones you may be struggling with a little, to get results faster.
I was playing a gig the other night and due to nerves, I was a little bit worried about remembering how to play guitar parts for some of my less practiced or newer songs. So I naturally ended up forming chords with my fingers in thin air as we waited to go on. My drummer was doing the same with her sticks and brushes, moving them in thin air too. When I recently interviewed The Hyena Kill for Vulture Hound magazine, I noticed that Lorna Blundell was using a small palm-sized practice pad and doing paradiddles on it as she waited to go on too. I guess it’s a similar principle at work.
So get practicing your guitar or drums using the power of visualisation. Make it part of your life. As you sit on trains, as you wait to go on stage, as you sit in waiting rooms at the doctor’s. Do it everywhere you go. Your band will thank you for it.
Hannah Golightly founded GrrrlsWithGuitars in 2016. She is a riot grrrl musician, singer, guitarist and drummer from the UK. She has been a music critic and rock writer for over eight years and has previously written for collapseboard.com for six years, godisinthetvzine.co.uk, mother's pride zine and vulturehound.com. She has a passion for guitars and amps and owns a lot of them! She is passionate about promoting and helping grrrls and women play guitar and form bands. She loves female rock musicians' music and he favourite band is Skating Polly. She believes that a grrrl with a guitar can change the world!