Training & Jamming
We can build a solid guitar practice based on cycles of training & jamming.
We repeat the train/jam practice cycle until they merge. And, when they do, we can and do still enter each, as a distinct mode of practice.
When we train with focus & with specific goals in mind, the jamming part seems to always flow better. We don’t train mistakes, and we do our best to stay open to new experiences, information, and insights. When we do the work, incrementally, it’s relatively easy to become a competent guitarist in a short period of time. This is a fact.
Training is a mindset where we are focusing our attention on specific aspects of our playing system. Example: we play a scale. We repeat playing the scale with different points of focus, such as different facets of our fretting hand and then picking hand, our body, our thoughts, and so on. We don’t just keep playing the scale thinking about anything or everything or nothing. Rather, we shift our awareness to specific details of what it takes to play it. This way, we aren’t training mistakes and we are always improving.
Falling down the steps gets us to the bottom for sure, yet could we recreate the fall exactly? Doing something doesn’t necessarily mean we are doing it the best way. We figure out how to walk down the steps successfully and recreate that experience accurately. When we train with awareness, we avoid training mistakes.
Jamming is a mindset where we let go and just play. We aren’t considering how are hands are working [we reserved that for training], rather, we are simply being musical. This is where our mindful training trustfully pays dividends. When jamming, each of us have a source of inspiration: the melody, rhythm, harmonic texture, our heart, our vision, thinking of others or colors or nature, and so on. We aren’t thinking “now my hands do this, then this.”
In contrast, we may be thinking [singing] the melody or “how beautiful or rocking, this sound” or “I love that or her or him or it or them so much.” There are as many feeling-tones as there are particles in the universe. Follow yours. Play as if you don’t know anything. See what happens.
Again, training and jamming mindsets can merge into a unified experience [they become one beautiful thing]. And, in a way everything we do is training and jamming. Yet, we can discretely exercise these modes to find out how vital correlations co-mingle.
Train. Jam. Repeat. Unify.