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One thing I've learned in over 25 years of guitar playing is this:

Unless I practice applying the musical licks, concepts and ideas I'm working on they will never become a part of my vocabulary. If this is true then a whole lot of practice time has been wasted over the years. Why do I say that? Isn't it good enough to just practice?

Does it really matter that I consistently and purposefully make time to apply the stuff I'm learning?

 

If your goal is to consistently improve and make the most or your practice time, and if you want to build guitar soloing skills that you can use in any musical situation, then yes, applying what you are learning is the most important thing you can do with your guitar playing. If you are working on a new lick, take the time to learn how to apply it. If you are working on a new scale or sequence, learn how to apply it. If you are working on becoming better at a particular teaching, great! But make sure you work on applying that technique.

How do you apply licks, scales and sequences? You've got to work on them in the context of real music. You need to see how these tools can fit inside certain types of rhythm, tempo and styles of music. The only way to find out if your lick is going to work is to try it out and then keeping working on it until it becomes second nature...a part of your vocabulary.

I call this form of practice "Targeted, Applied Practicing" or T.A.P. ; you choose a goal for your practice time (i.e., a lick), and then you practice applying it in the context of music. Watch the video above to see this in action. 

All of my courses focus on this concept of "T.A.P." ,including my brand new course Liquid Fire Legato out now! 

 

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by Allen Mattsen

Nice.