I always shoot video of my shows, mainly for my own review, and toward the end of last year I started to notice how lots of my tunes, even ones I think of as being easy to play, had parts that never sounded very good, night after night. Though I do practice guitar every day, I often devote that practice time towards working out new or rarely-played stuff for the next gig. But clearly, simply playing these familiar tunes onstage regularly was not leading to improvement.
Hence, I’ve decided to take February off and focus on practicing. I went through my catalog of original tunes in current circulation (about 40 at this point, with another 50 or so in mothballs for the moment), and made a list of the parts that seemed most problematic.
Having made this list, I’ve resolved to go through this whole list each day, spending five minutes on each part. I’ve never done anything like this, and it’s been an interesting process so far, now on my third day. Sometimes five minutes feels like a long time to spend on one part, but more often, with devoting that time exclusively to one thing, I soon find many ways to improve how I approach it.Then, I start having fun with it, and hate to have to move on to the next bit! But I know I’ll get back to it the next day.
While it feels a little funny to have a month without a show, I’m already enjoying this very inward-focused time.