I’m writing this at the end of the work week, right before my well-deserved three day weekend. I don’t have a ton of progress to report unlike last week. That’s to be expected though. It took me 6 weeks (plus a couple extra weeks in January) to get good enough to move on to stage 2. I do expect this stage to go faster as my fingers have to be stronger and more dexterous over time.
There’s a lot of variation in the one minute changes now. I could be +10 from the day before or -10. The new chords are still hovering around 30 but it’s not linear progress at all. I’m not horribly worried, because every minute of practice is a minute of practice I didn’t do before. It’s all contributing to the final product. Another thing I want to start doing is just randomly noodling on the guitar throughout the day. Not looking at the fretboard, trying to ingrain that muscle memory that is oh-so-important.
I had a strangely difficult time with all of the A minor changes. My fingers almost have the memory, but it’s as if I don’t trust them. I can put down E major all day. Keeping the same formation but merely a string down for all throws the whole thing out of whack because I’m not used to that vertical position on the fretboard, not to mention I can’t use my index finger as the anchor anymore.
I have a surprising knack for D minor. It’s the most eclectic formation so far and I’m still not fast with it, but I can naturally put my fingers down in the right spots right away most of the time despite having to angle and stretch all three.
I need to have longer practices. I’ve been procrastinating to 20-30 minutes before I go to bed and calling it a day after working on a handful of my lowest one minute changes scores. My fingers don’t have an ounce of pain or exhaustion at the end of these latest sessions. I think the move to 10 gauge strings has been a drastic improvement. Not so much for getting the notes 100% clear but for the exertion required to make them. I’m going to bump up the time to at LEAST 30 minutes and strive for even more if possible. The simplest rule of guitar I’ve observed is you get out of it what you put into it.
I’m disappointed that I can’t hit 60 changes in a minute yet with D to E. I think my max so far is 52. I know what the problem is too – my D still doesn’t lay down on the strings in a solid motion. It’s two-then-one fingers. That slight delay is hurting me. By the time this thing is done, I’m going to have to fluently do each chord in a single unified motion. I know I’ll get there, but this one is a stumbling block.
In the JustinGuitar beginner’s course app, I’m also working on completing every stage 1 song. I kind of cheated and moved to stage 2 when I met the minimum requirements. I’m probably about 2/3 through the stage 1 song list with near perfection. I was tripped up on The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” for a couple days. Could be self-bias, but I can almost feel the native speed improving on the songs. There’s far less pressure there too than panicking to do as many (sloppy) chord changes in one minute that I can.
Conclusion – I’m going to spend this weekend refining practice habits. I have to worry about the journey, not the destination.