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Understand (and take advantage of) the chunking effect in order to dramatically develop your guitar playing speed
When you first learned to read, your brain had to process each and every letter individually. For example, when reading the word "music", your eyes read: m... u... s... i... c... ah, yes, music!
Now, however, you only need one glance, and the whole word "music" is recognized in a single step.
This is called "chunking" and it is the basis of every type of learning.
For example, when you first learned to read, each letter was a separate chunk, but now, with practice, most words have become themselves separate chunks that you recognize and process as single units. And it doesn't stop there. When you read the two words "For example" at the beginning of this paragraph, because these two words are often found together, it is possible that by now your brain is able to process them with a single action, as a single chunk.
Chunking is the way we learn to walk, talk, and everything else.
Another critical thing to know is that our brain can handle a maximum of about two chunks per second. If you try to switch from one chunk to another at a rate faster than two per second, your brain will become overloaded and give up on the whole thing.
It doesn't matter if the chunks themselves are simple or complex -- for the brain a chunk is a chunk, and its maximum processing speed is two chunks per second.
Why am I telling you these things in relation with increasing your guitar playing speed?
Because if you want to develop your playing speed you must realize that you cannot do it just by accelerating your movements -- the only way to achieve it is to develop larger chunks, where the action of playing 4, 6, 8 or more notes is a single chunk for your brain.
Let me repeat that.
You will only be able to play fast when playing groups of 4, 6, 8 notes will feel like a single action to you.
Let's use as an example the fast solo "The Flight Of The Bumblebee", from the Guitar Speed Trainer software course:
When you first learn the solo, you may have to think of every single note separately, and the action of playing each note will be a separate chunk for your brain.
Needless to say, playing fast is impossible. Remember that the brain can only process up to two chunks per second.
With the right kind of practice, however, you may reach the point where each group of 4 notes has become a single chunk. You will now feel a completely different experience, and you will find that you can play it much faster, up to perhaps 120 BPM or so.
If you can go even further and learn it as a series of 8-note chunks, then you will be able to play it much faster, reaching your full speed potential, which could be anywhere from 160 to 200 BPM, depending on how good is your technique and how much practice you put into it.
And by the way, the funny thing is that the bigger are the chunks, the easier and more relaxing it feels to play them at higher speeds.
Bottom line: developing skills means combining many small chunks into bigger ones. This is also the key to play fast, with precision and groove.
Our course, the Guitar Speed Trainer, contains different levels of drills and solo exercises designed to help you develop your chunking ability as quickly and as easily as possible. The results are not immediate, because it takes some time for the brain to digest new things and combine them into bigger and better chunks, but with a bit of pratice and patience you will experience dramatic improvements even just in a few weeks.
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