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So how does he get this damn good?!?
I’ve attended two of Tosin’s guitar clinics, and my band Resporn opened for Animals As Leaders during their tour of New Zealand in 2012. During this I was amazed at the flawless technique and talent of Tosin Abasi… and I wanted to know his secret.
At the clinics I attended one question kept coming up:
“How do you get so good?!?”
Tosin was rather humble during the clinics, but his answer to this particular question was really insightful. If you’re like me, you would have assumed that he practices 25 hours per day, even playing while he sleeps. I still slightly suspect that this is the case, but that’s not what he said.
His advice was to structure your practice sessions in a way where you constantly make progress. If you’re familiar with efficient business management, you will have heard of the power hour. This concept describes how you structure one hour of work to be as effective as possible. So based on this concept and Tosin’s advice, I have devised a really effective power hour for improving your guitar skills…
The first 15 minutes
Dedicate this to learning a new scale or chords. There are plenty of great scale websites for free online for this. Learn the name of the scale, and then bounce around the fretboard trying it out on different starting notes. Really get to know the pattern. Then spend the remainder of the 15 mins creating random riffs using this scale so you really cement the pattern into your brain.
The second 15 minutes
Dedicate this to technique. For example, if you’re a lead guitarist you might research “economic picking” on the net and spend 15 mins solidly practicing this technique. I highly recommend getting a metronome (there are great apps etc for this, for free!) so that once you learn the technique you can keep increasing the speed, BPM, while you learn.
The third 15 minutes
Dedicate this to creativity. If you wanted you could combine your new scale with your new technique to really take on board the learning. Or just come up with a few new riffs. You’d be amazed at what you can create in a short time with the kind of warm-up you’ve just done!
The final 15 minutes
Play your own band’s songs or learn some other band’s material. This is what most guitarists limit themselves to for learning. So end with this so you can really enjoy every session by ending on a high note (that’s a pun folks).
By following this pattern you will spend 30mins a day learning new stuff and another 30 concreting your learning and well-known material. This is how you get good… enjoy
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