What is Guitar Fluency?
Often times my students hear me talk about building their skills in MANY AREAS and CONTEXT and how this is required to be FLUENT in their guitar playing and overall musicianship.
In this article I am going to break down what I mean by this concept and I hope this will provide you some insight into the subject and how you could use this in your practicing so that you can become fluent in your musicianship.
When the average person thinks of "playing the guitar" they usually think of the PHYSICAL ACT playing. Which is usually strumming chords or playing some riffs...
Not only are there A LOT of different physical skills required to be FLUENT in your playing but as far as music is concerned there are A LOT of AREAS you will need to develop.
2. Aural (ear training)
3. Theory (understanding how music works and why)
4. Fretboard (finding where to go)
7. Speed / Coordination
Yes, there is a lot areas and we could even break them down into SUB GROUPs but that's besides the point of this article.
What I wanted to focus on is the CONTEXT and what that means...
To illustrate, lets use a simple rhythm such as straight 8th notes and what becoming FLUENT at this rhythm would look like... (straight 8th notes means you play 8th notes for the entire measure 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & etc
If you can play STRAIGHT 8TH NOTES on an open string with your picking hand ONLY that would be ONE context for demonstrating your fluency over the rhythm.
But could you ALSO keep that exact same rhythm while you play a scale across all 6 strings?
(you will have to keep the rhythm WHILE you change strings and keep both your hands in sync)
How about doing a scale but ONLY on 2 strings?
Could you keep the rhythm while strumming down & up with open chords?
What about changing chords while you pick an arpeggio?
What about if the arpeggio skips strings? Can you do that WITHOUT messing up the rhythm and/or hitting the wrong strings?
What if you are playing an arpeggio with an open chord but then need to jump to a BAR CHORD and continue your picking pattern without messing up the rhythm, the chord change, or the picking pattern?
Not so easy right?
Could you keep a perfect rhythm with straight 8th notes while you strum an open chord, THEN change to a power chord, but add a Palm Muting pattern to it, THEN jump to the ROOT note in the key bend it a FULL step and then do a little lick down the scale...
And we didn't get to all the flashy techniques or shredding yet...
I hope that all made sense...
Every example used THE EXACT SAME RHYTHM but the CONTEXT or "situation" that rhythm was applied to was different in each example.
You see it's ONE thing to do a skill in one context
but its a WHOLE NOTHA BALL GAME to be able to do it in MANY contexts
And its a WHOLE NOTHA BALL GAME from that to be able to switch contexts at the drop of a hat and NAIL it the FIRST TIME - especially if the contexts are NOT closely related.
Being able to do this is for all areas of your guitar playing and musician in MANY contexts is what I call GUITAR FLUENCY
If that was hard to follow let me give you analogy.
It's like speaking a language
Its ONE thing to be able to say a word or phrase from memory in another language
But its whole other thing to hold a basic conversation (remember words, putting them in the right order and understanding others as they speak on a basic level)
And its a WHOLE OTHER THING to freely converse on any subject, have a native accent, understand body language as it relates to the conversation, speak from the heart, and be so FLUENT that you don't have to think about how to pronounce words, if you're conjugating correctly, using grammar correctly, wondering what the other person is saying etc etc.
Music is no different
Being "fluent" is really what ALL musicians are after and as we learn and progress we become more "eloquent" in our ability to express ourselves through our instrument of choice.
Now unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of guitar players DO NOT practice in a way that will lead them to becoming FLUENT in their guitar playing due to the massive amounts of mis information on how this process works...
But the good news is there is a guitar training method that does exist. I call it Multi-Dimensional Guitar Training and it's designed to build your SKILLS, your KNOWLEDGE, and even your CREATIVITY in many areas & contexts ALL AT THE SAME TIME just like how a child NATURALLY learns how to speak a language. To learn more about this click here.