Nylon Guitarist

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Finger Robotics



What you will learn in this lesson:

Finger roboticsHow to train your fingers to relax

red arrowHow to practice without wasting energy

red arrowWhy repetition is important

red arrowHow muscle memory works

red arrowHow to remember forgotten music passages

red arrowWhat improvising is all about

red arrowThe relationship between the finger muscles and the subconscious mind.


Stage fright and getting through on autopilot

The finger muscles develop a memory with repeated actions. They seem to know exactly where to go when you play a set piece, but only after you have played it a hundred times. If you have to perform something on stage you had better make damn sure you have practiced it enough times so that the piece has been embedded in the muscles as an indelible memory. Having a good, reliable technique is important but as soon as you get on stage, 90% of your technique goes out the window and you are left to rely on pure adrenaline and muscle memory. That's been my experience anyway.


If your technique is good enough and you have previously played the piece enough times, you will get through the experience on autopilot without too much conscious thinking to muck it up. If your practice sessions are full of bum notes and mistakes, it's not a bad idea to slow down until you get it right. The fingers have a habit of remembering these same, repeated mistakes and perform them with great enthusiasm when you get on stage, even if you know they are coming and try to correct them on the run.


What happens is the fingers sense that you are suddenly trying to send them an instruction contrary to what they were trained to do so well (make mistakes). The result is that the fingers go into panic mode and freeze up in the precise place you desperately want to them to get their act together. But don't blame the poor little finger robots. You programmed them. What they are basically telling you is, "you made the bed, now you're going to lie in it". The moral of the story is "you can't outfox the fox".


If this sounds a little too esoteric, don't freak out. The methods of building a good, working relationship with the fingers are easy to understand and simple to apply. But to add some suspense to this scenario, I want to first cover the different ways that some players use their hands to create unwanted tension. Eliminating tension is the first thing you need to do if want your fingers to cooperate.


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Rafael Marin - Free flamenco guitar method 
Rafael Marin
Flamenco guitar method 1902