Practice makes perfect

If it's possible to distill learning down to one idea it is this:



  • Start with what you know or what you can do.
  • Identify what you need to know or do next.
  • Practice that.
  • Hey, now you know something else!


And you've created a cycle in which every element is fed by the one before it.  

How do I move forward?

Build Skills

So this cycle builds skills, one on top of the other but it needs to be a complete cycle, as soon as there's an element missing, it stops. Most people can do the work, figuring out where you're at is easy early on, but what to do next? That's where a teacher or mentor comes in. You need someone who's gone before you to show you the way, even people that are self-taught will have listened to other players, they will have drawn inspiration from somewhere.

So where to start?

Well according to the old Chinese proverb, you start from right here and right now. Where you go next should depend on the path you wish to take. Someone who has already trod that path, and preferably helped others do the same, will know what you need next. And I can tell you with certainty that what you need is a structured program that builds skills, it may be mine, it may be someone elses but it needs to make sense. In Classical music they teach methods because they make sense. 

Doing the Work


Most people aren't lazy, most people give up because they haven't achieved success. A good training regime will have built in to it steps where you can achieve success and motivate yourself to move forward. The way that you ensure that happens is simple. SLOW DOWN!!!! Don't be in a rush to get somewhere because you're setting yourself up to fail. So you need to be really clear about when to move forward and that's where the next step comes in.

Where am I now?


So you know what do do next but how do you know when you're ready to move forward? When you are practicing you should have clear goals and be able to gauge your progress against them. From there you can either stay where you are and keep improving, you could move forward, or perhaps look back at what skills might be missing and go back a step or two.


There is no point practicing the stuff that you're already good at, you'll go nowhere and end up stagnating, practice the stuff you're not good at.

Ask Questions

The cigar box guitar community is fantastic and there are plenty of people ready to answer your questions but if you don't know where or why you're stuck then how to you come up with a question? If you're able to reflect and give yourself feedback, you'll be able to ask useful questions.