How Do You Guarantee Improvement? Chunk It Down!

The 99 Decisions Guitar Program is based on the popular concept of breaking goals down into smaller & smaller objectives, with constant assessment as you progress.

There is much science that proves that the brain performs better when it is focused on a singular task. You can break almost any huge goal into a singular task.

One of the most important notions I teach to students is that you can distill any note on the guitar down to these four criteria:

• string number = 1  2  3  4  5  6

• fret number = open up to the highest fret on your instrument

• finger number = 1  2  3  4

• right hand action = up stroke or down stroke, or if you are using your fingers,
which finger- p  i  m  a

So, if you are playing a piece of music with a thousand notes in it, then there is going to be a first note, which is going to be made up of one of each of those criteria. The first note might be 4th string, 5th fret, 2nd finger, using a  down stroke with the right hand.
And, those four criteria can be addressed one at a time so the first action you can take towards learning a piece of music to determine what string you will be on. Then determine what fret you’re going to be at. Then what finger you are going to use to hold that note. Then decide what your right hand needs to do in regards to setting that string into motion. You get the idea.
This method even works for a chord- you just take the same approach in that any chord can be addressed one note at a time. Either start at the top, or the bottom, and build your chord note by note.

Now, the amount of focus, concentration & patience necessary to proceed note by note through the remaining 999 notes is substantial. That’s why you want to work on just a small group of notes at a time. This is what Jack Canfield refers to as “chunking down”- taking the goal and creating smaller goals from it, then you put them back together to complete the whole.
There will usually be an obvious place in the music to stop & make a short passage of. The more you work in this manner, the better you will get at figuring out where to start & stop a section of music. Be careful when you practice a small section in that you don’t loop it over & over because when you put all the chunks back together, you might be going on to a different section, not the beginning of the chunk.

Andre Segovia is rumored to have practice over 28 hours a day.

Andre Segovia is rumored to have practiced over 28 hours a day.


In future blogs, I will address other aspects of goal achievement strategies that will help you create your own map that will guide you towards your destination.

At the end of the day, goal clarity is what is most important. And then you devise an organized plan to consistently proceed, one step at a time, towards your goal. Everyone ends up with their own version of this approach. Now that you are on the path of being a musician, you will find your own way. The is part of the fun & joy of it all.


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