There is a famous saying: “Practice makes perfect”, but in reality it is perfect practice that makes perfect. Christopher Parkening said in an interview: “you have to be a hard working perfectionist. Our goal is to overcome what we lack in ability or talent by what we have in dedication and commitment”.

Clearly, there’s a need for practice. The only way to become a successful classical guitar player is by practicing really hard each day. I would say not only hard, but smart. Smart practice is focused practice with the intention of improving by working consciously about your techniques.

There’s a technique that can help classical guitarists focus on their practice. It’s called “Aim Directed Movement”. Aim directed movement is visualizing your positions prior to playing them on the fingerboard. In other words, thinking a little in advance of your next position. Seeing in your mind how and where to move your fingers before you actually move them.

By using this technique any guitar player will gain several benefits:

  1. Help the performer achieve accuracy. This because you will know exactly where and how to approach a certain position.
  2. It helps the performer avoid memory lapses. You will constantly remind yourself about what’s coming next.
  3. It helps the performer memorize the song better.
  4. After playing and repeating your songs or positions correctly your chances of playing incorrectly are less.

The best part of using this technique is that you can certainly learn and study a repertoire song without using the guitar. After you get a good understanding of the song then it will be easier to perform it on the guitar.

So, next time you get the guitar, give ADM (aim directed movement) a chance. Practice for perfection, focus on what’s coming instead of what just passed. As Aaron Shearer would say: “the notes behind you are no longer important, you should concentrate on the notes that lie ahead”.

Focus, concentrate, work hard and achieve perfection!