One of the best ways to improve performance ability is knowledge of the fretboard. By knowing the fretboard guitarists are able to learn a piece at a deeper level, not simply muscle memory. Combined with a basic understanding of music theory mistakes can be overcome in more graceful manner. Truth be told, most guitarists make mistakes during performance. But, the good ones are able to move through the mistakes. I always say that if you don’t stop or swear most people won’t notice.
Here’s one way to do it:
- Figure out what key a piece is in. (Hint: check the key signature at the beginning)
- Find all the notes in that key all over the neck.
- Practice making mistakes (Yes, you read that correctly). Pretend to make a mistake at any given point, or have a friend yell out “mistake” as you play for them. Work your way out of the spot by relying on the notes from the key your in. Make something up to fill in where you made a mistake until you find a place to jump back in.
For more tips on how mental practice can can make you a better player see page 6 of our Secrets of Successful Practice Course.