Lesson: Get Better Faster with Lily Maase, Part 4

by Lily Maase
Posted Aug 15, 2014 at 8:32am

So, we've spent a few weeks talking about the left hand, the shape of the left hand, and how to organize your technique to take pressure off of your wrist and palm.

But, how does this work in real time?

In other words, is it possible to take this newly-organized shape and apply it to actual songs?

One thing I see in my beginning to intermediate students–particularly in adults, who tend to be a bit more focused on the idea of 'success’–is the left hand's unconscious tendency to 'double-check' itself.

Beginning guitarists learn the shape of a chord, they put their fingers on the appropriate frets and strings, and then they sort of wiggle each finger around a bit to make sure it's landed where they think it has.

Most of the beginners I know aren't even aware that they're doing this! But, with a few exceptions, just about everyone I've taught from the ground up goes through a phase where they play a chord, they wiggle around, then they go to play another chord, and spend a bunch of time wiggling around all over again.

Once you become aware of this problem, it's generally pretty easy to fix. All you need is some focused, slow movement, and to begin to trust your hands.

The other thing that impedes us at first–and really, can be an ongoing dialogue for players of all levels–is our focus on the left hand to the exclusion of just about anything else. Because the left hand is doing all of the 'exciting' movement from chord to chord and up and down the neck, we tend to forget that the RIGHT hand is the one that actually makes everything happen.

In this episode, we try to resolve that telltale “wiggle,” organize your picking hand so it resembles your left hand in terms of shape and lack of tension, and take a close look at the pick and how the pick actually works when it strikes the strings.

Learn more about Lily Maase at the following links:

Performance – www.lilymaase.com
Production – www.handmaidmusic.org
Composition – www.musicforrobots.org
Guns N’ Roses tribute band – www.rocketqueensnyc.com