The Art of Loop Practicing

Ever been in that situation where you’re learning a song or exercise and you’ve hit a road block? There’s one bit you just can’t quite get? Here’s a little trick to solve that forever!


The trick is called Loop Practicing. This might seem like a really obvious and straight forward idea, yet out of the hundreds of students I’ve taught, few actually do this. The one’s that do, nail it every time.

Here’s what I mean by loop practicing.

You take a section of music that you are struggling with and you loop it. I believe that when this method is done correctly, you’ll learn harder songs in less time and be able to remember them better. Let’s give it a go.

Here’s a 1 line song, I know it’s short – it’s an example! 

Bar number 3 is clearly the hardest part of the song. Let’s pretend that as you’re playing through it you always slow down and fumble a bit through here.

(Oh, I chose to write a D# in here rather than Eb because I was thinking in terms of the altered scale. I realise this looks a bit odd but it demonstrates the #5 more obviously…If this makes no sense do not fear! For the purpose of this post it totally doesn’t matter.)

Moving on…

Most people simply put up with the fumbling and hope it gets better with time. This is extremely unhelpful, because on a micro level your training yourself to play it like that. Instead, you should isolate bar 3 and play it slowly and perfectly followed by a complete bar of rest like this. The example below is what you should loop, keeping time in the bar of rest and coming back in on beat 1.

Ok, now that you’ve got the tricky bit sorted you’re only half way there. Here’s why, this tricky passage needs to be played in context. Let’s put this tricky section within a logical frame, for example play the bar before and after as well. Loop this.

And finally, try playing the whole thing through. My guess is that the tricky bit is not so tricky any more.

I know this is only a 4 bar song, but this practicing technique will work for a song of any length.

When you hit a road block it’s a great way to get around it quickly and get back to doing what you’re here for – playing guitar! 

Happy Looping!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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