6 EPIC guitar learning hacks based on Neuroscience

Cognition Meets Music

By Aditya Shukla, Psychologist, Musician, Entrepreneur

Why learn from Neuroscience?

Neuroplasticity, memory consolidation, and information processing, lie at the heart of learning an instrument. So I've borrowed from those insights to plug music into those.

Use lower frequency notes to improve timing


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The brain processes time better at lower frequencies. That's why bass is groovy and creates a rhythm. Practice timing on the top 2 strings if you are struggling.

Overlearn your target skill


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Overlearning means repeat something you've mastered many times again to "lock in" your muscle memory. It also reduces interference from other similar chops.

Use a blindfold to improve muscle memory and pitch memory


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When visual feedback is cut, brain activity in touch and sound processing increases due to neural plasticity. That builds muscle memory. Practice with an eye mask.

Take a nap right after an intense practice session


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Stage 1 and 2 sleep (under 1 hour) reinforces what you've learnt. The brain mentally rehearses your finger patterns. So nap after practice to let your brain do its job.

Practice your right hand to train your left hand, and vice versa


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There is "bilateral transfer of learning. Practicing with 1 hand gives performance gains to the other hand. So alternate between both hand's dexterity.

Use body movements to get your timing right, process music, and add personality to your playing


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Your body adds groove and a sense of timing and it creates random idiosyncrasies by using that groove to adjust your hand movements.

More Neuroscience for Guitar

6 Neuroscience hacks for guitar practice... in detail