First of all, it definitely seems like there is no such thing as a 'one size fits all,' some people go to practice for an hour a day and within a year, are picking in a way that makes Malmsteen jealous (maybe an exaggeration, but hey!). Others, will sit with their instrument for a whole day, achieving similar results.

Why is this? In my opinion, it is most likely to do with how well structured their practice time is and how present a person is practicing. Remember, we are talking about technique here, so in my mind that means performing music with efficiency, clarity, control and precision. Personally, I practice technique, on average, an hour a day. This is all I need to actually feel like I am making progress, without feeling like I am only singularly facetted in my guitar playing. This leaves me more time to work on composition, improvisation, singing, production, brand development etc, and to spend some time away from playing.

What do I try to do in these practice times? Simple, I will have a phrase that uses a specific mechanic of technique, i.e. string skipping/tapping/economy picking, and I will practice that. For example right now, I am practicing the crazy tapping line from Wonderful Slippery Thing by Guthrie Govan.

As for structuring my practice time, I group it into 25 min segments, with 5 minute breaks. I will try to play nearly as much as possible in that time, then, during the break, I will put my guitar down, get a drink... you get it.

During that time I make sure I play at a speed (with a metronome or recording on a loop) with a couple of errors. It feels uncomfortable, but not impossible. Then sit with it for a bit, get it right three times in a row and then speed it up by 5 bpm. Small increases lead to massive changes in a minimum amount of time! Aside from this I have found a killer metronome online that increases incrementally, after a set amount of time! Check it out:

Without saying, during this time, I make myself present. So, no phone; no Netflix going on in the background. It's me, the guitar and a metronome.

I hope this helps!



  • Luke Askew

Updated: Jun 20, 2019

Polychords... Something we have seen often in jazz and other modern styles. Perhaps, it is even becoming somewhat of a novelty? (I'd like to know what you think!) The idea of polytonality is argued by some theorists (Babbitt/Hindemith/Toorn) as invalid (but more on that in a later post, perhaps).

I came across a great little idea during my analysis of June Lee's transcription of Jacob Collier's work.

Take a look at bar 5, we have an Eb major triad over an F minor triad, without the fifth, resolving inwardly to a Bb altered chord, then to the tonic. Collier, here has used a polychord in a clever manner, whilst using typical voice leading of polychords, in contrary motion (typical movement for bichords) then continues to a V-I, a perfect cadence. In essence he is using to cadential formulas simaltaneously: ii-V-I and a I-V-I. Very cool!



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  • Luke Askew

So, having been at Uni for a year, I decided that it wasn't for me and left. I think, if anything, I've learnt that: I am my best teacher and I don't need tutors keeping me accountable.

Where I'm at now is rather new, I'm entering the world of the freelance musician. Not exactly where I had planned to be two years ago, but I think it is where I'm meant to be and, ultimately, where I was gonna end up, Uni degree or not. I'm having to move out of my current accommodation in West London, as it's for students, into a new place south of the river. It's starkly different but it's gonna be an amazing experience, living with friends, surrounded by the brilliantly musical individuals I met last year.

I'm focussing on building my brand before the beginning of my tenancy, whilst I'm back in Suffolk. I've managed to pass the '1,000 followers mark' on Instagram. The Year goal is 10,000. Good to aim high right!

Also, this blog will be weekly and used for me as a review of the material I have studied in the previous week. It means I'm gonna probably revisit certain texts I have covered in the year, starting with some harmony of Jacob Collier. His music is unfiltered imagination, something I aim for, his harmony the foundation of his thought.

It will be great if you could join me!