Girl with gitar

As a guitar teacher, I find that majority of my students are beginners. This prompts me to constantly revisit basic principles while considering perspective and developing exercises for physical and cognitive development. This approach not only benefits my students but has also led to significant improvements in my own understanding and development.

I often use analogies to explain concepts, so let me offer one to illustrate the idea of going shallow to dig deeper.

Imagine you’ve been following a workout routine for about 8 weeks. For the next phase of your routine, you decide to return to simpler movements to work your muscles in a “new” way.

Consider the basic exercise of bench pressing. The specific weight, exercise, or details are not crucial for this analogy. Normally, let’s say you might lift 100 lbs. eight times for three sets, totaling 24 repetitions.

Now, instead of adding complexity, let’s adjust the number of sets and repetitions.

If you cut the weight in half – to 50 pounds instead of 100 pounds- you should now be able to perform three sets of 16 reps. This change would certainly feel different from your previous routine; you’ve doubled the reps.

As you continue with this new workout, consider another tweak: six sets of eight reps. So now instead of adding more reps, you’re going back to the eight reps per set, but you can add more sets so that the math all balances out.

Girl with gitar

Although you’re still using the same overall weight, the increased reps per set introduce a new challenge. By embracing different approaches, you effectively train your muscles with familiar weight but in novel ways. After 8-10 weeks, this variation can lead to efficient muscle development and prevent stagnation.

This analogy illustrates how adjusting variables can refresh and enhance familiar practices, whether in fitness routines or guitar instruction. It underscores the importance of adaptation and innovation in both learning and skill development.

Hopefully this article spurs some new ideas for you in your approach to practice and cooking up new and interesting strategies!

Kurt Echols imageKurt Echols is an American musician and the founder and Owner/CEO of Axtreme Guitar, a thriving Boston-based enterprise known for its guitar lessons and comprehensive maintenance and repair services. Kurt’s exceptional talent as a performer captivates audiences, while his creative prowess is evident in his skillful composition of original music that deeply resonates with listeners. He actively collaborates with fellow artists, co-creating captivating musical arrangements.

Alongside his musical pursuits, Kurt is committed to fostering music appreciation among young individuals. Through Axtreme Guitar, he engages with the community by providing music appreciation programs in elementary schools, inspiring aspiring musicians and instilling a love for music. With his diverse skill set, unwavering passion, and impactful contributions, Kurt Echols continues to leave an indelible mark on the music industry, both locally in Boston and beyond. Axtreme Guitar also maintains a strong online presence with engaging content on YouTube at and at

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