Why Would Anyone Practice in the Dark?

To build muscle memory, that’s why!

Think about it, when your eyes are completely useless in pitch black lighting your body has no choice but to hone in with your other senses.

Suddenly you feel the guitar neck more clearly and can hear the vibrating strings with a new sense of openness and clarity.

After just twenty minutes of practicing your scales or songs or vibrato or anything, you will notice an improvement in your confidence with placement and chord changes.

Well, whatever you practice in the dark is only going to improve your muscle memory.

If you have a tricky set of chords you want to get down perfectly, sit in total (I mean TOTAL) darkness and practice for about 15 – 20% of your total practice time for the day.

That could mean spending anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes in total darkness every day until you get that technique down.

Now, change up what you are practicing every 6 – 8 days so you keep advancing, this goes for your time in the dark as well.

If you haven’t totally mastered what you were aiming for, don’t worry, you will always be able to come back in a couple weeks to work on that technique again.

What you may find after practicing different techniques for a few weeks is that you may not have to practice those chord changes (or whatever you were practicing) again because now your body has gotten use to playing just by muscle memory.

So why would anyone practice in the dark?

What are some other benefits to your musicianship besides gaining muscle memory?

Imagine this:

You and your band walk out on a dark stage, get into position, and then wait for the drummer to cue you all in at the same time.

This whole time you haven’t been able to see your fretboard.

So hopefully you either walked onto the stage with that chord clutched tightly, or your muscles can remember exactly where to start playing at once you get out there.

I don’t know about you but I would prefer the latter, especially if I lost my place and needed to find it while the lights are beaming on the lead guitarist during his solo.

Another scenario:

If you ever happen to go blind (God forbid) during your career, you will already have the advantage of not having to spend weeks re-learning where everything is on your instrument.

And probably the most important aspect of learning the muscle memory:

You will be able to stare into the soul of the pretty boy or girl while you serenade them, instead of having your head hung staring at your guitar which further strains your vocal chords.


So what I want you to do right now is integrate playing in total darkness into your practice routine.

If you are still fairly new to guitar, I recommend only doing this for 5 – 10% of your practice time so that you develop those steady and coordinated hands faster than without practicing in the dark, but also leave a lot of room for you to hone down on your picking and fretting hand technique.

Take 5 minutes from every practice session to turn off the lights or wear a blindfold and really practice your muscle memory.

When you are improvising you will be much more free to think about the emotions you want to convey when you are not worrying about where your hands are.

Ask yourself, why would anyone want to practice in the dark and leave your comments below.

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