Metal Mike: If You're Not Getting Better, You're Getting Worse



+ Add a Comment


Hello everyone,

Thanks for checking out the article and I'm glad you guys liked the idea contained in it. It's a simple, but great thing to remember.

Art_Mike: Thanks for the reply. I will definitely be the last one to dispute that playing with other musicians is essential to growth as a guitarist and a musician. While the initial blog might have concentrated its efforts on 'practice', we are really referring to the same thought.

If you want to get better at writing songs, you should practice writing songs. If you want to improve as a musician and get better at playing with others, one should 'practice' playing with others ie: do it often.

If we jam with a band two times and then take a month off ... what happens? It is just like practicing guitar - if we are not getting better, we are getting worse.

My point is that this little idea really works on several levels and concepts a guitar player might encounter.

All my best and respect,



While Mike is certainly an awesome guitarist and gifted teacher, I don’t believe that the approach to learning discussed in this piece is for everyone.

While having a regimented practice routine encourages progress, especially at beginner level, I think that equal weight should always be put on the ‘art’ as well as the ‘craft’. Technical perfection is often soulless, and it's pursuit, ultimately, will not bring satisfaction.

In my experience, while practice and exercises have their place, there is no substitute for playing and performing with other musicians. In fact this is vital in order to develop as a player and become a rounded musician. Practice yes, but don't beat yourself up.

Spread the love. Don't shuffle your knuckles.



jamminfool initial feeling when I saw the article's title was "man, how arrogant can this guy be"? Then I read on, and in no time I realized what Metal Mike was saying. While that ever important first impression took a few seconds to shake, the sentiments contained within had me feeling like I should stop wasting time reading an article about getting better at my craft and get to practicing!

Well written and (at least in my humble opinion) your stand here is totally correct, Mike. Your philisophical stance points out one of the most basic laws of human nature (and one of the laws of inertia too, for what its worth)...if you aren't improving yourself and moving forward, you can only be moving backward. It *still* takes effort and practice to maintain any level of expertise so you don't start losing your hard earned skills, whether you are seeking to improve or just keep playing the way you do at this very moment. There is no in between, no "I'm happy with my mediocrity, so why practice", no excuses that will keep you in one place without having your skills degrade over time...also, no amount of "natural talent" will make you improve as a player. A natural propensity for the instrument of your choice may make it somewhat easier to learn initially, but only steady hard work, an effective practice technique and dilligience will help you improve.

Thanks for the much needed pep talk Mike, this 50 year old lazy p.o.s. is gonna jump off of his "plateau" and get back to work, making myself the constantly improving player I know I can still be, for my band's sake as well as mine!

Alex Flores

Very true, I appreciate you saying this, it will be a good reminder for my students and of course myself!


Darth Compton

True. I go in and out of phases, wind up concentrating on something else like painting for a while. When I come back to guitar, I feel like I have to refresh myself for a week or so just to get back to where I was. I know getting back on the guitar is going to be bad when my fingertips have gone soft :P


Stephen Quinn

Absolutely true! The only way to stay on top of your game and keep growing is to keep up practice and creativity. Having goals to work towards helps to keep you active too.


The Shred King ...

Very very true!

Log in to Guitar World directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

  • Sign in with Twitter
Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.