Something that probably everyone hears from a more experienced player or teacher early on when learning to play a riff or lick is to play it slowly at first and then gradually work up the tempo. I have seen beginners and more advanced players at guitar, drums, and bass struggle with making themselves do this, where the tendency is to fumble through the part over and over as the bits gradually come together to sort of fill in the blanks. I haven't been in practice mode for a long time until fairly recently, and it came to mind while practicing a riff why players do this (not only beginners). It's because the purpose for slowing down hasn't been spelled out enough to convince them of the benefit over the repeated fumble method. The purpose of slowing down is to make it clear in your mind first what the exact hand motions and sounds are of a riff or lick. Once you are able to think clearly through the motions and sounds as you are playing it and repeat them exactly, the brain starts to transition from thinking about each individual step in a riff or lick toward thinking in clusters and then toward automatically playing without thinking. Practicing something via the fumble method is more like a blur, where the steps are never really learned, but the thing being practiced *might* still come together given enough iterations. Anyway, just a thought that came to mind while practicing a riff, which brought to mind my younger self using the fumble method for learning riffs and licks, which further brought to mind a young nephew who is still using the fumble method on drums and guitar because I wasn't able to articulate well enough to convince him to slow down (with purpose). And a meta thought here is that the thinking first method is not just about learning the riff. It is also a logical process for breaking down a problem and practicing how to practice riffs and licks in general, where the fumble method is only about learning a specific riff or lick in the moment, the latter being more error prone due to never having thought clearly through the motions and sounds of a riff or lick repeatedly.