#1
Hi all, well I'm finally finished this semester at Uni studying guitar/music, and my marks have come through, time for holidays! Unfortunately my marks were less than satisfactory, so now over these holidays more than ever, I need to really spend a lot of time practicing so my playing can be in tip top shape for next year.

While I've no problem with discipline and sitting down with a guitar to practice long hours, I do have some problems when I actually start practicing. Over these holidays, I'm going to try and stick to a four hour routine minimum.

As this currently stands it is

1 Hour Working on Rhythm Changes in the Abersold book. Rhythm changes have always dogged me as something I find impossible to solo over, I did a lot of work on them in the semester, but let some of that slip as I got close to other exams and other work needed doing. Im trying now to just revise a lot of the old ones I learned, and learn some new ones

1 Hour Chris Potter All The Things You Are Solo
This is a solo on the tune All The Things You Are by saxophonist Chris Potter, a mammoth solo, 12 minutes long, around 18 pages of transcription, so it's a lot of work, I'm up to about page 4, which is not to bad considering have to read and transpose as it's written in concert Bb for Bb sax, but I'd really like to get it finished by the end of the holidays.

1 Hour working on tunes for next year
Next year I have to do my firs open performance exam I've already decided what I'm going to play, but some of the repertoire is quite above and beyond me at this stage, for instance Rumples by Adam Rogers/Chris Potter

1 Hour on technique, split up into 30 minutes on picking (usually alternate) 30 minutes on legato. My technique is quite shocking, desperately in need of improving

Here, I'll get on to specifically what areas of practice I am struggling with.

In my technique practice, as I stated, I try and split it up into two areas, 30 minutes each. In each 30 minutes lot, I'll try and practice two exercises for around 30 minutes.

In practicing technique, I figure I should focus on a lack of tension/relaxation, economy of motion and a good sound. (Anything else?)

The most common Alt picking exercise I usually focus on is this one a guitarist who showed me them, called them Star Trek shifters, as he used to play them while he watched Star Trek

-1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-3-4-5-6-7-6-5-4-5-6-7-8-9-8-7-6-7-8-9-10- etc

For my work on picking, does anyone have any other useful exercises, can you direct me to some? Should I work on different types of picking (economy, sweep, at all in my picking time allotment?

Also, I'm a little unsure about how I should practice. I usually practice very slowly (no tempo) focussing particularly on proper pickstrokes and economy of motion. Is this okay practice, should I mix it up with some up tempo practice?

As far as Legato, I usually practice the first two exercises from the John Petrucci Rock discipline book, that is

-7-9-7-6- working specifically on fingers 1 2 and 4

and

-6-7-6-4- working specifically on fingers 1 3 and 4

Again with legato, I usually practice slowly (no tempo) working on sound and economy of motion. Should I be focussing on any different things and practicing at different speeds, why?

In my rhythm changes practice, I figure I can probably practice these exercises three ways.

1. Slowly, looking down at my picking hand when I need exact pickstrokes
2. Slowly, but focussing more on the line itself and not worrying about exact picking
3. Medium to fast tempo. Not as focussed on the pickstrokes, notes, but the line comes through clearly.

Usually I practice the number 1 method. So the line I've been dealing with lately is a simple one:


-8-5---------5-8-6--------------6----
------6----6---------8---------8-----
---------7--------------8-5-8--------
-------------------------------------
-------------------------------------
-------------------------------------

etc


Now, I've got written out the picking pattern than I use for this, which is

D U U U D D U, D U U D U D D

and at the points in the line where my pick will not be travelling in the same direction to pick the next note I need to pick, I make sure to stop it at the edge of the string, so for instance, after my initial downpick, I have no more notes that my hand would need to continue in the same direction for, so I make a point of stopping that pickstroke close to the other side of the string. To do this I usually need to look down at my picking hand to ensure I am moving it right. That is how I mainly practice.

Other than that, I just look at the notes and the strokes I need to play and play them and if my hand moves to far, big whoop.

Sometimes I'll practice medium to fast tempo but not often.

Are there any of these practicing techniques that are worth scrapping completely? Some that are worth focussing on more than others. Any feedback is greatly appreciated as I find myself struggling a lot with this. Thanks for reading (if you did)
#2
Let me tell you straight away, that this plan will never work. The more rules you create for yourself, the less time you will stick to this plan. That's just psychology shit.

Just stick with practicing, go with whatever feels like better to practice on that day. If you force yourself, you'll get bored, disinterested and lazy and all that plan will go to hell.

You should focus more on how to keep yourself interested, because only then you might improve, instead of sitting there and grinding your teeth: "Ok, an hour has passed, time for second part of the lesson." Don't you get enough of this crap at uni? This poorly structured teaching mechanics.

And if you tell me that you don't have problem with doing all of that, you're just lying to yourself, because if that would've been true, then you would've done this years ago, and not waiting for holidays after semester ends.

Other than that, best of luck mate!
Last edited by Powka at Nov 30, 2011,
#3
Quote by Powka
Let me tell you straight away, that this plan will never work. The more rules you create for yourself, the less time you will stick to this plan. That's just psychology shit.

Just stick with practicing, go with whatever feels like better to practice on that day. If you force yourself, you'll get bored, disinterested and lazy and all that plan will go to hell.

You should focus more on how to keep yourself interested, because only then you might improve, instead of sitting there and grinding your teeth: "Ok, an hour has passed, time for second part of the lesson." Don't you get enough of this crap at uni? This poorly structured teaching mechanics.

And if you tell me that you don't have problem with doing all of that, you're just lying to yourself, because if that would've been true, then you would've done this years ago, and not waiting for holidays after semester ends.

Other than that, best of luck mate!


DISAGREE, discipline is a good skill, the sooner he learns it the better he will get, so far he has been messing around and look where it has taken him..
Practice the same things everyday to really get good at them.

THe last Paragraph holds some truth in it, but thats not what he needs to know, he is already trying to fix it.

----------------------------------

You are on the right track mate, sometimes you need to FORCE YOURSELF TO practice, having a plan, goals to accomplish and a strategy are always good things no matter what others might say. Just really stick to it, even if you feel youre not progressing as fast as you want stick to it.

Nevertheless for learning tunes, you cant really muscle your way through that so easily, work on them everyday for a couple of minutes, note by note, beat by beat.. what you need to tore up is the technique excercises.. hours on working through new material are usually the most missused hours (the brain doesnt like to consistently learn for hours straight, it needs pauses and refreshment)

You have a deadline so stick with what you far know best (probably alternate picking) forget economy or sweeping for the time being (concentrate on one single thing and you will see and feel way bigger improvement)

I really recommend you spend around 80% of your time working on your technique.. it is not something you can overtrain and of course it requieres concentration but most of it is muscle memory, so you can do it safely for hours.

Use the other 20% to work on your repertoire. Be sure to use the times when you are at your fullest concentration for learning new things and also do it in gaps (e.g 1 x in the morning, 1x when you are away from your guitar, 1x in the evening, or various times during your practice routine)

Anyways, for you to really know where the picking gaps are:
Can you do all of these BASIC excercises consistently (and with 3ets, 5ht and 7ths) ?

http://pbguitarstudio.com/pdf_files/GUITAR_PDF/AlternatePickingExercises.pdf
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Last edited by Slashiepie at Nov 30, 2011,
#4
I'm not going to argue, as I'm just wishing the guy all the best. But to prove my point, as my ego is talking now, let the dude come back in three-four weeks and tell us honestly how did he succeed in keeping up with the schedule. I'm sure most of the people know what is going to happen.

I'm not saying no to discipline - having some kind of idea of what needs more attention and etc; I'm saying DON'T OVER COMPLICATE IT. Don't go "1 hour of this, then 1 hour of that, etc". If you feel like strumming for all 4 hours, go for it. And then the next day you can do something else. Don't put yourself into some kind of frame, because that is what your mind naturally wants to escape from.
#5
Quote by Powka
I'm not going to argue, as I'm just wishing the guy all the best. But to prove my point, as my ego is talking now, let the dude come back in three-four weeks and tell us honestly how did he succeed in keeping up with the schedule. I'm sure most of the people know what is going to happen.

I'm not saying no to discipline - having some kind of idea of what needs more attention and etc; I'm saying DON'T OVER COMPLICATE IT. Don't go "1 hour of this, then 1 hour of that, etc". If you feel like strumming for all 4 hours, go for it. And then the next day you can do something else. Don't put yourself into some kind of frame, because that is what your mind naturally wants to escape from.


You are right.. the vast majority of people never stick to their goals, judging by his post though i would say he has decided to go for it, and that he could do it, im cheering for him and i hope he does..
Quote by Hail
i'm the internet equivalent of ripping the skin off my face and strangling you with it right now


Quote by Steve Albini
Remixing is for talentless pussies who don't know how to tune a drum or point a microphone.
Last edited by Slashiepie at Nov 30, 2011,
#6
I tend to find having at least a rough structure (i.e. I'll practice alternate picking for about half an hour, then sweeping for about half an hour etc...) works better than just randomly practicing...