#1
So, in a couple days I'm gonna play two songs in an audition for college, and I noticed that my playing is quite sloppy. I know for a fact that I'm not nervous or anxious, and I've practiced the songs I'm will play to death. I also took a few days off every time I noticed it was getting sloppy. I wanna know if someone has gone through similar experiences and if you have some advice to share.

And, if it helps to know this, I am suffering of some kind of writer's block, since it's been a while that I haven't come up with some new riffs and melodies and when I try to, nothing good comes out.
#2
Quote by Lersch
So, in a couple days I'm gonna play two songs in an audition for college, and I noticed that my playing is quite sloppy. I know for a fact that I'm not nervous or anxious, and I've practiced the songs I'm will play to death. I also took a few days off every time I noticed it was getting sloppy. I wanna know if someone has gone through similar experiences and if you have some advice to share.

And, if it helps to know this, I am suffering of some kind of writer's block, since it's been a while that I haven't come up with some new riffs and melodies and when I try to, nothing good comes out.
Transcribing records by ear would greatly help with your writers block. Try, and transcribe one of your favorite albums make it a project you'll learn so much about how the music was constructed.
#3
Play it slower, until you get it not sloppy when playing it slow and gradually work your way up.
Last edited by ROCKER1000GNR at Nov 2, 2013,
#4
Black_devils - That was exactly what I was going to do Although I never transcribed an album, just songs. After the audition is finished I'm gonna give it a try

Rocker1000GNR - I guess that's the only way. It's a bummer, but since I played these songs so much it shouldn't be an issue haha
#5
Play it slower, find the flaws in your technique then tighten them up. Get faster, repeat.
#6
I highly recommend you check out the 21 day challenge (i prefer to call it a method, really) that is sticked in the guitar techniques forum. I firmly believe that it can treat any flaws in ones playing, it has done so to me for the past 2 years i've used it. It takes a lot of discipline but if you do it correctly the results are amazing, and it can be applied to both playing, theory and improvisation.

As for creativity, the transcribing suggestion is great. I would suggest an exercise that i do quite often. Put a chord or chord-progression on a loop and then sing/imagine lines and try to play them, it's very very hard to do at first, but it opens up your mind.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#7
Sickz - I like the idea of the 21 day challenge and will definitely try it out, and will also try the chord progression exercise. Thanks for the advice, I guess your sig doesn't lie
#8
Quote by Lersch
Thanks for the advice, I guess your sig doesn't lie


Oh stop it you.

I just remembered another piece of advice that i always give my students. It's in regard to improvisation, which you could say would be composing very fast, so this might help with the writers block aswell.

Now i don't know what kind of music that you listen to, but i believe this concept can be used within all styles of music. I just know that it's more common amongst blues, jazz and fusion players, cause that's the style i mainly play.

This is a way to improve yourself in going towards the sound you want. You could say it would be like "shaping your voice" on the instrument.

Anyways, the idea is that you that you take an idea that you like. Let's say a blues phrase just for the sake of it. Now, you will put this phrase through 4 different steps.

1) Figure it out and learn to play it. Pretty self-explanatory, you sit down with the recording and make sure you get all the notes down and then you spend a day/week practicing it until you have it down.

2) Sing and play. Sing and play the lick, play it so slow that you can sing as precisely in pitch as possible. You don't have to be a singer to do this.

3) Sing and "ghost". After you've been singing it for some time (a couple of days/weeks) you start to sing and "ghost" it. By "ghost" i mean putting your fingers where they are supposed to be, but not playing the lick. So you are basically singing what your fingers are doing.

4) Repeat in all 12 keys.

This is an amazing way to expand your creative mind with stuff you like. I haven't been doing it for that long yet, but i can already use it in jams. I've been in jams where i don't what what key we are in but i've heard the chord the lick is played over in some key, and since i've been doing this i can sing the line and my fingers automatically knows where they should be.

It's a really long process at first and you may find yourself doing simple, short phrases for the period of several weeks. But after you've been doing it for a while it gets easier and you can do the same with quicker licks or more wierd sounding stuff.

Once again, 21 day method is great for this. I'd recommend picking like 3-5 phrases you really like and doing this with.

Hope that was helpful
Best Regards
Sickz
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#9
Quote by Lersch
I also took a few days off every time I noticed it was getting sloppy.



yeah don't do this - consistent practice will yield results. It's not about seeing improvement day after day, more like month after month or even year to year. Focus on developing specific things like individual pieces of music, or specific techniques that you have trouble with.

The days you're playing sloppy are the ones you need to practice the most. Gotta sit down and work through it, even if it means going slower and paying extra close attention.

And if you're a performer, which it sounds like you want to be if you're doing auditions for anything, remember that your best performance is only as good as your worst day of practice. Your bad days are major opportunities for improvement, because they show you what your technique base really is.
Last edited by cdgraves at Nov 2, 2013,
#10
Sickz - You are being really helpful That is something I kinda already tried, but not to that extent. Searching for my "own sound" on the music I write is my goal, so I'll be sure to try that.

cdgraves - Hm... I usually take one or two days off because the next day, when I pick up the guitar and try to play what I've been practicing, I notice that I can play like never before But I'll take your advice and practice extra on these bad days. Thanks!
#11
For your guidance, it's not just the amount of practice, but the quality. If something isn't quite clicking, slow it WAAAY down. You'd be surprised how often it turns out that you're actually uncertain of the notes or rhythm. Once you go back and fix those, getting up to speed is pretty easy.

If a point of technique is causing an issue, be creative and come up with an exercise that isolates it, and work on that for a few days in addition to music.
#13
Quote by gh0ul666
it get by sloppy playing by adoring jimmy page, lol.


Don't drink and post, kids.
#14
Quote by Lersch
So, in a couple days I'm gonna play two songs in an audition for college, and I noticed that my playing is quite sloppy. I know for a fact that I'm not nervous or anxious, and I've practiced the songs I'm will play to death. I also took a few days off every time I noticed it was getting sloppy. I wanna know if someone has gone through similar experiences and if you have some advice to share.

And, if it helps to know this, I am suffering of some kind of writer's block, since it's been a while that I haven't come up with some new riffs and melodies and when I try to, nothing good comes out.

usually sloppy playing happens when you are trying to do something you can't, usually too fast. the other thing is it can be mental. if you mentally believe what you are playing is easy, 90% of the time it will be. when you start thinking and second guessing, you tense up, make mistakes, and become sloppy. even just slight hesitation can mess you up. i developed tendonitis so i've had to pay real close attention to any added tension. i've found it really is mostly in your head. there may also be so technique issues as well that are holding you back, but i can't comment on that.

i've noticed for picking you almost want it to feel like you aren't picking at all. like you hand is gliding over the strings and the pick lightly bounces along the strings, letting the weight of your hand and the motion do most of the work to sound the note. think about if you were strumming really fast or bowing a violin fast. would you tense up? obviously you can strum a lot faster and bow faster if you are loose. same with picking. i find picking and strumming shouldn't be too different, just smaller. proper strumming that is, not big arm movements, loose wrist motions.

honestly, i don't know how much you can do in a couple of days other than focusing on relaxing and maybe just taking things into smaller runs and slowly add more notes until it becomes easy to play. as far as writers block goes, it's kind of similar. you need to relax and stop TRYING to make something. just sit down, and start playing and be in the moment. eventually, something WILL come. it's the same with solos and what not to. if you are TRYING to do something, you are usually thinking too much and not letting your musical instincts kick in. it's a fine line to walk because sometimes obviously you do need to think a bit, but you should try and let it flow as much as you can. kind of like what i was saying about just believing something is easy. if you mess up, laugh it off or improvise something. don't draw attention to it, don't even think about it because you'll probably start TRYING even more.

i hope that helps a bit, it's honestly helped me. another little thing is if something is hard to play, sometimes i close my eyes and just try to feel what it feels like to play it and visualize the pattern in my head. i don't know why, but it seems to make it easier. i think the act of closing your eyes might actually relax you a bit, and i think cutting off the visual information makes me think more about what's important rather than trying to impress myself or just complete a task.
#15
I suggest you play along with the song you want to learn. It might sound a little simple and silly but that's how I learn guitar/bass. It doesn't matter if you're sloppy at first but you'll do better each time than you did last time. I also recommend having an accurate (preferably done by a professional, your guitar teacher, or even yourself) tab/sheet music in front of you. Just keep playing along and you'll get better and better. Have a nice day.