#1
hi im alec and id like a few suggestions.

first i play guitar and piano. im 15 preparing to go into my junior year.

now my question is if i had my sights set on a music college such as berklee, or a career as a musician how should i practice?

how important are scales? i mean how diligently should i practice them?
-my piano teacher with whom ive been with for 7+ years and who attended berklee and was a professional musician in his days says i should do them every day, but im unsure. if someone could shed some light on how important they are then i could see that it is or isnt worth it to practice them.
- also since i play guitar and piano should i force myself to choose one as my focus and the other one just a mere hobby or is it possible to become proficient and successful on both?
-how often should i practice?
once again my teacher said 3-4 hours if i want to go to berklee but since i play the piano and guitar should i divide that time up between the two?

-should i give up my other love for soccer to pusue music or should i be patient and see where soccer leads me. im thinking maybe i should practice music and not neglect soccer, but if i discover music as my true muse and take it as a career then i can start really practicing? what im asking is should i not stress out so much about practicing non-stop until i make into a music college and then turn all my energy to it or should i practice non-stop until i get into music college? (kinda confusing question. sorry )

also im not sure where i stand against other people and my question is should i worry about other people?
im attending a summer program with berklee in a few weeks so i think that will show me how i am compared to some other dudes.

-also i have some anxiety issues because i never know if what im practicing is worth my time and also im not sure ( as you can tell) if my methods are effective or not?

- in your opinion does praciticing scales create you into a machine that can't play creatively, or is that just a shrew idea and that your chops are extremely important and that creativity is seperate from your discipline and practice on your instrument?

i know i have a lot of questions but i have been in the dark for a while and i would really like some answers to my questions and doubts. thank you for taking the time to read this and respond.
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#2
Well I wish I could help you with most of your concerns, but those are very difficult to answer.. I would say for one, that you can never practice too much in anything. I don't want you to turn away from soccer though it may distract you from a musical goal a bit... but it will also give you an escape from the constant barrage of music/theory/practice. I go to Stetson University, it has a very good music dept, one of the best in the Southern region of the States, and though I am not in the school of music, my friends who are dedicated a huge portion of their time... its a very rigorous path.

As far as the creativity vs mechanical scales... you have to learn the difference between playing with your hands and playing with your heart/mind.. both can be very productive/effective, but you want to balance them both out.

You are a light, shining creativity all over the place... the scale is a device to turn your light into a laser. It gives you direction/focus. If you know the sound you want, you can choose the appopriate scale and have a direction.
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#3
Ill try to make myself as clear as possible. Spending at LEAST 4 hours with theory and practicing daily (I mean literally every day) isnt impossible. During holidays you can lets say wake up at 7am and practice until 11am and you still have a long day in front of you. If you want to be a professional, youll need scales and a lot of practice. It is possible to be good enough without knowing theory, but it is highly improbable. As a professional you will probably be a session musician and that means playing what pther people want and doing it for money. And that means that you will need to be versatile enough to play any genre they ask you to play. And that is why you need to know theory
#4
Dude, you know what would really help with your theory...

...join band. Haha. I don't have to practice scales... because I know them and the theory, from being in band. I play the tenor sax too. Theory is very important though if you're majoring in any type of music.
#5
Quote by alecbart
hi im alec and id like a few suggestions.

first i play guitar and piano. im 15 preparing to go into my junior year.

now my question is if i had my sights set on a music college such as berklee, or a career as a musician how should i practice?
Correctly.

how important are scales? i mean how diligently should i practice them?
Its mostly agreed that scales are the best way to detect and correct flaws in technique. Otherwise, not very, imo. Some people worth listening to would disagree with me.

-my piano teacher with whom ive been with for 7+ years and who attended berklee and was a professional musician in his days says i should do them every day, but im unsure. if someone could shed some light on how important they are then i could see that it is or isnt worth it to practice them.
Someone with a lot more direct experience offers you guidence and you don't trust their opinion. Critical thinking is important in life, but if you don't accept some authority, then you're better off majoring in philosophy when you get to college.

- also since i play guitar and piano should i force myself to choose one as my focus and the other one just a mere hobby or is it possible to become proficient and successful on both?
You should focus on one. Many schools require a dual proficiency, with piano as a requirment. This isn't true of some conservatories/dedicated music schools, and it is of others. It is true of any multi-accredited college or univeristy. Often if piano is required, at least some voice is as well; and a large portion of your musicianship requirment is often vocally based (sight singing).

-how often should i practice?
once again my teacher said 3-4 hours if i want to go to berklee but since i play the piano and guitar should i divide that time up between the two?
Again, see what I said about the primary instrument deal. Your teacher isn't far off the mark, but at the same time it doesn't sound like he gave you full advice. Most people can't practice more than 2 hours a day, and get anything worthwhile out of it. It's right about that point where you run out of steam mentally, and most of the game is mental. You can work it up, significantly, over time, and once you do, 3-4 hours is appropriate (and required at most schools).

The good part is that a lot of that time is break time (generally ~10 minutes every 30-60 minutes or so, once you're up to 3 hours).

-should i give up my other love for soccer to pusue music or should i be patient and see where soccer leads me. im thinking maybe i should practice music and not neglect soccer, but if i discover music as my true muse and take it as a career then i can start really practicing? what im asking is should i not stress out so much about practicing non-stop until i make into a music college and then turn all my energy to it or should i practice non-stop until i get into music college? (kinda confusing question. sorry )
I'm, personally, of the mindset that physical fitness away from your instrument is a huge part of your playing. It's proven that it benifits mental alacrity, oxygen flow through the body, etc. etc. All of which benifit your playing, believe it or not.

How you budget your time is ultimately up to you, but now is a good time to start considering exactly what path you want to take. Again, there's no reason for you, right now, to make music your only activity in life... in fact, it would probably be bad for you ultimately.

Most people can easily budget 2 hours a day to practice, and you're probably no exception. Find some time during lunch, or spend less time on the computer. Make your practice time part of your homework time. Whatever. The point is to balance it with everything else you do right now; not make it your full time job.

also im not sure where i stand against other people and my question is should i worry about other people?
im attending a summer program with berklee in a few weeks so i think that will show me how i am compared to some other dudes.
No. All musicians are at different levels, and anybody worth associating with accepts that, and supports you. The entire point of being a musician is continued self improvement. It's not a competition, and you shouldn't ever get that attitude about it.

-also i have some anxiety issues because i never know if what im practicing is worth my time and also im not sure ( as you can tell) if my methods are effective or not?
Anxiety about what? You haven't told us what you're practicing, really... and that should be the least of your concerns. My recommendation, first and foremost, is to play a gig. At least one. It'll pay you back tenfold when you get to school and it's required, and it's the quickest way to know whether or not you've wasted your time practicing.

- in your opinion does praciticing scales create you into a machine that can't play creatively, or is that just a shrew idea and that your chops are extremely important and that creativity is seperate from your discipline and practice on your instrument?
Depends on how you practice them, and what you practice them for. If you play scales thinking that you're going to play scales during a solo, then yes, you're programming yourself to end up sucking horribly at music, even if you can play scales great. If you play scales with an understanding that they're for developing technique, and isolating problems in your technique, then yes they're beneficial.

Most of the professional guitarists I know have at some point stopped scale studies; learning music is by far more important, and once the technique is there, technique study for the sake of technique study is silly.

Hopefully I raised more questions than I answered, because you're really not asking the right things.
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#6
You are a light, shining creativity all over the place... the scale is a device to turn your light into a laser. It gives you direction/focus. If you know the sound you want, you can choose the appopriate scale and have a direction.
Worst piece of advice I've heard all day. Take it from someone who writes music 8 hours a day, then plays another 2-4, not counting rehearsals and performances. Trying to chose a scale for a 'feeling' is the absolute worst way to try and write music.

That's pretty much why I've given up responding in those types of threads. Such thinking is purely foolish.
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#7
Ill try to make myself as clear as possible. Spending at LEAST 4 hours with theory and practicing daily (I mean literally every day) isnt impossible.
No, but it is probably a bad idea. See my first post for an explaination on 1) budgeting your time 2) the correct amount of practice time.

Most of the rest of your post seems to imply that theory is scales; it's not.

The last two sentences, however, are dead on.
Quote by les_kris
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#8
Quote by Corwinoid
Worst piece of advice I've heard all day. Take it from someone who writes music 8 hours a day, then plays another 2-4, not counting rehearsals and performances. Trying to chose a scale for a 'feeling' is the absolute worst way to try and write music.

That's pretty much why I've given up responding in those types of threads. Such thinking is purely foolish.



Agreed, that if/when I'm writing music, I never think about what scale I'm doing/etc. BUT, it helps when I'm writing another part to back it up - to at least know what key I'm in and stuff. I don't know. With guitar it gets confusing, because you lose a bit of theory aspect and it's more just of writing it without thinking. But he's talking about taking up music in a school.... he can't just... not know stuff.
#9
I honestly don't know how berklee teaches their theory program. Surprisingly, most of the time, yes you can (assuming you know the basics of reading on at least one staff). That's exactly why you go to school.

Seriously, major and minor are about all you need going into a music program... most music programs, for that matter, don't study past them. Depending on the degree he's looking at, it may or may not be worth it to learn other scales, but it shouldn't be what he's focused on primarily. Learning variations of various scales is something that serves a purpose, really, but it's not his. At least, not yet.

If it's theory he's concerned about, then it needs to be seperated from an instrument, period. If it's guitar he's concerned with, he should be learning new material and focusing on technique.
Quote by les_kris
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#10
How important are scales? Let me tell you something...

I've been playing for a year and a half. I read so much theory stuff that just went right over my head. I thought, what the heck does this mean? How can I use that crap?

I learned my first major scale and a little bit of modes just recently, and I feel like I have an axe to chop down a tree now, not a knife. It made my playing 1000 times better in about 1 hour. Learn your scales, and learn to improvise. Also, learn your theory.
#11
^ is goin in the right direction, first learn your scales (gotta know the basics to understand the more advanced) then learn really basic theory which will tell you of the interval names and get you familiar with the relationship between the notes.... THEN once you got that down you can move towards more advanced theory and counterpoint, typically once you've learned theory to an advanced degree you'll realize that a scale is more like a foundation for a song and that you don't need to follow them directly to make a song, but you do need to learn them initially so that you have a good foundation to build off of.
#12
I really really lean away from learning modes, I don't think it's really beneficial. It's one way of looking at something that has a lot of better ways to be looked at. The proper use of modern modality is actually kind of advanced, and gapping your understanding of music that way isn't really good for you IMO.

I know that seems counter-intuitive, because modality is so naturally explained for guitar, but I really think it's more important to understand the major/minor system, and how harmony really works, before dealing with modality. If you understand how a harmonic system works, modality, if you choose that route, kind of just falls in to place.
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#13
thank all of you for your responses they have helped a lot
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