Becomming better.

posted on #1
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Joined: 03.12.14
Hello Wikiloops, it's me again.
This time with a little bit more sanity than the last time with the impossible binural beat idea haha, some of you might know what im talking about.

I have realized, i am wasting my potential.
I feel like im a decent guitarist, not good.. just decent.
and i want to change that, i want to get good and pull my s**t together.

So i have taken my time to set some goals, and i want to share them with you guys! i hope this maybe can inspire some other.. i hate to say it, but other lazy musicians like me who want to improve and get out of the incredible bad habbit of being lazy.

My goal, very in depth:
1. Learn RDLA (Recuerdos De La Alhambra), Note by note.
2. Perfect the PAMI-Tremolo technique.
3. Increase my left hand strenght and accuracy, what i mean by this is going through some "4 finger exerices" such as the chromatic E, F, F#, G, G# etc.
4. I wanna practice what i call the major-shape barre chords (this is based on the A major chord shape. i feel like im very good at the minor-shape, but the major ones are a struggle for me).

5. i want to learn to construct chords and understand how scales and modes work. not just on the surface, but to my perosnal limits, with the youtube guides and personal effort, this is because i feel like i can write some really decent music..
my most recent piece, the piano duo here on wikiloops is really good in my opinion. i am very proud of it.

However, it could have been a lot better. im sure, and this is because of my lack of music theory and basic knowledge. when im creating music in the DAW or jamming on my electric or even the classical.. i tend to stick to very little chords, or atleast keep the same bass note going as a pedal point, it's a really common thing to do, especially in metal music..

Heres a short example of something im working on,
https://soundcloud.com/soren-pedersen-420693200/a-minor-pedal-point-example/s-4x0AD
i've actually been working on this for quite a while, it's becomming a very old riff now, but it's still there and i still play it very often because i think it sounds good. i apologize for the recording quality but yea.. it's what i got.

And i really wanna learn to get away from the pedal point technique, and the lack of diversety in my chord progressions.. in short, i wanna spice up my playing, and get away from this "dull" kind of sound im creating.

So how im going to aproach this and try to reach my goals.. is first of all, by writing it all down, so when i approach my guitar i ALWAYS know what to do, this is to try and limit the "messing about" and increase the "actual practice time".

and then i have cut up my pratice session into three sections:
1. Boring and tedious exercises:
PAMI-Tremolo to a metronome.
"4 finger" exercises, as explained above.

2. Theory and Guitar knowledge.
This is where i will be practicing scales and chord construction.
when doing my scale runs, i will obviously keep my fingering from the 4 finger exercises in mind.

3. Action.
This is where i will pratice RDLA, where i will pratice to create music without using the pedal point or.. where ill try to create music using the PAMI tremolo. you get the point, this is where the magic of creating and playing actual music happens.

I have decided to use 1 hour and 30 minutes EVERY SINGLE DAY. 30 minutes for each section.. and if i want to mess around after that, i shall do so.

I hope i can go through it, and achieve what i dream about playing.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, and i hope you maybe can be inspired to take your pratice to the next level and stick with it!

To me, it's going to be abit of a challenge at first, but on the other hand.. i really want to get better, i just need to see the progression.. and when i see that, the joy of pratice will return.

- Søren. :)
My picture = Faceswapping with a wax doll.. yea, creepy. <3
posted on #2
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Joined: 25.03.12
Here are some tips for you:

Use guitar pro for practising. You have a metronome with speedtraining functionality and a lot of other features. I have written a paper on how to use this, pm me your email and I'll send it to you.

Stay away from purely technical exercises. Instead try to find something that has some musical content as well. In the classical world such pieces are called etudes and there are thousands of them. The trick is to find the right ones...

If you want to use scales to build your vocabulary, dont practice them linearly. You will play what you practice.. Instead players like John McLaughlin and Frank Gambale advocate learning scales in intervals. Much more challenging and much more rewarding.

When practising, change exercises often. In the past i would sit for hours with the same exercise with the determination not to stop until i reached a set goal. This was very counter productive. Then i encountered this [youtube]F3vw53N3phQ[/youtube](a compatriot of yours). It made totally sense. After that i limited every exercise to 10 minutes. The change in progression was amazing, really.
Edited by nilton on 12-12-2016 16:16
Pure fingerstyle
posted on #3
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When building speed, use a technique called grouping. Here is a video on violin
[youtube]89ZtpOWEt4s[/youtube] but this should be applicable to all instruments. I have developed my practice method with guitar pro to incorporate this, but it is not yet in the paper.

Also check out items like super slow practice and hot spot practice They are really useful
Pure fingerstyle
posted on #4
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cool approach!!!
posted on #5
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Joined: 27.09.14
Good for you! Just remember, music is about having fun and being creative - if you set goals that are to tight, strict or hard you might start feeling stressed or annoyed about it. So, even if it won't work immediately as you like, keep at it and remember to have fun :D
posted on #6
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TG_Strat wrote:
Good for you! Just remember, music is about having fun and being creative - if you set goals that are to tight, strict or hard you might start feeling stressed or annoyed about it. So, even if it won't work immediately as you like, keep at it and remember to have fun :D


Very constructive comment indeed.. Makes me want to get out of here
Pure fingerstyle
posted on #7
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Posts: 44
Joined: 03.12.14
TG_Strat wrote:
Good for you! Just remember, music is about having fun and being creative - if you set goals that are to tight, strict or hard you might start feeling stressed or annoyed about it. So, even if it won't work immediately as you like, keep at it and remember to have fun :D


I agree, the most important aspect of music to me.. is having fun.
i remember when i first started playing guitar, it was not really that fun.. my fingers always hurt, and it was a huge challenge, however seeing the progress happen, hearing myself improve made me want to play! it made me super happy, and i just wanted more and more.

Now, i feel like im not improving, and im just messing about.. resulting in less fun than i could have if i took a daily bite of a sour apple.
My picture = Faceswapping with a wax doll.. yea, creepy. <3
posted on #8
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Joined: 17.07.16
I always keep the balance between theory and actually playing something, for me it's like using the right or left side of the brain... sometimes I just try to forget about everything and just run my fingers through my instrument. That gets much better as you improve your ear training, and of course if you also train other technical skills. That's the most important thing for me, ear training, because it develops your creativity and "intuition", so to speak. After all, it is my ability to hear that lets me enjoy music as much as I do. Sharpen your ear and you will also sharpen your music. :)
posted on #9
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Joined: 25.03.12
Another thoughtful video from one of my favorites:[youtube]CJ7-24A21OA[/youtube]
Pure fingerstyle
posted on #10
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Good advice, Stefan :)
Rockin´ in a free world !
posted on #11
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Posts: 44
Joined: 03.12.14
nilton wrote:
Another thoughtful video from one of my favorites:[youtube]CJ7-24A21OA[/youtube]


Yea his really good, i did watch the videos you originally posted, + dropped a subscribe and signed up for his free stuff on e-mail, he's a pretty cool dude, very nice approach to learning i think.

Thanks for sharing it!
My picture = Faceswapping with a wax doll.. yea, creepy. <3
posted on #12
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Joined: 22.12.11
great musicians/guitarists were around long before the internet,which (in my opinion) teachers how to play like other people ,and stops the devoplment of unique talent just saying!
posted on #13
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Posts: 44
Joined: 03.12.14
davebee wrote:
great musicians/guitarists were around long before the internet,which (in my opinion) teachers how to play like other people ,and stops the devoplment of unique talent just saying!


That's a good point, however.. i still believe it's a very good idea to learn techniques and rules from someone who already know what they are doing, and then when you have learned the proper way you can start tweaking it for your own good.

The biggest part of becomming better on a creative level, is to.. wait for it! create, and you can't learn that from a video, you can get some tips and tricks, but the actual creation process, is something you have to go through yourself.
My picture = Faceswapping with a wax doll.. yea, creepy. <3
posted on #14
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Joined: 22.12.11
rules? maybe.technique
cant be taught.just developed through practise

just saying, again!
posted on #15
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davebee wrote:
Technique cant be taught, just developed through practise

Agree totally. But then there is the choice of how to, and in which direction, to practice...
Edited by nilton on 26-12-2016 16:48
Pure fingerstyle
posted on #16
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This is a very difficult topic and I've been accused of having anarchist views when it comes to institutionalized learning. In my opinion there needs to be a balance in giving those learning the tools which they can use to master their instrument but not dictating exactly how to use those tools. This is very difficult and not a "one size fits all" exercise. Learning institutions unfortunately tend to be pedantic and insist that a set program is learned in order to pass a grade/test. Some students can do this without becoming overly influenced, others become "imprinted" with a style or technique and abandon their inner voice for a set of riffs/exercises (etc.) and "theory" which can make music a series of cut and paste exercises rather than a personal expression.

It's hard for a young music student to know when it's time to "cut and run" as the pieces of paper that say you know all about music are so enticing...and it could mean you can get a job teaching. Here's a cruel but relevant fact: I don't know of a single great artist or musician that has a doctorate in art or music. Did all those thousands of people not have talent/ability? Or...did being in the system and a part of it for too long destroy their individual creative spark?

The world of arts/music can reward the creative unique voices that are out there. What reward is there for "sounding like"... or being in a "tribute band"? Unfortunately it very difficult for the young aspiring musician to know when they have enough tools, especially when faced with awesome players who one admires. It's just too easy to continually try to copy technique and sound without those sounds ever being a part of you. A wise teacher might know when to cast their prodigies into the world. Teachers who work under institutions, or value their continued income, are much less likely to give that advice. Music teaching is an industry with all the same attitudes and problems of any industry where results are measured in profit rather than the longevity or quality of the product.

In my opinion, the most important thing for any aspiring musician is to become "one with their instrument". That means that whatever they can hear in their heads they can play. Being able to sing what you are playing is a good measure of this...your instrument IS your voice. Riffs, arpeggios, etc. only have a place as the "um" in conversation being space/place fillers between meaningful phrases of real communication. The player who only plays cut and paste riffs and arpeggios can't really say much other than I can play these over-practiced canned lines very fast. How long will that hold an audience's attention? It's like watching the world's fastest typist...amazing (for a few minutes), but have they typed the next best seller list novel or is it just a bunch of words that mean nothing?

The prize goes to those who communicate...the more personal the better. Do you need good technique? Yea, better be pretty good as the competition is fairly tough. The trick is to keep a balance between developing the tools and having something to say. Technique MUST be in service of the player/artist and not the subject. Technique without communication is a ZERO.
posted on #17
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Joined: 05.02.16
I wish I could thumb up one thousand times what Wade just said.
I've been through a massacre in my musical life.
I first step into a music school with only five years old.
I begin with piano and jumped to the violin. After a couple of months I quit violin because the teacher was so rude and aggressive that seems like all my creativity was like a threaten to him.
After that I had a piano teacher that motivates me to improvise and play without music sheet at least 10 minutes every class.
One day, when I had about 14 years old, I was playing one Mozart Sonata in a music test. I simply forgot the song and improvised for about 10 measures. When I stopped the teachers faces were a mix of anger and curiosity. They approved me but not without saying some hard words.
The industry of music teaching is cruel. They are not worried about what you need, only about inserting thousands of exercises and rules that makes you a poor owner of a music degree. What for? Teaching?
Dont get me wrong here. Of course I improved my technic playing Bach, Debussy, Mozart, Beethoven... but the gigs I made really shaped me as a performer and musician.
What I think is that you can build a library of technical resources. But if you have a library the most important thing is to know how to read. Even more, to know the meaning of what you are reading.
I am brazilian and I remember the first time I realized how great Tom Jobim was. He was able to say so much doing so little. He was a real master.
The best teacher I had in my life I think I had not more than 20 classes with him. Until today all the technical stuff I need to know he showed me in few classes.
And I asked him: Is that all? And he smiled and said: Yes. Music is in yourself and not in a music sheet or inside the instrument. As long as you can play what you hear inside yourself your technic is enough. More than that is circus presentation. It's meaningless.
Balance... the simplicity is the most sofisticated thing.
(Sorry for my Brazilian english)
posted on #18
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I'm not always fond of the "nanny" style of warnings on products, except were the public would otherwise not be aware of a danger. Warnings about addiction, possible physical harm (not otherwise noticeable), fetal harm/abortion, are all there to help an otherwise unaware public to be kept informed. It's an unfortunate reality that the industries that make and sell those things generally don't care about the harm their product could cause. Regulators have forced those warnings to be shown. The warnings didn't come about as a whim though, they required validity (scientific proof).

As a (day job) researcher we work with statistics in observing patterns. In the previous tirade, I presented the fact that out of the thousands of PhDs that are conferred in the arts there isn't a single well known artist/musician or composer the system has turned out. Sounds like it may be time for students entering those systems to have a warning attached to their registration form. "Warning! This education is known to crush individuality and kill creativity". Pretty obvious that message is not known to those talented individuals who are supported by society in "furthering their training". It's incredibly sad to see some of what may have been our best talent become nothing more than teachers within the same failed paradigm.

The music teaching industry is unlikely to ever admit to its shortcomings or issue that warning. Nor is there any agency that would require them to do so. It's only in forums like this that those truths and realities can be openly expressed and hopefully taken in by some. The best arts/music educators, like Peixe's Tom Jobim, give their students tools, show them how to use them, then allow their creativity to bring forward that individual's unique communication.
posted on #19
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Joined: 25.03.12
Often the notion that education and learning can kill creativity is heard. For me nothing can be further from the truth, but still this idea prevails and even flourishes. This is remarkable and gets me to think how that can be.
In my profession as a teacher (for adults)i have used a learning model where a presentation model (from clssroom, book, videos, labs, assignments etc) is transferred to an internal model in the individual. In my opinion this transfer is powered by three factors

1) Availability, not only to the material but also the internal state of the students internal model must be able to internalize these modifications. That is there must be enough previous knowledge and there must not be any contradictions between what is already present and what is presented.

2) Relevance. Unless knowledge is perceived as relevant it simply will not be learned. And equally important, if we try to force knowledge and skills that are not considered relevant they may be internalized by using pedagogic shortcuts like memorisation techniques, mindmaps etc. But these are shortcuts and often detrimental to thorough understanding. For example, i have NEVER memorized any electrotechnical formula but i am able to reconstruct the one needed for solving a particular problem on demand. Sadly this form of learning is not promoted in educational institutions. Instead material and tests promote pure memorization without understanding and structuring. Something that could explain the misconception that training could kill creativity.

3) Application. In training this is translated to practice. If knowledge is not used it will degenerate. I do not think there is a status quo in knowledge. You either use it or you loose it!

This video gives some very good insights in this[youtube]LNHBMFCzznE[/youtube].
I think everybody should watch it carefully
Edited by nilton on 31-12-2016 19:47
Pure fingerstyle
posted on #20
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I'm sorry that Nilton felt the need to take this personally and try to justify his teaching, which (for all I know) may hold the key to keeping the music/arts student open and connected to their inner creative spirit.

To quote Nilton: "Sadly this form of learning is not promoted in educational institutions. Instead material and tests promote pure memorization without understanding and structuring. Something that could explain the misconception that training could kill creativity." This sounds (to me) like agreeing that currently educational institutions are killing creativity...so where is the disagreement? It would seem that Nilton's argument rests on the word "could". I absolutely agree that teaching does not have to be as it is in those educational institutions, but the fact remains that it IS. Peixe's teacher Tom Jobim is an example of another way. Possibly Nilton's teaching system also works. The point is to NOT necessarily subscribe to the way the teaching industry and institutions handle and package their creative students.

This thread started with a younger learning member wishing to have input into how to become a better player. With the caveat that I'm a bit of an anarchist, an opinion was given. The message remains the same: The current teaching industry/institutions are not necessarily helping to nurture creative people. The longer the student remains in that institutional environment the less likely they are to have kept their creative spark. As a (day job) scientist we always work with statistics and probabilities. The statistic remains: PhDs in music and the arts = thousands every year. Number of known/great artists, musicians from those institutions = 0.

Learn what you can (basics) from "the current system" but know when to move on either independently or try to find a teacher like Peixe's Tom Jobim.
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