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  1. #151

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    Quote Originally Posted by artcore View Post
    I just read a short article on Pat Metheny, In college he would get up in morning and practice until lunch then practice until dinner, then play or practice until he went to bed...every day, according to the article......You know, the guy is very talented, he's from a family of musicians but the effort I've read he puts into it seperates the boys from the men in a sense....Most of us could have followed the same course and never get to his level, thats where ( I think ) the talent comes into play....But you could still be a damn good player...
    I think some talent is innate---such as perfect pitch, or a phenomenal ear that is short of perfect pitch but allows some 'ear players' to play anything they hear (or recall anything they've heard). But I think a lot of what we call talent is the result of incredible amounts of focused practice for years. Charlie Parker said he practiced 8 hours a day during his teenage years. We are amazed at this and admire the drive to do that. But we don't (usually) ask ourselves this: "If he was so Talented, why did he have to practice so much?" But that's a good question and it points us, I think, in a useful direction. If we practice only two hours a day, the difference between us and Bird is not just talent but also thousands of hours of actually playing. (This is an important element of Conti's attention: play, play, play! Play the lines, over and over, don't sit back and ruminate about it, just keep playing, and when we do that, we do get better.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

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  3. #152

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    I think some talent is innate---such as perfect pitch, or a phenomenal ear that is short of perfect pitch but allows some 'ear players' to play anything they hear (or recall anything they've heard). But I think a lot of what we call talent is the result of incredible amounts of focused practice for years. Charlie Parker said he practiced 8 hours a day during his teenage years. We are amazed at this and admire the drive to do that. But we don't (usually) ask ourselves this: "If he was so Talented, why did he have to practice so much?" But that's a good question and it points us, I think, in a useful direction. If we practice only two hours a day, the difference between us and Bird is not just talent but also thousands of hours of actually playing. (This is an important element of Conti's attention: play, play, play! Play the lines, over and over, don't sit back and ruminate about it, just keep playing, and when we do that, we do get better.
    Is it possible that the people who spend that amount of time practicing and developing were born with that level of specific desire? Most of us let life intrude, making decisions to do other things with our lives, while some apparently focus intensely on one thing and stick with it. Maybe that is at least part of what we call "talent" that very specific focus and desire for one thing and one thing only. Most of us don't have that. Despite our claims to the contrary, our actions prove otherwise. For most of us, music is a part of our lives, rather than being our lives.

    Tony

  4. #153
    (Argh, forgot to include the link to the Free Conti lesson - sorry.)

    I just watched the entire video and the thing that I was most impressed with were the number of folks who just want to play CM. (Nice job BTW, Tony!) I know they were testimonials of varying skill levels, but man, look at all the folks that have this goal in common. It always amazes me just how much work we put into this need to play music in this style. To be the best we can be, even if it's just to sit on the couch and play for ourselves. Humans can be pretty amazing...
    "Talent is a pursued interest; anything that you're willing to practice, you can do." - Bob Ross

  5. #154

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    Quote Originally Posted by artcore View Post
    I just read a short article on Pat Metheny, In college he would get up in morning and practice until lunch then practice until dinner, then play or practice until he went to bed...every day, according to the article...
    I find that a little hard to believe. Metheny went to Berklee where there is quite a bit of coursework required, plus various ensembles, etc, etc. I don't think it's possible to go to college there and just get up and "practice" all day. If you wanted to do that, you could save yourself tens of thousands of dollars per year and just stay home and do that....

  6. #155

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco View Post
    I find that a little hard to believe. Metheny went to Berklee where there is quite a bit of coursework required, plus various ensembles, etc, etc. I don't think it's possible to go to college there and just get up and "practice" all day. If you wanted to do that, you could save yourself tens of thousands of dollars per year and just stay home and do that....
    From what I have been told by some who went through Berklee, there are many who went there to learn and make music contacts and were not necessrily focused on finishing a degree. Even for those who did complete the program, there were apparently long hours outside the classroom of practicing and jamming and that sort of thing. The impression I have is that the place is (or was at one time) a real hothouse for growing musically. On the other hand, as I said in another post, there seem to be a lot of "urban legends" about the players we admire. It is difficult to know the truth when we are on the outside looking in (or trying to look in).

    Tony
    Last edited by tbeltrans; 05-19-2013 at 10:30 PM.

  7. #156

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    Quote Originally Posted by ah.clem View Post
    (Argh, forgot to include the link to the Free Conti lesson - sorry.)

    I just watched the entire video and the thing that I was most impressed with were the number of folks who just want to play CM. (Nice job BTW, Tony!) I know they were testimonials of varying skill levels, but man, look at all the folks that have this goal in common. It always amazes me just how much work we put into this need to play music in this style. To be the best we can be, even if it's just to sit on the couch and play for ourselves. Humans can be pretty amazing...
    Thanks ah.clem! I have not watched far into it yet to see that part. If you go to Conti's site, you will see lots of videos of students playing. On YouTube, you can find these also. In particular, watch the video of a guy named Mike Irish. See who he is, is credentials in the educational community and what he says about Conti's teaching method. By the way, chord melody is a great way to just sit on the couch and play for ourselves. Music is a great avocation/hobby.

    Tony

  8. #157

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    I went to jazz college at the age of 36 after 25 years of playing rock guitar/shred. I had developed my technique and speed by imitating the rock/neo-classical masters such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Randy Rhoads, etc. I naturally developed my own style and ability to improvise within the rock/blues genres.

    In jazz college I had an hour and a half lesson each week where I would play scales, triads, arpeggios, etc up and down the neck in every position along with a metronome, using the rhythms from Progressive Steps to Syncopation (a drum book). I had to go through the Modern Method for Guitar books, play and memorize classical pieces using a pick, take a classical history course, do ear training and learn piano chords, and play in a group setting, jazz theory and history. We were taught to target chord tones on beats 1 and 3.

    Most of the students were young kids 17-18 and then would all go home at the end of a full day of classes since they had to catch a certain bus. So there was a bit of time to practice in between classes and a couple hours to jam in one of the group classes twice a week. I made little progress when it came time to improvise, even though I practiced all night and weekends as I didn't work.

    To get better it's more than just playing your instrument, you have to play the right things. For the most part this is playing what you would actually play in a solo. If we're talking fast bebop lines these have to be under your fingers without much conscious thought. It's impossible to do this if you've just practiced scales. Melodic lines are a combination of scale fragments, arpeggios, chromatic notes, etc. Imagine practicing a ton of chord inversions...would you then be able to play a beautiful chord melody? I think (know) not!

    So when you are tempted to practice chords in every inversion, change this to playing a chord melody or comping phrase that you would actually play on a gig. Instead of practicing scales or modes across the neck, learn lines. Even with all my technique it took a lot of practice to get bebop lines such as those in Jazz Lines or any of Conti's solos up to speed. No matter what skill level you have to practice if it's something new for your brain and fingers. On occasion it may make sense to isolate a section or concept.

    By learning chord melodies and solos a lot of jazz will be internalized into your playing and giving you the right feel. The next stage would be being able to create chord melodies and improvise. But there are many students who are just happy to be able to play jazz tunes without going to this next level, and that is okay too.

    For chord melody the practice of finding the right chord for the melody note is an important mental process. For each melody note I determine the interval over the current chord and then find the appropriate chord from Chord Melody Assembly Line. If you have a C# (major 3rd) over A7 I would look for the G7 chord with a 3rd in the melody note (B) and shift it up 2 frets. After a while they becomes an automatic response.

    If you want to add more chords and reharmonize tunes then The Formula! is for you. But learn some chord melodies from Conti's Signature Chord Melody Series as well. These are great examples. You can get hung up studying all the theory and still not be able to play a full chord melody so make sure this doesn't happen to you! Some people have a fear of copying other people's arrangements but once you can play a chord melody you will be amazed at how your natural ability to change them will start to emerge. Plus a lot of the chord moves (especially bass line movements) will reappear over and over so even if you write own your own arrangements you will be doing many of the same things from Conti's Signature arrangements.

  9. #158

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    good post....I think you need to, at least for sometime, play the arrangements of others....If you believe its important to copy the lines of Wes Montgomery, then why not the same with some of the cord melody greats.....

  10. #159

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    Quote Originally Posted by artcore View Post
    good post....I think you need to, at least for sometime, play the arrangements of others....If you believe its important to copy the lines of Wes Montgomery, then why not the same with some of the cord melody greats.....
    Well, I think copying lines and playing a whole chord melody are pretty different things...

    I think (as I've been saying a lot lately) being able to play these other folks' arrangements is nice and all, but it's the stuff you take from them and re-apply in different keys/situations in your own arrangements that's really important if you want to play in this style...
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  11. #160

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    I've been playing chord melody via the arrangements of others for a few years now.... once I got them down, I've made minor changes to them to suit my tastes. But how to create my own arrangement always eluded me.

    This thread got me interested in it again..... I was unsure whether the chord melody assembly line or the formula was right for me... So I bought both.. LOL

    I spent the weekend with the assembly line DVD & book... .... great stuff..... even after just doing the C, F, & G7 chord groups, I found myself finding portions of melodies from standards in the groups....

    This is awesome!

  12. #161

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkstott View Post
    I've been playing chord melody via the arrangements of others for a few years now.... once I got them down, I've made minor changes to them to suit my tastes. But how to create my own arrangement always eluded me.

    This thread got me interested in it again..... I was unsure whether the chord melody assembly line or the formula was right for me... So I bought both.. LOL

    I spent the weekend with the assembly line DVD & book... .... great stuff..... even after just doing the C, F, & G7 chord groups, I found myself finding portions of melodies from standards in the groups....

    This is awesome!
    I know that feeling! I spent a month with the first five groups (C, F, G7, Am, Dm) and it was time well spent.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  13. #162
    Quote Originally Posted by dkstott View Post
    But how to create my own arrangement always eluded me.
    A pretty basic way that I use is to take the melody and figure it out on the top 2 strings, occasionally dropping to the 3rd (depending on the chord shape I want to use), finding the root of the chord where I want to pay a chord (I don't always play a chord for every note) then use either a drop 2 (1573 3715 5137 7351) or drop 3 (1735 3157 5371 7513) chord depending on the chord/scale degree of the melody note at the time and how smoothly the bass line is falling out - if it's like a 9th in the melody, I drop the root in most cases as the 3rd is needed for chord quality but remember, it's really about what sounds good to you. This is a pretty basic method, but it works. There are no chord subs the first time I go through the tune, and it can take me days of practice to figure out exactly where I want to go with the melody (what chord shapes I want to use to harmonize). Obviously, this is a pretty simplistic description of what I try to do, but it's essentially it. Once I have worked out the skeleton of the melody and harmony, then I start to think about adding counter lines, chord subs, etc. I am by no means skilled at it (Mr. B is 27 leagues ahead of where I am) but each tune gets faster to figure out. In a few years I think I will be pretty decent at this stuff.

    On the Conti stuff, I originally started this thread at a time when I was feeling quite frustrated with my slow progress with the above method and was looking for a faster way to get stuff under my fingers. I did work on Conti on my own as it took some time for this thread to take off, but have been spending more time doing the stuff outlined above, again. Fortunately, I have a teacher that humors me when I get frustrated and lets me explore.

    I agree that you can learn stuff from other folks' arrangements, and there is an immediate satisfaction of being able to play something recognizable from beginning to end, but I really see that all as a jumping off point for me (not for all, just me) and a motivator to work out my own stuff - pretty much what Mr. B has been saying this last week in another thread.

    Anyway, I hope this helps give you an idea about one method to get started playing this style.
    "Talent is a pursued interest; anything that you're willing to practice, you can do." - Bob Ross

  14. #163

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    question.... in the chord melody assembly line, Robert Conti lists quite a few chords that go past the 14th fret.... my short pudgy fingers just can't seem fit in the fretboard to do them.

    Am I making a major mistake by ignoring them and focusing on the chords that are below the 12 or 14th fret?

    Dave

  15. #164

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkstott View Post
    question.... in the chord melody assembly line, Robert Conti lists quite a few chords that go past the 14th fret.... my short pudgy fingers just can't seem fit in the fretboard to do them.

    Am I making a major mistake by ignoring them and focusing on the chords that are below the 12 or 14th fret?

    Dave
    No. However, you can play those same voicings from the nut (-treating the nut as the 12th fret and counting up from there.)
    My guitar has a shallow cutaway and I struggle with the highest voicings in the "Assembly Line." (I love the layout of Conti's guitar: total access to the highest frets!) You do what you can do.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola