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  1. #1

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    I'm aiming to improve in about 7 areas:

    * New tunes
    * Keep on top of tunes I know
    * Scales and arpeggios
    * Aural skills
    * Sight reading
    * Theory
    * Technique such as tremelo (which I practise maybe 5 minutes per day)

    Generally I have about an hour per day to practise so fitting all of these into one session is out of the question. Therefore I try to do 20 minutes of each per day with three items being played on day one with the remainer on day 2.

    I should add that I mix the above as well. For example some of my older as well as new tunes are purely played by sightreading (with a bit of memorisation creeping in of course but ask me to play the pieces away from sheet music and I couldn't). I also sing scales and arpeggios when I can.

    FWIW I'm thinking of doing my grade 5 ABRSM theory exam followed by a grade 5/6 practical but I'll see what happens to my schedule re family/work commitments etc.

    I'd be very interested in hearing what you guys practise and what your practise routine looks like.

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  3. #2

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    I keep a 5x7 card on my music stand with goals for the week.

    Lately I've been working on some perpetual motion exercises from David Baker's "How to Play Bebop" as well as other "daily calisthenics" from there. (I track the tempo at which I'm able to play something right repeatedly.)

    Working on a few solos / etudes, and I keep up with where I am with them.

    Hybrid picking gets a lot of attention lately. (I used to struggle with it at brisk tempi.)

    Play some tunes every day---lately "Georgia" and "Sunny Side of the Street" are regulars.

    Next week, I want to add intros /endings to the list of practice material. I know some but not nearly enough.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  4. #3

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    Hi Liarspoker and everyone else, a friend of mine wrote this post on practicing and balancing the various aspects of learning, including busy schedules. you can find it here and maybe it will give you some ideas: The Trifecta ? Enhance Your Practice Routine | NYEC

    One of the things he points out is how he used to break down his practicing schedule to maximize it.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Next week, I want to add intros /endings to the list of practice material. I know some but not nearly enough.
    I wish there were more stuff about outro and intro

    +1 for the card on the music stand !

  6. #5

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    It's good to know your own learning style.

    Schedules or worse "routines" are anathema to me.
    I work best when I am enthused, excited even about the task in front of me.
    I can get lost in the work and walk away feeling tired but inspired because I've
    just had a rewarding experience.

    Now this could be a recipe for failure for many who just don't have the time or feel
    that it's a cop out to not have a schedule.

    I have observed that many students need/want a concrete task and time frame.
    One guy I taught while he was getting it together to enter into a jazz school picked up on
    a suggestion that he keep a journal of what he did ....he was an adult student with a full time job
    and man he got a lot of shit done!

    I asked to see his notebook and boom, there it all was...7pm-8-pm drop 2's on all string sets in key of...
    8:15- 9pm ...Leavitt bk 2 pgs x-y
    9:30 -10-30 ...song of the day ....melody from memory, comp chords and record...improv over track etc etc

    He had page after page like this .....he filled them in retrospectively....ie at the end of each section of his
    practice.
    This way it was clear to him what he was achieving [or not] and what needed to be attended to.
    He'd make very brief notes in his book as the lesson progressed ...then he would put this into effect
    during the week.
    .....In short a dream student...he distinguished himself at the school and quickly became an in demand
    player. Later going on to be a favourite instructor at the school.

    I took my own advice and found that [in bursts] this worked for me too....the journal thing.

    I also do what doc bop does...have material on my music stand that I leave there when I finish a session
    and there it is ready to be dealt with the next time.

    When I got a copy of Hal Crook's "Ready Aim Improvise" I was loving it until I got to the Practice Routine
    section....I actually got some white out tape and removed the offending "R" word. ha ha
    ...of course Hal's book as with all his work is great and is to be recommended unreservedly.

    So what I'm saying here that someone [anyone] else's schedule is not going to work for another individual.
    I have tried and failed many times to follow some time sheet sort of arrangement and end up hating it
    and noticing after a few days that I'm avoiding my practice.

    When I'm into practice it's often a joyous time.
    When it becomes a drag..I look to see why....

    Musician know thyself ......

  7. #6

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    i keep mine on a post it not on the computer
    shearer
    kreutzer
    scales
    schredick/metheny
    bach
    ted tgreene
    goodrick/miller harmony
    advancing guitar
    rhythm/louis bellson
    martino lines
    bebop heads/tunes

    most of these are books i'm working through

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonray View Post
    It's good to know your own learning style.
    I'm still learning mine! Having a list of things to work on keeps me (somewhat) on track, but I reserve the right to stop whatever else I may be doing to jot down a "keeper" melody or riff.

    Something I heard Herb Ellis say in his instructional video stuck in my mind: do the hardest things first. (That's not a direct quote but the gist.) Lately, I'm working on running things through the cycle (-Barry Greene ideas, David Baker ideas, Carol Kaye ideas, and my own ideas) and I can get lost if I'm not careful. It requires concentration. It can be draining. So that comes first. Week by week, I'm able to handle more complex ideas. (1235 sequences are not hard; 3 b9 R b7 sequences are harder.)

    That said, I always make a point to include "things I would play in front of people." Tunes, obviously, but also nice solos. (I may never play a solo I have learned as-is in performance, but if you get several down, you start to mix-and-match parts on the fly, but you have to have "the elements" down first.) Which is why I need to work in intros and endings---I'm wearing out the few I know!
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  9. #8

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    It should always be changing anyway, at least monthly, if not weekly. Your technical routines should focus on balance and variety rather than going after one form relentlessly. The main enemy of instrumental performers is tension and stress buildup by trying too hard. Work within your limits and your brain will supply speed and accuracy, since we play with our brains, which command our fingers through feedback with our musical choices. One can, for instance, practice only one piece and nothing else, and perhaps play it well, but each piece has different demands, and, if we're playing jazz on the classical guitar, then, we need a very well-rounded technique indeed. But on the classical guitar, tone production becomes paramount, you can't "dial in" your sound as much, although you can effect it highly, and even run a synth, which demands a very good technique as well.

  10. #9

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    heres my current schedule, it changes frequently:
    I keep a notebook noting everything i do and the speeds i do it at. also i write my goals.
    classical:

    giulianis 120 right hand studies/ tarrega's right hand studies in the pumping nylon book to warm up
    i switch between these every other day
    then chromatic scales with all right hand variations ex: IM then MI then AM then MA and so on
    then chromatic octaves in the first position with all variations ex: P+I rotates with P+M and all the other variations
    then scales from the segovia book. all scales i do with all right hand variations with rest strokes then free strokes
    then my repertoire

    jazz:

    picking exercises.
    I run the same arpeggio up the whole neck then back down. i use alternate picking. i add 3 bpm after every cycle. after about 20 times thru I switch to a special kind of picking called "chuck wayne picking" taught to me by my teacher, a student of chuck wayne's. I do the same thing that i did with alternate picking
    then I do the same chromatic scale exercises(single note and then octaves) but this time with 1. down-up 2. up-down 3. down with lock strokes 4. up w/ lock strokes 5. sweep picking
    then i start with a chord say, gmaj7 on the lowest string set. i then play the inversions. I then move to the next string set and start with the same root position chord. I then do all the inversions and so on. I cover all string sets. I then play the corresponding scales. Then I record a vamp of the chords and create lines with each individual scale.
    then i go into the leavitt modern method and play my weekly lessons and some pieces i selected from previous lessons that i like.
    I then go into a book i use with my teacher called "jazz for juniors" I play my weekly lesson a few times thru
    Then I go into my repertoire. I play all the scales of the corresponding chords the first time thru. and then play the chords, then melody, then i play over the changes.

    these are the essential things i do everyday. when i have more time i go thru mimi fox's arpeggios book as well as record 2 5 1 vamps and solo over them, as well as record a blues and then solo over it.
    Last edited by blues442; 11-29-2015 at 11:56 PM.

  11. #10

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    No schedule per se.

    ATM I am trying to attack some core things from as many directions as I can. I try to think of as many different exercises that work the same ting and vary them to stop myself from getting bored. I thin it kind of works. At least I feel I am more flexible than I was. I try to divide my time into more or less equal chunks.

    Ear/Musicianship
    - Sight Sing some music
    - Bruce Arnold Exercises
    - Solfege up a melody (best done in the shower IMO)
    - Sing telephone numbers
    - Play melodies on the guitar
    - Sing and play lines
    - Transcribe solo lines and try and play them correct first time, no mistakes (take as much time as you like.)
    - Sing a solo along with the record
    - Bellson
    - Sight read some music
    - Sight transpose a melody
    - Anything else I can think of..

    Chords/Harmony
    - Drop 2s, 3s, 2/3s, 2/4s etc, according to type
    - Triads, close, open
    - Intervallic clusters through modes
    - Replace one note in a familiar set of voicings (drop 2, say) with a another note - say 2 for 3, 4 for 3, 4 for 5 etc
    - Familiar voicings through a Mick Goodrick cycle
    - Free Counterpoint
    - Play some Bach
    - Realise some figured bass (good for diatonic interval knowledge, BTW)
    - Superposition
    - Anything else I can think of..

    Lines
    - Barry Harris material - added note scales, pivots etc
    - Tertial structures through the scale
    - Arpeggios in position
    - Superimposed arpeggios
    - 2+ random chained intervals through the mode
    - Slow improv at 60-80 bpm through a standard tune
    - Transcribed licks - apply in different contexts. Vary
    - Motivic Improvisation
    - Anything else I can think of

    Time
    - Slow metronome scales 20bpm
    - Slow click (once every four bars) - improv or written melody
    - Off beat on 1+ and 4+
    - Mike Longo material (I use the Longo warm up pretty religiously though)
    - Play the Djembe
    - Synchronise playing to foot tapping or stepping/physicalise the rhythm
    - Bellson
    - M-Base polyrhythm material
    - Sing along with a solo - scat the rhythm
    - Improvise with rhythm only
    - Listen to some badass drummers for a bit
    - At the moment a big one is swapping between line playing and straight 4 with a metronome. Surprisingly tricky.
    - Evan Christopher exercise where you change the beginning of each line by an eight note. Might need to try it with the ends of phrases too.
    - Try to play 4/4 jazz with my foot tapping in 3, rather than 2 or 4.

    Technique
    - yadda yadda

    And so on and so forth.

    Obviously no way I can get through all of that. So I pick and choose something that might be fun and do that for a bit. Or ignore it all and go for a walk in the park. Usually I'll think of something in the park that I really want to do.

    I've been clocking about 3+ hours a day recently, and I think I'm a bit frazzled. But I could do useful work in an hour or two... Time to get out and away from teh guitar for a bit anyway...

    Quite often I'll fixate on something for a week or two, after which I will move on

    The result is I would say I 'know' relatively little, but I think I am much faster at working it out than I was. The idea is eventually I will have mastered the process.

  12. #11

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    My practice schedule, when not noodling -which is good - or trying to compose, is playing the jazz standards as solo or along with my Sibelius transcriptions that are my "band" at the moment.

    I figure if I can play the actual songs well enough, the audience will think I can do all those other lists of things ok as well....

    Just a joke! I cannot systematize myself to that degree. It would seem overwhelming and not that much fun. My bad, as they say.
    Last edited by targuit; 12-03-2015 at 09:40 AM.

  13. #12

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    After reaching a point where I was abundantly comfortable with my technique I now focus 90% of all practice time on songs. I am either learning a song, practicing a whole arranged piece, or working on comping/improvising over a song. The other 10% is on maintaing technique (Kreutzer, Leavitt, etc...).
    Seeking beauty and truth through six strings.

  14. #13

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    For a specific technique, generally a 12-minute session from very slow to whatever speed you finish at, is a good workout; longer is not productive, shorter can be if you're really focused. If I am stuck with only an hour or so, I will do 10 6-minute sessions. On the classical guitar, variety of techniques is more important than banging away at one or two things for an hour. Also, the variety, from scales to arpeggios to chord studies to independence studies to sight-reading, free-stroke rest-stroke, etc., etc., allows a very strong focus, and that's why 12 minutes is pretty much the limit. And it's impossible to practice too slowly, quarter-notes at 30 will get each technique exactly how you want it in a few days, then you can move that metronome up every day. This approach comes from what sports psychologists and researchers on human motion call "deep study", the idea that every single move you make in practice is intended to improve your coordination, control, security and, most importantly, your sound.

    Basics should never be ignored, think of baseball spring training, when they go through all of the basics for weeks. Since there are over 50 different "technique forms" to master, boredom should never be an issue; you can have a different 40 to 80-minute productive, deep session every day for a week. Even short repertoire pieces or songs can be included if they address a certain technique area. For instance, you may not be able to even consider playing El Colibri at tempo ever, but if you started at 30 BPM at took 8-bar sections at a time, you'd actually learn it within a few weeks and have it at a respectable tempo in a few months, and it's a fun thing to have in your repertoire, as well as having mastered a very effective guitar technique extremely useful playing jazz at fast tempos.

    As to what you practice, consider each technique, from single-note thumb work to polyrhythmic arpeggios, and put together what you think will work. The old standbys are great, although the Giuliani 120 has been very imaginatively updated in Chris Berg's version, from Mel Bay Pub., and his "Mastering the Guitar: Technique and Essence" is brilliant.

    Barney Kessell, who practiced 3 hours every day for most of his professional life, told me "I practice what I'm not as good at yet."

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liarspoker View Post
    I'm aiming to improve in about 7 areas:

    * New tunes
    * Keep on top of tunes I know
    * Scales and arpeggios
    * Aural skills
    * Sight reading
    * Theory
    * Technique such as tremelo (which I practise maybe 5 minutes per day)

    Generally I have about an hour per day to practise so fitting all of these into one session is out of the question. Therefore I try to do 20 minutes of each per day with three items being played on day one with the remainer on day 2.

    I should add that I mix the above as well. For example some of my older as well as new tunes are purely played by sightreading (with a bit of memorisation creeping in of course but ask me to play the pieces away from sheet music and I couldn't). I also sing scales and arpeggios when I can.

    FWIW I'm thinking of doing my grade 5 ABRSM theory exam followed by a grade 5/6 practical but I'll see what happens to my schedule re family/work commitments etc.

    I'd be very interested in hearing what you guys practise and what your practise routine looks like.

    Following up on my first post on this subject, I wanted to present an idea: don't play anything wrong. Play it as slowly as you need to to get it exactly right, and make that happen 5 consecutive times, then you're done until next day, when you do that again moving the metronome up only to just before you can't play it perfectly. It may be one click, it may be 5; the point is, you're not practicing mistakes and bad moves, you're learning to make good moves by giving yourself time, and you're learning a lot about your hands and technique; it's really amazing. Don't spend time teaching yourself bad habits.

  16. #15

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    Here is an approach that might be of interest.

    "Interleaved practicing" .....a flash name for a very simple but potentially effective
    way to practice individual aspects.
    Here is a brief talk with Troy Grady, the picking guy about interleaved practice.




    .....and Noa Kageyama teaches courses at Julliard on effective practice and performance skills.
    He has a blog that I enjoy .....usually one post per week .....try see :

    The Blog - The Bulletproof Musician
    Last edited by Moonray; 01-09-2016 at 09:14 PM.

  17. #16

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    So, it's a hoot to see so many posts totally irrelevant to classical guitar. Carry on.

  18. #17

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    Although I took formal classical guitar lessons from a very good teacher for three or four years from the age of twelve or so, it has been twenty years or more that intensive classical guitar has not been my practice focus. But through my twenties into my thirties I was more involved in exploring serious classical works.

    At the earliest stage of classical guitar development, my practice was more 'compartmentalized'. Scale work, etudes like the graduated Sor studies integrated into learning the Richard Pick method, and Bach's lute works arranged for guitar. I worked on Elizabethan era lute songs as well as more modern repertoire inspired by Bream, Parkening, Williams and others. The greatest challenge was not so much the technical stuff as memorizing repertoire which was notably easier in my teens, twenties and thirties than subsequently.

    Recently, I have been pulling out my classical sheet music a bit more, including the semiannual tune ups that I used to do more frequently which is to run through the repertoire more systematically.

    I think if I were starting it all over again as a young teenager today, my approach would be different in many respects due to the technological advances. For example, if I were to work up Bach's Chaconne today, the first thing I would do would be to scan into Sibelius the sheet music and then use the Sib tempo/ metronome setting to slow down the music and play through with the benefit of the audio and large screen. (Never imagined as a kid how much the problem of close vision would impact me as you age - just reading a score is much simpler these days on a video screen.) I very much like the idea of playing along with a Bach piece at a slower tempo but in time with the audio, and I think that brings significant benefits that were not available when I was learning. Recall that this was simply impossible until the advent of more recent technology.

    As far as the psychological and "learning theory" issues of how to practice, I think again that technological tools like Sibelius would have a far greater impact than the various prescriptions of how to approach practice in terms of technique. And as far as I know, there is nothing that will give me back the ability to memorize repertoire with the facility of my youth.
    Last edited by targuit; 01-10-2016 at 04:55 AM.

  19. #18

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    [QUOTE=cosmic gumbo;604258]So, it's a hoot to see so many posts totally irrelevant to classical guitar. Carry on.[/QUOTE/]

    I think it would be expected on a jazz guitar forum. After all the classical guitar is a description of an instrument as well as a style, and many jazz players like to play the nylon.

  20. #19

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    I practise classical guitar 40 minutes a day broken into 10 minute sessions with 2 minutes rest inbetween every 10 minutes. I make sure I use as many pieces as possible so that I don't become too familiar and am always sight reading, therefore I might play the same piece once every 2 months. That also benefits technique-wise in my opinion because I'm always doing different techniques that are particular to the different pieces rather than practising only a few techniques within fewer pieces.

    Obviously that's a long term approach that wouldn't benefit taking a grade. One thing I like to do is combine the aspects of different disciplines that are the same, that's not just to save time but it reinforces what you are doing without doing too many different things in too little time. I don't really do this for classical guitar specifically as other areas are covered as part of my larger regime, but for example on any day I would use the same scale to practise my technical speed to metronome for aspects of my ear training as well.

    For you this could be using the same Scales and arpeggios in your Aural Skills too. You will be absorbing some aspect of aural perception in your Scales and Arpeggio practise session, so by using the same ones for your Aural Skill means you get a bit more Aural Skills with no lesser benefit of both separate disciplines. Although for classical guitar the requirements for a grade might be too different for each section to combine, but as a general rule I like to combine things where possible and beneficial.

  21. #20

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    Mike Outram posted a good one the other day... Practice schedule?

    Learn a new tune.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonray View Post
    Here is an approach that might be of interest.

    "Interleaved practicing" .....a flash name for a very simple but potentially effective
    way to practice individual aspects.
    Here is a brief talk with Troy Grady, the picking guy about interleaved practice.




    .....and Noa Kageyama teaches courses at Julliard on effective practice and performance skills.
    He has a blog that I enjoy .....usually one post per week .....try see :

    The Blog - The Bulletproof Musician
    From my experience this approach is great for learning set piece material reliably and well. By that I mean composed material and so on.

    It's similar to 'little and often' mix it up and keep turning it over. Don't get stuck...

  23. #22
    Today mine is.., I'm lucky as I have a day off today


    1. Morning - Bach , Giga from Eminor Lute Suite,classical guitar
    2. Midday - AshtangaYoga
    3. Afternoon - transcribe Kenny Garrett solo Giant Steps

    i get absorbed in the Bach in the morning.
    it really helps centre myself for the day.
    helps finger coordination for chord melody and harmonic movements, inversions, voice leading etc..
    I like anaylsing the piece as it's still the same progressions etc you seen in jazz, maybe Bach was the original Jazzer?

    have to to do yoga to help with all the pains I get from too much guitar!!
    again this helps centre myself for the afternoon practice of ..

    giant steps. Love Kennys Solo on this and great to get absorbed in it.
    its a great contrast to Bach, but still similar as when I play through the solo it can feel like an etude with real flow and can get in a meditative state.
    great ear training too!

    just wish I had the time to do this every day!

  24. #23

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    My highly organised and efficient weekday practice schedule goes something like this:

    1) Get home from work (knackered).
    2) Have dinner (now slightly less knackered after sustenance).
    3) Watch some telly with the missus.
    4) As the evening draws on, should I get the guitar out, or read a bit more of 'War and Peace'? (currently halfway through).
    5) No, decide to read a bit.
    6) After a chunk of Russian angst, I am sidetracked with a brief foray into 'Archie and Mehitabel' (that's the trouble with a Kindle).
    7) As the evening gets even later, finally I bow to the inevitable and get the guitar out.
    8) Mess about on a couple of tunes trying to apply whatever approach has recently got my interest.*
    9) Finally realise I'm getting knackered again, and so to bed.


    * Currently still playing around with the Barry Harris chord stuff, also I am trying to practise tunes slowly enough to 'compose' improvised lines in my head and then try to play them (as opposed to just letting the "fingers" take over). Also last night I ran through 'Naima' and worked out some chord voicings to use.
    Last edited by grahambop; 03-31-2016 at 08:07 AM.

  25. #24

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    good thing you can already play, graham!

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    good thing you can already play, graham!
    Actually I used to practise quite a lot before I got married (nearly 25 years ago!). But since then I have not really done much more than described above. I sometimes get a few hours in at the weekend.

    Which is probably why it took me quite a long time to get anywhere!

  27. #26

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    Graham, I'm curious because I really like your playing and I think I've seen you say you began with classical guitar like I did: What was your jazz playing ability like those 25 years ago? Was it close to how you can play now? I ask because I entered that phase of family life a few years ago with very little practice time and I'm trying to gauge if there's still hope! haha

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    Graham, I'm curious because I really like your playing and I think I've seen you say you began with classical guitar like I did: What was your jazz playing ability like those 25 years ago? Was it close to how you can play now? I ask because I entered that phase of family life a few years ago with very little practice time and I'm trying to gauge if there's still hope! haha
    Thanks Joe, that's a very good question. It's kind of hard to remember actually! I guess before I got married I was practising jazz guitar 2, maybe 3 hours a day for about 8 years. (Before that I had done about 10 years of classical guitar and rock guitar).

    During those 8 years all I practised from a purely technical aspect were some scale and arp studies out of an old Ivor Mairants book, plus I learned my chords from the Joe Pass chord book. Most of the time I was just learning tunes and chord progressions from records, copying phrases from guys like Wes, Joe Pass, Dexter Gordon etc. I only transcribed about a dozen solos. I have always been much faster at learning stuff by ear than from books or theory.

    I remember the speed and dexterity of jazz was a challenge, especially with my 'rock guitar' picking technique. But I didn't really do anything special to address it other than copying stuff and playing those arp studies, over time my technique just sort of evolved by doing it. (My picking technique is basically alternate but with quite a lot of left-hand slurs/hammer-ons, I think this evolved from listening to Wes and also trying to emulate horn players).

    In terms of my playing at the end of those 8 years, I have got a couple of recordings I made then. From those I would say that my sound was ok, but my time was quite sloppy, and I was not very accurate playing over chord changes. My speed was probably not too bad, but I have never been very interested in speed for its own sake really.

    Really all I have done since then is just keep playing, keep developing, and all these areas seem to have improved gradually. I would say that I have been "reasonably satisfied" with my playing for about the last 10 years. (But I would stress that I am very self-critical and I am never truly satisfied, so that is a very relative term!)

    It's funny, when I started learning jazz, I did it purely for fun and because I liked the music so much. I honestly did not believe I would ever be able to play it very well, EVER! I thought it was that far beyond me.
    Last edited by grahambop; 03-31-2016 at 10:00 AM.

  29. #28

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    awesome post, thanks for taking the time to write that up

  30. #29

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    My practice schedule is a mess...I carve out time wherever I can.

    I do try and take an actual lunch break once or twice a week and practice.

    So a 45 minute session would be:

    1. Play through a melody, by ear, slowly, expressively (got this from an Aebersold book years ago)

    2. Pick a tune, play through, melody, chords, with "rhythm section in my head", improvise

    3. isolate tricky section of tune, go over and over, look for all possibilities

    4. Sight read something, or read down a tune and sing melodic rhythm, etc...

    5. Have a sandwich.
    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

  31. #30

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    Haha, just realised the OP was talking about classical guitar (and the thread is in the CG section)!

    All I can say about that is that back in the day, I used to practise the CG scales as little as I could get away with, and I just used to play the actual pieces a lot.

    A few years ago I did do some regular tremolo practice, that's about the only time I've done that kind of specific technical practice for CG. (my tremolo is still not much good though!)

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    My practice schedule is a mess...I carve out time wherever I can.

    I do try and take an actual lunch break once or twice a week and practice.

    So a 45 minute session would be:

    1. Play through a melody, by ear, slowly, expressively (got this from an Aebersold book years ago)

    2. Pick a tune, play through, melody, chords, with "rhythm section in my head", improvise

    3. isolate tricky section of tune, go over and over, look for all possibilities

    4. Sight read something, or read down a tune and sing melodic rhythm, etc...

    5. Have a sandwich.
    I would have put number 5 first, but I guess everyone has their own method.

  33. #32

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    Hey Graham. You might be the best sounding "amateur" I've ever heard. You are really playing language! I only heard Round Midnight and it sounds like you really understand Wes for what it's worth. During the weekend I'll listen to every one of your tracks!

    Practice schedules. I pracetice many hours a day, but I try never to spend much more than an hour on one topic. Often I'll jump between 3 subjects so my mind doesn't get numb from over focusing

  34. #33

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    Thanks very much yaclaus!

    I guess I used to spend literally hours listening to Wes, Dexter Gordon, etc. etc. so some of that language rubbed off on me. I think I must always have had good ears and picked things up quickly. As it happens I only ever learned one whole solo by Wes, it was too long to write out so I memorised it. (took me weeks!) It was 'Summertime' from Live at Jorgies, I know I got tons of Wes phrasing from that one solo.

    I know when I used to have classical guitar lessons at school, I struggled with sight-reading so my teacher would play a tricky passage to show me what it should sound like. I only had to hear it once then I could virtually play it. He thought I was sight-reading it from that point, but really I was largely playing by ear and memory. I guess when it came to jazz, this ability was an advantage.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonray View Post
    Here is an approach that might be of interest.

    "Interleaved practicing" .....a flash name for a very simple but potentially effective
    way to practice individual aspects.
    Here is a brief talk with Troy Grady, the picking guy about interleaved practice.




    .....and Noa Kageyama teaches courses at Julliard on effective practice and performance skills.
    He has a blog that I enjoy .....usually one post per week .....try see :

    The Blog - The Bulletproof Musician

    Thanks for posting it.

  36. #35

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    I play a hell of a lot, but I don't practice as much as I should.

  37. #36

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    Hal Galper's argument against being too wedded to a practice schedule:


  38. #37

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    I can tell you that once you start performing there's what you would like to practice, and then what you have to practice.

    I'm accompanying a singer at a recital this weekend, and so for the last 4 or 5 weeks, that material has been priority #1.

    I was asked to play one of my arrangements of the old Gregorian hymns (I played Adoro Te) a couple weeks ago as a prelude to all the Sunday Masses at our parish, so the stuff for the recital took a backseat for that weekend

    I'd like to say that I start every practice with technique, but that's not true either.

    The spirituals I'm accompanying on this weekend are programmed last at the recital, so I'm preparing to have to play cold.

    So every day, first thing when I pick up my guitar, is to play our first number. I've found that is about the best way to simulate having to perform stone cold.

    so my practice schedule is something that is driven by what am I on the hook to play next

    but after this weekend, I do get a few weeks to play whatever I feel like

  39. #38

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    I'm a terribly undisciplined guitarist. I don't map out learning goals. Sometimes I think, "gosh, I need to work on this", and then I do. Other times, I put on a CD and make myself play straight through, no redos. And then other times, like tonight, I simply read something from another guitarist, get a little inspired, and allow that to color me in.

    No doubt I'd be a better guitarist if I sorted my playing-time more efficiently,

  40. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by platt View Post
    Hi Liarspoker and everyone else, a friend of mine wrote this post on practicing and balancing the various aspects of learning, including busy schedules. you can find it here and maybe it will give you some ideas: The Trifecta ? Enhance Your Practice Routine | NYEC

    One of the things he points out is how he used to break down his practicing schedule to maximize it.
    A schedule is a schedule. If your friend knows this rule, he should stick to it no matter what. Breaking down practicing schedule even how busy his day could be depends on him.

  41. #40

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    Can't stand schedules and only practice when I need to learn a new tune for a gig. I've found that, after 50+ years of playing, if I learn something for my own amusement, I can't remember it if I don't go out and play it for an audience. Same with art; I was an illustrator for the U.S. Army and went to a prestigious art school afterwards and to this day, I cannot enjoy doing art for art's sake - I have to have an 'assignment' to get anything done. I guess I'm just wired different......

  42. #41

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    I spent two hours today on my flat-top going through old originals, nice to get them under my fingers again after a few years of not playing these particular songs.