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  1. #1

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    For those that play multiple genres of music (eg jazz guitar and flamenco guitar, or classical guitar and jazz guitar):

    How do you manage your practice time?

    Is it possible to make good progress is two genres of music simultaneously?


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  3. #2

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    This is a really interesting question.

    I play a few styles myself but there’s definitely a few styles people think of me (if they do at all) for gigs.

    The thing is when you get into anything you find sub genres. So as a jazzer there are things I can do that other jazz players can’t and vice versa. You get into niches in a deep way.

    As a player I would ideally like to sound like myself but in a way where I can participate in loads of genres. I think most of my heroes can do this .

    Recording myself a lot as a lot of us have done I notice that I definitely ‘sit’ better as a player in certain styles than other, even when I’m imitating the style well from a guitar point of view.

    In terms of copying a style a think the most important thing to develop is your ears. The more music you hear, and the more discerning you ear gets, the better you will get at being able to at least pastiche other styles.

    And that’s about being a better musician which is always money in the bank.

    I really think that different players specialising in different genres hear music differently. An old school style jazz guitarist will be very sensitive to harmony and swing, but might have less sensitivity to amp tone, vibrato etc than a really great blues player.

    I think a lot of people will talk about the diverse techniques one can have on guitar and certainly for music like flamenco and classical it’s very different to the general umbrella of ‘flat picking guitar’ that I mostly stick to.

    But as a guitar tecaher I have to teach everything. Including classical. So that keeps me versatile whether I like it or not (and I’m not certain too much versatility is altogether a good thing.)
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-29-2020 at 06:39 AM.

  4. #3

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    A side note - I have a friend who is a deadly gypsy and early jazz player, but never practices this style. The work he did has set him up. Now I think he mostly works on African guitar. He’s also an excellent modern jazz player.

    I have to say I never practice gypsy jazz guitar, but I did practice and transcribe that style for a few years a ways back, so when I have a gig in that style, all the Django licks are ready to go as if I’d never been away. I find it quite annoying, but it’s good for work lol.

    So; it’s not linear. OTOH the stuff that sticks best is the stuff I gig. If I don’t I can get rusty, but it doesn’t go away; I just have to remind myself sometimes.

    That said I’m not sure you can make progress in multiple styles at the same time. I think it’s better to go down a rabbit hole and concentrate on one thing for a while.

  5. #4

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    I’m not sure about progressing two styles simultaneously, for me I think I have to focus on one or the other for a while. But this could just mean doing one for 2 or 3 days, then switching to the other for a similar period.

    Recently I got back into classical guitar, but I had to practise it regularly each day to get my old classical ‘chops’ back. Then of course I found my jazz guitar playing was getting a bit rusty. So now I just try to do one for a while, then the other, it seems to keep them both in reasonable shape.

    There is also some benefit, I noticed my fingerstyle jazz playing (not something I do all that much) got a lot better following my classical guitar binge (not surprising really!).

  6. #5

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    Keep plucking away and you'll get better

  7. #6

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    I maintain a daily schedule of classical in the morning, jazz in the afternoon. (I’m quite serious on classical, btw)

    The best advice I was given on the subject was by an otherwise dreadful classical teacher...
    ”Treat them as two separate instruments, like a piano and a trumpet.”

    I’ve found segmenting both in mind and time very successful. Now, having said that, I know over time they cross pollinate. My jazz fretboard knowledge is immensely helped by being up and down the unmarked classical neck.

    I would also advise avoiding the ‘I teach everything’ guitar teachers, and if it means two sets of lessons so be it. (Sorry Christian!). Personally I believe it will not support the segmented approach above.

    Good Luck!

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    I would also advise avoiding the ‘I teach everything’ guitar teachers, and if it means two sets of lessons so be it. (Sorry Christian!)
    Yeah, OK so the thing is if you work as a music tutor for schools etc you will probably end up teaching most things to a basic level. You can’t avoid it. Most musicians I know do this on their respective instrument, and guitar is more diverse than many. I try to give students a good basic grounding in music and guitar generally.

    Kids do rock, classical, acoustic, maybe a little jazz. I can get kids through classical grades for instance with good grades.

    (I know the basics of classical technique (I’ve had lessons as a kid and adult) well enough that I’m not passing on bad habits, and can obv teach rock etc.)

    But I certainly do not hold myself up as a classical guitarist: I would not give a recital. but in practice it’s enough to keep my basic chops up in a variety of styles. It’s also good for my reading.

    My adult students learn jazz with me. And usually bop or swing. I do not ‘teach everything’ from that standpoint. But more advanced students generally seek me out specifically. Specific specialist knowledge should indeed be sought from specific specialists...

    Thought I should clear that one up, before anyone thinks I’m trying to teach Flamenco or something lol.
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-29-2020 at 11:16 AM.

  9. #8

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    Loved this wisdom from Keith! He once said that "I am not getting older. I am evolving." Hopefully, we will all continue to evolve as we age.

  10. #9

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    You certainly can become proficient enough so that you can gig different styles. But i think you can truly only dedicate yourself to one style. (However some players are true "session" stylists, their thing IS playing different styles).

    What i did at some point was decide what my main practice discipline (and guitar) would be: Jazz (which of course is so many styles in itself!). Then i look at every other style i play as secondary. A lot of the work is learning the music, so it can be done away from the instrument. The most difficult thing for me was to "govern" the passion, which can't really be done, when you get really into something you want to practice it all the time, but that's not always feasible. Also to concede with the fact that you will never truly be good at a style.. If i spend a few days playing nylon strings six hours a day i do see what it takes to get good on classical but... can't do it!

    I think you can choose what you put in, then they all blend together and shape what kind of player you are.

  11. #10

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    I play a few styles. I wish I didn't- if I could focus on just one, I would be able to advance my skill level much more quickly. But I simply enjoy listening to and playing too many different styles to do that.

    I don't really structure my practice time; as an adult with a full-time job that does not involve music, I simply play every chance I get. I rarely "practice" something unless I'm learning a tune, and often if I'm learning a tune, it's for the cover band I'm in.

    Not having time to "properly" practice used to really bother me, but at this point in my life it's really all about joy: as long as I enjoy playing whatever I'm playing whenever I get a chance to play, I am grateful. I will never be a "proper" jazz guitarist, and that's OK. As long as I find joy in beginning to learn "Autumn Leaves" or "A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square", I am happy.

    I would feel much differently about it all if I were in my 20s, or if I was a professional musician of course. But I am neither. So I just enjoy my musical connection to the universe/soul/God/whatever, every chance I get.

    In the meantime, I get to blow in my wheelhouse, which is rock/pop/blues, in my cover band. I DO excel at those styles, so tonight I'll get to play everything from "Sultans of Swing" to "Cold Shot" to "Hold The Line". And have much fun doing it.

  12. #11

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    I study Jazz, Classical, Celtic (with some DADGAD), Middle Eastern and a bit of Rock. I have nothing to add other than I could be more disciplined and it's exhausting! I always seem to be feeling guilty that something has grabbed my attention perhaps a little too much and something else is sadly being ignored.