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  1. #1

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    Hi fellas, Id love to open this thread to share your favourite exercises in order to improve as musician, technique, tempo, groove, ear..

    Here are few that I try to practice every time I can:

    1- Sing intervals, triads, arps, scales, chords, melodies, basslines, etc... to open the ear, scat singing with the guitar or your first play it and the sing it back.
    2- Transcribe all the instruments of a particular song.
    3- Practice chords, arps, scales, melodic sequences, licks... with the metronome really slow and then increase it lets say from 60 to 200...
    4- Metronome really slow lets say at 30 or even 20 and play long notes to control your tempo.
    5- Metronome with silence every 2 bars to control your tempo too.
    6- Metronome at two, if you play at 100bpm then you set it at 50 giving you that swing pulse feel, actually you can start practicing everything like this and try to groove with it.
    7- Tap your foot with the click and practice all type of musical figures, books like syncopation or melodic rhythms help.
    8- Playing along with records and focusing on being in the pocket, basically nail the groove.
    9- Improvise using only one string, one note, only chord tones, only one rhythm pattern, forcing you to make silence every two bars, only 2 separate strings, only one interval...
    10- Learning songs from another instruments like classical Mozart, Bach... stuff or Charlie Parker, Miles, Coltrane...

    Then you listen to Wes Montgomery and you start thinking that all the exercises above are pure BS... cause he probably never practice any of that or even similar LOL but thats another really interesting topic

    Cant wait to check out your favourite ones!

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  3. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Basshead
    Hi fellas, Id love to open this thread to share your favourite exercises in order to improve as musician, technique, tempo, groove, ear..

    Here are few that I try to practice every time I can:

    1- Sing intervals, triads, arps, scales, chords, melodies, basslines, etc... to open the ear, scat singing with the guitar or your first play it and the sing it back.
    2- Transcribe all the instruments of a particular song.
    3- Practice chords, arps, scales, melodic sequences, licks... with the metronome really slow and then increase it lets say from 60 to 200...
    4- Metronome really slow lets say at 30 or even 20 and play long notes to control your tempo.
    5- Metronome with silence every 2 bars to control your tempo too.
    6- Metronome at two, if you play at 100bpm then you set it at 50 giving you that swing pulse feel, actually you can start practicing everything like this and try to groove with it.
    7- Tap your foot with the click and practice all type of musical figures, books like syncopation or melodic rhythms help.
    8- Playing along with records and focusing on being in the pocket, basically nail the groove.
    9- Improvise using only one string, one note, only chord tones, only one rhythm pattern, forcing you to make silence every two bars, only 2 separate strings, only one interval...
    10- Learning songs from another instruments like classical Mozart, Bach... stuff or Charlie Parker, Miles, Coltrane...

    Then you listen to Wes Montgomery and you start thinking that all the exercises above are pure BS... cause he probably never practice any of that or even similar LOL but thats another really interesting topic

    Cant wait to check out your favourite ones!
    GREAT list

    My list looks uncannily like yours!

    a few of my own rules and guidelines:
    11- Play with other people, of all levels.
    12- See live music-as much as you can. It's cheaper than music school and it teaches you all sorts of stuff you can't get in a classroom.
    13- Play free improv. The forms you must take creative responsibility for will teach you about working with a form that's given to you.
    14- Learn another art. Learn how much of what you're doing is art and what is craft, and give each aspect your respect.
    15- If learning to play seriously ever gets in the way of the love you have or the fun and satisfaction you feel, STOP. Music is a human expression. Be human.
    16- Seek out players you respect and befriend them. I know the most valuable things about playing from having dinner with players who've "gotten there".
    17- Record yourself. For SO many reasons I can't even begin to outline. Some listen back after each practice session, some check in once a week, but having a listener and a performer as yourself is priceless.
    18- If you EVER feel pain from your practicing, STOP. Be aware of your body.

  4. #3

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    Good list

    19 - Write music, instrumentals, and songwriting (for me this is #1)
    20 - play bass
    21 - play piano

  5. #4
    Thanks fep, I like playing bass but piano...no thanks, my dad plays piano but its true that it helps a lot, specially for harmony and ear training. Songwriting is a must too!

    Great list Jimmy, I guess these list show a lot about our personalities too and thats great

  6. #5

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    Hi, B,
    Join a band and PLAY LIVE with other musicians. The exercises just get your fingers working properly.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  7. #6

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    It must be wonderful to have so much time haha

    If I had to choose, if say learning music is the richest and most complete practice activity. And also directly useful for gigs.

  8. #7

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    If you knew everything about how the greatest guitarists learned to play, there would only be a couple of things that they'd all be likely to have in common.

    1. Great ears

    2. Great time

    So, how do you get those two things?

    To develop the ear, the traditional method is transcription. It's probably still the best, but I think formal ear training is helpful. Second, it's time on the instrument in groups - gradually you find yourself thinking, "okay, I know what that was that I just heard".

    To develop time, I'm the wrong person to ask. But, I'm pretty sure about this much. It's easiest to hone your time by playing with players who have good time. Next step is to get to be a player who brings time, not just plays along with it. I don't know what the practice regimen should be. I'm not convinced that practicing with a metronome or a drum track is any guarantee, but I do think there is some benefit. You can hear clearly when you're dragging or rushing. Recording all your rehearsals and gigs is definitely helpful -- you don't want to base your judgement on how you thought you sounded while you were playing. I think that has to be re-considered later.

  9. #8
    I used to play in function bands 20 years ago... 120 gigs a year about 3 hours per night, more than 100 songs repertory... and believe me, thats good for a while, I was 19 then, the musicians were pretty pro but drummers did not have the best timing ever and they used to drink a lot... some bass players could not play latin styles fluently... the real world is a good school but is not perfect
    The metronome, drum machine or great records don´t lie, as Metheny said once, its better to play with a drum machine than with a bad drummer LOL

  10. #9

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    Another one is to teach. In order to teach it you have to know it plus you'll accidentally discover lots of things

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Liarspoker
    Another one is to teach. In order to teach it you have to know it plus you'll accidentally discover lots of things
    I learned so much from teaching, yes. On the flip side, I wish some people who I took lessons from had a better idea of the things they taught me, the limitations and misunderstandings of their own knowledge base before they took my money and passed this on to me.
    Even people who had "educations" and playing experience wound up teaching me stuff that was downright wrong.
    My best teachers always spoke from a very personal take on what they did, left lots of space for questions and gave me answers that allowed me to interpret and adapt what they told me.
    Some teachers attempted to pass on the "gospel" without knowing why or what they were actually talking about.
    It's important for me as a teacher to learn humility and the responsibility to recognize musical prejudice on my own part.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Basshead
    3- Practice chords, arps, scales, melodic sequences, licks... with the metronome really slow and then increase it lets say from 60 to 200...
    3+ mix them up with each other pretty much immediately after learning a new one.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu
    3+ mix them up with each other pretty much immediately after learning a new one.
    Yes!
    Permutation and experimentation. It's an art, a science and a lot of fun!

  14. #13

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    Play simple tunes by ear but minding the scale they are on. Tie them together like that.. this does a few good things.
    Play tunes in intervals. Or even 3-note-chords.

  15. #14

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    Without getting into too much BS. Do some reading about... Musicianship verse Musicality.

    Musicianship is not like the road most take, while Musicality is just that road. You do what you do. Musicianship is a discipline, you do what it demands....

    My personal views are, (from learning and figuring it out LOL), there's like the knowledge and the skills things and then.... how you use them, your artistic sensitivity as it's called. Some say the reading and writing of music and then performance.

    I keep it simple, you just have 1) technical skills and then 2) performance skills. And in that order, it's really difficult to have great performance skills.... without having even better technical skill. Performance skills are also about what others are playing... how well you can complement and support the music being performed, not just solo etc...

    I hate to say this.... but if you didn't get your technical skills together while you were a kid.... it's going to be tough.

    It's really difficult to find the time as you get older... unless your wealthy and don't need to work and all the other family things. That's the reasons I always push working on technical skills... The better you develop those skills... the more options you'll have to develop Performance skills.

  16. #15

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    I think developing musicianship is a lifetime goal. We all travel through plateaus in our musical lives and to get from one plateau to the next, a musician must discover why he/she is stagnant. The most common cause at the early stages is poor technique. Then, lack of ideas--many times based on limited technical/theoretical knowledge in the beginning years. And, finally, you've discovered that you're as far as you ever will go based on intelligence, innate talent, and performance experience. So, when I say musicianship, I believe it is knowledge, talent, and performance experience combined. I've always believed that when Miles transitioned from serious straight ahead Jazz to the simplistic cacophony in his later years that made him wealthy, he honestly believed that he had peaked musically and there was nowhere else to go. He couldn't see his musicianship growing and felt that he had said everything he was ever going to say. Consequently, his music was dropped from every serious Jazz radio station around the country and there were unending jibes by Jazz DJ's that he had "sold out." I agree. So, musicianship is more than fast fingers. It's the total package.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  17. #16

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    Music is weird that way - it can become stagnant even if getting some advanced things going.
    The notes should have some emotional value. Even when practicing something basic and mundane but that gets often ignored.
    Probably thats why the most common (and successful) suggestion is "learn songs".
    Because it can be tricky to have good feelings happening when doing some basic training. It often keeps the emotional part of the mind completely dry and unused.