Practicing actually helps

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Toadtele, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. Toadtele

    Toadtele Tele-Afflicted

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    Usually don’t practice much. Just jam around. This year I have sworn off GAS. Trying to not even look at guitars I don’t already own. I’ve got north of forty and I’m happy with them. Anyway I’ve made a point to actually practice often. Running scales, arpeggios.. all that stuff. Found an app called guitar gym and I work with it while sitting on the couch with my lady.
    After two months I’m really noticing a difference. Playing cleaner. Much faster. Who’d have thought hard work would pay off?
     
  2. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm with you except for this part
    I'd rather play music. Sincerely and not meaning to be a snarky snoot or whatever.

    Some years back I realized that all of us at some point are gonna have diminished capacity for pretty much everything, and that includes guitar playing.That being the case, if I'm gonna use up a good part of my finite time on the fretboard in a woodshedding (as opposed to live performance) environment, it's gonna be playing songs (and parts of songs) that I love playing, not scales and guitar gymnastics
     
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  3. Toadtele

    Toadtele Tele-Afflicted

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    I agree. I swore off scales and the gymnastics of it all years ago. I spent ridiculous amounts of time on them when I was a teen. But Im finding that I can run scales mindlessly with a metronome and it really helps me when it’s time to make actual music.
     
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  4. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Doctor of Teleocity

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    You only have to practice on the days that you eat. ;)
     
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  5. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Ok so you do get what I'm saying. Don't you have any concern though for using up your physical resources on like, non-musical things? I mean, plainly put, wearing out your fingers/joints

    I've had some bad scares with neuraphaty, maybe it makes me extra skittish about this
     
  6. Toadtele

    Toadtele Tele-Afflicted

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    Never really thought about it that way. But I’m enjoying my chops being tighter.
     
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  7. boop

    boop Tele-Meister

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    I think practicing things like arpeggios and scales is training the connection between your muscle memory and your ear. If you just want to play songs you know, then that's great, it's music, it's fun, it will do some of the same stuff, but within a narrower range in my opine. I think learning arpeggios will train your ear on a more fundamental level, and it will take a minute for those lessons to sink in and you'll be able to use them musically, but yeah, you gotta apply the skills musically. I've been meaning to learn chord tones in certain keys. I should get on that. (also, 40 guitars?! holy crap)
     
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  8. teletail

    teletail Tele-Meister

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    Are you sure that the hard work and improvement are related?? :D
     
  9. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    I’m mostly self-taught on guitar, and I tend to stay too much into my comfort zone. I’ve bought a clever little book about harmonizing the notes within the scales and I feel I made a lot of progress.
    When you’ve reached some kind of plateau, every single thing that can make your playing grow and evolve again is a good thing!
     
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  10. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

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    I reject the notion that using your body "wears it out". Exactly the reverse. Of course,if you over-do any physical activity to the point of injuring yourself, that's a bad thing. But a sensible program of strengthening and endurance, with some gentle stretching, will make your parts work and feel better, not worse. Everyone's different, I realize, and some people have injuries and ailments, I get it. But I'm with the Toad on this one. Exercises and scale practice helps me play better. YMMV:cool:
     
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  11. 6String69

    6String69 Tele-Meister

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    I've only been playing about 14 months but I find doing walks up the strings is a very helpful exercise.
     
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  12. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I agree with the OP that focused practice pays handsome rewards. I've begun to dig back through my old song book. It's mostly lyrics and chords. I'll pull out a song, and sometimes barely remember it. I'll play it through a few times and licks and solos begin to come back. Then I dissect it. Is it really in a good key for my vocal range? I'll try solos in neighboring keys. After I've gone that far, I'll reassemble the song and practice it. I mean seriously practice it. I'll work on it a section at a time to see if I can improve transitions. Can I revoice chords for harmonic complexity? Are my solos, intros, and outros up to snuff? Doing this refreshes my scales and arpeggios, especially because I play finger style and construct my solos off the chords. I keep working on the song until practice time is over and go back to it the next day and the next if necessary. I make sure I've got the lyrics memorized correctly by days 2 and 3.

    Focused practice has been a big change for me. I used to play a song and if it was good enough go on to the next one. I've found that good enough is never good enough. I'm an engineer in my day job. Engineering involves the use of metrics. The metric I use for practice is not to practice a song until I play it perfectly. I may not play it perfectly the next time. I play it until I can continue with the song without making more missteps. It used to be that if I made a mistake, I'd lose my place and play the rest of the song like sh**. No more. I practice until I can keep playing without missing a beat or lyric no matter what happens. For me, that's a useful metric.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
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  13. Allan Allan

    Allan Allan Tele-Meister

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    If you are inuring yourself playing scales I think you need to fix your technique, not skip scales.
     
  14. teletail

    teletail Tele-Meister

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    Exactly. Barring an actual physical or medical condition, practice, within sensible limits of course, will make you stronger not weaker. Additionally good technique is much more efficient than your fingers flailing around like a lost flock of geese, desperately looking for the right note.
     
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  15. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    This is an old sight-reading technique. I used to play Beethoven violin sonatas at sight. All tempos. Many, many, many non-sounding mistakes, as I replace the problematic notes with rests. This meant that at any tempo, I could sight-read cleanly, but not musically, since I wouldn't play any notes that I couldn't get. The skill is in keeping going no matter how many silences I have to use.

    Unrelatedly, I've been trying something in my improv practice. The premise is that while I endeavor to play "in the moment," I sometimes fall into finger cliches and rote reflexes. My practice technique for this is easy to understand. If I am playing from the heart, but suddenly drift into automatic motions, I mentally shout out "Be Aware!" This motivates me to consider my note and rhythm choices more bravely.

    What's the difference between playing and practicing? With practicing, you can isolate problem areas and repeat them for a period of time (whether seconds or years). There are also aspects of the isolated problem area that you can generalize to other keys, rhythms, positions, etc. My formula for practicing something: Isolate, repeat, and generalize.
     
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  16. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    repetitive motion does exactly that.

    my days of practicing all weekend long are pretty much over.
    I want to be able to play a few more gigs yet
    And yeah, it's probably different for you young healthy guys
    Hopefully you never do get to the point where you know what I'm talking about
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
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  17. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hi blowtorch, I'm no doctor, my opinions are based on duct tape and hot air. Truth be told, I'm frightened that, sooner or later, my hands will stiffen up. For now, fingers crossed, by the grace of the quantum field, I hope you and I both can play guitar for many years to come.
     
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  18. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I would say that the formula for injury is repetitive motion with poor mechanics....repetitive motion alone is not the culprit. If you are not using your physiology as it is designed to move then you will create problems over time. This is exactly why in classical circles proper posture and body mechanics are learned and taken very seriously. A musician can have a long career without any injury from repetitive motion if they are using their body correctly.
     
  19. TelenTubes

    TelenTubes Tele-Holic

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    Yes it does. I got into wanting to finally learn to play some country music about two years ago. I've always liked it, just never learned any country songs, or not many.

    Went back and started working through some Dwight Yoakam/Pete Anderson songs. A little bit bluesy which I'm more familiar with, yet lots of new licks I'd never tried before plus the whole hybrid picking technique.

    Worked on some parts for a while at half speed, like the first solo of Little Sister, then tried the parts with the music... over and over. And over some more. Finally started getting where I could nail it at about an 85% level and still feel fairly in control of where I thought my fingers were going, lol.

    Second solo in that song's going to take me much longer!
     
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  20. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you are learning from a clever little book, you are not self taught ! Someone wrote the book that you are learning from ! You may very well be a self starter or self disciplined but you are learning from what someone else wrote with the purpose of teaching or influencing others.

    Don't feel bad , there are millions of us in this exact same category.

    Regarding repetitive practice, we don't have to exhaust our fingers or hands, we can practice routines that are applicable to what we enjoy playing. Nobody has to play 32'nd notes , 1/4 and 1/2 tones can also be quite refreshing.
     
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