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> I Feel Like I Have Reached The Peak Of What I Can Accomplish At This Time
Praetorian
post Jan 6 2011, 09:58 PM
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Because of real life always getting in the way, I am only able to practice between 3-6 hours a week. I don't seem to have improved in the last 6 to 8 months at all. It is getting frustrating, and I wonder if I have reached all I am able to accomplish with my time frame. Anyone else experience the same thing?

This post has been edited by Praetorian: Jan 6 2011, 10:00 PM


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MickeM
post Jan 6 2011, 10:25 PM
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Several times. Before I joined GMC I was at the point of almost giving up guitar. Right now I've signed up for the GMC private lessons, though I have too few hours to practice it keeps me going and I get new ideas.

My long time goal is to become a better song writer and overall more secure guitarist. Maybe you don't have a goal with your playing? I think it's always important to have one set up.


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MonkeyDAthos
post Jan 6 2011, 10:31 PM
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once my teacher said this. "sometimes you need to be outside, to realize the improvement"


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jan 6 2011, 11:02 PM
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This happens to everybody. The thing is that as we get better we less notice it. When you're beginner you make huge and clear progress. In time progress moves on things you sometimes don't clearly see but its there like - muting technique, precision, speed, tone, vibrato, theory, phrasing etc etc. If you can pull off those hours of practice that is plenty! 30 min - 1 hour a day is plenty. It's actually not how much (how long) you practice but what you practice and how. Try to be focused. Pick one area you wish to develop (alternate picking, phrasing, bending, vibrato anything...) and do focused exercises on that for a week. Try to pick a reasonable goal for example certain tempo you wish to be able to play certain lick/technique on. Keep a practice log in a notebook of what you did each day, which tempo etc etc. At the end of the week you will clearly see the progress. Also try to make your practice sessions efficient by just practicing stuff that is new to you and not playing things you are already comfortable with. For example if you can play certain technique perfectly on 60 bpm , move up the starting point next day to faster tempo in order to cover more "ground" in each new practice session.


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Mudbone
post Jan 7 2011, 01:04 AM
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Progress isn't just vertical, it can also be horizontal. Theres a lot you can learn at your current skill level that widens your musical skills. Becoming more technically proficient isn't the only way to progress as a musician, there is a lot of relatively easy techniques you can learn that will greatly increase your tonal palette.

You got to define exactly what it is you want to achieve in a certain time frame, and be realistic with yourself. If you only have an hour to practice every day, you won't be able to achieve Malmsteen's speed and Petrucci's diversity in six months, especially as an adult. You can still achieve such things as an adult, it just takes more work, because your mind isn't as spongy as when you're in your youth. On a side note that is some what related, you should look into Neuro-Muscular Programming, learning about it will greatly help you achieve your technical proficiency goals.

If you only have an hour to practice every day, I wouldn't spend much of that time on exercises, because they're not as rewarding as learning actual music. If you're a fan of Iron Maiden, try learning their music, their songs are great exercises in the key of E minor and are very fun to play. Also try learning songs or lessons that are just slightly beyond your current capability - they are realistically achievable in a short time frame and the feeling of conquering it is very rewarding.

the rewarding aspect of playing guitar is overlooked many times - it shouldn't be looked at as a chore. The human mind needs rewards for its hard work, mindlessly playing scales day in a day out isn't very rewarding in the short term, although it does pay off in the long run.

As far as finding time to play, I'm quite sure you can find the time to do it, it all depends how much you really want to do it. We are all guilty of farting around on the internet wasting our precious time. Like Bogdan said, get a log and keep track of your progress, it really helps.

So where am I going with this? blink.gif Just keep the faith and look at playing an instrument not as a destination to reach, but as a journey, you're just at a bump in the road.


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Kristian Hyvarin...
post Jan 7 2011, 01:12 AM
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Mudbone, that was really nicely put. smile.gif


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jstcrsn
post Jan 7 2011, 01:52 AM
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QUOTE (Praetorian @ Jan 6 2011, 09:58 PM) *
Because of real life always getting in the way, I am only able to practice between 3-6 hours a week. I don't seem to have improved in the last 6 to 8 months at all. It is getting frustrating, and I wonder if I have reached all I am able to accomplish with my time frame. Anyone else experience the same thing?


and then some blink.gif
6 moths ago my alt picking was about 100bpm 16 th notes
and i noticed that the way i holdthe pick was ,for lackofabetter term , cavemanish
so i tried to get a better "looking hold" and for a few months my picking slowed to 60 bpm , wait for it , whole notes
yes i went from 400 notes a minute to 60 and lets just say i hated the guitar,did not want to play
pushed through it however and now after not caring about howi am holding the pick
i am up in the mid 100's 16 th notes
i threw my guitar against the floor many times but am glad it did not break

I think you will just have to focus your guitar goals for right now
don;t look at the big picture, pick one thing to improve
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fkalich
post Jan 7 2011, 02:56 AM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Jan 6 2011, 03:25 PM) *
My long time goal is to become a better song writer and overall more secure guitarist. Maybe you don't have a goal with your playing? I think it's always important to have one set up.


"A good traveler is one who does not know where he is going to, and a perfect traveler does not know where he came from." LIN YUTANG



edit: coming down to earth a bit, it is pretty well established that learning is heavily related to your level of concentration. Until a year and a half ago I did not even realize that I generally was not concentrating when I tried to learn something. I learned that from this particular book.

http://www.amazon.com/Brain-That-Changes-I...4677&sr=8-1



This post has been edited by fkalich: Jan 7 2011, 02:59 AM


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Gary
post Jan 7 2011, 03:44 AM
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QUOTE (Mudbone @ Jan 7 2011, 01:04 AM) *
Progress isn't just vertical, it can also be horizontal. Theres a lot you can learn at your current skill level that widens your musical skills. Becoming more technically proficient isn't the only way to progress as a musician, there is a lot of relatively easy techniques you can learn that will greatly increase your tonal palette.

You got to define exactly what it is you want to achieve in a certain time frame, and be realistic with yourself. If you only have an hour to practice every day, you won't be able to achieve Malmsteen's speed and Petrucci's diversity in six months, especially as an adult. You can still achieve such things as an adult, it just takes more work, because your mind isn't as spongy as when you're in your youth. On a side note that is some what related, you should look into Neuro-Muscular Programming, learning about it will greatly help you achieve your technical proficiency goals.

If you only have an hour to practice every day, I wouldn't spend much of that time on exercises, because they're not as rewarding as learning actual music. If you're a fan of Iron Maiden, try learning their music, their songs are great exercises in the key of E minor and are very fun to play. Also try learning songs or lessons that are just slightly beyond your current capability - they are realistically achievable in a short time frame and the feeling of conquering it is very rewarding.

the rewarding aspect of playing guitar is overlooked many times - it shouldn't be looked at as a chore. The human mind needs rewards for its hard work, mindlessly playing scales day in a day out isn't very rewarding in the short term, although it does pay off in the long run.

As far as finding time to play, I'm quite sure you can find the time to do it, it all depends how much you really want to do it. We are all guilty of farting around on the internet wasting our precious time. Like Bogdan said, get a log and keep track of your progress, it really helps.

So where am I going with this? blink.gif Just keep the faith and look at playing an instrument not as a destination to reach, but as a journey, you're just at a bump in the road.



Hat's off to you Mudbone.. you are an intelligent guy and have said some very insightful things here smile.gif

Ben,

I go through the same feelings.. it's not only hard to find adequate time to practice but once I begin it's difficult to remain focused, especially with kids. I therefore try to keep it all in perspective and remind myself why I do it. My mindset now is that practicing is more of a relaxation event for me, and honestly since I have adopted this philosphy I believe the abscence of pressure has helped me to improve.

As far as the farting or noodling around aspect (as Marty Friedman would say).. it's true and I have worked to cut a lot of that out. I rarely if ever watch TV.. when the family heads to bed I play guitar wink.gif. I have heard a lot of very accomplished guitarist state that you can get good on an hour a day of practice or even less.. but you have to be very focused on what you practice.

One thing that helped me is that I realized last year that I was spending way too much time learning lessons and songs (I was making very slow progress). The reason was because the stuff I was trying to tackle was simply above my playing ability. I acknowledged that I needed to either learn easier stuff or get my playing chops at a higher level. I therefore bought a book called Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar.. its a great book and I work on some of these excerises everyday.. improvement is coming. My thinking here is that by getting better at the mechanics I will be able to absorb and play the stuff I really want to play at a faster pace, and not get hung up working on the same lesson for two months. Food for thought.

Gary

This post has been edited by Gary: Jan 7 2011, 06:16 AM
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JamesT
post Jan 7 2011, 04:16 AM
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Wow, what a great post! ...and such insightful replies. I really don't have too much to add except that I've been there and also I'm there now, getting that feeling that I'm topped out. I started focusing on learing things that were within my technical reach or just slightly beyond and that has helped me to stay motivated. I almost think that this is a better way of approaching the art of guitar anyway. I'm thinking that my style will develop from having learned probably hundereds of easier things rather than just a few difficult ones. If I can find that sweet spot where I feel challenged and not blown away, I think I can stay with it and even keep improving. Anyway, that's kind of the common thread I'm seeing from everyones replies too ... keep it fun, keep it focused, keep it within reach, and stay consistent.


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Mudbone
post Jan 8 2011, 08:39 AM
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QUOTE (Kristian Hyvarinen @ Jan 6 2011, 07:12 PM) *
Mudbone, that was really nicely put. smile.gif


Thanks Kristian biggrin.gif

QUOTE (Gary @ Jan 6 2011, 09:44 PM) *
Hat's off to you Mudbone.. you are an intelligent guy and have said some very insightful things here smile.gif

Ben,

I go through the same feelings.. it's not only hard to find adequate time to practice but once I begin it's difficult to remain focused, especially with kids. I therefore try to keep it all in perspective and remind myself why I do it. My mindset now is that practicing is more of a relaxation event for me, and honestly since I have adopted this philosphy I believe the abscence of pressure has helped me to improve.

As far as the farting or noodling around aspect (as Marty Friedman would say).. it's true and I have worked to cut a lot of that out. I rarely if ever watch TV.. when the family heads to bed I play guitar wink.gif. I have heard a lot of very accomplished guitarist state that you can get good on an hour a day of practice or even less.. but you have to be very focused on what you practice.

One thing that helped me is that I realized last year that I was spending way too much time learning lessons and songs (I was making very slow progress). The reason was because the stuff I was trying to tackle was simply above my playing ability. I acknowledged that I needed to either learn easier stuff or get my playing chops at a higher level. I therefore bought a book called Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar.. its a great book and I work on some of these excerises everyday.. improvement is coming. My thinking here is that by getting better at the mechanics I will be able to absorb and play the stuff I really want to play at a faster pace, and not get hung up working on the same lesson for two months. Food for thought.

Gary


Thanks Gary biggrin.gif Gary actually makes a great point, if you stop worrying about the end result, you'll be able to focus better on the mechanics of what you're working on.

I'm definitely going to check out that book you recommended. In fact, I'm probably going to go order it from Amazon right now biggrin.gif


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"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens


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Guitars: Uncle Rufus' Twanger Classic
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Mojo: Hammer of Odin and a pair of Ox gonads
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Gitarrero
post Jan 8 2011, 09:04 AM
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Great answers guys, nothing to add. Well, for me, working with goals and a practice agenda really works, so I structure at least a part of my practice time. Say I will start with a warm-up. then play two songs I already know, then do technique exercises for a certain amount of time, then play a song I am currently learning or compose something new. Once I get to the point where I try to compose something, it's a bit noodling around, but at least I have practiced in a structured way before I reach the noodling part.
Anoter thing: We need a new MVC vote, and I would say that Mudbone qualifies for MVC this time. Your posts are always inspirational, well thought and sometimes provocative. Justr what a forum needs.
Christian


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Mudbone
post Jan 8 2011, 09:34 AM
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QUOTE (Gitarrero @ Jan 8 2011, 03:04 AM) *
Great answers guys, nothing to add. Well, for me, working with goals and a practice agenda really works, so I structure at least a part of my practice time. Say I will start with a warm-up. then play two songs I already know, then do technique exercises for a certain amount of time, then play a song I am currently learning or compose something new. Once I get to the point where I try to compose something, it's a bit noodling around, but at least I have practiced in a structured way before I reach the noodling part.
Anoter thing: We need a new MVC vote, and I would say that Mudbone qualifies for MVC this time. Your posts are always inspirational, well thought and sometimes provocative. Justr what a forum needs.
Christian


Thanks Christian, much appreciated biggrin.gif


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He who laughs last thinks slowest.

"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens


Gear:

Guitars: Uncle Rufus' Twanger Classic
Amps: Mississippi Boom Box
Mojo: Hammer of Odin and a pair of Ox gonads
Inspiration: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Zero to Hero: 1,387/10,000

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Ben Higgins
post Jan 8 2011, 11:56 AM
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Mudbone definitely nails it there ! cool.gif

The only thing I can add is from personal experience. What we bring to guitar is the sum of who we are. In other words, someone who has a very one dimensional life doesn't have much to bring to the guitar in terms of passion, emotion and feeling. The whole GIT school of thought in the 80's was 'live, breathe, sleep guitar'.. being consumed and obsessed with the instrument. But this approach is counter productive. We have to experience life's ups and downs in order to truly bring life to the music. If we're constantly immersed in the guitar, what outside experiences and observations can enhance our music ? Not much.

So, if you have a busy and full life I would not lament it.. as annoying as it can be to not get as much time with our guitars.. when we do get time with our guitars, it really matters !

Also, set yourself small targets. Almost ridiculously small targets that are almost impossible not to achieve. That way, you're always moving forward which keeps your inspiration high. smile.gif

There is/or was an approach which the Japanese called KAIZEN (I hope I've got that right, somebody else here might know more) which meant to take small, manageable steps in order to achieve a goal. It's worth looking up as it's a great philosophy.


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Gitarrero
post Jan 8 2011, 12:51 PM
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Right, Kaizen is a great philosophy. Translated it means "change for the better", though I must admit I only know the term from economical classes in university...but I'll look into it more deeply now. Good advice, Ben!


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