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17 Feb 2019
Hi guys,

I'd like to know your thoughts on how to practice new material in order to develop further. Specifically I'm interested in what you think of the amount of new material in relation to how much time you have; that is, how much new stuff should one practice? The context for this post is that I aim to be a versatile guitarist, not knowing too much of a thing, but being able to play most styles at least rudimentarily.

For example, I had some 4-5 lessons going on recently. I was dealing with Muris' Lydian riffs and Phrasing lessons, Ivan's SRV lesson, Muris' advanced BB minor lesson and Vasilije's Jazz Etude lesson. My idea was that it didn't matter so much whether I could play it all - I knew I couldn't - but that I expose myself to as many new ideas as possible in order to develop faster.

It was a nice idea, and I think it has its merits. I noticed, however, that pretty soon the advanced lesson had completely fallen out of my routine. It was followed by the riffing lesson, which I had mastered. I kept on bouncing back and forth between the SRV and etude lessons, but ended up letting the etude go, too, for the time being.

The reason for this was that I felt I wanted to focus on building one thing at a time; in this case, it was mastering the faster, more challenging runs on a single lesson. Now I've built my speed somewhat, without completely abandoning the other material I originally intended to learn.

So what do you think? Is it best to

- learn a single lesson at a time, pushing your concentration to the maximum? This has its intensity and focus as a pro. However, sometimes it's better for the brain to have variety - not all progress is linear, and sometimes practicing apparently unrelated stuff (fingerpicking vs. alternate picking, jazz vs. metal) leads to progress on the other.

- learn as much from different areas as possible? This has variety and novelty as its pro; at least you won't get bored. However, learning isn't easy, and such practice would take its toll on focus and memory. I can imagine becoming quickly overwhelmed by the new material, and not being able to form any kind of a framework for all the new ideas. One might end up chicken picking jazzy arpeggios to a thrash metal song, so to say (which might sound good, I don't know, but you get the idea). Another weakness to this approach is that it doesn't provide enough intensity for diligent technical practice. For example, I would need to put a LOT of hours to get that Bb minor advanced lesson right; simply trying it every now and then isn't enough - or at least it takes a lot more time to achieve results.

- aim for a compromise, weighing the "intensity" factor? That is, take a couple of lessons or one lesson, which you practice like you never did, whereas you keep a couple of other lessons in the background - to which you return for, say, 20% of the time you use for practice? This would have the benefit of intensity without losing the big picture - you're exposed to new material, you don't forget to stay creative, you stay interested, and you can go deep at the same time. A potential weakness is that this style might still not provide enough variety.

- aim for a compromise, weighing the "variety" factor? This means taking some 4-5 lessons, and giving about 20% for each of them. One might do this in a variety of ways, say, use 15 minutes a day for each lesson, or use a week for one lesson at a time, and so on.

- aim for a more complex solution, using each and every one of these approaches, periodizing one's routine? This is a familiar approach in sports and strength training. It would look something like this: I take a single lesson and work at it for two weeks all the way. Then I take a couple of other lessons, to which I give more time, but I return to the first lesson for, say, 20% of the time. The next couple of weeks I'd try to immerse myself into as many new songs as I ever could. The next couple of weeks I try to remember as much of this material as possible, but only devoting 20% of my time to it - the rest goes to practicing intensely a single lesson. The next couple of weeks I only practice a single thing... and so on.

I realize all of this depends on one's goals and expectations - do I expect to become a superb tapping machine as fast as possible, or do I expect to be able to both tap and know some chords? And so on. However, the idea of "block periodization" interests me, and I'd like to know your thoughts too. smile.gif
16 Apr 2015
Hi GMC!!

Don't know if it's the right forum, I apologize if it's not. Anyway, I was jamming the other day, felt kinda good about it and ended up recording some of it. Too bad the camera sucks and having to play quietly sucks (I live in a student dorm) and yes, at times even the playing does suck. Not like, suck, tough.

I'm having trouble embedding the video, here's the straight link:

So, my story! I've been playing the guitar for a lot of years now, probably almost 7-8 years now. However, I only got serious about it maybe 4 years ago, and even that lasted for maybe a year or so... ever since then it's been ups and downs, practicing intensively for a few weeks, not playing for months, trying to make a song, forgetting all about it... I'm sure a lot of you can relate. huh.gif

This winter, however, feels like having changed things for me. I realized that at some point I had gotten so bored with the guitar I had subconsciously put a cork in my development, thinking I couldn't improve anymore. Not like I was such a good player - I mean, I had some skills, but mostly my touch with music was quite naïve even though my technique wasn't so bad. Anyway, I realized I could still improve. I could learn all the stuff I always dreamed of playing - Mr. Lavendell's lessons, mostly.

And I fell in love with Muris' lessons here. He's incredible (and so are the rest of the instructors!). Lately I've been practicing a lot even though my studies take a lot of time, learning lessons level 6, even 7... I find it ihard to believe but it's true. I'd like to put up some REC's but I have no decent speakers and I don't know how I can do a REC take without. The sound of metronome tapping would suck even if I just added the backing, and I can't play without the tempo. Not good enough for the band in Whiplash, obviously... tongue.gif laugh.gif

So, anyway. I took that little jam video (no metronome here, either). It would be nice to hear some thoughts of it. It's really just fooling around with some unrelated ideas, but still. Here's what I've come up with:

- my way of holding the pick is funny; I'm working on it since it does get in the way of my strumming, and it's getting better.
- The rhythmic portions are pretty lousy; I should work on making smoother transitions between the melody lines and the rhythm; also the transitions between different ideas could be better so that it doesn't sound like just a bunch of licks
- I repeat that pull-off / hammer-on bluesy lick a lot... or more like I repeat a similiar lick a lot. It's a bad habit since hearing it so much gets boring
- it wouldn't be so bad to stick with an idea for a few more seconds; some of those work better than others.
- I should put more thought into the melody and the chords I'm using, really think through the theory. Not like think it really hard every time, but it definitely needs some work.

Besides these I think I did a pretty good job on this, what do you think? cool.gif
17 May 2012
Hi, the Search option in the upper-right side of the site hasn't been working for me at all in a while. All I ever get is a "you searched for" and some random lessons.

Anyone else experience this same problem?
5 Jan 2012
Hiya, I like jazzy chord progressions and I know that one way to make a piece of music more interesting is to use modulations... but how do they work in fact? I know that the circle of fifths is useful there and that modulating into the fourth or fifth note is good (or is it? biggrin.gif), but I have little knowledge concerning how to use them in practice. Could you help me out? smile.gif
19 Nov 2011
Hi, thought I'd share this with you. An amazing musician. And yes, the tuning knobs! laugh.gif

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