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> Senseless Repetition Or Conscious Improvement
Daniel Realpe
post Dec 3 2009, 04:08 AM
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I just thought of the time we spend as guitarists to polish our technique and wonder why some improve so fast and develop such ease to play and others take too long and eventually don't practice anymore,

there must be one kind of a switch in one's brain that says: "this is what's wrong, and this is what I need to correct it", instead of thinking that one day by just doing something over an over with no thought you'll "get there"

personally I think I've develop a sense that allows me to correct myself when something doesn't sound right and consequently find a technique that would make it possible, sometimes it's changing strings, changing fingers, but I really believe now that almost anything can be played on guitar when you look for the right way to do it,

just some thoughts,



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NoSkill
post Dec 3 2009, 04:58 AM
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I'm one of those guys that never gets anywhere with guitar. I find multiple solutions to varying problems in my profession. With guitar? I think I'm wired wrong.


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Marc_Maiden
post Dec 3 2009, 05:23 AM
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the biggest barrier for me in my playing was not technique, but theory.


actually thats one of the reasons why i joined GMC 1 year ago!


I spend most of my time here studying pedja's harmony and theory lessons, then i worked on technique i with the theory i learned. I love improvising, and now that my hand knows where its going, i can do a lot more tricks wink.gif

currently all my knowledge (well some smile.gif ) is being put into a new song i am writing based around the half diminished scale, giving it a crazy evil tone to it wink.gif


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methodseeker
post Dec 3 2009, 08:26 AM
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QUOTE (Daniel Realpe @ Dec 2 2009, 07:08 PM) *
I just thought of the time we spend as guitarists to polish our technique and wonder why some improve so fast and develop such ease to play and others take too long and eventually don't practice anymore,

there must be one kind of a switch in one's brain that says: "this is what's wrong, and this is what I need to correct it", instead of thinking that one day by just doing something over an over with no thought you'll "get there"


Your remarks raise a couple of questions in my mind. There's an opinion, somewhat substantiated by this paper The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance and some related research, that people get good at something like musical performance just through lots of appropriate practice, and not by any special talent. So, those who improve faster are basically just doing a greater quantity of good practicing. (Where good is deliberate, constantly focusing on the task and applying real mental effort.)

I'm guessing maybe you agree at least somewhat with this opinion, since the title of this thread sounds like the contrast between deliberate and less useful practice. But maybe you've had experience of seeing some guitar players improve much more rapidly than others, in a way you think is not due mainly to quantity of motivated practice, but to something else, like a talent for benefiting more from practice. Do you think innate talent or practice habits is the main determinant of the rate at which equally motivated players progress?

And the other question, which is quite open ended, is what constitutes and how does one develop the appropriate habits of deliberate practice that optimize the rate at which skills are improved?

A related thought, for anyone who's up to it (Kris?), is that GMC might be in a position to gather some interesting data along these lines. With the REC program there's a way of of somewhat objectively measuring rates of progress. (Actually, it might be possible to do this in other ways too, by assuming that most people are practicing lessons that reflect their skill level.) If some self-reporting on practice habits were also regularly gathered, it could be a useful data set for studying this topic.
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OrganisedConfusi...
post Dec 3 2009, 09:20 AM
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I think my problems lay at the foundation level. I skipped past them too quickly and I'm fairly competent with a guitar but I could have been so much better if I had learnt right from the start and wasn't so quick to move on.


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Muris Varajic
post Dec 3 2009, 10:28 AM
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Yeah, it's always the brain I guess...
The gray thing is tricky to control sometimes or is it just our ego
but human often leaves things undone and sloppy without pushing things on higher level.
Commitment, high standards etc, those are most important things when it comes to progress
and we have to collaborate with our brain otherwise it ends up badly. wink.gif


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Pedja Simovic
post Dec 3 2009, 11:13 AM
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For me it is very important to be determined and keep the faith going in what you are doing always. Sure at times things will seem down and like you said senseless repetition but I always like to think of final result. Action causes reaction, it is as simple as that to me. If I put this many hours today into my practicing/playing/composing/improvising I want to visualize in my head and set my expectations before hand. This is what motivates me to work and improve always. At most times I find that things I wish for not only happen but also I discover some new cool things that leave to another unexplored area. So it all comes down to how you put your mind into it, how you organize yourself and your practice time, and of course determination and work is a must to make things work smile.gif


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Daniel Realpe
post Dec 3 2009, 01:22 PM
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QUOTE (methodseeker @ Dec 3 2009, 08:26 AM) *
Do you think innate talent or practice habits is the main determinant of the rate at which equally motivated players progress?

And the other question, which is quite open ended, is what constitutes and how does one develop the appropriate habits of deliberate practice that optimize the rate at which skills are improved?


Thanks for the reference, I liked the graphic where it differentiates three stages.

- I don't believe in innate talent, I think it's environment what determines our path. Then again, an environment suitable for "being a musician" could be considered the reason why someone has "natural" talent. But for this "naturally" talented person, practice is just unavoidable cause motivation comes from a deep inner place. And then rewards keep on motivating him/her.

- I think as Pedja said, goals are very important to develop appropiate practice habits. When you have a goal, you find your way, somehow. And the second aspect would be to be consciouss of your actual physical body and movements and be open to change patterns, which is not an easy thing to do, but I guess that's what happens.



QUOTE (Muris Varajic @ Dec 3 2009, 10:28 AM) *
Yeah, it's always the brain I guess...
The gray thing is tricky to control sometimes or is it just our ego
but human often leaves things undone and sloppy without pushing things on higher level.
Commitment, high standards etc, those are most important things when it comes to progress
and we have to collaborate with our brain otherwise it ends up badly. wink.gif


There you go. You give importance to goals for when wanting to progress. I suppose that's what kept from stopping at some point and finally got you to an stage where you can get around many techniques.

One particular technique is alternate picking. I feel that when you change patterns using it, your brain wants to resist a little, but then you adopt those new patterns and they feel like "home".



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zen
post Dec 3 2009, 01:40 PM
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I love this thread... very meaningful replies here .. smile.gif Thanks for sharing ..
For me it's been a mix of both.. but I'm a very slow learner and improve at a snail's pace.. so I'll be reading this thread very carefully for suggestions..


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methodseeker
post Dec 3 2009, 06:53 PM
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Looking at my own performance over a bunch of activities, it seems like the most important step that I'm most likely to fail to make, is to notice things I don't already expect to see. I guess this is related to the natural inclination to mental laziness that Muris points out. Unfortunately, I think this is also a characteristic of a certain kind of mental efficiency: ignoring the irrelevant. :-/ It's hard to strike the right balance.
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Emir Hot
post Dec 3 2009, 07:07 PM
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QUOTE (NoSkill @ Dec 3 2009, 03:58 AM) *
I'm one of those guys that never gets anywhere with guitar.

I disagree smile.gif


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Daniel Realpe
post Dec 4 2009, 02:01 AM
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I disagree as well cool.gif

no such thing,



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Hammerhead
post Dec 4 2009, 06:40 AM
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This is a great thread... and lots of great thoughts!
For me, I feel like I am trying to find the balance between building my foundation (theory/practice scales/ear training...) and the pure joy of plugging into an amp and "feeling" the music. It is easy to get distracted with the playing, but that is, after all, why we practice in the first place.The better I sound, the more I want to practice.

But music is another language (a romance language?) and we need to learn the verbs and nouns and syntax to be a great poet. Some players can do this without academic knowledge,for them it is intuitive. What a great gift to have "perfect pitch" or a great "ear"! For the rest of us progress really requires determination and effort. I can learn by playing and playing... but by studying, I can learn soooo much faster it is true! I can noodle around and find the "right " key to play in, but when I study theory, then I just need to practice the mechanics of playing in the right key without spending time trying to find or hear which notes are right.

My practice is often divided between my mindless jamming, which is the most fun and the first thing I do when I pick up my guitar, and real study.
I can't help but feel that if I could study more and "jam" less, I would get better faster!

I have found that the perfect blend of the two is the collaborations here @ GMC! I have to study the assignment, then take the test (i get to Jam), and then I get a written assessment of my work, which tells me how to improve. It's great!
cool.gif


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Kristian Hyvarin...
post Dec 4 2009, 08:38 AM
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I'm not smart and I'm lazy, so I'll be brief.

I believe that in the end, the thing that matters the most is how many hours of concentrated practicing the player has spent in order to improve his or her playing. But that's not enough. I believe that a guitarist must also, like anyone learning something, be very humble and sincere. If one just learns a sloppy, screeching sweeping technique and is happy with it, no way one will ever improve that technique much further.

So besides concentrating and working hard it is important to admit one's major weaknesses. If one does those things, I see absolutely no way one would not improve. Of course, patience is needed. In heard once: hard work is useless for those who don't believe in themselves. It has the point that if you feel like you're not developing, you might start practicing less because "it's no use anyway".

What we get from this is a list of nice words that make a guitar god: "Hard work, concentration, humility, honesty, patience, principle".

Of which none is more important than the other.

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Daniel Realpe
post Dec 4 2009, 01:56 PM
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QUOTE (Hammerhead @ Dec 4 2009, 06:40 AM) *
What a great gift to have "perfect pitch" or a great "ear"!
cool.gif


I think it's no different to learning a different language, you'll get there in the end...even if you are not gonna sound as fluid as someone else, you will be able to communicate and it really doesn't matter how you communicate but what you communicate...



QUOTE (Kristian Hyvarinen @ Dec 4 2009, 08:38 AM) *
I believe that in the end, the thing that matters the most is how many hours of concentrated practicing the player has spent in order to improve his or her playing. But that's not enough. I believe that a guitarist must also, like anyone learning something, be very humble and sincere.

--

NoSkill, I feel for you, mate. biggrin.gif


You made me think of an important point. The creation part of playing music is very important as well.

To use what you have and create your own stuff. Look at Kurt Cobain, the typical example. He never really develop his technique to the fullest, he wasn't interested, he just used the 2-3 chords he knew and used them to express what he wanted.

What do we want to express?



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