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> Practicing A Lesson, How do YOU do it?
Blister
post Sep 7 2012, 03:53 AM
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At first, I was going to post this on Cosmin's wall but then thought this was a question for all instructors & members. The current lesson I am working on is Cosmin's "Combining Arpeggios & Scales" but my question could easily be for any lesson or exercise.

When you practice (& again, this is referring to specifically learning one of GMC's lessons or instructor exercises):

1. How much time do you put into practicing at one sitting? I do my hand warmups & stretches but I am concerned that practicing a certain pattern too long could lead to an injury. So how long is too long in regards to the entire lesson or just one lick of it?

2. This particular lesson (at regular tempo) is 100bpm. I like this lesson, it's fun & sounds cool at the faster speeds. I'm a true believer in using the metronome so my question is once you achieve a tempo (meaining hitting all the correct notes...I've been using 3 times in a row as a goal), when do you "bump up" the bpm? I'm not at 100bpm yet & have been working heavily on this lesson almost 2 weeks. Right now I'm fairly solid at about 75 to 80 bpm but I have attempted 92 bpm & not been too bad. Should I not even try 92 until I master, for example, 85bpm?

3. How many lessons do you actually work on during one practice session? I'm afraid I'm guilty of getting sidetracked when a new lesson comes out or just start looking down my bookmarks & randomly start working on one. I know I need to focus on no more than 3 lessons at a time.

4. How long should it take to learn a lesson? Do you work only on 1 at a time or many different lessons off & on?

5. I am currently at about a 2 to 4 level. At what point do you say, this lesson is too hard for me at my current talent level?

I look at GMC the same way I would if I was taking private one on one lessons from a private teacher. The beauty of GMC is that I will get an answer from many instructors whom all have played at varying levels of professional jobs & also the students of GMC whom many have played professionally as well. Meaning I get many different points of view to the questions. That's a very cool benefit for being a member of GMC! smile.gif

I'm sorry this is so long. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post & ponder my queries! smile.gif


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MonkeyDAthos
post Sep 7 2012, 04:39 AM
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Ok Gary!

1º- i spend the time i feel like spending, sometimes is 15 mins sometimes it's 1 hour, untill it feels good for that day i guess.

2º- About bpm, i usually start around 50% of the initial tempo, sometimes 25% if needed. i also use drum tracks, it makes the practice alot funnier than with the bep bep of the metronome!

3º- Man, i lack a lot of discipline laugh.gif even worse than you, i am like, ok! now i am gonna practice, but then a wild youtube video appears laugh.gif and time flies, others time i simple go grab something to eat, and i end up playing with my cats tongue.gif.
the day have 24 hours i am sure practice at less 2-3 lessons in a day, you just need to know what u want to do that day and do it.

4º- Depends, not something you should worry about, i think it's okay hoping to reach an X lvl in a frame of time, it makes you work to get there, but you shouldn't rush, when its done, it's done.

5º- You never know unless you try, and if it's too hard, that's the reason why u are practing tongue.gif

don't know if those help at all, not really that great either tongue.gif, you just go to keep work, and not lose the motivation!

Cheers!

This post has been edited by MonkeyDAthos: Sep 7 2012, 04:45 AM


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Marcus Siepen
post Sep 7 2012, 08:20 AM
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In general, when I am practicing something new, first of all I will warm up properly of course. When I am warmed up I will focus on the first part of whatever I want to learn (first lick, phrase, whatever...) and I will practice this SLOWLY, to a click track. I will do it very slowly to make sure that I play everything properly and I don't skip anything, I want to make sure my hands are in sync and that my muscles learn the motion. When I can play that pattern I will slowly speed up, only a bit, and repeat everything, making sure I am playing everything the way I want to play it, and so on. About how long I stick with this first pattern, well, I am not afraid of injuring myself, as long as I warm up first my hands will be fine, for me it is a question on concentration at some point. If I hit on one lick for too long I will lose my focus, thats when I move on to something else, the second lick, and only come back to te first one later.
I will learn all the parts individually like that, and when I can play them properly I will put them together and play through the whole thing.
The important thing is to start slowly, if we start to practice something at a high speed we most likely will play it sloppy and get used to this sloppy playing, this is something we should definitely avoid!


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HungryForHeaven
post Sep 7 2012, 08:59 AM
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QUOTE (Blister @ Sep 7 2012, 02:53 AM) *
At first, I was going to post this on Cosmin's wall but then thought this was a question for all instructors & members. The current lesson I am working on is Cosmin's "Combining Arpeggios & Scales" but my question could easily be for any lesson or exercise.

When you practice (& again, this is referring to specifically learning one of GMC's lessons or instructor exercises):

......


Hey Blister,

We can never get too much of practice tips and tricks, can we? The more we read about it, the sooner we reach our personal "perfect match" (not that it will ever be perfect). My personal reflections follow.

1. As long as you're warmed up properly, there shouldn't be risk of injury unless you tense up while playing or keep cycling an isolated lick with a big stretch for the fretting hand. However, it might not be efficient to stay at one lick for too long, in the sense that the progress is not linearly proportional to the time spent. How this curve really looks is another story, but most likely after a certain point, the "progress:time spent" curve flattens considerably.

2. Personally, I don't believe so strongly in the "Vai principle". If done with care, bumping up before you can play the lick perfectly a repeated number of times does not necessarily harm your playing. "Care", in this context, means basically "watch out if you make the exact same mistake twice or you might mislearn the lick". Ben, for instance, often talks about speed bursts. Even if you can't play the lick repeatedly at 92 bpm, maybe you can play it perfectly only once and then rest for a few seconds before trying again. Or even only play half of the lick, rest, play the remaining half of the lick. At some point, it is necessary to let your hands get used to perform the motions at that speed. Of course you should return to a more comfortable speed after a few bursts on the very edge of your ability.

3. Unfortunately, I can't give anything useful here, as my own practice disciplin is.. well.. barely existent.

4-5. I work on and off on lessons that sound cool and/or I think will help me develop certain techniques. The levels are of course only guidelines. A player who alternate picks at level 7 might struggle with a level 4 sweeping lesson, etc. Also, it is not necessarily a primary goal for me to play the lesson at full speed; if it sounds cool and involves a technique I want to practice, I'd rather work on that lesson at a lower speed than a less interesting-sounding lesson at full speed.

Just my 5 kronor. smile.gif

H4H

This post has been edited by HungryForHeaven: Sep 7 2012, 09:02 AM
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Blister
post Sep 7 2012, 01:32 PM
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QUOTE (MonkeyDAthos @ Sep 6 2012, 11:39 PM) *
don't know if those help at all, not really that great either tongue.gif, you just go to keep work, and not lose the motivation!

These are great, Renato! Keeping that motivation is crucial & I'm grateful I haven't lost it yet! smile.gif

QUOTE (Marcus Siepen @ Sep 7 2012, 03:20 AM) *
...If I hit on one lick for too long I will lose my focus, thats when I move on to something else, the second lick, and only come back to te first one later...
The important thing is to start slowly, if we start to practice something at a high speed we most likely will play it sloppy and get used to this sloppy playing, this is something we should definitely avoid!

Thank you, Marcus! Focus is a tricky one for me. After repeating the lick for the umpteenth time, my brain starts to wander & I have to tell myself, "This won't help if you don't CONCENTRATE! I also have trouble with that little devil called impatience that sits on my shoulder during practice saying, "Come on, man, speed it up!" mad.gif

QUOTE (HungryForHeaven @ Sep 7 2012, 03:59 AM) *
We can never get too much of practice tips and tricks, can we? The more we read about it, the sooner we reach our personal "perfect match" (not that it will ever be perfect)...
Personally, I don't believe so strongly in the "Vai principle". If done with care, bumping up before you can play the lick perfectly a repeated number of times does not necessarily harm your playing. "Care", in this context, means basically "watch out if you make the exact same mistake twice or you might mislearn the lick"...
Just my 5 kronor. smile.gif

Thanks H4H! I need all the tips & tricks I can get! "Mislearn the lick" can be a big problem. While "stalking" GMC before I joined, I "mislearned" a lesson & it is hard to play it now as I have to entirely "relearn" the lesson. I had to do a search for "knonor" laugh.gif , similar to our expression, "2 cents worth".

Thanks so much, guys! I know I made you have to take some time to think about your comments & I really appreciate it! smile.gif


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HungryForHeaven
post Sep 7 2012, 02:19 PM
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QUOTE (Blister @ Sep 7 2012, 12:32 PM) *
I had to do a search for "knonor" laugh.gif , similar to our expression, "2 cents worth".

Actually, we don't really use that expression in Swedish. I just translated it. laugh.gif
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DeGroot
post Sep 8 2012, 07:46 PM
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QUOTE (Marcus Siepen @ Sep 7 2012, 07:20 AM) *
In general, when I am practicing something new, first of all I will warm up properly of course. When I am warmed up I will focus on the first part of whatever I want to learn (first lick, phrase, whatever...) and I will practice this SLOWLY, to a click track. I will do it very slowly to make sure that I play everything properly and I don't skip anything, I want to make sure my hands are in sync and that my muscles learn the motion. When I can play that pattern I will slowly speed up, only a bit, and repeat everything, making sure I am playing everything the way I want to play it, and so on. About how long I stick with this first pattern, well, I am not afraid of injuring myself, as long as I warm up first my hands will be fine, for me it is a question on concentration at some point. If I hit on one lick for too long I will lose my focus, thats when I move on to something else, the second lick, and only come back to te first one later.
I will learn all the parts individually like that, and when I can play them properly I will put them together and play through the whole thing.
The important thing is to start slowly, if we start to practice something at a high speed we most likely will play it sloppy and get used to this sloppy playing, this is something we should definitely avoid!


It took me a long time to learn this approach. Starting very SLOW is important to learning a technique properly.

I also like to take regular breaks if I plan on having a long practice session. Having some water or coffee and just letting my mind and hands relax will help avoid fatigue.


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derper
post Sep 9 2012, 01:18 AM
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One suggestion, would be to ask Cosmin (or other instructors) along the way. It's not always as simple as "practicing" to get to full speed. For example, Cosmin recently helped me with my picking efficiency on his lesson....the result was amazing! I'm able to achieve much faster speeds now, and I wouldn't have got there on my own by just practicing.

Send vids for feedback along the way. Trust me...it will help! biggrin.gif

QUOTE (Blister @ Sep 6 2012, 07:53 PM) *
At first, I was going to post this on Cosmin's wall but then thought this was a question for all instructors & members. The current lesson I am working on is Cosmin's "Combining Arpeggios & Scales" but my question could easily be for any lesson or exercise.

When you practice (& again, this is referring to specifically learning one of GMC's lessons or instructor exercises):

1. How much time do you put into practicing at one sitting? I do my hand warmups & stretches but I am concerned that practicing a certain pattern too long could lead to an injury. So how long is too long in regards to the entire lesson or just one lick of it?

2. This particular lesson (at regular tempo) is 100bpm. I like this lesson, it's fun & sounds cool at the faster speeds. I'm a true believer in using the metronome so my question is once you achieve a tempo (meaining hitting all the correct notes...I've been using 3 times in a row as a goal), when do you "bump up" the bpm? I'm not at 100bpm yet & have been working heavily on this lesson almost 2 weeks. Right now I'm fairly solid at about 75 to 80 bpm but I have attempted 92 bpm & not been too bad. Should I not even try 92 until I master, for example, 85bpm?

3. How many lessons do you actually work on during one practice session? I'm afraid I'm guilty of getting sidetracked when a new lesson comes out or just start looking down my bookmarks & randomly start working on one. I know I need to focus on no more than 3 lessons at a time.

4. How long should it take to learn a lesson? Do you work only on 1 at a time or many different lessons off & on?

5. I am currently at about a 2 to 4 level. At what point do you say, this lesson is too hard for me at my current talent level?

I look at GMC the same way I would if I was taking private one on one lessons from a private teacher. The beauty of GMC is that I will get an answer from many instructors whom all have played at varying levels of professional jobs & also the students of GMC whom many have played professionally as well. Meaning I get many different points of view to the questions. That's a very cool benefit for being a member of GMC! smile.gif

I'm sorry this is so long. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post & ponder my queries! smile.gif



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Alex Feather
post Sep 9 2012, 01:48 AM
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QUOTE (Blister @ Sep 7 2012, 02:53 AM) *
At first, I was going to post this on Cosmin's wall but then thought this was a question for all instructors & members. The current lesson I am working on is Cosmin's "Combining Arpeggios & Scales" but my question could easily be for any lesson or exercise.

When you practice (& again, this is referring to specifically learning one of GMC's lessons or instructor exercises):

1. How much time do you put into practicing at one sitting? I do my hand warmups & stretches but I am concerned that practicing a certain pattern too long could lead to an injury. So how long is too long in regards to the entire lesson or just one lick of it?

2. This particular lesson (at regular tempo) is 100bpm. I like this lesson, it's fun & sounds cool at the faster speeds. I'm a true believer in using the metronome so my question is once you achieve a tempo (meaining hitting all the correct notes...I've been using 3 times in a row as a goal), when do you "bump up" the bpm? I'm not at 100bpm yet & have been working heavily on this lesson almost 2 weeks. Right now I'm fairly solid at about 75 to 80 bpm but I have attempted 92 bpm & not been too bad. Should I not even try 92 until I master, for example, 85bpm?

3. How many lessons do you actually work on during one practice session? I'm afraid I'm guilty of getting sidetracked when a new lesson comes out or just start looking down my bookmarks & randomly start working on one. I know I need to focus on no more than 3 lessons at a time.

4. How long should it take to learn a lesson? Do you work only on 1 at a time or many different lessons off & on?

5. I am currently at about a 2 to 4 level. At what point do you say, this lesson is too hard for me at my current talent level?

I look at GMC the same way I would if I was taking private one on one lessons from a private teacher. The beauty of GMC is that I will get an answer from many instructors whom all have played at varying levels of professional jobs & also the students of GMC whom many have played professionally as well. Meaning I get many different points of view to the questions. That's a very cool benefit for being a member of GMC! smile.gif

I'm sorry this is so long. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post & ponder my queries! smile.gif

I am usually dividing practice routine into two parts
1) Mechanical
Includes exercises, arpeggios, scales, pentatonics etc.
2) Musical
Part where you can use what you have learned doing mechanical exercises!
I found this to be a great technique because you not just learning new stuff you have a chance to use it!
Even 15 minutes of concentrated practicing will bring results so do at least that! Ideal situation is to practice mechanical exercises with a metronome for an hour then switch to melodic playing and try to use techniques you have been practicing in the mechanical part after that you can take a break and relax and then at night when watching TV you can go back to your mechanical exercises and just play it while watching your favorite show you don't have to use a metronome just make sure you are consistent with picking and fingering!
Let me know if you have any questions! I can help you out to organize your practice just send me a PM! smile.gif


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Blister
post Sep 11 2012, 02:50 AM
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H4H, sorry I misspelled kronor. smile.gif

QUOTE (DeGroot @ Sep 8 2012, 02:46 PM) *
It took me a long time to learn this approach. Starting very SLOW is important to learning a technique properly.

I also like to take regular breaks if I plan on having a long practice session. Having some water or coffee and just letting my mind and hands relax will help avoid fatigue.

I've resigned myself that this lesson will just be a work in progress. I will keep it slow & steady rather than try to reach the 100bpm in a month. At least that way I will keep my sanity & not get frustrated that I couldn't increase the speed as fast I wanted to. It is a level 4 which might be ahead of my proficiency right now. Slow & steady wins the race, right?

QUOTE (derper @ Sep 8 2012, 08:18 PM) *
One suggestion, would be to ask Cosmin (or other instructors) along the way. It's not always as simple as "practicing" to get to full speed. For example, Cosmin recently helped me with my picking efficiency on his lesson....the result was amazing! I'm able to achieve much faster speeds now, and I wouldn't have got there on my own by just practicing.

Send vids for feedback along the way. Trust me...it will help! biggrin.gif

Great suggestion! It has to be frustrating for the instructors to try to help us by our explanaitions when it would be so much easier for them to comment after actually seeing & hearing the issue. As busy as these instructors must be, I'm amazed how fast they respond to questions. (btw...say hello to Mrs. Derper! Although, when I refer to my wife as Mrs. Blister, she doesn't really like it...I don't know why. laugh.gif )

QUOTE (Alex Feather @ Sep 8 2012, 08:48 PM) *
I am usually dividing practice routine into two parts
1) Mechanical
Includes exercises, arpeggios, scales, pentatonics etc.
2) Musical
Part where you can use what you have learned doing mechanical exercises!
I found this to be a great technique because you not just learning new stuff you have a chance to use it!
Even 15 minutes of concentrated practicing will bring results so do at least that! Ideal situation is to practice mechanical exercises with a metronome for an hour then switch to melodic playing and try to use techniques you have been practicing in the mechanical part after that you can take a break and relax and then at night when watching TV you can go back to your mechanical exercises and just play it while watching your favorite show you don't have to use a metronome just make sure you are consistent with picking and fingering!
Let me know if you have any questions! I can help you out to organize your practice just send me a PM! smile.gif

I think I was getting too consumed by this lesson. I need to make sure I leave myself some "Musical" time. Not being able to increase my speed was really driving me crazy. I wanted it to be my next REC, but I will spend some time, just not ALL the time working on it. It seemed the longer I was practicing the same lick/lesson, then my mind would start to wander & I'd mess up. It's like my brain was getting bored, if that makes sense. Like you & Marcus said, 15 minutes of concentrated & focused practice will help me more than 45 minutes of just repetitive play while my mind is drifting away.

These tips have been very helpful! Thanks so much! smile.gif


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Nihilist1
post Sep 11 2012, 04:29 AM
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QUOTE (Blister @ Sep 7 2012, 02:53 AM) *
At first, I was going to post this on Cosmin's wall but then thought this was a question for all instructors & members. The current lesson I am working on is Cosmin's "Combining Arpeggios & Scales" but my question could easily be for any lesson or exercise.

When you practice (& again, this is referring to specifically learning one of GMC's lessons or instructor exercises):

1. How much time do you put into practicing at one sitting? I do my hand warmups & stretches but I am concerned that practicing a certain pattern too long could lead to an injury. So how long is too long in regards to the entire lesson or just one lick of it?

2. This particular lesson (at regular tempo) is 100bpm. I like this lesson, it's fun & sounds cool at the faster speeds. I'm a true believer in using the metronome so my question is once you achieve a tempo (meaining hitting all the correct notes...I've been using 3 times in a row as a goal), when do you "bump up" the bpm? I'm not at 100bpm yet & have been working heavily on this lesson almost 2 weeks. Right now I'm fairly solid at about 75 to 80 bpm but I have attempted 92 bpm & not been too bad. Should I not even try 92 until I master, for example, 85bpm?

3. How many lessons do you actually work on during one practice session? I'm afraid I'm guilty of getting sidetracked when a new lesson comes out or just start looking down my bookmarks & randomly start working on one. I know I need to focus on no more than 3 lessons at a time.

4. How long should it take to learn a lesson? Do you work only on 1 at a time or many different lessons off & on?

5. I am currently at about a 2 to 4 level. At what point do you say, this lesson is too hard for me at my current talent level?

I look at GMC the same way I would if I was taking private one on one lessons from a private teacher. The beauty of GMC is that I will get an answer from many instructors whom all have played at varying levels of professional jobs & also the students of GMC whom many have played professionally as well. Meaning I get many different points of view to the questions. That's a very cool benefit for being a member of GMC! smile.gif

I'm sorry this is so long. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post & ponder my queries! smile.gif


I have been away from GMC for a little while, but this is a great set of questions that everyone should ask themselves at some point. Could we possibly wiki this for the beginners? I think this thread contains a lot of very valuable questions that people should ask. Especially since we aren't always honest with ourselves when it comes to our own studying habits and playing skill.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Sep 11 2012, 07:05 AM
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Nihilist is right! We should transform this into 'Tips for healthy practice' or something like this.

I have carefully read all of the above and I found a lot of interesting but most of all tried and tested approaches which are of great help when it comes down to learning something new and playing it yourself.

The most important thing is to give yourself the right time to achieve a certain level. Things will start to happen over night up to some point, from one point on laugh.gif If I can say it like that, but that's the moment when your body and mind can react very fast to a new environment due to the fact that they are used to do it.

And indeed, it is of great help for everyone, if you can send us the stuff you are working on - the feedback will be MUCH more focused and to the point, rather than making guesses on what you guys should correct or learn. So if you have the opportunity, send a recording - the results will improve faster for certain!


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