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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 16 2013, 10:01 AM
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Thinking of practicing - I have encountered the same question under a lot of forms for a lot of times - 'Am I practicing well, am I not? How should I be practicing?' But basically, it all comes down to the fear and uncertainty of not doing things right.

Some time ago, I have read about a very interesting principle called 'SMART Goals' - what does it mean?

SMART is an abreviation, giving criteria to guide in the setting of objectives, for example in project management, employee performance management and personal development (which is what interests us). The letters broadly conform to the words specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Out of what I am figuring out so far - attainable, time-bound and relevant are the most troublesome. What do I mean by that? People beginning to learn something have a hard time breaking things apart into small tasks - which are of course MUCH more easily attainable and relevant than a task like 'I want to shred!'

Time-bound can also become a problem due to the fact that most people tend to lose their focus and not finish a certain goal in a proper amount of time...

Now all of the above can lead to a whole debate and I am very interested in hearing your opinion on how you treat your objectives in what regards guitar playing - have you ever thought about practicing based on these aspects?



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The Professor
post Jul 16 2013, 10:17 AM
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Very good post man! I agree, as I teach jazz I get a lot of students coming to me that have trouble soloing over a tune, which usually has a dozen different chords and 2-3 or more key changes. What I've found is the hardest thing to do, but the most beneficial, is to just learn to solo over one chord at a time.

So, take a song that has the changes Am7-D7-Gm7-C7-Fmaj7-D7b9 for example, and instead of trying to tackle all the chords at once, just take a look at being able solo comfortably over Am7 and then comfortably soloing over just D7, before working both those chords at once. After that moving on to the rest of the chords in the same way.

Sometimes it's hard to just focus on a very small part of a song or concept, but when doing so the results can be quicker and stronger when moving back to the larger picture, the tune as a whole.

Great way to learn, breaking things down to the smallest idea possible, mastering that, and then building up from there.


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PosterBoy
post Jul 16 2013, 10:22 AM
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It's certainly something I've been taking on board recently.
I'm concentrating on drilling scales and sequences at the moment, because technique is my weak point.

I'm taking the 3 nps major scales and pentatonics (including extended Pentatonics) running them up and down and in 3rds and other sequences (I'm using Andy James Shred in 6 weeks as a basis)

Some require strict Alt Picking, others incorporated hammer ons and pull offs, others I can practice as legato

I'm putting the sequences etc into Guitar Speed trainer and this is helping with the measurable part.

As for the attainable part, I think not biting off more than I can chew, so I'm starting off with 1st and 2nd position and adding the 3rd when I feel my fingers know the 2 positions as 2nd nature, not adding more and more into the mix, and with the help of GST walking before I can run speedwise!


Running them over a backing track will help me figure out there place in a solo so they sound melodic and part of the solo rather than an exercise, so that hits the relevant part

Time Bound - this is where I fall, I have certain weeks that are easier to fit guitar practice in than others, but I'm becoming more aware of time I waste, or time I can utilise for practice (like the 15 mins waiting for my wife to get ready and put her make up on, when I'm already done)

As my skills get to the next level I'll add something else into the mix and lessen the focus on this, but for now this is where it's at


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The Professor
post Jul 16 2013, 10:23 AM
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Good point about not having enough time, but working in a few minutes whenever you get the chance. I always find that 10-15 minute every day, consistent practice, is always better than 3 hours one day and none for 2-3 days after that.


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PosterBoy
post Jul 16 2013, 10:27 AM
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QUOTE (The Professor @ Jul 16 2013, 10:17 AM) *
Very good post man! I agree, as I teach jazz I get a lot of students coming to me that have trouble soloing over a tune, which usually has a dozen different chords and 2-3 or more key changes. What I've found is the hardest thing to do, but the most beneficial, is to just learn to solo over one chord at a time.

So, take a song that has the changes Am7-D7-Gm7-C7-Fmaj7-D7b9 for example, and instead of trying to tackle all the chords at once, just take a look at being able solo comfortably over Am7 and then comfortably soloing over just D7, before working both those chords at once. After that moving on to the rest of the chords in the same way.

Sometimes it's hard to just focus on a very small part of a song or concept, but when doing so the results can be quicker and stronger when moving back to the larger picture, the tune as a whole.

Great way to learn, breaking things down to the smallest idea possible, mastering that, and then building up from there.


I'm stealing that concept!!!


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The Professor
post Jul 16 2013, 10:34 AM
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Go for it! Works for anything. If you have an arpeggio you want to learn or a scale pattern, it's important to work it in 12 keys over time, but even then try and get the technique down in 1 key first, then worry about the rest. It's surprising how easy it easy to expand on any idea/concept if it's first learned in one place/key/tempo really well to begin with.


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Darius Wave
post Jul 16 2013, 12:03 PM
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I do translate myslef most of the modals to basic minor or major key they came from. So Before I'll get know with the neck as a particular modal layout, I try to think of it as some minor or major, root key. So some more advanced progressions are for me like in the 3 or 4 different but all minor scales. After some time I start to remember and use the modal names smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 17 2013, 10:02 AM
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Funny enough, I learned how to break things down in university - all those complex subjects such as Materials Strength, Cracks, Elasticity, Numerical Methods, Production processes - they helped me in learning how to break things down in small pieces and analyze how every mechanism of life functions. As Musashi said - 'From one thing know 1000 things' We need to learn how to extrapolate the knowledge we get, in order to become faster and faster in assimilating information and putting it to good use.

For instance, when I learn a song, I listen to it carefully and see its structure, how many instruments are there, the time signature, key, chord progressions and eventually difficult bits which I know will need more attention than the rest.

It may seem like something obvious, but I know a hell of a lot of people that only know a riff or two from 100 songs but never had the curiosity to break one down and understand it from A to Z.


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Darius Wave
post Jul 17 2013, 12:59 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jul 17 2013, 09:02 AM) *
Funny enough, I learned how to break things down in university - all those complex subjects such as Materials Strength, Cracks, Elasticity, Numerical Methods, Production processes - they helped me in learning how to break things down in small pieces and analyze how every mechanism of life functions. As Musashi said - 'From one thing know 1000 things' We need to learn how to extrapolate the knowledge we get, in order to become faster and faster in assimilating information and putting it to good use.

For instance, when I learn a song, I listen to it carefully and see its structure, how many instruments are there, the time signature, key, chord progressions and eventually difficult bits which I know will need more attention than the rest.

It may seem like something obvious, but I know a hell of a lot of people that only know a riff or two from 100 songs but never had the curiosity to break one down and understand it from A to Z.


I understand You very well! We're similar at this point smile.gif I also think we were lucky enough to learn in the times of no internet (or at least very slow transfers) and having small amount of CD gave us time to listen to same song many many times. It's like knowing every single little flaw - fret buzz, switch noise, hum in the background, drummer moving on his sit biggrin.gif Those were very tiny and hiddne details but after raping the replay button we just knew them all smile.gif I miss those days smile.gif Now it's more a matter of choice when there is a bit of free time. The choice between - listen to the music or make Your own smile.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jul 17 2013, 01:39 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Jul 17 2013, 08:59 AM) *
I understand You very well! We're similar at this point smile.gif I also think we were lucky enough to learn in the times of no internet (or at least very slow transfers) and having small amount of CD gave us time to listen to same song many many times. It's like knowing every single little flaw - fret buzz, switch noise, hum in the background, drummer moving on his sit biggrin.gif Those were very tiny and hiddne details but after raping the replay button we just knew them all smile.gif I miss those days smile.gif Now it's more a matter of choice when there is a bit of free time. The choice between - listen to the music or make Your own smile.gif



This is so true, wasting the small amount of cassettes and cds that we had. Learning by ear songs by Maiden, Malmsteen, Blues Saraceno, from the first note to the last one, it has been a great training and I think that nowadays the big amount of possibilities can distract and makes difficult to focus. However, if we use this possibilities in a good way, focuses, with goals, plans, we can get a very good profit of it. I think that this can be applied to guitar but also to any aspect of life.


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sammetal92
post Jul 18 2013, 07:21 AM
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Great post Cosmin smile.gif One thing that's related to this that I'd like to ask is motivation. Some days of the week, I feel so pumped and I've made practice sessions with exact timings and I'll follow those sessions to the minute. While on some other days, I don't even feel like picking up the guitar, so I don't. Instead, I go watch a movie or something tongue.gif

I have like 6 different practice sessions, so I don't get bored, but I still get demotivated for a day or two. Is that normal, and is it really affecting my technique? Because honestly, I can start at 140 BPM if I ended yesterday at 140 BPM on the same technique, but if I leave the guitar for a day or two, I have to start at 20 BPM below my last recorded measurement with the metronome, but it only takes me about 4-5 minutes to go a little over 140 BPM after a proper warmup.

Hope I didn't confuse you people too much mellow.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 18 2013, 12:11 PM
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QUOTE (sammetal92 @ Jul 18 2013, 06:21 AM) *
Great post Cosmin smile.gif One thing that's related to this that I'd like to ask is motivation. Some days of the week, I feel so pumped and I've made practice sessions with exact timings and I'll follow those sessions to the minute. While on some other days, I don't even feel like picking up the guitar, so I don't. Instead, I go watch a movie or something tongue.gif

I have like 6 different practice sessions, so I don't get bored, but I still get demotivated for a day or two. Is that normal, and is it really affecting my technique? Because honestly, I can start at 140 BPM if I ended yesterday at 140 BPM on the same technique, but if I leave the guitar for a day or two, I have to start at 20 BPM below my last recorded measurement with the metronome, but it only takes me about 4-5 minutes to go a little over 140 BPM after a proper warmup.

Hope I didn't confuse you people too much mellow.gif


Hey mate - I understand your idea perfectly smile.gif No confusion here - it is normal, because your body needs a bit of time to adjust - it's like you would be a bit frustrated for not being able to wake up and immediately do a triple backside flip, which you can do, normally, but after a little warmup smile.gif These are normal things, but the more proficient in your technique you will become, some of the things you play, will become very, but very natural and you will be able to play them at command. Time and focused practice, are the factors that pull you forward on this quest wink.gif


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sammetal92
post Jul 18 2013, 02:03 PM
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Then I think I'm on the right track cool.gif Although I do keep looking and saving links to videos or articles for motivation and I do run out of them. Then I get worried so there's more motivation tongue.gif That's the virtuoso's journey for me laugh.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 19 2013, 10:40 AM
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QUOTE (sammetal92 @ Jul 18 2013, 01:03 PM) *
Then I think I'm on the right track cool.gif Although I do keep looking and saving links to videos or articles for motivation and I do run out of them. Then I get worried so there's more motivation tongue.gif That's the virtuoso's journey for me laugh.gif


That's a very good approach man - motivation is something that is influenced by a lot of things occurring in our lives, so keeping a constant reminder about what you want to reach - having in mind the words and positive energy of great men who got there already!

Will you share some of those videos with all of us? We can all benefit, I am sure!


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Darius Wave
post Jul 19 2013, 03:30 PM
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QUOTE (sammetal92 @ Jul 18 2013, 06:21 AM) *
Great post Cosmin smile.gif One thing that's related to this that I'd like to ask is motivation. Some days of the week, I feel so pumped and I've made practice sessions with exact timings and I'll follow those sessions to the minute. While on some other days, I don't even feel like picking up the guitar, so I don't. Instead, I go watch a movie or something tongue.gif

I have like 6 different practice sessions, so I don't get bored, but I still get demotivated for a day or two. Is that normal, and is it really affecting my technique? Because honestly, I can start at 140 BPM if I ended yesterday at 140 BPM on the same technique, but if I leave the guitar for a day or two, I have to start at 20 BPM below my last recorded measurement with the metronome, but it only takes me about 4-5 minutes to go a little over 140 BPM after a proper warmup.

Hope I didn't confuse you people too much mellow.gif



You do the worst possible thing maaaaan! biggrin.gif Movies gave me 90% of skills I currently have. Watching 2 or 3 movies and doing most borring though most efficient exercises biggrin.gif I don't think I would practice that much as a teenager without a movies. Now You're telling me that You're wasting such a precious ossacion to practise ...damn tongue.gif


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sammetal92
post Jul 19 2013, 04:06 PM
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Sure smile.gif

Some articles:

http://www.motivation123.com/motivation-articles-02.html
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/jun...motivation.html
http://www.guitar.com/articles/steve-vai-impossible-guitar

Some videos:

A lesson from Steve Vai smile.gif Most of you will have already watched this:



And this one is by our very own Brandon (thefireball) biggrin.gif I think this video is extremely inspirational smile.gif



This is an amazing 8 minute short story about a street guitarist:



QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Jul 19 2013, 02:30 PM) *
You do the worst possible thing maaaaan! biggrin.gif Movies gave me 90% of skills I currently have. Watching 2 or 3 movies and doing most borring though most efficient exercises biggrin.gif I don't think I would practice that much as a teenager without a movies. Now You're telling me that You're wasting such a precious ossacion to practise ...damn tongue.gif


laugh.gif that's a nice approach, I'm gonna try it next time the motivation flows out of me tongue.gif


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Darius Wave
post Jul 19 2013, 06:23 PM
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QUOTE (sammetal92 @ Jul 19 2013, 03:06 PM) *
Sure smile.gif

Some articles:

http://www.motivation123.com/motivation-articles-02.html
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/jun...motivation.html
http://www.guitar.com/articles/steve-vai-impossible-guitar

Some videos:

A lesson from Steve Vai smile.gif Most of you will have already watched this:



And this one is by our very own Brandon (thefireball) biggrin.gif I think this video is extremely inspirational smile.gif



Believe me or not but this really works smile.gif

This is an amazing 8 minute short story about a street guitarist:





laugh.gif that's a nice approach, I'm gonna try it next time the motivation flows out of me tongue.gif



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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 20 2013, 04:16 PM
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Very nice vids man - I already knew Steve Vai's speech, but the last one with the blues man on the streets, I liked that one a lot! Thanks for sharing! And Bran's video is the best example of what perseverance, consistency and hard work can achieve!

This post has been edited by Cosmin Lupu: Jul 20 2013, 04:16 PM


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sammetal92
post Jul 20 2013, 05:06 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jul 20 2013, 03:16 PM) *
Very nice vids man - I already knew Steve Vai's speech, but the last one with the blues man on the streets, I liked that one a lot! Thanks for sharing! And Bran's video is the best example of what perseverance, consistency and hard work can achieve!


Agreed smile.gif


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