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> The Early Worm, Diet, Exercise and Geetar
Jim S.
post May 29 2014, 02:20 AM
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I'd like to share a bit of my life. Recently, meaning the last few years, guitar playing has exponentially decreased. The reasons include family, home, business, money and time hogging it all up. The time left at the end of the day was small and my wife wanted to spend most of that time with me. That created a lot of tension in my mind, constantly consumed by the thought of playing and not being able to do it.

There lied an answer waiting for me to grasp. Waking up super early to practice, before work, before any disruptions but at 5am when my alarm sounds the last thing on my mind was guitar until....

I began exercising and after a month I started eating very healthy. Quit drinking coffee and started feeling my body change. My mind was changing and then I decided to try waking up early again. This time I did it. It is so nice to wake up and spend an hour everyday on something challenging or just playing. The mind works very different in the wee hours. I am very content with this schedule and hope to show my results in an upcoming video.

Take care all
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Mith
post May 29 2014, 02:33 AM
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Props to you. I'm evnious you can play that early in the morning. I'm such a nighttime person I end up playing to the wee hours. I don't think I could get up early to play but its something I might try. Do drills in the morning (up and down the scale) and all the stuff that requires heaps of concerntration at night


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 29 2014, 09:23 AM
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QUOTE (Jim Seekford @ May 29 2014, 01:20 AM) *
I'd like to share a bit of my life. Recently, meaning the last few years, guitar playing has exponentially decreased. The reasons include family, home, business, money and time hogging it all up. The time left at the end of the day was small and my wife wanted to spend most of that time with me. That created a lot of tension in my mind, constantly consumed by the thought of playing and not being able to do it.

There lied an answer waiting for me to grasp. Waking up super early to practice, before work, before any disruptions but at 5am when my alarm sounds the last thing on my mind was guitar until....

I began exercising and after a month I started eating very healthy. Quit drinking coffee and started feeling my body change. My mind was changing and then I decided to try waking up early again. This time I did it. It is so nice to wake up and spend an hour everyday on something challenging or just playing. The mind works very different in the wee hours. I am very content with this schedule and hope to show my results in an upcoming video.

Take care all


Great choice, man!

The morning hours have something special - the silence smile.gif

I function best in times of silence, so I totally relate to your choice and salute it! And about living healthy, I will only say this: your body is the temple of your mind and soul smile.gif Keep it clean and it will house the latter two nicely!


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Spock
post May 29 2014, 10:38 AM
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Good going man - this is my philosophy as well. And it makes sleep come so easily at night. Typically I am falling asleep on the couch around 8 - then move on to bed around 9 - but I pop out of bed in the mornings between 3 and 4 ready to go after a single cup of coffee.

That's on week nights, if I have something planned I'm not too tired to do it, like tomorrow we're going to a Styx concert and I'll be fine for that and staying up as late as it takes.
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AdamB
post May 29 2014, 11:10 AM
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I do this too, I get up at 5am to play before work. Currently my day looks something like
5am - wake up, go take a shower, get dressed etc.
5.30am - sit down to practice, write out my practice routine for the day and set up the computer (metronome, timer, backings etc.)
5.45am - begin practicing.
around 7/7.30am I stop for breakfast.
Continue again 30 mins later, until about 9/9.15am.
9.15am I leave for work.
6.15pm I leave work
7.00pm I get home, have dinner
7.30pm start practicing
Then I finish sometime between 9 and 9.30pm
watch TV and generally chill with my girlfriend until around 10.30, then I head off to bed.

I get a total 4 hours of timed, systematic practice done, plus the odd bit of extra time to just jam which I don't measure. I do this 5 days a week (I miss wednesday evening every other week on average, for band practice - though I guess that sort of counts as practice?)

On the weekends, I practice whenever I have a chance. I have to spend time with the missus, so I don't get that much done, but if it's not a busy weekend I'll get say 3 hours done on one of the days.

I've been doing this routine for about 7 years now, though I used to live closer to work and that afforded me being able to fit another hour in. And sometimes I would work on sheet reading in my lunch break at work, but I haven't been doing that for a while.

I'm building up to take some time out of work, to do a 2 year guitar 10-hour a day marathon, I want to make a blog/video series about the whole thing, to show my progress and maybe inspire people to try similar things, or to show that it doesn't work out - which ever happens to be the case. I'm still saving money to support myself though, so it's going to take some time yet. At some point I'll start a blog to discuss it and show some pre-planning material for it. I have some key areas I want to improve dramatically on, which I'm going to target methodically. The whole thing is to get towards the 10,000 hours thing. Not that I believe that's really a thing, I just chose that as a target (I wanted to be overly ambitious!). So far I'm at about 3300 hours (though I did a truck load of practice in the first years of the 7 years - I used to store the practice routine and total time in a text file on my computer, then my computer died and I lost it, so I had to start over). So since I started over I'm at ~3300. And now I write my time/routine on paper! I figure with the practice that came before I'm probably at around 5000, but I'm getting to 10k from the 3300. I reckon I can get a good 5k hours done in the 2 years if I'm disciplined, so that will take me to about 8k. I think I will have enough money to take me that far before I become homeless/starving heh, then I will have to do the final leg whilst working, again.

I find one thing that helps me a lot recently, is buying a lot of fruit/vegetables, and putting them through a juicer in random combinations, and drinking that. I have about a pint of fruit and vegetable juice each day, and I find it helps my mind stay sharp while playing.

The routine for the marathon will involve at least 1 hour of exercise each day. Either going running with my dog, or lifting weights, and possibly learning drums (I've heard that can be quite good exercise).

-Adam
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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 29 2014, 03:25 PM
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Great decision and thread man. I find it very tricky to get up very early, but every time I can, I notice that these hours are extremely productive and creative. I'm a night person, I like staying awake late, and most of my compositions have been done in those hours, however I think that morning hours are when my mind is more fresh.




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Ben Higgins
post May 29 2014, 04:47 PM
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I admire anyone who can consistently get up every morning whilst it's still dark !


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AdamB
post May 29 2014, 04:55 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ May 29 2014, 04:47 PM) *
I admire anyone who can consistently get up every morning whilst it's still dark !


It's a lot easier at this time of year, as it's light at 5am (in the UK this is). The winter is harder, but you get used to it very quickly.

It's also easier in that the stuff I'm doing is almost entirely technique exercises, which I find quite fun and don't take a huge amount of mental power to work on. I find things like sight reading are a lot harder when you're tired as I don't have the concentration to keep focused on what I'm doing. When I do my guitar marathon thing I'm gonna use that to hammer sheet reading to get that up to scratch, I don't feel it's an efficient use of time to do it now because of the concentration issues.

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Ben Higgins
post May 29 2014, 06:25 PM
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QUOTE (AdamB @ May 29 2014, 04:55 PM) *
It's a lot easier at this time of year, as it's light at 5am (in the UK this is). The winter is harder, but you get used to it very quickly.


Yes I was thinking about people who do it all year round, in the depressing blackness of a winter's morning as well. But it is a really rewarding feeling once you're up.


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 30 2014, 10:11 AM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ May 29 2014, 02:25 PM) *
Great decision and thread man. I find it very tricky to get up very early, but every time I can, I notice that these hours are extremely productive and creative. I'm a night person, I like staying awake late, and most of my compositions have been done in those hours, however I think that morning hours are when my mind is more fresh.


I am having a terrible time fighting the urge to stay up late to watch a movie or play the guitar and then I find myself waking up late in the morning (for me, 8.45 is late laugh.gif )

One of the nicest morning experiences, is sword practicing and meditation in the garden when the sun rises. No pesky neighbors to watch me swing the blade for half an hour (tried it in the evening and you don't wanna know how many weird looks I felt on my back from the blocks around)


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Jim S.
post May 30 2014, 11:35 AM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ May 30 2014, 05:11 AM) *
I am having a terrible time fighting the urge to stay up late to watch a movie or play the guitar and then I find myself waking up late in the morning (for me, 8.45 is late laugh.gif )

One of the nicest morning experiences, is sword practicing and meditation in the garden when the sun rises. No pesky neighbors to watch me swing the blade for half an hour (tried it in the evening and you don't wanna know how many weird looks I felt on my back from the blocks around)


Omg Cosmin you've reminded me of a neighbor that when fully intoxicated he'd fake sword fight his little camp fire. He'd slur nonsense and swing an imaginary sword. I can understand how the morning would be a better suit. However do you think anyone of your neighbors are gonna step to you? You could kill them in their sleep. A nice clean kill lol.

Adam thanks for sharing your routine, that's crazy man. Wow what stuff are you working on and do you measure your progress?

One other thing about the morning time is sobriety. Playing guitar at night is also nice with a beer or glass of wine. Maybe after a few hours-a few beers and by the end your convoluted and off track. I'm not even entertaining alcohol in the am.
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bleez
post May 30 2014, 12:50 PM
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this thread is making me want to start getting early morning practice session in. I must try it!


QUOTE (AdamB @ May 29 2014, 11:10 AM) *
At some point I'll start a blog to discuss it and show some pre-planning material for it.

That would be really interesting to read. The whole plan to do this is actually really ballsy.

QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ May 29 2014, 06:25 PM) *
in the depressing blackness of a winter's morning

why does that sound awesome to me smile.gif It must be all the black metal ive been listening to.


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AdamB
post May 30 2014, 02:36 PM
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QUOTE
Adam thanks for sharing your routine, that's crazy man. Wow what stuff are you working on and do you measure your progress?


It's all technique. The vast majority of my practice has been technique orientated - most of the focus has been on alternate picking, 2nps and 3nps major scales, modes and harmonic minor, and then learning difficult phrases from songs by malmsteen, paul gilbert, vai etc. Occasionally it culminates in learning a whole song and I did the odd video of that, I recorded maybe 5 or 6 videos over the 7 years.

Then at one point I spent 3 months doing sweep picking for 3 hours a day, which helped that develop a lot. And on/off developing basic taping skills.

Currently, I just started switching over to economy picking, like in the last couple of weeks, learning some eric johnson style runs with it, and also running the 3nps scale shapes with it. The idea is that I want to be able to both alternate and economy pick fast and fluidly. I've also been having massive difficulty with outside picking - which I am focussing on currently, but eco picking will give me another option if it never improves - but I also never appreciated until recently how economy picking sounds different to alternate picking, and I regret neglecting it.

I don't have a strict 'hit list' of stuff to work on at this moment, the ~7 years so far have been a general work towards getting fast and accurate, but it's not really happening. As I've said in another thread, my main issue is consistency of playing. I'll play the same song 50 times, and of those only 1 will come out acceptable. The other 49 will have massive glaring errors, where I hit a bum note, forget a section entirely or mess up a passage (which doesn't seem related to speed, I mess up slow/easy and fast/difficult sections just as much). Though, speed is still an issue - I can play 'fast', but only if I taylor it to fit my strengths with picking (inside picking - ascending runs, certain shapes etc.). But regardless of the speed - the number of mistakes per min are very high - and I can't pin down a pattern to it. Everything I've read about improving says 'identify the problem, isolate it, practice it'. But when you can't identify the problem because the problem is in a completely different place every time, what do you do?

To date, as I say most of it is technique that I've done, however I have spent a short while writing, working on ear training and sheet reading. I'm at a level where I can sheet read to the point that I can work out sheet music on guitar - I recognise key signatures and know the sharps/flats they represent, I know then how to find the scales for that on the fretboard. I can read basic rhythms and pitches in both treble and bass clef. But it's nowhere near fast enough to sight read.

Ear training wise, I can recognise intervals between unison and major 10th, played either ascending or descending and harmonically - but only if they're played on a piano, and only if they're isolated (if you play 2 intervals back to back I have no idea what it is - for some reason I can't identify either interval). I cannot transcribe at all, even learning simple pop songs by ear is a real challenge for me, so I need to figure out a way to learn that.

Currently I write my practice out each morning in a book - so far I've filled like 4 or 5 books. I just write out a list of what I'm doing with a little checkbox next to it to check it off as I go, and a number to represent the number of mins I'm doing that thing for, usually in multiples of 15 mins. Occasionally it also includes a metronome speed, though most of the time I just set the metronome somewhere approximately right from memory and work from there. I can trace it all the way back to when I started (or re-started, after the computer nightmare of loosing at least a good couple years of it), with the running total of hours practiced written at the top of each page.

QUOTE
That would be really interesting to read. The whole plan to do this is actually really ballsy


Haha, thanks.

Part of the reason for doing it is to make weekly/monthly videos, and blog, and show people what it's like to do it. What works out and what doesn't, and to at least make 1 case study people can see where a guy actually does sit and just work at music, from a point where he wasn't particularly special - I'm a heavily average guitarist - and to see whether just working on it made him great or not. I find that really interesting. My thought on it is that anyone can put in the effort and make themselves awesome - and as I'm anyone and I love playing guitar so much, I figure it'd be stupid of me not to do it. However, I don't really know if that's the case - I may end up proving myself wrong and spending 2 years showing people that sometimes it doesn't matter how much effort is applied - it's just not gonna happen. We'll see which way it goes, and whatever ends up happening, document it.

My general plan for the 2 years is to a) Hammer this technique stuff with a ridiculous amount of time and effort so that if it's possible for it to happen for me, it will. And then cool.gif to generally improve aspects I've neglected such as ear training, sheet reading, theory, improvising, writing, transcribing. There is a hit list for this - I have this vague plan to break it into 3 month periods where I give a lot of time to each thing in turn - so doing like 5 hours of sheet reading a day for 3 months. I like the idea of being overly focussed on what I'm trying to achieve, for a fixed amount of time. It'll also make blogging about each section easier, as I can show at the end of 3 months what has/hasn't been achieved. I will make a more detailed plan before I begin, which will be published on the web.

On a side note, if you check out my 'date joined' on GMC, you'll find it was about 7 years ago. That's because it was GMC that made me start this journey. In fact, it remember it very clearly, it was one of Kris' videos on alternate picking that made me realise that the reason I suck is because I never, ever practiced. Which sounds stupid and obvious to say like that, but I had just always sort of told myself I was better than I was and sort of never put 2 and 2 together and realised that if I practice a lot, I'll improve accordingly. So, I started practicing about 5 hours a day then, and saved up for 6 months to afford a membership (I was a really poor student at the time) and that's how it began.

I'm almost at a point where I have the means to do the 2 year experiment, I can't really talk openly about the exact timing as there are still variables involved in it. But, so long as I don't die in a freak accident or something catastrophic happens in my life, it's going to happen.

'Soon'.

-Adam
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Cosmin Lupu
post May 31 2014, 08:20 AM
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QUOTE (Jim S. @ May 30 2014, 10:35 AM) *
Omg Cosmin you've reminded me of a neighbor that when fully intoxicated he'd fake sword fight his little camp fire. He'd slur nonsense and swing an imaginary sword. I can understand how the morning would be a better suit. However do you think anyone of your neighbors are gonna step to you? You could kill them in their sleep. A nice clean kill lol.

Adam thanks for sharing your routine, that's crazy man. Wow what stuff are you working on and do you measure your progress?

One other thing about the morning time is sobriety. Playing guitar at night is also nice with a beer or glass of wine. Maybe after a few hours-a few beers and by the end your convoluted and off track. I'm not even entertaining alcohol in the am.


Mine is a life giving sword smile.gif

But then again, I haven't had any trouble with neighbors so far - it's quite normal in here that each one sees to his own stuff as long as they aren't harming anyone.

I am thinking of something new smile.gif I will take my acoustic out at sunrise and see how that feels. I think I am taking WAY to less advantage on my yard and that should change.

How many of you guys have yards and take the music out? Does it make a difference?


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bleez
post Jun 9 2014, 08:23 AM
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well I started this early morning session stuff today........ it was awesome biggrin.gif
Got about an hour of really focused practicing in, I plan on getting up earlier tomorrow so I can get a bit longer.
Its great, Im sat here at work and Ive already got 30 minutes of speed picking and 30 minutes of lesson practice already done smile.gif


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Spock
post Jun 9 2014, 10:03 AM
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QUOTE (bleez @ Jun 9 2014, 03:23 AM) *
well I started this early morning session stuff today........ it was awesome biggrin.gif
Got about an hour of really focused practicing in, I plan on getting up earlier tomorrow so I can get a bit longer.
Its great, Im sat here at work and Ive already got 30 minutes of speed picking and 30 minutes of lesson practice already done smile.gif



Good for you man! It's the best time. It's amazing how fast time goes by in the mornings too. I usually do the treadmill before guitar, so there are quite a few mornings that I will run 30 minutes late to work because I just want to get one thing right, or better, before I take a shower.

This morning I won't be able to practice because I stayed up too late watching Game of Thrones last night and I'm dragging right now - it's 5 a.m. and time for exercise but today I'd love nothing more than to crawl back into bed.
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Jim S.
post Jun 9 2014, 12:27 PM
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Well I'm going strong and haven't missed a day yet. Something I noticed about morning playing is the amount of focus is just insane. Nothing gets in my way, there is nothing in my head except for what I'm studying.

Everyday I get up, eat a good breakfast, stretch my fingers maybe some yoga esque moves then straight to playing. I have had a few chances to play at night and I'm gonna say that it was not nearly as enjoyable. My body is more tired and the days stresses have overwhelmed me a bit. My focus is not there and I crave the mornings. If I had done this years ago I'd be so much further with my playing.

The weekends are my favorite because I don't go to work and that means I can play until the family wakes which could be 830. That's an extra hour of practice. I'm considering waking up a little earlier too.
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bleez
post Jun 9 2014, 12:50 PM
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QUOTE (Spock @ Jun 9 2014, 10:03 AM) *
Good for you man! It's the best time. It's amazing how fast time goes by in the mornings too. I usually do the treadmill before guitar, so there are quite a few mornings that I will run 30 minutes late to work because I just want to get one thing right, or better, before I take a shower.

This morning I won't be able to practice because I stayed up too late watching Game of Thrones last night and I'm dragging right now - it's 5 a.m. and time for exercise but today I'd love nothing more than to crawl back into bed.

Aw man, Im impressed at how early you get up, Im sure you mentioned like 3am! Im sure that is officially still night time smile.gif
I had thought I would be quite sluggish tbh but that wasnt the case at all. I had about 10 mins with coffee, some music and then straight into it. Great session!
we get Game of thrones tonight, but luckily its not on too late smile.gif

QUOTE (Jim S. @ Jun 9 2014, 12:27 PM) *
My body is more tired and the days stresses have overwhelmed me a bit. My focus is not there and I crave the mornings. If I had done this years ago I'd be so much further with my playing.

Couldnt agree more smile.gif it does seem really good to practice before the daily grind kills my soul dry.gif


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Spock
post Jun 9 2014, 03:38 PM
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I am paying dearly for it today. Uuuugh, I should stayed in bed this morning. Sitting at work, 10:30 a.m. and can barely keep my eyes open.

This can happen when you change your routine, mine was staying up until 10:30, when usually I am in bed by 9 on work nights.

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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jun 10 2014, 02:23 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ May 30 2014, 06:11 AM) *
I am having a terrible time fighting the urge to stay up late to watch a movie or play the guitar and then I find myself waking up late in the morning (for me, 8.45 is late laugh.gif )

One of the nicest morning experiences, is sword practicing and meditation in the garden when the sun rises. No pesky neighbors to watch me swing the blade for half an hour (tried it in the evening and you don't wanna know how many weird looks I felt on my back from the blocks around)



It sounds like a very enjoyable morning... I like going out to the garden in the morning, bring my mate (that kind of tea that the we use to drink here) and my acoustic guitar.

How is your perfect morning guys?


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