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> If Yoda Were A Guitar Instructor
Todd Simpson
post Oct 11 2014, 04:26 AM
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I recently noticed that I very often get similar questions from new players. I asked these same questions myself when I was starting out. I even heard some of the same answers from my instructors, and the answers seemed nearly infuriating on some level. Only with some perspective are the answers starting to make some sense smile.gif If Yoda himself were to teach guitar, I imagine it may start something like this. (These are actual questions from a recent exchange with a student)

YOUNG PADAWAN LEARNER
QUESTION: Does one simply have to push and play as fast as one can all the time
or is it maybe a way much better idea to stop the metronome and concentrate
on the efficient physical movements of every finger and THEN turn the metronome
on and try to play like that at max tempo, etc......


YODA VOICE:
In short, NO. DON"T push non stop. As I am often fond of saying,

"Speed is a byproduct of precision"

Once you have good precision, speed just happens. You won't need to focus on it. It's almost an after effect.

YOUNG PADAWAN LEARNER
QUESTION: What would be the most efficiant way to approach an exercise long-term?
30 minutes every day? 30 minutes the first day + 10 minutes every day?
The same but with day gaps? Or just on monday every week?


YODA VOICE: Ahh, young Padawan, this is the most common question I get asked, perhaps the most common question every instructor gets asked. Its an understandable concern smile.gif What's "Best". The answer, sadly, is far more complicated. Essentially, finding out your own way forward is integral to the process of learning. Only you can determine what is best and only by stumbling forward and figuring out as you go, albeit with guidance from helpers like the staff and students here @ GMC. I'd say try to use as much structure as you are comfortable with, but don't push so hard that you burn out. Try to keep yourself interested. After all, the main thing that keeps students from getting better is simply, not practicing.

There is no "magic formula" imho. The key is to keep playing. Keep practicing. Consistency is important, but it doesn't have to be Militaristic. Trust yourself and your instincts. The worst thing you can do is put too much pressure on yourself to play too much, then get fed up and quit. So just integrate your playing in to your daily life. Don't think of it as a separate activity.


YOUNG PADAWAN LEARNER
QUESTION: Are there any exercises that don't do much and are there any combinations
that bring much better results? I think that there are no shortcuts and one should practice hard in order to get good.
But I do believe that one could "HACK" the process and change little things in his/her
approach and get things done much more quickly.



YODA VOICE:
As for exercises, again, it depends on you. Whichever ones you find helpful, do more often!! I wish there were a way to "Hack" the process and skip the years of hard work needed to become really good at ones chosen instrument. Fortunately for us, as musicians, it's one of those things in life you can't fake, can't cheat and can't rush. You either earn it, or you don't and it's easy to tell whether one has or hasn't just by listening smile.gif


Patience!!!! and PRACTICE!! smile.gif

This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Oct 11 2014, 04:27 AM


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Ben Higgins
post Oct 11 2014, 08:56 AM
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Good stuff, Todd smile.gif

Another common thing I see in players coming to me is when they say something along the lines of 'I want to be able to do everything'.

This is an overwhelming, if understandable, request. I remind them that, rather than just focus on the fact that they want to be able to do all that fancy stuff, instead focus precisely on the things they enjoy hearing. What solos do they like ? If so, let's look at what those solos involve. Let's get some good, solid stuff that appeals to their tastes first.

Most people probably have the intention of acquiring more technique than they actually need instead of developing the fundamental stuff that actually makes guitarists sound good like bending, vibrato, tone control, good use of muting, tasteful note choice etc.. if we were to strip away all the speed from their favourite 'shredders' then they'd hear that most of those guys (not all) have those things I talked about.. but the fancy stuff on top only sounds good because those first things are already in place.


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klasaine
post Oct 11 2014, 04:56 PM
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I 'actually' make them wax my car.
Ooops, wrong movie.


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 11 2014, 05:27 PM
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Fine point smile.gif And well said! Underneath much of the flash and flutter resides solids playing. Without the foundation, the frills don't really help much. It's easy to overlook the most important parts of playing, somehow.

I remember what it's like wanting to have my fingers just play what my brain was hearing and how frustrating it was to live in the gap between what they could play and what I could hear in my head. Navigating that space and wanting to get out the other end as quickly as possible is certainly something I understand.


It seems to take a very long time to figure out that it's gonna take a long time to get the fingers and brain on the same page smile.gif



QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Oct 11 2014, 03:56 AM) *
Good stuff, Todd smile.gif

Another common thing I see in players coming to me is when they say something along the lines of 'I want to be able to do everything'.

This is an overwhelming, if understandable, request. I remind them that, rather than just focus on the fact that they want to be able to do all that fancy stuff, instead focus precisely on the things they enjoy hearing. What solos do they like ? If so, let's look at what those solos involve. Let's get some good, solid stuff that appeals to their tastes first.

Most people probably have the intention of acquiring more technique than they actually need instead of developing the fundamental stuff that actually makes guitarists sound good like bending, vibrato, tone control, good use of muting, tasteful note choice etc.. if we were to strip away all the speed from their favourite 'shredders' then they'd hear that most of those guys (not all) have those things I talked about.. but the fancy stuff on top only sounds good because those first things are already in place.


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klasaine
post Oct 11 2014, 10:36 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Oct 11 2014, 09:27 AM) *
It seems to take a very long time to figure out that it's gonna take a long time to get the fingers and brain on the same page smile.gif


One of the reasons why starting young is such a plus - you don't know any better and you've no sense of 'urgency!'.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 12 2014, 11:38 AM
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Very wise way to put this discussion up for people to give it some thought smile.gif

Patience, consistency and belief are very important. We are living in a world in which people want instant gratification and they want it NOW. 'How come I can't play as fast as I want to?' These things have been discussed time and time again and there's indeed no magic formula that can get us through faster smile.gif It's slower and more aware, that we have to focus on.

Once you have the right mindset and belief in what you want to achieve, the journey will be a pleasant one. And another thing - there's no need to be in a competition with anyone else but yourself and you are ALWAYS winning when you choose to be patient and when you choose to play the guitar instead of getting put down by frustration or bad thoughts.

You should as well trust your instincts - there are, for instance, those days in which you feel like you don't wanna practice - well then, don't! Just play the guitar or learn a nice song, do what YOU feel at that point, as long as it's related to music/guitar and do it with all your being, be aware and put your time, focus and power into it and it'll pay off more, MUCH more than a practice session which you are doing simply because you think that you need to play 16th notes at 300 BPM.

It's a long discussion, but in the end - your main goal should be music wink.gif Think well on how you choose to walk this path, as there are many ways, as Todd very well pointed out.


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 13 2014, 04:22 AM
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I notice that the instructors and others commenting are coming from an "experienced" point of view and I really do hope we are not so far from the "I wanna shred now!!" music students that we started out as.

I still remember that stage, fondly even! smile.gif I know that these answers that we are giving don't help. They don't sound right. They are not what you even want to hear. It can come off like "Yeah, yeah kid, just be patient, it takes years and years and years of tedious effort. What's your rush?".

That's really NOT what we are trying to sound like smile.gif Just trying to say, EMBRACE THE PROCESS. Practice can be a wonderful thing. Alone, or with others, simply spending time with your guitar is a blessing, spending time with Music is a gift. The more you are able to embrace the time spent on the journey, and forget about where you are going, the more time you can spend being happy smile.gif



QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Oct 12 2014, 06:38 AM) *
Very wise way to put this discussion up for people to give it some thought smile.gif

Patience, consistency and belief are very important. We are living in a world in which people want instant gratification and they want it ..ut in the end - your main goal should be music wink.gif Think well on how you choose to walk this path, as there are many ways, as Todd very well pointed out.


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Oct 13 2014, 04:23 AM


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 13 2014, 10:35 AM
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Exactly! We, under NO CIRCUMSTANCE whatsoever want to sound uptight or I don't know what other weird sort. It's just that you need to learn how to enjoy the journey and not think so much about the end.

I totally, but totally recommend Victor Wooten's book 'The music lesson' - it will shed a lot of light in a beautiful and memorable way on the things we debate here in this thread wink.gif


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