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> Huge Congrats To Our Friend - Marek Rojewski, From "zero" to hero?
Fran
post Nov 2 2016, 09:41 AM
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Congrats Marek! I've followed your progress through REC and it's most impressive!


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Kristofer Dahl
post Nov 7 2016, 10:39 AM
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QUOTE (Marek Rojewski @ Oct 31 2016, 01:24 AM) *
Oh my... I log into GMC and see a topic about myself ohmy.gif wub.gif This is a great gift, I am touched and honoured by all the comments made by all of you! Many thanks to each and everyone of you smile.gif

I will gladly share my "way of learning" even though I am concentrated on the multiple mistakes of my practice over the years, and "how much more I could learn if not those mistakes". GMC Instructors shared their views on how to practise many times and their ways/methods are superior to mine in every way, the only reason I didn't implement them all is laziness/stubbornness wink.gif

What I did over the years + comments:

1. Choose a lesson -> from my experience it is important to make the right choice, if you choose something too easy, progress will be small, because you won't leave your comfort zone, and progress happens outside of the comfort zone. If you choose something too hard (and I think I did that mistake a few times) the learning process can be frustrating, it takes too long, the thing can become boring.

Outside of the "too easy / too hard" difference, there are of course many other things we must consider like: how much we like the lesson? how long is the lesson? what style is the lesson in? Lesson we like more are obviously more attractive for us, so practising them is easier/more pleasant. Lessons that are shorter can be learn a bit faster, so we can more frequently "achieve something" and "move on to another interesting lesson".

2. Learn the lesson
- at first I memorise the notes, it takes only 1-3 days and I can slowly play the lesson without any backingtrack or metronome. Of course there are tons of mistakes, but we must start with something.

- I still play without the metronome, just speed things up a little bit and identify what parts are hard and will need polishing.

- the "grind" begins - I set the metronome to a sloooooow speed and play the parts that are difficult for me. When the lick starts to sound okay I can gradually rise the speed. At this point I increase the BPM around 5-8 each time.

- once I reach the "lesson speed" I continue until 10-20 bpm more than the lesson requires. At this step I don't need everything to be perfect, especially at the beginning. This is a trick I learned on GMC - you shouldn't stop at the "comfort zone speed" or even "just a little bit outside of the comfort zone". It is a good idea to set the speed 10-20 bpm more that you are able to play and try to play it... You will fail more less, but this sends a message to your brain -> "you better adjust you lazy git!"

- each practice session I start slow and go to the point above. When I am content with the way I play those difficult parts, I start to play the whole lesson over the backing track. Sometimes it turns out that "connecting different licks" is more difficult than I thought and then I practice again starting slow with the metronome, but adding some "previous notes" to the licks.

- as playing the lesson fast becomes more and more natural, the phase of "starting slow and speeding things up" gets shorter (for example you can increase speed by 10-15 bpm every time, not 5-8 bpm) and the "playing over backing" phase gets longer and longer.

- if you can play the lesson well over the backingtrack you can try to record a REC take and get feedback from the Instructors. I strongly advice to do it as often as possible and don't be afraid of "not passing REC grading". Feedback and good advise are always very valuable and can speed your learning process significantly.


My mistakes over the years/what to avoid:
- no point in playing the whole lesson over and over again if you only need to improve some parts of it. I spent hours playing lessons where I could play everything except one or two licks. It is much better to just spend time with those more difficult parts and the metronome. When I played whole lessons I often didn't pay attention "to the easy parts" and failed at the hard parts. So instead of improving my playing of the hard parts, I developed bad habits on the easy parts...

- no matter which phase of learning you're in, don't think that you can split your attention. I tried to watch e-sport streams / tv series / board game tutorials while practising the guitar. I was thinking that "I already memorised the notes and now I just need to improve muscles/finger memory/speed things up by repeating". That was a big mistake, after hundreds of low quality repetitions you have a poorly / badly learned lick, and it takes another hours to make it clean again.... Really not worth it.

- always warm up. Some time ago I wrote about my "trigger finger" injury, you can check my profile to find the topic. It is really sad and stupid, but I did what most "young men" do - I heard about the possibility of injury and thought "lol old farts, this won't happen to me, I am indestructible".

- connected to the above - warming up can also be fun. I play some "boring" stuff as warm up, but also some rhythm riffing, easy metal songs, and these things from the very beginning of a practice session can make a good atmosphere/mood.

- don't think that short practice session is "not good enough". Obviously longer practise is better, but if you have only 30 minutes "that day" because of reasons, then it is much better to play for 30 minutes, than 0 minutes...


Concerning the history of my progress:

I don't remember exactly but the most important things were:

1. at one point I started learning more rhythm / riffing lessons, and to my surprise this improved both my solo and rhythm playing.

2. I started playing song covers with a friend - playing with another person teaches you how to play "on the beat", something I struggled with even after learning some lvl 6-7 lessons (well I still make those mistakes from time to time...)

3. I started playing with a band - this is partly same as playing cover with a friend, but 3-4 people make it much more difficult and rewarding than one person;) also composing your own stuff and interacting with other musicians can't be replaced by anything else.

4. the super obvious thing - all those years there were weeks/months when I played 1 hour daily/5 hours per week and when I played 3 hours daily/10-15 hours per week. The weeks/months of playing 2-3 hours per day were always the moments of my greatest rise. BUT I think that the biggest difference is between playing 1 hour a day and playing at least 1,5 hour a day. I feel 1 hour is average/slow progress, and 1,5 hour is already good progress... 30 minutes more can mean better warm up, better metronome phase (increasing less bpm per increase), and more time to play over the backing track, after the metronome phase is ended.

I don't remember if I ever "hit a wall" and couldn't improve my playing. From the beginning I believed Kris when he said that anyone can learn to play, it "just takes time". I didn't think I'll record a lvl 9 lesson after 7 years. I expected it to take the rest of my life laugh.gif
The only time I recall "hitting a wall" was when I tried to learn lessons that were way to difficult for me at that time - so the problem was choosing something too difficult.

Sorry if the post is too chaotic/badly written, I am really tired and sleepy, but decided to write an answer because your posts made me so happy smile.gif


Thanks a lot for these insights Marek!

Have you had any local guitar tuition (ie from a private instructor)?


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Marek Rojewski
post Nov 7 2016, 12:54 PM
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Kris - I had about 6 one hour meetings with a local guitarist, and he tried to teach me reading notes and some music theory, but I wasn't motivated enough, and the starting summer break was a good excuse not to continue those meetings:P One thing he taught me was this:

Slow down too a very slow speed, and play each note to ring exactly "same way", same length, same volume etc.etc. You can play scales/chromatic runs. Plugged and unplugged. This exercise is very good, time really "slows down" when you are into it, and after some time you can feel your instrument much more. But without doing it from time to time, I lose these results.

I have another tip to my above mentioned post:

Don't practice many lessons at once - few years ago, I practised three lessons at once, the idea was simple - one lesson is boring, so I'll practice more at once and so will be entertained more. After 10 minutes of warming up, I would play three lessons over a backingtrack for 20 minutes each. I am 100% sure that I would learn those lessons faster if I concentrate on one lesson at a time, and not only would it be faster, but also better. It is hard enough to learn one thing at a time wink.gif


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Monica Gheorghev...
post Nov 8 2016, 09:43 AM
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QUOTE (Marek Rojewski @ Nov 7 2016, 11:54 AM) *
Plugged and unplugged.

Darek taught me the same thing and I can say that the result it's unbelievable smile.gif From my point of view this is a very wise way to analyze the playing. Of course it's always good to keep a balance between these type of practices because the unplugged one, hide the palm muting problems.
I usually record for Darek three types of videos: normal video (with the sound from DAW), the video with the raw camera sound and when is necessary the video with unplugged guitar. Depend on what kind of mistakes I do in a take biggrin.gif Each of these methods has a particular purpose to detect true problems like hand sync, dynamics between notes, etc.
My first unplugged video has exposed some issues. Also it helped me a lot to understand the sweep technique in a good way (damn I hate this technique biggrin.gif ). I really don't want at high speed my sweep to sound something like: two note, piece of trash, two note, piece of trash (this was how sounded, my first take with sweep from my life, at the beginning of September biggrin.gif ). So, starting to learn the sweep at a slow tempo (50 BPM) and with unplugged guitar, was easy to understand how hard to push the pick and how I must feel the string resistance. Also I repaired the "jump picking" issue. Now I succeeded to arrive at 70 BPM and I'm happy because I can hear all the notes clear. But...I still need to focus more on accents before to increase again the speed.
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Kristofer Dahl
post Nov 8 2016, 09:57 AM
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Yes agreed unplugged practicing is insanely effective - the only problem I see with it is that it tends to me bore me a little. Distortion is just so much fun ph34r.gif

QUOTE (Marek Rojewski @ Nov 7 2016, 01:54 PM) *
Kris - I had about 6 one hour meetings with a local guitarist, and he tried to teach me reading notes and some music theory, but I wasn't motivated enough, and the starting summer break was a good excuse not to continue those meetings:P One thing he taught me was this:


Ok very interesting! I think this is a good example showing that if you participate in REC /collabs you are able to catch practicing mistakes and bad habits.


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