homepage   sevenstring guitars   sevenstring registry   photo gallery   subscription   spy 
Sevenstring.org - The Seven String Guitar Authority
Go Back   SevenString.org > Music Discussion > Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques
LIKE SS.org on Facebook FOLLOW SS.org on Twitter
  
Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques Discussions on Theory, member submitted lessons, practice regimens and everything else.

Like Tree13Likes
  • 1 Post By Nyrrth
  • 4 Post By FarBeyondMetal
  • 3 Post By Solodini
  • 2 Post By stuglue
  • 2 Post By Solodini
  • 1 Post By Solodini

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Unread 05-03-2012, 07:13 PM   #1
ss.org Regular
 
Nyrrth's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 31
Thanked: 2
Nyrrth will become famous soon enough
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Goal setting, effective practice and measuring progress

As mentioned in another post in the recording forum, I have a renewed sense of needing to refine my playing technique and to play more technical stuff, after spending the last decade "noodling around'. Here are some boundary conditions/constraints:

Age: Dunno if this is one, but I'll list it anyway. I'm now into my 30s.

Time available: I can spend about 1.5-2 hrs everyday on average, and probably 4 hours each day on the weekend on all things music. Or roughly 15-20 hours a week on music.

Those are pretty much my constraints. I have space, gear etc. and I'd classify myself as an intermediate guitarist. And here are my goals:

- Clean up my lead playing to avoid sloppiness
- Tighten my rhythm playing to play stuff like Textures etc.
- Be able to break into the realm of shred, say 16th notes at 150bpm, if I had to quantify it. Let's say I'm currently around 100-120bpm or thereabouts.

Given my goals and my constraints, how would you recommend I make the best and most efficient use of my time and measure progress? And assuming I stick to this path and my goals don't change, what is a realistic timeline when I should be getting nearer to breaking that speed barrier? I know this depends on the person, but on average would it be on the order of a couple months, several months or years?

Cheers!
kayhen likes this.
Nyrrth is offline   Reply With Quote
Alt Today
Seven String

Beitrag Sponsored Links

__________________
This advertising will not be shown in this way to registered members.
Register your free account today and become a member on SevenString.org
   
Unread 05-03-2012, 08:04 PM   #2
SS.org Regular
 
FarBeyondMetal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Southeastern MB
Posts: 273
Thanked: 3
FarBeyondMetal will become famous soon enough
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyrrth View Post
As mentioned in another post in the recording forum, I have a renewed sense of needing to refine my playing technique and to play more technical stuff, after spending the last decade "noodling around'. Here are some boundary conditions/constraints:

Age: Dunno if this is one, but I'll list it anyway. I'm now into my 30s.

Time available: I can spend about 1.5-2 hrs everyday on average, and probably 4 hours each day on the weekend on all things music. Or roughly 15-20 hours a week on music.

Those are pretty much my constraints. I have space, gear etc. and I'd classify myself as an intermediate guitarist. And here are my goals:

- Clean up my lead playing to avoid sloppiness
- Tighten my rhythm playing to play stuff like Textures etc.
- Be able to break into the realm of shred, say 16th notes at 150bpm, if I had to quantify it. Let's say I'm currently around 100-120bpm or thereabouts.

Given my goals and my constraints, how would you recommend I make the best and most efficient use of my time and measure progress? And assuming I stick to this path and my goals don't change, what is a realistic timeline when I should be getting nearer to breaking that speed barrier? I know this depends on the person, but on average would it be on the order of a couple months, several months or years?

Cheers!

First off, if you really want to progress with your playing, you need to keep a practice log of every minute that you practice (not noodle) It's just like weight training, if you wanna lift the big weights and keep getting stronger, you need to see how much you lifted last session to give you an idea of your progress, what is not working, what is working, etc. I would recommend an Excel workbook to keep it nice and clean.

You have a decent amount of time to practice everday, which a good thing. I have found that it is better to pick and practice the guitar EVERY single day, even if it is only for 10-15 minutes, than it is to play twice a week, one hour each time. My two cents.

Before you practice, you should have a clear plan of what you are going to practice, so that you don't end up noodling around...its fun and all, but doesn't really accomplish any specific goals. You seem to have pretty good goals, but it would really help to have very specific goals with specific timelines (goals are essentially useless if there is not deadline).

Some advice for cleaning up your lead playing (I'm assuming you mean unwanted string noise) would be to look very closely at your current technique for muting the strings you aren't playing. The method that I use is thumb muting for the strings above the one I am currently playing (with the right hand) and the other strings under the note not being played are muted with either the underside of my left hand index or the remaining fingers of my picking hand. If you can master this technique, your playing will sound tight and clean...professional.

Regarding speed, again having exact goals will definitely help your cause. At the same time, it is not a question of whether you can achieve your goal, it is a question on when. Even if you are not entirely sure how long it will take (I can't answer that for unfortunately, everyone progresses differently), it is best to have some deadline to work towards. If I had to guess, it should take you 4-6 months since you are only wanting to bump up your speed by 30 bpm if you can do 16ths @ 120 already (but I could be totally off here) If you are looking at getting to 150bpm in 16ths, that is very achievable considering where you are already...just practice consistently!!

Just like with your lead playing, rhythm guitar has to be practice to a click of some kind (metronome, drum beat, etc) This is essential in breaking your speed barriers and increasing overall speed both in lead and rhythm guitar. This will allow you to get tight playing as well as allowing you to keep precise track of your progress.

Age doesn't mean shit, dude. If you have a goal and you have the determination you will exceed what you expect with enough practice and sheer will. Good luck to you
FarBeyondMetal is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-04-2012, 03:25 AM   #3
MORE RESTS!
 
Solodini's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: East Lothian, Scotland.
Posts: 2,924
Thanked: 26
Solodini is a glorious beacon of lightSolodini is a glorious beacon of lightSolodini is a glorious beacon of light
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
When you're practising, especially in regard to speed, don't just use exercises but use music, as well. Exercises are generally written to push you in one way but miss out other elements which would be present in real music, so if you judge your shredding ability by exercises and then go to a rehearsal or a studio session, you'll probably not be at the level you thought you were and feel a bit dejected.

Write music which exemplifies what you are trying to practise and keep writing regularly to a) improve your writing simultaneously, b) keep you interested in what you're playing and c) keep you realistic about your improvement, rather than thinking you're amazing as you can successfully play one thing you've been practising for 6 months and then feeling dejected as I mentioned before.

I completely agree with everything said in the above post, especially about regular practise over prolonged occasional practise. Yes, you may have less time to push yourself in each session but if it takes you a while for your body to remember how to work then you'll see improvement when that time speeds up and you learn to just jump into it quickly. That and you won't need to worry about maintaining a long routine should time be less plentiful. It's very easy to blame stagnation/degradation on lack of time but you can do well with the right practise. Maybe do a few 15 minute practises each day of the week and spend each day focusing on one thing, then use 1 hour sessions at the weekend to work on combining and applying what you've done in the week.

Wherever possible, record your practise/last few minutes thereof, so you can hear an outside perspective of your progress. You don't need to archive it all but if you keep the last recording of each weekend for the current month, then delete all but the first of those when the new month starts, so you have record of your abilities a month ago to compare to. If you were only to keep only the most recent then there would be less difference to compare to and less joy to be had, as a result.

Never underestimate the power of the metronome, especially when recording.

If you're comparing your abilities to an existing song and are aiming for that level, don't just learn that straight off of the bat: break down what goes on in the bit you're focusing on and replicate it in writing your own example. Again, learn, write, learn write. Start simple and increase the difficulty of each one you write, as suitable until you've exceeded the difficulty of the target track with a few if the things you've written and THEN learn the target riff. That way, again, you won't just have corrupt perceptions if your ability based on one example you've practised for months, but will have consistently raised your base level for that.
kayhen, FarBeyondMetal and Nyrrth like this.


Check out my book: "Playing Guitar Musically: A Guide to Creativity on Guitar & Bass"
Buy the full book here. eBook - 5. Physical copies also available.
http://www.sevenstring.org/forum/4063031-post14.html
PM me if you want to discuss it or just fancy a chat.

I also give lessons over Skype, Bandhappy and within the Lothians.
Solodini is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-04-2012, 05:49 AM   #4
SS.org Regular
 
stuglue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: W Yorkshire
Posts: 1,267
Thanked: 21
stuglue is a jewel in the rough
Feedback Score: 7 reviews
Great post from the guys above. The mistake to avoid is only working on one area of music. To maximise your practice routine combine multiple areas so that when you work on technique you are also covering soloing over chords and also play against swung rhythm as well as straight so that you aren't one dimensional with phrasing.
example, if you are working on sweep picking, don't just put the metronome on and practice major and minor arpeggios. Take a backing track ( midi so you can slow it down) try a 12 bar blues cos every guitar player should learn over the blues and taken the chords, work them out ass arpeggios and practice those over the backing track. This has two benefits
1. You're sweeping develops
2. Your musicality improves as you hear the changes and you learn how to make the transition from one arpeggio shape to the next and you make the changes.
Playing over swung 8th notes will feel odd after straight 8th notes but it will work your pick dynamics due to the triplet feel
Solodini and FarBeyondMetal like this.
stuglue is online now   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-04-2012, 06:54 PM   #5
ss.org Regular
 
Nyrrth's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 31
Thanked: 2
Nyrrth will become famous soon enough
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Quote:
Originally Posted by FarBeyondMetal View Post
I have found that it is better to pick and practice the guitar EVERY single day, even if it is only for 10-15 minutes, than it is to play twice a week, one hour each time.
Yeah, absolutely. Aside from vacations and business trips and such, when I can't really take my guitar along, I definitely plan on regular practice every day. Even for a little while, if I can't get the entire duration in for some reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FarBeyondMetal View Post
You seem to have pretty good goals, but it would really help to have very specific goals with specific timelines (goals are essentially useless if there is not deadline).
Well, this is where what I said in my post kinda comes in. I understand what you're saying, but it's like Catch 22. Let me explain - I'm not really sure what would constitute a *reasonable* goal given my boundary conditions. For example, a goal like "I want to be able to play the solos in DT's "Erotomania" in one month" may not be a reasonable goal. Or it may be! I don't really have a baseline in terms of what's reasonable and achievable, and I wouldn't want to set something unrealistic and beat myself up or feel depressed at not achieving it. At the same time I can't shoot for much lower than what is possible either. Hence the open ended question of how long it would take to play comfortably at 150bpm if I'm currently at around 100-120bpm.

Would you recommend setting what I think would be a reasonable goal in a given timeline, following through diligently, evaluating at the end of the timeline and seeing if it was reasonable enough? Maybe gauge what's realistic? Any suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FarBeyondMetal View Post
cleaning up your lead playing (I'm assuming you mean unwanted string noise)
I meant that, and also fretting/picking accuracy. Not hitting bum notes or wrong strings at faster tempos.

Solodini/stuglue - great tips too, thanks! Recording myself, as well as focusing on a few areas are definitely on the list. At this point I'm probably not as interested in sweep picking, and my main focus areas would be tight rhythm playing at faster speeds for the more polyrhythmic/technical type stuff, alternate picking speed, legato and tapping as far as technique goes. And maintaining a clean/precise technique while doing the above (currently I can only hack my way through them at moderate speeds).
Nyrrth is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-05-2012, 03:06 AM   #6
MORE RESTS!
 
Solodini's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: East Lothian, Scotland.
Posts: 2,924
Thanked: 26
Solodini is a glorious beacon of lightSolodini is a glorious beacon of lightSolodini is a glorious beacon of light
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
In terms of goals, set lots of short term ones. "In one week I want to play the first 4 bars of x solo at half speed". You may then discover that you need to refine a technique before that is possible so use the whole writing similar things exercise to give yourself examples to work with. The next goal could be, then, to have that technique clean at half the solo speed with 4 examples in the next fortnight, then you can resume the 4 bars of the solo goal.

Don't see these sorts of interruptions as failures but as detours to your journey. You've still travelled a certain distance, further even than you planned, just you didn't know there was a mountain which prevents you from travelling in a straight line to your goal. Tally the detour up as another achievement. Maybe keep a whiteboard on which you write down your achievements for the previous month, previous week and current week so you can see as you are practising that you are making progress and you know what it is. That or post its, so you have one post it for each achievement, however small.

Set small achievable targets which you stick to, other than when you need to put a preliminary target in place before achieving it like the detours I mentioned before. Keep record of how long it took to achieve each target and how you achieved it. You can improve at improving and that's how you do it. Learn from past mistakes, use those records to suitably set targets in future. Better to set your targets quite low initially, but to succeed at part of a larger end goal by doing so. That way you won't be patronising yourself with irrelevant low targets and lose interest.


Check out my book: "Playing Guitar Musically: A Guide to Creativity on Guitar & Bass"
Buy the full book here. eBook - 5. Physical copies also available.
http://www.sevenstring.org/forum/4063031-post14.html
PM me if you want to discuss it or just fancy a chat.

I also give lessons over Skype, Bandhappy and within the Lothians.
Solodini is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-05-2012, 03:07 PM   #7
SS.org Regular
 
FarBeyondMetal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Southeastern MB
Posts: 273
Thanked: 3
FarBeyondMetal will become famous soon enough
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solodini View Post
In terms of goals, set lots of short term ones. "In one week I want to play the first 4 bars of x solo at half speed". You may then discover that you need to refine a technique before that is possible so use the whole writing similar things exercise to give yourself examples to work with. The next goal could be, then, to have that technique clean at half the solo speed with 4 examples in the next fortnight, then you can resume the 4 bars of the solo goal.

Don't see these sorts of interruptions as failures but as detours to your journey. You've still travelled a certain distance, further even than you planned, just you didn't know there was a mountain which prevents you from travelling in a straight line to your goal. Tally the detour up as another achievement. Maybe keep a whiteboard on which you write down your achievements for the previous month, previous week and current week so you can see as you are practising that you are making progress and you know what it is. That or post its, so you have one post it for each achievement, however small.

Set small achievable targets which you stick to, other than when you need to put a preliminary target in place before achieving it like the detours I mentioned before. Keep record of how long it took to achieve each target and how you achieved it. You can improve at improving and that's how you do it. Learn from past mistakes, use those records to suitably set targets in future. Better to set your targets quite low initially, but to succeed at part of a larger end goal by doing so. That way you won't be patronising yourself with irrelevant low targets and lose interest.

Nice answer Solodini, I was gonna post something very similar, but you beat me to it
FarBeyondMetal is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-05-2012, 03:13 PM   #8
MORE RESTS!
 
Solodini's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: East Lothian, Scotland.
Posts: 2,924
Thanked: 26
Solodini is a glorious beacon of lightSolodini is a glorious beacon of lightSolodini is a glorious beacon of light
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Thanks!
JazzandMetal likes this.


Check out my book: "Playing Guitar Musically: A Guide to Creativity on Guitar & Bass"
Buy the full book here. eBook - 5. Physical copies also available.
http://www.sevenstring.org/forum/4063031-post14.html
PM me if you want to discuss it or just fancy a chat.

I also give lessons over Skype, Bandhappy and within the Lothians.
Solodini is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-07-2012, 01:20 AM   #9
ss.org Regular
 
Nyrrth's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 31
Thanked: 2
Nyrrth will become famous soon enough
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Thanks, folks! I've started an Excel workbook to keep a log of what I'm doing at every practice session, and making a note of the exercise, tempo and the amount of time I'm spending on each exercise. Hopefully after about a couple months I can see the progress!
Nyrrth is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 05-07-2012, 03:10 AM   #10
MORE RESTS!
 
Solodini's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: East Lothian, Scotland.
Posts: 2,924
Thanked: 26
Solodini is a glorious beacon of lightSolodini is a glorious beacon of lightSolodini is a glorious beacon of light
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Don't forget to more down what needs to improve after each session and what has been improved/fixed since last time.


Check out my book: "Playing Guitar Musically: A Guide to Creativity on Guitar & Bass"
Buy the full book here. eBook - 5. Physical copies also available.
http://www.sevenstring.org/forum/4063031-post14.html
PM me if you want to discuss it or just fancy a chat.

I also give lessons over Skype, Bandhappy and within the Lothians.
Solodini is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:03 PM.


Our Network: PRS Guitar Forum | Luthier Forum | SG Guitar Forum | Les Paul Forum | Marshall Amp Forum | Acoustic Guitar Forum

SS.org proudly supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Copyright © 2004-2014, SevenString.org. All Rights Reserved.