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  1. #1
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    Default Information overload

    First a little background on myself, then a question or two.

    I begged my mother for a guitar after watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in 1964. It took months but in 1965 I had my first guitar and started taking lessons. I took lessons for 2 years but other interests in life began to crowd out my practice time and I eventually didn't play much at all.

    Over the years I would pick up my guitar for a while then lose interest. I was always able to do chord progressions for sing alongs at church functions and some finger picking (Stairway to Heaven, Classical Gas, etc) But I never learned how to do lead or solo guitar. And I never practiced enough to be as good as I should be after over 50 years of playing.

    Dec 1 of 2015 was my last day at work. The day of my retirement party then go home early with full pay.

    In March I posted on the Buy Sell and Trade Facebook page from where I worked that I was interested in buying an electric guitar. 2 days later a guy brings a pristine 2008 Mexican Strat and Cube 30 amp over and tells me to hold onto them for a couple of weeks and if I am interested he will take $350 for the both of them.

    Since then I have been working at learning how to play guitar solos. I would really like to be able to improvise.

    A few weeks ago I discovered JamPlay. I bought a month membership to see what it was about then I paid for a year.

    Here is my issue and my question. I absolutely LOVE the blues, I discovered Eric Maddis Electric Blues course, I have been through about 40 lessons in that series. I try to get a working ability with each concept before moving onto the next concept. But then I run across all these songs I want to learn, I learned 16 tons and am working on Oya Coma Va. Then I see a playing in the style of George Harrison, I am up to the lick library in that one. But I also see Rockabilly lessons. Should I complete one series before looking at another? Does it hurt to jump around and pick up samples of everything I want to learn? Oh lets not forget the technique of the week stuff. Where do I throw that into my practice time?

    Currently I practice 2 to 3 hours a day. After I walk my dog I practice my project song for half and hour. Later in the day I will pick up my guitar and work on whatever lesson series I am working on. Then later I pick up my guitar and just noodle around with whatever licks I recently learned trying to work them with the ones I already know into something that sounds musical to me (basically just have some unstructured fun time).

  2. #2
    Administrator Jason.Mounce's Avatar
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    It really sounds like you've already got a good practice regimen going and that's one of the big reasons tend to falter a bit, so you're good there. I wouldn't change anything unless your practice time isn't structured and you mess around most of the time.

    Where you will really benefit is making some goals. It's okay to be interested in all of that stuff, but when you're jumping around from concept to concept, most people aren't ever going to retain much of that knowledge.

    So, what I would suggest for you is to simply sit down and set out some goals for yourself. I myself like the SMART goal system.

    Specific
    Measurable
    Achievable
    Relevant
    Time Bound

    For you that might be something like "I want to get through Eric Maddis' electric blues series and be proficient at the concepts by labor day."

    What this does is make you focus on that aspect of guitar learning and pushes you in a singular direction that helps build measurable progress. Perhaps if you make your goal you reward yourself in some way that adds incentive.

    Once you've achieved that, you move on to another goal, maybe it's rockabilly this time. You keep doing that over and over until you've covered everything that you really want to.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason.Mounce View Post
    It really sounds like you've already got a good practice regimen going and that's one of the big reasons tend to falter a bit, so you're good there. I wouldn't change anything unless your practice time isn't structured and you mess around most of the time.

    Where you will really benefit is making some goals. It's okay to be interested in all of that stuff, but when you're jumping around from concept to concept, most people aren't ever going to retain much of that knowledge.

    So, what I would suggest for you is to simply sit down and set out some goals for yourself. I myself like the SMART goal system.

    Specific
    Measurable
    Achievable
    Relevant
    Time Bound

    For you that might be something like "I want to get through Eric Maddis' electric blues series and be proficient at the concepts by labor day."

    What this does is make you focus on that aspect of guitar learning and pushes you in a singular direction that helps build measurable progress. Perhaps if you make your goal you reward yourself in some way that adds incentive.

    Once you've achieved that, you move on to another goal, maybe it's rockabilly this time. You keep doing that over and over until you've covered everything that you really want to.
    Thankyou. That makes a lot of sense. I just don't want to chase so many rabbits that I end up not catching any of them. I absolutely love this site but I find myself feeling like a guy with an enormous appetite at an all you can eat buffet. I wish I would have found this place a year ago.

  4. #4
    Premium Member palico's Avatar
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    Music makes for a strange mistress. It takes time for concepts to sink into your head. So you work on lick and seem like your not getting any better at it. Then you get frustrated and do something else for day or two. You decide to come back and all of sudden your better at the lick. Why? Because most of playing is in you head. So I recommend you choose several topics of interest and then set your goals as Jason suggested. Work on one for while until you get frustrated with it. Then move on to something else for that practice session. When you come back the next day start on the goal 1 where you left off, likely find you are touch better at it. This way you are not all over the place learning wise but you are making progress on multiple fronts using your time as best as possible.

    For example. My practice routine is often:
    Warm-up exercises with a metronome for bit.
    Lesson 1 on topic I've been working on though.
    Lesson 2 on totally different topic.
    Back to some exercise with a metronome, different ones that are targeted to a particular skill I've been trying to get better at.
    Some random noodling. May people say to avoid this. But I've started so many songs from just noodling around. Key is to time this and make sure you don't spend your entire time doing it.
    Maybe review some songs I have not played in while, or a new one I'm working on. Lots of times these are not hard songs and I might or might not be attempting to master them. Just depends on the goal at the time.

    Next day do the same thing. and to really help stay focused. WRITE DOWN your practice plan. Something about writting down stuff makes us humans feel compelled to move forward, even if we never show anyone what we wrote down.

  5. #5
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    Thankyou. I have a completely separate session set aside just for noodling around. For me it is important to have some fun time. And if I have that in it's own bracket it is less likely to bleed over into my learning or improving sessions.

  6. #6
    Premium Member slighter's Avatar
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    "But then I run across all these songs I want to learn"


    this and many more, forever

  7. #7
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    Avoid noodling? I don't know how others noodle around but I'm guessing that teachers think that it mostly practices what you already know and doesn't add to progress. I don't know. I'm also guessing that the better you get the more important it becomes; then it becomes sort of a solo jam.

    I agree with what everybody has said. You need to practice what you've learned and you need to learn something new and you need to have fun. Part of fun is having a sense of progress, from getting better and learning new things, from achieving goals. So don't make those goals too big or too far in the future; you don't want to fail a goal and you don't want to feel frustrated that you're not getting there. So don't let anything stop your progress. You need to keep moving. If one goal is too hard, go around it, find another one, come back to it later. For this reason, having a few different short term goals is useful. Exploring is useful. I've found some things on JamPlay I wasn't looking for which turned out to be extremely useful.

    How does this strike you as a goal? Try to get a badge every week. Any badge that strikes your fancy.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwhy View Post
    Avoid noodling? I don't know how others noodle around but I'm guessing that teachers think that it mostly practices what you already know and doesn't add to progress. I don't know. I'm also guessing that the better you get the more important it becomes; then it becomes sort of a solo jam.

    I agree with what everybody has said. You need to practice what you've learned and you need to learn something new and you need to have fun. Part of fun is having a sense of progress, from getting better and learning new things, from achieving goals. So don't make those goals too big or too far in the future; you don't want to fail a goal and you don't want to feel frustrated that you're not getting there. So don't let anything stop your progress. You need to keep moving. If one goal is too hard, go around it, find another one, come back to it later. For this reason, having a few different short term goals is useful. Exploring is useful. I've found some things on JamPlay I wasn't looking for which turned out to be extremely useful.

    How does this strike you as a goal? Try to get a badge every week. Any badge that strikes your fancy.
    That looks intriguing
    .

  9. #9
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    I have taken all of these responses into consideration. They are a great help in organizing my practices. That said, I want to learn rockabilly but the Stuart Ziff series looks over my head. He gives an exercise in lesson 2 that involves a series of pulloffs. He says to practice those until you can do them quick and clean and become familiar with arpeggios.

    The 50 years of guitar looks absolutely awesome. But I would really like to be able to improvise, which lead me to David Wallimann's Theory and Improvisation series.

    There are only 12 lessons in that series. And I do need to bone up on my theory. So I thought I would go with the following:
    Practice session 1 Project song
    Practice session 2 work on Theory and Improvisation lessons. Then do scales and drills. Part of my scales and drills will be to practice the exercise Suart Ziff gave in lesson two of the rockabilly.
    Practice session 3 Learn what I can about arpeggios then noodle around and have fun.
    I am sure that eventually I will be advanced enough to take Suart's class as I will be working on it in the background. I think this is sort of a version of what palico was talking about. I can sort of shelf the Rockabilly, as I improve go try a lesson, if I am ready for it great, if not keep at it then check back another time.


    This way I will have quantifiable improvemennt time, progress on my project songs, and enhanced knowledge of theory and improvisational skills, and possibly see the results of these in my fun noodling time.

    nwhy brought up a good point, about keeping goals attainable. I seem to be able to accomplish things rated at 2.5 skill level with enough practice. So when I see lesson plans with a number of skill levels at 3 or above, I don't know if I should take those on. I know I need to stretch myself to improve. But there is a line there somewhere between stretching myself and discouraging myself.

  10. #10
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    BetThisNameAintTaken-
    Here's an article I wrote a few years back about exactly what you're going through with your practice aspirations:
    http://members.jamplay.com/articles/...orkout-concept

    Give it a read and I look forward to hearing your thoughts

    -Chris
    -Chris Liepe
    Content/Instructor
    JamPlay.com

 

 

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