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Learning to play - fast steps towards competency?

 
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Dave
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:54 am    Post subject: Learning to play - fast steps towards competency? Reply with quote

I thought I'd start a thread as I'd like some input on learning to a) play guitar much better and 'properly' but also b) I'm learning Mandolin currently. What I'm looking for a is a clear schema for learning things optimally. Any tips, tricks or structured approaches towards learning any instrument that accelerate or optimize ability.

To start with lets take learning a new tune. I'm learning The Lilting Banshee' on Mando and I've been trying to wrap my head around a way of mastering it in every way and came up with the following structured approach.

I'm thinking the following:

1) Learn the notes. (THIS IS WHERE I'M AT)

2) Define the picking method (DUD DUD, DUDUDU or DDU DDU.......DUD DUD is the Trad Irish picking for jigs like TLB)

3) Set metronome slow practice each phrase or bar in succession until whole thing can be strung together. COUNT THE BEATS TOO, TO UNDERSTAND THE TIMING AND EMPHASES ON CERTAIN BEATS.

4) Practice whole tune whilst increasing metronome tempo until fast mastery is achieved. Possibly faster than it actually needs as this is like learning to lift super heavy weights so medium weights come even easier.

5) Pay attention to emphases and other final 'gloss' to the piece. Ensure mando strings rings correctly with picking style/posture etc etc


Does that sound like a schema that hits every aspect?
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't try to practise the whole thing. Break it into smaller parts of say, eight bars each. Don't be afraid to break it down further into four or two bar sections.

Really, really practising one tricky thing until you get good at it will generally get you through something a lot quicker (and get "proper" technique and such down quicker). You want to be trying to focus on one element at a time so that you can practise just that element with your full attention instead of getting distracted between different things.

So if there's one part that has tricky picking, work on that only so that the picking improves. If one part has tricky stretches practise that so that your stretching and positioning improves.

When I was practising properly, I'd only ever really look at playing a full piece when I was close to putting the whole thing together. Leave it until you're at the part where you need to start thinking about bigger things, like how you'd interpret the piece and such.

This might not work for you, but this worked for me (and my pupils too, I suppose). When I played the piano I was a very good pianist, but I was lazy, so I was a very, very good practiser. I got the most out of the time that I put in.
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Concretebadger
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd definitely give two votes to 'breaking it down into smaller chunks' to make the task seem less daunting.

What's easier said than done is to avoid falling into the 'play the easy fun stuff' rut. I'm as guilty as anyone so feel like a bit of an ass for suggesting it, but it's sooo easy to fall back on what's simpler to play instead of what will actually make you better. Actually, I'll make a conscious effort to learn some challenging riffs instead of instant gratification chord work from now on.
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Sloan
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SCALES SCALES SCALES SCALES SCALES.

know your scales and you will now how to properly map out your favorite licks and solos n shit and how to play them anywhere in key etc...


i fucking suck at it.
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Dave
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great advice, thanks guys. I've been both rubbish with scales and learning other people's tunes so it good to try and learn things a bit more properly.

Paul - would you generally look at the tune you're learning and deliberately pick the more difficult sections to learn first? Or approach each section sequentially but only moving on once mastered? Or do you flip between sections until you mastered all and then put together?
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George
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim ferriss did a thing on meta learning in his new 4 hour chef, basically learning how to learn effectively that is supposed to apply to anything

I haven't got too into it but the ideas might be of interest to you
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave wrote:
Great advice, thanks guys. I've been both rubbish with scales and learning other people's tunes so it good to try and learn things a bit more properly.

Paul - would you generally look at the tune you're learning and deliberately pick the more difficult sections to learn first? Or approach each section sequentially but only moving on once mastered? Or do you flip between sections until you mastered all and then put together?


It depends. Normally I would work through the piece so many bars at a time, starting at the start and working until I get to the end. But someotimes I'd know that I only had say, four days, to learn something, so I'd do it as I've just described, but also look at what I know are the trickier parts that'll take up more time. So I might spend an hour working on four bar sections then spend fifteen minutes working on the tricky part.
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Remulak
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I practice things in sections it takes me a huge amount of time to be able to jump between sections correctly. I have to budget enough time for that -playing each part of the song is not the same as playing the song.
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Brandon W
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First thing i would recommend is learn the notes on the low e and a string. Learn them learn them learn them. This will open the door to scales. The minor pentatonic, for example, is more a shape than anything else. You can find your licks in there by arranging the notes. The scale repeats itself over and over down the neck. So, if you know the scale in 1st position then the only difference is where the scale starts for the next position. The fret movement is the same all the way down. Scales are intervals so the distance between the notes is going to be the same in every key and you begin on the root usually. The thing is that you need the root and by learning the notes on the low e string then you'll have your root. Plus, this is the basics of the bass and you're learning both at the same time. I played this festival with some old time blues guys and i was nervous but all i kept thinking was that if i brush up on the root notes on the low e and a then i can play and solo to any I IV V blues song they throw at me by playing power chords and octaves. It's a must. I don't remember the notes on the other strings all time and i should but those 2 strings is the first thing i would learn if i could start again..
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robroe
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. get some friends together
2. jam
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Johno
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sloan wrote:
SCALES SCALES SCALES SCALES SCALES.

know your scales and you will now how to properly map out your favorite licks and solos n shit and how to play them anywhere in key etc...


i fucking suck at it.


This & sweep picking exersises. Start off slowly & build up speed over a few weeks. Make sure both hands are insync or it will sound gash.

Or just learn some Slayer riffs
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