Author Topic: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine  (Read 37229 times)

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Offline mattr42

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2011, 06:56:56 pm »
I do have a practice routine grid in a word file but not sure how best to show you. The sections in it are chords, scales, rhythm, theory, technique, ear-training, improvisation and style (which includes learning songs). Perhaps I could use one or two of the bigger sections e.g. style or theory and spend say 3 hours on each rather than an hour as I would when doing my normal routine? The kind of music I play is quite diverse but mostly I would describe my style as being quite close to that of Johnny Marr but perhaps a more modern alternative/indie rock kind of style. I want to work towards being in a successful band as an awful lot of people do, but I do want to be a good musician as well as being in a successful band.

Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #31 on: November 23, 2011, 07:18:04 pm »
Well, sounds like your practice routine could easily fill an entire day :)

It might be a good idea to do it the way you say and simply keep an eye on balance in terms of skill: making sure that nothing of importance falls behind, and adjusting the practice routine accordingly. Normally I'd also mention to focus your practice routine according to your goals, but something tells me you're already doing that ;)

Offline mattr42

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #32 on: November 23, 2011, 08:34:42 pm »
Yeah, this sounds a good way of doing it :) the only difficulty I tend to come across with my practice routine is at times a lack of resources. Justins' site is probably by biggest source of info for fleshing out my practice routine with, but when it comes to finding information for player/advanced stuff information can be a little sparse, I guess this is where the greats started figuring stuff out themselves!

Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2011, 08:54:33 pm »
And the really not great (like me) as well.

I have the same problem, but every now and then a little gem comes up on YT or elsewhere. I spend a lot of time searching for the lessons I want and I'm also rather excessive with subscriptions, search agents, blogs, RSS feeds and all sorts of stuff like that, always hoping I won't miss the good stuff (and still I do from time to time). I bought a few DVDs as well, but the Non-Justin ones were more or less disappointing thus far.

Well, Justin is busy bringing us new stuff all the time, so there's hope :) The new blues rhythm guitar course is really going to help me out a lot, it's obvious even after only three parts.

Offline mattr42

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2011, 09:49:30 pm »
Chords   15   
•   Review – Major, Minor, Major 7, Minor 7, Dominant 7, Major 9th, Minor 9th, Dominant 9th, Dominant 11ths, Dominant 13ths
•   Triad Shapes (strings 1/2/3 and 2/3/4, major and minor)
•   Augmented/diminished chords – 6th and 5th string roots
•   Arpeggios for every chord I learn
•   Add 9s – 6th string root
•   Altered Chords – 6th and 5th string roots
•   Chord extensions – 11ths and 13ths
•   Chords built in 4ths
•   Explore new chord positions and voicings
Scales   15   
•   Major – 1 octave – 5 positions, 2 octave – 5 positions, 3 octave – 1 position
•   Blues – 1 octave – 5 positions, 2 octave – 5 positions, 3 octave – 1 position
•   Natural Minor – 1 octave – 5 positions, 2 octave – 5 positions, 3 octave – 1 position
•   Harmonic Minor – 2 octave – 5 positions
•   Chromatic Scales – 2 octave – 1 position, 3 octave – 1 position
•   Whole Tone – 2 octave – 1 position
•   Melodic Minor – 2 octave – 1 position
•   Modes – Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Locrian – 2 octaves – 2 positions, 1 octave – 5 positions
•   Harmonised Scales – Major scale – 3rds, 5ths and 8ths – pentatonic minor – 5ths and 8ths
•   Phrygian major scale – 2 octave – 1 position
•   Jazz melodic minor – 2 octave – 1 position
•   Lydian b7 – 2 octave – 1 position
•   Altered scale – 2 octave – 1 position
•   Whole/half diminished scale – 2 octave – 1 position
Rhythm   30   
•   Play 16th note pattern using accents on the chord E
•   Play 16th note pattern using syncopation on the chord E
•   Build repertoire of different strumming patterns using 8th note and 16th note strumming in 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 12/8, 5/4 and 7/8 timings
Theory   60   
•   Metre & Time Signature – identifying time signatures by listening to tracks and working out their time
•   Pitches & Intervals – chromatic intervals – 1 octave - ascending
•   Scales & Modes – Theories behind all scales and modes learnt in the Scales section
•   Key signatures – all of them
•   Reading notation – basics – treble and bass clef – play basic melodies/scales/chords using notation
•   Chords & Harmony – look at the theories behind chords learnt in the Chord section
•   Rhythm & Rests – based on material in class, look at transcribing rhythms
•   Transposition & Clefs – look at moving melodic patterns from the treble clef to the bass clef.
•   Ornaments – trills/mordents/turns/vibrato/slides
Technique   30   
•   String Bending – bending in tune – play the note I’m bending to and then bend to it as an exercise
•   Rolling – look at maneuvering fingers onto adjacent strings – as an exercise play a note and then roll in both directions
•   Alternate Picking Exercises – the spider – play a picking pattern and use alternate picking to develop this
•   Control String Noise – string muting techniques – work on ability to hit all strings and only have one note ring out
•   Pick control leading – look at relaxing the hand whilst maintaining pressure for tremolo picking
Ear Training   30   
•   Distinguish harmony of chords – major, minor, dominant 7th, major 7th and minor 7th to begin with, record a variety of chords using cubase and use it on my ipod to test it – also use the internet for exercises
•   Work out simple songs by ear – every guitar part
Improvising    15
•   Improvise a solo in various keys using all possible combinations of scale – use backing tracks on the internet
Styles (See iTunes playlist for examples, learning songs to explore each style)    60   
Genres:
•   Britpop
•   Punk
•   Pop
•   Folk
•   Country
•   Experimental
•   Indie
•   Alternative
•   Rock
•   New Wave
•   Jazz
•   Blues
•   Funk
Players:
•   Johnny Marr
•   Graham Coxon
•   Johnny Greenwood
•   Jeff Beck
•   Paul Weller
Billy Bragg
David Byrne

This could come out as a pretty huge post so for this I apologise, the numbers correspond to the number of minutes I'm spending on each, so I was wondering what sort of things you think I should add? If there's anywhere you think is limited, especially the number of guitar players, that's because I'm always growing it!

Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #35 on: November 23, 2011, 10:00:27 pm »
Okay, first of all forget everything I said abput diversifying :)

Now, is this your active practice routine or did you simply collect all the things you want to learn now and in the future?

Offline mattr42

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #36 on: November 23, 2011, 11:06:14 pm »
Haha! I have spent a lot of time putting this together. It's a shame you can't see the highlights I have in the word document because most of it is active but some of it is the stuff I have collected and want to learn in the future. What I do when I sit down and practice is start at the first section of the module and then work my way down until my timer goes. On chords I'll tend to get as far altered chords and on scales I'll tend to get to harmonised scales and I get a little bit further everytime I practice, then every once in a while I'll update the timing to reflect the volume of knowledge. It's slightly different for a section such as theory. What I'd tend to do for a module like that is just pick something and spend the allotted time looking at it (Sibelius actually turns out to be an incredibly useful tool when learning theory).

Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2011, 01:16:01 pm »
In a word: wow! I'll certainly turn to that list of yours whenever I need things to find new things to learn :)

But it also got me thinking. And in case you'd like a thought or two on this, here's what came to mind when I read through it. But please keep in mind that I'm no expert. I might know a thing or two about learning, but the first thing this knowledge tells me, is that there is scarcely anything right or wrong - different things work for different people and I'm sure you know that!

The first thing that came to mind was, that while your practice routine is very comprehensive, it also seemed to me to be rather basic in some parts and extremely advanced in others. I can't say for certain because this all depends on where you want to go, but one thing I noticed was the rhythm section. 16th note strumming and syncopation are certainly necessary building blocks, but they are rather basic. From there you go to things like 12/8 or 7/8 time, which I'd consider quite unusual (unless you're playing Bruce Springsteen songs). There's a whole lot in between, e.g. triplet rhythm, shuffle rhythm and generally learning to improvise rhythm without having to rely on specific strum patterns.

Which brings me to another impression I got: how much time do you spend actually applying all the techniques you learn? Justin once or twice described his experience with lots of learners, who e.g. knew five positions in every conceivable scale, but, as he put it, couldn't make music in any one of them. I'm not saying that applies to you, but I think it's very important to keep your eye on the ball, especially when it comes to learning theory and technique properly. At the end of the day we want to make the best and most enjoyable music we can, and that might take more practice than the actual techniques. At least that's what it seems to me.

It's just a thought (you're right, this is difficult without the additional information from your actual document), but my feeling is you might want to split the list into two: your actual practice routine according to your current skill level and where you want to go next, and a kind of shopping-list for the future, things to put in your practice routine once you have mastered the current tasks (which go to repetion/refresh from time to time), and ordered by priority. This way it might be a lot easier to keep your eye on your immediate goal. And whenever you reached the next step, list no 2 tells you what to add. I used to keep these "all in one" lists myself, but they turned out to be counterproductive, because I wandered around too much. Also they can make you feel frustrated, because they keep showing you all the things you haven't learned.

Generally speaking there are a lot of things on your list which would make me immediately ask "why?" - at least for now. Don't get me wrong: everything I read sounds useful or even mandatory for being a "true musician", it's the mixture that seems slightly odd to me. If 16th note strumming is something you still need to practice (your list still limits it to one chord as well), I'm not sure I'd even be thinking about learning arpeggios for every chord you learn or even learning the Jazz medolic minor scale. I know, I know, it's for the future, still. I never put anything in my practice routine that I can't name a very good reason to learn it.

Obviously I'm talking about "resource allocation" here. It might be netter to concentrate on a limited number of things directly related to the next level you want to achieve, and keep the rest somewhere else. Of course this is just my thought and I'm a player who'd have serious trouble with countless things on your list :)

An example: I read the threads about modes in this forum with some interest, but I didn't really learn any of it. The thing is, detailed knowledge about modes wouldn't help me one Iota in what I want to do now or next month. Whereas things like alternative chord voicings, chord melodies, the finer points of rhythm or percussive techniques are extremely important to my playing style right now and I work on those nearly every day. I can afford to stray quite a bit (lots of spare time), but my practice is very much focussed on my immediate goals.

I'm not saying that you're not do that. In fact, from what you wrote you strike me as a very focussed and disciplined person. It's just that your practice routine list seems to indicate a certain level of "too much at once" and also, at least to me, it doesn't seem to point in a spcific direction. But maybe that's just my lack of musical education ;) Then again, your style list contains nearly every modern style of playing (excep Metal :) ). Ask yourself: how long would it take you to become a good musician in Folk? And Blues? And Jazz? And that's 3 out of 13 now. Again: focussing is what will get you there (imho).

Sorry if this all is a tad disorganised. My mind just keeps wandering today... :) But I hope my little wanderings are at least slightly interesting for you. And remember: it's just one opinion.

Cheers

Jack

Offline mattr42

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #38 on: November 24, 2011, 07:31:28 pm »
This is all great stuff and has certainly got me thinking. I think the reason for that discrepancy is that it depends entirely on the resource I have. Say I go through Justin's intermediate method and I'll pick out his basic 16th note strumming patterns, then I'll pick up my theory books and it'll talk about strumming patterns in weird and wonderful time signatures. The thing about learning triplet rhythm and shuffle rhythm is that I don't really know what they are and if you don't know what it is then you can't really practice it. Unfortunately I had to stop taking lessons recently, global economic meltdown and all, but I that used to be a big source for me. If I had to evaluate my playing I'd say I'm quite good at the beginner stuff and advanced stuff, but it's the bits in between that I missed out on as perhaps I motored ahead a bit too fast, though luckily at the tender age of 17 time is on my side! When I go through my schedule I do get through a lot but you're right that there are some areas which never get touched on at all because I don't have the time or because I just don't know enough about it, say I saw a concept in a book which I borrowed, wrote it down and then had to give that book back. I also think with the schedule a lot of it is very basic and that's because I've been cautious to take stuff out, I sometimes get the feeling like sure I know and can do it perfectly well but if I take it out then I'll stop practicing it. I think the split list is an interesting concept and one I might try devising tonight (or on Sunday, I have to submit a practice schedule and a write-up on how it's gone for my college course). I will certainly think about getting more direction into my schedule as well, though it can be hard to know what you have to do to go from being a bedroom player to a professional musician. Sorry if my mind wandered here too! This conversation is definitely hugely beneficial.

Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #39 on: November 24, 2011, 11:32:43 pm »
I really understand the whole "available resources" problem - I never had a teacher and when I started out my practice and learning was a total mess. Later on I found it easier to find the things I needed (though it was and still is very time-consuming and occasionally also rather frustrating) and I still had trouble to decide on what to learn next. The thing that guides me is goals. I have a pretty clear idea of where I want to be in say six to 12 months, and I keep "collecting" the things I need to get there, or simply the things I consider as useful to help me on my way. That's not always easy since my goals is a little hard to define and doesn't really fit in a YouTube search field, but I'm getting closer bit by bit.

I get the point about repetition, and I'm going to go on a massive tangent here. Maybe you know all this, but - weirdness behold - I'll tell you how I used to learn English (a long, long time ago), particularly vocabulary (though the system is quite generic). It's a bit of a stretch, but it's an easy example of efficient learning, so bear with me for a moment, okay? ;)

I had a card-index box with lots of little cards, and on every card there was an english word written on one side and the translation written on the other. The box had four compartments, which marked the frequency of repetition, or simply put, how often I touched the card:
1) repeat every day
2) repeat once a week
3) repeat once a month
4) repeat every 2 or 3 months
Every time I got a word wrong in any compartment, it would go back to 1. Every time I knew a word, it would move one compartment forward. Whenever I knew a word in compartment 4, I'd throw away the card (actually I'd destroy it quite deliberately - positive reinforcement). This meant that all those words I learned and just knew could only bother me three more times and then never again. The rest automatically adjusted itself according to my progress - on a word by word basis. Nice little side-effect: with that box I could make use of the most miniscule time segments. 90 seconds before I leave the house? Let's learn some vocabulary!

Okay, that explanation turned out a little longer than I had anticipated (this is definitely the thread for endless posts, isn't it?), but you can see where I'm heading with this. Whatever you're learning, there are always things that need frequent repetition and there are things you just get and keep. And repeating things you really, really know, is equivalent with wasting time and energy, and is also not very motivating.

When it comes to learning guitar, there's the added factor that you practice some things automatically in all sorts of situations, while others are more elusive. There's a reason why there's no 8th note strumming or open Em chord practice in your practice schedule - why would it be, you couldn't play a bit of campfire strumming without practicing those. A lot of the theory stuff is far more difficult. You could set up a system that takes this into account, as well as the aspect of "necessity" or (current level of) "usefulness" and organise things by how often you need to revisit them. Come to think of it, that whole card system could actually work for theory as well, though I never tried that. Might be a little unpractical.

Of course there's still the aspect of selection: what to learn and when. And as I said, my guide is my goal. Think about what kind of music really gets to you, what kind of music puts you into the "have to play guitar right now" zone. That might be a good point to start. Being successful has a lot to do with things like willpower, discipline and stamina, but even more than that it has to do with passion. When you look at people who achieved something extraordinary, you will usually see someone who feels (or at least used to feel) very passionate about his or her field. This passion is also enormously helpful in terms of learning. Things connected with strong emotions are far more readily accepted and memorized by the brain than things that you don't really care about one way or the other.

The choice of style gives you the list of things to learn, at least in general terms. If your choice is e.g. Blues, things like scales or modes etc. become extremely relevant (particularly for playing lead). If the answer is Country music and the artist who simply gets to you is Johnny Cash, well, let's just say modes wouldn't be my first point on the list :)

Of course this doesn't mean that you have to limit yourself to that one field. You can (and imho should) still experiment, learn some things that just interest you and fool around with stuff from other styles. That is actually very beneficial. But the bulk of your practice routine should have a focus. And that focus or goal can be a starting point for the next step. Once you feel comfortable in Blues, moving on to Jazz shouldn't be much of a stretch, and neither should be Rock. In the end they're all connected anyway.

Speaking of goals: for me, the application of my skills is a major factor as well. I love the Blues, and I learn it, but since I'm a solo practitioner, other styles of music are far more attractive to me. And while I still learn a little Blues here and there, my focus lies elsewhere and has a lot to do with doing something with the things I learn. I mention this because you were talking about moving on from being a bedroom musician. You know the feeling: at some point you start wondering "why am I doing all this", our love and passion for music not withstanding.

So it might be nice to focus on something practical as well. For me that would be solo acoustic (my great passion even before I ever touched a guitar - my years aren't quite as tender as yours :) ), for you it might be that or something else. Maybe you'd like to sit on campus with you acoustic and busk, maybe you'd like to play rhythm or lead guitar in a rock band, or jam with the chaps at a local jazz bar (even if it's not right away). Whatever it is, I think it's worth a thought or two when designing you practice routine.

I hope I'm not boring the life out of you ("yeah, dude, I really kind of know all that"), I'm just letting my wondering mind control my typing right now :)

Let me know what you think!

Offline mattr42

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #40 on: November 25, 2011, 12:07:30 am »
I studied German fairly briefly at high school (don't test my knowledge ;) ) and that method you talk about makes complete sense to me and it is something I could perhaps try with scales and chords. This could be really useful because I've known how to play say a dominant 13th for about 2 years now and I'm not sure it really needs to be in my schedule anymore, but I still feel the need to look at it because I wouldn't be practicing it if it wasn't in  there, so this method of spreading out the time could be very useful. That kind of situation learning is something I agree with completely, if I'm learning a song and it uses the major scale quite heavily, lo and behold I'm practicing my major scale. I definitely need to learn more songs to help do this.

I did find a good strong method for practicing theory. What I do is I pick out a music book from my (small) library, let's say the book that arrived in the post today, the sheet music for the Phil Spector christmas album, and I'll turn to my favourite song say 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)' by Darlene Love and I'll think right, what's the interval between the first two notes of the melody? How would you write this chord progression down in numbers? What key is it in? and so on and that way I can quite comprehensively practice theory. I don't think with theory I'll necessarily drop any of it because it's not the same beast as scales or chords where once you know it that's it, you can always take theory that little bit further.

Where you talk about passion and people who have achieved what I want to, I have done this in my schedule. In the list of players there is Johnny Marr who is my absolute favourite guitar player of all time no question and what I've done it I've then branched off and started looking at his influences, his contemporaries and people who he inspired and that way I'm looking at the person I'm passionate about and then looking at everyone else around him. When choosing what to learn I always think to myself 'what would Johnny do' and this really does help me focus.
I feel the way that my routine works is that I learn all of the sections e.g. scales and chords and then these feed into the style section which is where I apply the different things I've learnt to each different style. So I may not call upon modes when playing say folk, but I will find them used to when I come to playing jazz.

You make an interesting point about the application of skills, I have searched desperately without luck for a band and this has certainly hindered me. I feel that I do need an outlet for everything I learn and I am thinking quite hard of a way I can do this without a group as I often find my solo playing to be somewhat dull (though I do sing as well). I have found that my playing lights up when I'm in a group, so when I have this outlet I feel I will improve all round. In fact thinking about I could do with just getting myself involved with every outlet possible whether that be solo, in a band, doing something a bit different and joining a jazz band or an orchestra, I really do hope I can make a career out of this!
 
This is most definitely not boring me, this is exactly what I need!

Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #41 on: November 25, 2011, 08:45:27 am »
In fact thinking about I could do with just getting myself involved with every outlet possible whether that be solo, in a band, doing something a bit different and joining a jazz band or an orchestra,
I think that's a good idea. The key is to meet people, to build experience, and to learn. And this goes double since you want to make a career out of this. Maybe it doesn't feel like it now, but the further you go down that road (in any profession), the more your knowledge and skills are simply taken for granted. The distinguishing factor is experience. I'm not a pro musician (not even in the same galaxy), but I'd bet serious money this is especially important in the music business.

But there's one more thing that I'd consider vitally important for all this: HAVE FUN!! I don't think it matters that much, where you're playing and how many are listening, as long as you enjoy yourself. And if you can entertain a few people along the way, all the better! The best, most fun gig I attented this year was at local Irish pub with a solo performer playing for 12 people. We had a hell of a time, and so did the guitarist (he played 3 sets instead of 2, then the landlord had to kick us out).

If it's not lead guitar in a rock band just now, maybe it's your mate's birthday party and you playing and singing solo (at least at first :) ).

Cheers

Jack

Offline mattr42

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2011, 11:05:29 pm »
Agreed! Now I just need to work out where to take my schedule next! Haha, thanks for all the help.

Offline martin_pmd

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #43 on: March 31, 2015, 03:22:18 pm »
Hello good people, I'm having, I think, a bit of problem with making a good routine... I following Justins format to 80 %, but I still bump into problems. For example, I have alot of time to practice, say 4-5 hours a day. So when I look at my technique routine for example, I have 60-90 minutes for technique development. My first question is how many different technique drills can I cram into mine my 60-90 minutes technique routine. How many is too many and how many is to little? And for the Repertoire section, same question, how many songs is too many and how many songs is to little? =)

Usually my routine in short is:
60 min technique
90 min songs/solos 5 songs 2 solos
45 min transcribing/ear training
30 min theory
30 min Justins major scale "program"/improvisation

Any thoughts? =) Any help is much appreciated.

Offline close2u

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Re: PC-502 • Intermediate Practice Routine
« Reply #44 on: April 02, 2015, 07:22:26 am »
@ martin_pmd
looks good to me ... you lucky fella - make the most of having that much practice time to become as good as you desire.
How often you do move on to 5 new songs ... how quick do you learn the 5 songs?

:)

 

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