Author Topic: The 1-to-1 Sessions ...  (Read 45811 times)

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Offline DavidP

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #100 on: August 12, 2020, 01:25:07 pm »
I had my Zoom Session with Justin this morning.

Once again I count my blessings to have the opportunity to spend the time with him. Have to say again, what a pleasure it is to talk music with Justin. He has that ability that all good teachers have to be able to engage at just the right level, to offer loads of encouragement, some tips and suggestions, and to point out the problem areas. And striking the right balance means one hears those problem areas without any adverse reaction.

Main focus of the session was on song-writing and arrangement. I am busy with another original and we used the current cut of the song (drums, bass, acoustic guitar, and lead vocal) as the basis for the conversation.

Overall he was really positive and encouraging about the song, the arrangement and the production, which was a boost to confidence. I think many of us tend to be quite tough on ourselves, always wanting to do better, which is good, but sometimes not appreciating what we have achieved to this point, which can be not so good if those doubts hold us back.

Most interesting suggestion, and one I look forward to trying out, is to really give attention to the drums and bass at the outset. Work towards having a cut of the song that is just drums, bass, and lead vocal. And if that is sounding good then you have a solid foundation to build on. Useful tips about varying the drums in between sections to keep things dynamic.

Much like the session with Len, we spoke a lot about the dynamics, keeping things interesting through the whole song.

Biggest issue for me is to work on one section of the vocals, to actually compose the melody, and make sure the notes are all good and then pitch them well. Sounds obvious but this is probably the weakest aspect of my journey...the singing and the vocal melody. But he was extremely positive and encouraging on the bridge section. So I will put some more effort into the problem part of the song. And he was positive as to my potential as a singer ... now at some point it is up to me to put some effort into improving my singing.

No promises here as to when I will be done with the song ... best I can say is I reckon before George RR Martin publishes the next book in the Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones) ... I know that is not saying much.   

Many thanks Justin, Richard, Lieven, and all of you ... the lessons and Community truly are a place to come and make your musical dreams come true.

PS Wasn't sure where to post this, so Richard, if you would rather it was a continuation of the award topic then feel free to move it on over there
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Offline Balamuthiah

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #101 on: August 12, 2020, 04:52:45 pm »
Awesome stuff on earning the lesson David. Very deserved really! Thank you also for posting the experience. Some great suggestions there for all song writers. Hats off to you on winning the lesson once again! 😊

Offline close2u

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #102 on: August 12, 2020, 07:41:50 pm »
What a terrific report David - I would expect no less from you.
I am sure you went into the session well prepared and with a sure focus which no doubt helped maximise your take-away from it.

ps
I have moved the 'skype sessions' to their own dedicated board so no need to move your post.

Offline sairfingers

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #103 on: August 12, 2020, 10:45:05 pm »
David, congrats again for being awarded a lesson from Justin. I’m pleased you were able to focus the lesson on an area that interested you. A good teacher should be able to identify and create a ‘one off’ lesson like this and Justin clearly did that. Your detailed description of the lesson shows how much you enjoyed it.

I look forward to hearing the fruits of your labours.

Gordon
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Offline batwoman

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #104 on: August 12, 2020, 10:55:29 pm »
Way to go DP  :)

Offline DavidP

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #105 on: August 13, 2020, 06:09:51 am »
Bala, Richard, Gordon, Maggie,

Appreciate you giving my feedback a read and for more kind and encouraging comments.

With the Community providing endless encouragement, support, guidance how can one not continue to pursue learning and developing one's musicianship.
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Offline DavidP

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #106 on: August 13, 2020, 01:26:36 pm »
Most interesting suggestion, and one I look forward to trying out, is to really give attention to the drums and bass at the outset. Work towards having a cut of the song that is just drums, bass, and lead vocal. And if that is sounding good then you have a solid foundation to build on. Useful tips about varying the drums in between sections to keep things dynamic.

In chatting off line, I realise that in trying to keep it short, I have maybe made it confusing.

The first step in this process is to create a rough version of the song with a simple drum track, guitar and vocal. Then compose the bass, refine the drums, and thereafter can go back and add the rest of the instruments. Confident that the song with just the bass and drums with vocal sounds good.

Sorry of you were wondering about working on vocals with just bass and drums, which I guess would be tricky ...
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Offline pkboo3

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #107 on: August 13, 2020, 02:39:54 pm »
So glad you enjoyed your Skype with Justin. And once again congrats on your Thoroughly Decent Chap Award!


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Offline DavidP

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #108 on: August 13, 2020, 03:57:37 pm »
So glad you enjoyed your Skype with Justin. And once again congrats on your Thoroughly Decent Chap Award!

Thanks Pam. He's just such an easy going guy, a masterful teacher, and I am an incredibly fortunate guy to have had the opportunity to hang out with him twice now.
Began the adventure Dec 2016 expecting little, achieved more than I imagined, and now I'm a happy advancing beginner
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Offline embishop

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #109 on: August 21, 2020, 08:48:18 pm »
Thanks for sharing your lesson with us, David. (I can’t believe you posted it a week ago, it seems time flies even when I’m not on the Forum!) You got some great input it sounds like, and it’s always good to be reminded that where you are needs to be as much fun as where you’re going. The journey, right?? I will look forward to whenever you post this song as much as I’m looking forward to the next GoT book (and yes, huge fan 😃)
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Offline Alex6strings

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #110 on: August 22, 2020, 04:27:44 am »
This is a great thing to have had twice DavidP.   You and Justin must be like old friends by now?   He seems to be someone who'd be great to have a few beers and jam with.  A justcon isn't a bad idea....Justin...convention ..justcon
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He was playing a Tommy tune on insta the other day... I forget how good Justin is..so good.

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Offline DavidP

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #111 on: August 22, 2020, 07:04:15 am »
Thanks for sharing your lesson with us, David. (I can’t believe you posted it a week ago, it seems time flies even when I’m not on the Forum!) You got some great input it sounds like, and it’s always good to be reminded that where you are needs to be as much fun as where you’re going. The journey, right?? I will look forward to whenever you post this song as much as I’m looking forward to the next GoT book (and yes, huge fan 😃)

Thanks Mari.

Such wisdom in the notions to enjoy the moment, every step of the way on the journey. To have a direction but not be obsessing about reaching the destination. And in music and in life there is always another destination.

As for GoT ... what odds might we get that the next book will be written by Brendon Sanderson, like the final books of WoT ... Wheel of Time. Disclosure time ... I got as far as the forth book in that series and ran out of steam. My son loves to tease me about my weakness and lack of stamina, it being one of his favourite series.

This is a great thing to have had twice DavidP.   You and Justin must be like old friends by now?   He seems to be someone who'd be great to have a few beers and jam with.  A justcon isn't a bad idea....Justin...convention ..justcon
.
He was playing a Tommy tune on insta the other day... I forget how good Justin is..so good.

It is indeed, Alex, still have a sense of disbelief that I have been so fortunate to have hung out twice. As you say, hanging out with a few bevvies of your own taste, to chat, and play some music would be great fun. I saw his adverts for his workshops ... Italy or the Carribean ... would be fantastic.
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Offline kontenda

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #112 on: September 30, 2020, 12:43:59 pm »
I had my lesson with Justin yesterday. It was delayed because the time difference, my work hours and Justin's own work load made it difficult to arrange a time. Anyway as with others he asked me to send him a note on things I would like to cover, which i did (they were posture, flat picking, and song writing). The areas I chose deal with specific problems I have with my playing  - so I am not sure how much use this will be to other members of the forum - hopefully some  of it will be - anyway here goes.

First of all he asked me to play him something to give him an idea of where I am in my journey. So I played the 1st verse and chorus of a song I have been learning to play recently, Crowded House's "Distant Sun", with thankfully no singing, just guitar. He complimented me on my rhythm but said he saw certain parts of the song where I added extra concentration and could be smoother. One particular section was a chord change from a D minor to an F Barre chord. He advised that I should pick out the weak areas and just play those portions rather that playing the whole sequence. I should video myself performing, figure out the areas that weren't up to scratch, figure out why (a difficult chord, a difficult change, picking out a note etc..) and just work on those specific parts until they were right. He mentioned this is something he does himself and is something I should continue doing for as long as I play guitar.

1. Basic Posture

Then we moved onto the items I asked to cover. First was posture. I have never had a lesson with anyone before, so I just wanted to confirm that my basic posture was correct. The wrist of my fretting hand becomes painful when I play barre chords or scales and recently the pain remains with me even after I stop playing - so I asked if he saw anything that I was doing wrong. He gave me a very detailed discussion about carpal tunnel syndrome - about how ligaments and nerves controlling your fingers run the length of your arm and through a tunnel in your wrist and if you put a strain on this area it can cause pain and numbness in your wrist. So he advised me to try stretching exercises for my wrists before playing. He also advised me to drop my shoulder (as shoulder pain is also a common complaint of guitarists) and try to bring my wrist up so it is in line with the rest of my arm (i.e. the wrist doesn't bend). After straightening my wrist, it felt strange as I wasn't used to this pose, but with much less tension than my normal position. This is something I am going to have to work on - but I feel this will probably resolve the pain issue.

I also mentioned a problem I had with anchor fingers, specifically my ring finger on the B string. I find after playing songs that require constant anchor fingers while changing chords (like 'Wonderwall')  my finger can move ever so slightly causing a slight buzz to occur on the B string. He thought this could be related to the previous position of my wrist and tiredness. He advised also to video myself and see where and when the movement occurs. He also mentioned that using certain areas in the song to reset the fretting of the fingers - lift the anchor fingers up and reposition them -  not to rest them but just to prevent them moving too far away from the fret.

2. Flat Picking

The second item I asked to cover was flat picking. I cannot play riffs correctly. A few years ago I entered the Kinks 'Lola' in the song competition which had a simple riff (for most people) that I couldn't master then and still haven't mastered now. I played it for him and he played it back the way it should sound. He explained unlike my strumming, when picking I wasn't concentrating on the rhythm of the riff. Which was a big aha moment for me. So he didn't mean that I had to keep my hand moving like I was strumming, but in my head it should be moving, keeping the beat, if that makes sense. He suggested slowing down the riff in Transcribe or Audacity, writing it out on tab - working out which are up picks and which are down picks and practise from there - without worrying too much about hitting incorrect strings at the beginning. The important part was to get the rhythm of the riff correct first. He also mentioned a few other song lessons I could use to practise riffs such as Lenny Kravitz "Always on the Run" and "Le Freak" by Nile Rodgers.

3. Song Writing

The final item I asked to discuss was song writing. Initially when I learned that songs could be written using the chords from a key, it was a revelation for me and allowed to write my first songs. Lately I feel the songs I write can sound very basic and have an almost nursery rhyme feel to them. He talked to me about moving outside the chords in the key  and changing keys within a song. I hope I have this part right. He gave an example of starting a song in the key of G, and after for example playing a D chord, make the next change to the 5 chord of the key of D which would be an A major chord. This can be tried in any key and it generally sounds good. We talked again about the song Lola and I couldn't work out its key because it had an E major, A Major, D Major and C Major in its verse. He said it was in the key of E because E felt like home, this was why the riff was played on the relative minor pentatonic of C#m.

He told me it was important to know the craft, as he called it, but there were no rules and it was ok to explore chords outside the key. He mentioned that a lot of songs are written just by experimentation. He told me to try figure out why I like the songs that I like and maybe take bits from some of them to combine into my own composition. He played me an example of a Gomez song ('Make No Sound' I think) where the chords in a signature riff sounded off when strummed by themselves but the way Gomez combined them, and by picking only certain strings, it sounded great. So I need to try stuff out and see if it sounds good.

And then all too soon it was over. He was really easy to talk to throughout the lesson - exactly like he is in his lessons. I feel very fortunate to have got a lesson from him, what I learned from him in such a short space of time was very insightful and a really enjoyable hour. I feel extra motivated now to go work on my guitar.

Offline Rossco01

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #113 on: September 30, 2020, 12:54:44 pm »
Great write up Kontenda and it looks like you had a really productive lesson.
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Offline DavidP

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #114 on: September 30, 2020, 01:30:04 pm »
Paraic, good to hear from you.

That was a great write up of what must have been a great conversation. Quite a few points to keep in mind for me. 

Hope you get around to recording you playing and singing again soon ... always a joy to check out one of your videos.
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Offline sairfingers

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #115 on: September 30, 2020, 09:52:14 pm »
Thank you for giving us such a detailed account of your lesson with Justin. Reading through your post is a lesson in itself, I’ve learned a lot there.

Thanks again Kontenda.
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Offline brianlarsen

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #116 on: October 01, 2020, 03:44:04 pm »
@ David & Paraic

Thanks to you both for sharing what sound like smashing lessons and great craic (pronounced 'crack' ;))


@ all

I’m afraid I’ve been a bit selfish with my forum prize.
There’s an expectation that when we receive a personal lesson from Justin, we share the experience with the forum- both out of interest and as a learning tool. It’s good practice for personal reflection as well.
I always enjoy reading others’ accounts, so easy to imagine him saying all those things, having watches so many videos.

I thought long and hard what I would like from a lesson and found my attitude had not changed much since the last great Christmas competition giveaway. All the information, advice, tips and demos are available at the click of a mouse. I have a good grasp of where I’m at and no shortage of areas that require attention.

Whilst it would be extremely enjoyable to shoot the breeze with Justin, proudly demonstrating the bits of progress since my last lesson and grunting for more pearls, I felt happier returning the favour and donating my hour back to him to spend as he pleases.
It made me smile to hear he chose to play guitar  :)
He donated the prize money to NHS Charities.

This whole episode reminds me that just offering to do something nice for someone else brings happiness. (The action itself is not a necessity.)
Who knows, if I stick around long enough, karma might cross our paths again  ;)
Cheers

Offline DavidP

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #117 on: October 01, 2020, 04:29:26 pm »
Good vibes for that choice, Brian.

And I know the truth of that old saying "talk is cheap" (also the title of Keef's first solo album ... highly recommended) ... but at a point I was thinking that should I ever be so fortunate as to win another lesson I would ask if I could transfer it to another deserving Forumite, since I had no need.  Then when it came about I had all these song-writing questions, so took advantage of my opportunity to get Justin's thoughts.
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Offline close2u

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #118 on: October 01, 2020, 09:13:06 pm »
@ Brian @ David

You filthy ingrates.
Remind me never to agree to choose you for a prize again.
Pah!







 ;) ;) ;) ;)

Offline kontenda

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #119 on: October 02, 2020, 12:39:37 pm »
@Brian,
Teacher's pet! Did you send him a shiny new apple too? There is always one who makes the rest of us look bad. My Irish Catholic guilt is playing up now  ;). I saw an interview with Justin on Youtube recently and he mentioned his basic philosophy is to try to be good. Good on you Brian - a generous action that is perfectly in tune with Justin himself. May you win many more forum awards :D.

Offline DavidP

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #120 on: October 02, 2020, 12:41:37 pm »
@ Brian @ David

You filthy ingrates.
Remind me never to agree to choose you for a prize again.
Pah!

 ;) ;) ;) ;)

LMAO
Began the adventure Dec 2016 expecting little, achieved more than I imagined, and now I'm a happy advancing beginner
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Offline DarrellW

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #121 on: October 03, 2020, 10:55:29 am »
I don’t really contribute much to this thread but I have to say that I think those who have won a lesson have definitely deserved it and have had a wonderful experience with their one to one and it has made a difference to their progress. So well done all of you! I think that Justin is an amazing teacher who has taught many popular musicians the ropes but one who has impressed me a great deal is how Lee Anderton (the captain) has improved since his lessons! To me he used to sound repetitive and quite ‘wooden’  now there is just no comparison, he’s no Danish Pete but he is quite pleasant to listen to now.
Still here, still learning and still a monumentally stubborn old f4rt 😂

Offline close2u

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #122 on: October 03, 2020, 11:10:23 am »
@ Darrell
I don't tend to watch the Anderton's videos (apart from one or two very, very occasionally) so have no idea how Lee's playing has improved / changed since the private lessons. It's interesting that you notice the difference. :)

Offline close2u

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #123 on: October 03, 2020, 11:11:46 am »
@kontenda

Great that you eventually overcame time differences and schedules to arrange your lesson Paraic. And it sounds like such a beneficial and enjoyable time. Let's hope we can hear the fruits of your songwriting soon. :)

Offline embishop

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Re: The 1-to1 Sessions ...
« Reply #124 on: October 03, 2020, 02:11:22 pm »
I had my lesson with Justin yesterday. ... I feel extra motivated now to go work on my guitar.

Sounds like a great lesson, thanks for sharing a write up Paraic. I’m going to try that 5th of the 5th chord change, and other possibilities. I’ve noticed that one in particular in certain songs where you would think the chord shouldn’t work in that key but it does. That little example basically explains it to me now.

Mari
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