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New Direction

Posted by pcfive on Monday, April 8, 2013

I am changing my practice routine lately, because it had become kind of boring and maybe not as effective as I would like. I had been playing the same 3 songs over and over, starting with the metronome at a slow speed and gradually increasing. I paid more attention to looking at the metronome hand than listening -- I made sure I was in time with it, more or less, but was not feeling the rhythm as I would if jamming or playing along with music.

I did an hour of that every day, and then, if I had time I would play along with music, and learn from tabs. I would record myself about once a week.

I think practicing that way had some value, since I was mainly trying to get my right hand coordinated. Which, to some extent, I think I did.

But now I want to concentrate more on accuracy and staying in time with the metronome mostly by listening, not by looking at it. I am also spending more time playing at slow speeds, so I can hear every note and make sure all slides, hammers and pull-offs are done accurately.

And now I play various songs, not the same ones over and over.

And I record myself every day. It is the only way I can be at all objective in evaluating my playing. Sometimes I think I sound ok, but then the recording sounds terrible.

I got a lot of criticism at the Scruggs forum recently, and some said I was doing everything wrong. I know that isn't true. I am not really happy with any of the MP3s I have posted, but I know I can play a lot better than that and can make better recordings when/if I have time.

I can tell I am getting better at jamming, both backup and improvising leads. I definitely get better every year, as long as I practice every day.

So, I am not worried about having no talent whatsoever, and all the things I was told at the forum. Talent mostly comes from dedication and I am sure I have enough of that. And my ultimate goal is just to have fun playing music.

 



3 comments on “New Direction”

MrManners Says:
Friday, April 12, 2013 @9:01:33 PM

hang in there,i never had any talent and always done it wrong for 40 years,some of these people could use a little look in the mirror themselves,speed is only one of the ways music can be powerful thats why my naturally slow self chose it for a lifelong dedication---Tom

MrManners Says:
Friday, April 12, 2013 @9:01:33 PM

hang in there,i never had any talent and always done it wrong for 40 years,some of these people could use a little look in the mirror themselves,speed is only one of the ways music can be powerful thats why my naturally slow self chose it for a lifelong dedication---Tom

pcfive Says:
Saturday, April 13, 2013 @10:40:07 AM

Thanks for the encouragement MrManners. I got some very negative criticism over there. One guy said it sounds like I have only been playing 2 weeks, and my whole 5 years of practicing was wasted.

It almost made me want to give up and start using my banjo for an anchor. But then I remembered I don't own a boat!

Actually, I think they did me a favor, because telling me I can't do something just makes me try harder.

Since then, I have been spending a lot of time recording myself, getting used to Audacity (I used to have GarageBand for Mac). I think I will be able to post some pretty good MP3s after a while.

Speed is not my primary goal -- first of all I want to be accurate and sound good. But I think I can play pretty fast for only 5 years of practice -- but I have to be in the right state of mind to get a good recording at that speed.

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