Well I am now completely weaned off tablature for 'Year of Jubilo'. I did have a brief idea of raising speed using tab then switching back to no tab but have now switched against the idea as I think that could be a case of bad practice made perfectly bad.
What I am doing now is I have slowed right down again. I have brought myself down to 60 bpm, making sure that every note is perfect, and very importantly (in my opinion) getting the fingers to move at the most opportune times in order that when I do speed up I don't get caught out by a rushed movement.
So, I am going to continue at this tune for another day on it's own to try and ensure it is burned in to muscle memory.
Then, I shall start on 'West Fork Gals' giving a few minutes to 'YOJ' each day as maintenance.
Including tomorrow that was 3 days total to get this tune off tab. That's 2 days in the bag towards my two month goal of getting all twelve tunes memorised. WFG is a bit more complicated tune, so that will give me a better idea of how likely I am to succeed.
Edit- Another half hour and the tune is starting to feel smoother. I have bumped up to 80bpm with no ill effects. I know it's very slow, but it almost feels like play now instead of practice.
Edit2- I'm switching between 80 and 100bpm now. Slowing down when I notice mistakes. Just a matter of constant play/practice to get it burned in correctly. It doesn't feel in any way difficult to play, and I feel like this will easily bump up in speed a fair bit eventually. At these slow speeds the faster it gets the more tuneful it sounds. (I imagine that's due to the short sustain of the banjo). Playing without tab is certainly liberating, and it's easier to whip in a quick 'guerilla' 15 minutes here and there.
Edit3- 20 minutes on Sunday has seen me now floating between 100/120bpm.As I slowly bump up the speed, the slower speed becomes the new easy where I can easily notice and fix mistakes.
Edit4- The end of Sunday sees not much more time having been put in. If I slow right down I can play correctly every time, but as I speed up mistakes do creep in. Although my work on this tune is only just beginning, I have completed my goal of memorising it. Therefore tomorrow my intention is to make a start on West Fork Gals. I have a feeling WFG will be more difficult, but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.
Sunday, November 12, 2017 @5:51:24 AM
I enjoy reading your process which is seeming very effective.
Sunday, November 12, 2017 @4:14:06 PM
I think that tab is very powerful, and somewhat dangerous because it can be habit forming. It's good to get of it as soon as one can when learning a tune. Your practice method sounds great to me.
Monday, November 13, 2017 @12:20:40 AM
I found with guitar I could probably play a hundred chord strumming songs out of books, 'almost' knowing the chord changes, and 'almost' knowing the words. Rarely could I pick up the guitar, and both play and sing a song without a book. It's a very limiting thing.
This time, with banjo I aim not to even consider a tune without the total aim of getting it off tab. Some of these tunes like Angeline, Arkansas Traveller, Year of Jubilo also have lyrics. So once I get all these tunes off tab I will probably set a new goal of learning these lyrics.
Monday, November 13, 2017 @7:07:27 AM
I see many guitar players at the open stage who can't play without a lead sheet in the music stand. Fine players, too. Maybe their memory is shot. Maybe they just want to play more different songs than you can if you're taking the time to memorize them. But the players who can just stand up there and play seem to be better able to entertain. If nothing else, they can look the audience instead of the lead sheet.
Monday, November 13, 2017 @7:18:51 AM
I played a few times to work mates after beers. I had to have a cheat sheet for the songs I chose and it detracted from the whole thing. Luckily everyone was too tipsy to notice.
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