Getting better with limited practice time

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
Jeremy Hickerson
Amateur luthier
Posts: 620
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:20 am
Location: Salem, Oregon

Getting better with limited practice time

Post by Jeremy Hickerson » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:55 am

Hello everybody,

I was very active on this site for 6 years, taking the online lessons, then 3 years ago I concluded I would never get good enough to be able to play comfortably and well in public, so I basically gave up classical guitar to focus entirely on jazz guitar. I still wanted to play in public, you see, I wanted to play music for people. The technical challenges of classical guitar were just too much. In those 6 years I had gotten better (I was in the highest level offered, it had moved to the Spanish Forum by then). The last lesson I recorded was Bach Prelude BWV 998, a piece I had been trying to play for years and had performed some in public. When it came up in the lesson I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could play it a lot better than ever before, thanks to the effect of the 6 years of Delcamp study.


Youtube


However, I still wasn't good enough, and I knew it. I had started to make some connections in the local jazz community, and even though I had a long way to go in jazz, I knew I had a better chance there. It would be much harder in many ways to learn to improvise, but it was a lot easier to produce a musical sound on an electric guitar with low action.

During the last 3 years I have hardly played any classical guitar. Once in a while I'd play something for church and that was it. I did notice that this went better than it had in the past, but still wasn't at the level it should be.

I was making progress in jazz though, and at the moment I'm sitting in on combos at gigs playing a few songs and feel like I'm not too far from being able to play solo gigs myself.

And I picked up the classical guitar a few months ago, inspired by randomly running across John Williams' recordings of the Sor Studies on youtube, and for a couple of weeks I was playing through all 20 Studies in a week, doing 4 a night. And guess what: somehow I had gotten better at this, even though I had only been playing electric guitar.

So now I'm returning to classical, at least some, with a little more hope - but still have a long way to go.

And because I've found some good resources for my own learning and have noticed certain insights from this that I think have made a big difference in my progress all of a sudden, I'm going to start sharing these ideas on my youtube channel, posting once a week.

This is my announcement, if any of you are interested:

I am going to be posting at least once a week on my youtube channel, sharing things that have helped me get better at playing guitar. I've been playing and practicing for over 30 years, but stayed at the same level for a long time. In the last couple years I've started to make some progress. In the last few months, due to some good online resources and the jazz community here in Salem, I've found some ideas that have helped even more. I call this youtube series "The Casual (but serious) Guitarist." This is the guitarist who plays in public (or at least aspires to) but has limited practice time. In my case, that means about 7 hours a week. My goal is to help you make the most of that limited time. If you think this sounds interesting, please take a look at my videos and/or subscribe to my channel.

Here are the first three.


Youtube



Youtube



Youtube


Thank you, Jean Francois, for your great site, and thank you, all the good and helpful people on the site.

Jeremy Hickerson
Last edited by Jeremy Hickerson on Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Jeremy

Guitarras: 1973 Manouk Papazian (Spruce/Morado), two I have built, and an old Telesforo Julve parlor size

Pat Dodson
Posts: 2893
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:32 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Getting better with limited practice time

Post by Pat Dodson » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:42 am

Hi Jeremy. It might just be me but I can't get any of your videos to play. Other videos on the forum work just fine so you might want to check with others here.

bluetoby
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:35 am
Location: Nr Alicante Spain.

Re: Getting better with limited practice time

Post by bluetoby » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:49 am

i have the same problem as Pat i cant get any of the 3 videos to play.

Jeremy Hickerson
Amateur luthier
Posts: 620
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:20 am
Location: Salem, Oregon

Re: Getting better with limited practice time

Post by Jeremy Hickerson » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:09 pm

okay, I fixed the video links. Sorry about that!
Jeremy

Guitarras: 1973 Manouk Papazian (Spruce/Morado), two I have built, and an old Telesforo Julve parlor size

dory
Posts: 1709
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:29 am
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Re: Getting better with limited practice time

Post by dory » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:31 am

Ok. So my question is what is "good enough?" Is is sounding like John Williams? (I chose him on purpose because he doesn't make many mistakes.) Is it sounding like you were a gifted music major in college? Is it being able to play some simple pieces at an open mic and sound ok? My point is that everyone's idea of "good enough" is different and it seems you have set the bar pretty high.
Dory

johnwmclean
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:06 am

Re: Getting better with limited practice time

Post by johnwmclean » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:07 am

Dory I've never considered anything I've produced on a guitar good enough... if the bars not high enough I'll loose interest in the pursuit of excellence that never really exists anyway...

Jeremy Hickerson
Amateur luthier
Posts: 620
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:20 am
Location: Salem, Oregon

Re: Getting better with limited practice time

Post by Jeremy Hickerson » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:35 pm

By good enough, I mean to get good strong tone, a pleasing sound. Mistakes happen, and that's more of a mental thing that can be fixed. Sometimes I can get that tone when practicing at home, but when I play in public the technical challenges of the classical guitar combine with the performance situation and then, even if I play the right notes they're weak sounding and not pleasant. Or more likely, I start playing and notice right away that I'm having technical troubles and I compensate by playing weakly, in order not to play the wrong notes. Maybe some of you know what I'm talking about. All I know is if I'm playing electric guitar, it's a whole lot easier to get a pleasing sound out when I'm playing in public.
Jeremy

Guitarras: 1973 Manouk Papazian (Spruce/Morado), two I have built, and an old Telesforo Julve parlor size

dory
Posts: 1709
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:29 am
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Re: Getting better with limited practice time

Post by dory » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:46 am

I think the focusing on "not good enough" can destroy the joy in practicing.i don't always succeed in this. My husband has instituted a rule " no expletives while playing the guitar" (of course he can't really stop me but I think it's a good rule) because sometimes I swear at myself for being inept. In the beginning I would be quite hard on myself-- so he probably wondered why I even kept going. However, in the good moments, I take joy in the things I CAN do. Oh, my tone is better than a year ago. Oh, I am better at sight reading. As for playing in front of people, most of us have had the experience of sounding better at home. I wonder if even someone like David Russell sounds better at home.
Do you need to give professional performances for some reason? I don't know what you do. I know that from me you are getting experience from a mediocre guitarist who doesn't push herself enough, but seriously. There has to be some joy in the game for you. If nit, why bother?
Dory

Jeremy Hickerson
Amateur luthier
Posts: 620
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:20 am
Location: Salem, Oregon

Re: Getting better with limited practice time

Post by Jeremy Hickerson » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:24 pm

Yes, I agree, there is great joy in just playing at home. I fall in love with the sound. But I also want to play music for people, this may not be something every guitar player wants. And when I play for them, I want them to enjoy it. For a high percentage of the times I've played classical guitar in public, I'm pretty sure the audience was putting up with it rather than enjoying it. Maybe that's not true, but there's other times when it's gone better and I can tell the difference. If the percentage of times when it's gone bad wasn't so high, I'd be okay with it. And as I've said, I don't have this same problem w/ electric guitar, so hence the move away from classical.

Now as far as David Russell sounding better at home, I'm sure this is true. In fact, there's a really top-notch guitarist I know who studied with the Romeros. One time I heard him warming up before playing and it sounded like a recording - it was flawless and beautiful. Then when it came to the performance, it wasn't as good. It happens to the pros too. But the difference with David Russell is that his 2nd-best is still something I want to hear.
Jeremy

Guitarras: 1973 Manouk Papazian (Spruce/Morado), two I have built, and an old Telesforo Julve parlor size

dory
Posts: 1709
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:29 am
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Re: Getting better with limited practice time

Post by dory » Sat Jul 15, 2017 12:23 am

Maybe if you want to play in front of people you need to practice-- a lot. I only practice about an hour a day, although I agree I need to practice more-- perhaps get off the forum, Dory and pick up your d@mn guitar! With my limited practice time the most I hope for is to play at an open mic. If I want to do more I need to practice more. Ok, i need to practice more anyway.
Dory

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