Studies vs Music

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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IV Laws governing the quotation/citation of music


For discussion of studies, scales, arpeggios and theory.
Salvador
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Re: Studies vs Music

Postby Salvador » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:06 am

MarkL wrote:
Salvador wrote:He taught me 12 pieces to learn.



Is it possible to list those pieces? Would love to know what they were :)


Yes, i posted the list above, it was my reply to tormodg.

Salvador
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Location: Asia

Re: Studies vs Music

Postby Salvador » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:33 am

To answer the thread. I assume, or as an example, those studies are meant to improve your arpeggio skills. Most beginners need to develop their arpeggios.

Example, Capricho Arabe was the reason i want to learn classical guitar. But my teacher did not teach me those piece immediately. I have to learn sight reading first, then i need to learn rest stroke. Pieces like Romance de Amour, Cavatina, you can practice rest stroke with those pieces. Those pieces are preparation for Capricho Arabe. It doesn't have to be an Etude piece.

In tremolo pieces. You should not play Sueno and El Ultimo Tremolo without playing Recuerdos. You need to play Receurdos first before attempting to play Barrios' tremolo pieces. Recuerdos is a preparation.

That's the reason not to skip some pieces. But if a teacher keeps repeating the same lessons all over again. It's like you spend months, years and you think you are not moving forward. That's not a good teacher. He is wasting time in those pieces.

Studies are important, but the teacher should not overdo it. Proceed immediately to the next lesson once the student already progressing. Because if you delay, student will get bored and quit.

dtoh
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Re: Studies vs Music

Postby dtoh » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:22 am

So I have a question. If the sole goal is to develop your skill as a guitarist as effectively and efficiently as possible, does it really make sense to spend time perfecting pieces. Isn't time better spent working on exercises or spending more time working on many more pieces but in less depth.

I think there are a lot of reasons for developing a repertoire or working to perfect a piece, but from a pedagogical perspective, is it really a good use of time? At a minimum there must be some point, where you pass the point of diminishing returns.

Curious to know what people think?

Salvador
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:59 am
Location: Asia

Re: Studies vs Music

Postby Salvador » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:29 am

dtoh wrote:So I have a question. If the sole goal is to develop your skill as a guitarist as effectively and efficiently as possible, does it really make sense to spend time perfecting pieces. Isn't time better spent working on exercises or spending more time working on many more pieces but in less depth.

I think there are a lot of reasons for developing a repertoire or working to perfect a piece, but from a pedagogical perspective, is it really a good use of time? At a minimum there must be some point, where you pass the point of diminishing returns.

Curious to know what people think?


We spend time in perfecting a piece, but at the same time we should also learn new pieces. If possible, harder pieces than the previous piece you are currently practicing.

Example: Recuerdos de la Alhambra, it's not good to spend time only on Recuerdos until you perfect it. You cannot perfect it at a short time, it's impossible. That's why you can try Sueno En La Floresta, which is harder than Recuerdos. Because of Sueno, Recuerdos will not be that hard anymore, because you played pieces that are much harder than Recuerdos.

So spend time perfecting pieces but at the same time, keep learning new pieces that are harder to play. When you go back to your old repertoire, it's not that hard anymore because you keep learning new difficult pieces. So no time was wasted.

This method does not work for everyone though. Because we are different. Especially if you are older.

Mr Kite
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Re: Studies vs Music

Postby Mr Kite » Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:24 am

My thoughts are that the skillset we are all looking to develop probably includes the ability to work a piece up to performance standard, and developing that ability may itself need practice - if so then it would obviously make sense to spend time polishing at least some pieces along the way. I read a Doug Niedt article recently which talked about habit strength vs momentary mastery. It implied much the same thing.

I struggle a bit with the idea of someone whose sole goal is to develop their skill. Surely they would be developing it in order to do something with it, in which case there is another goal in play - maybe performing or just playing something very beautifully. I think we are really talking about deferring gratification in order to maximise it over the long run, which seems a bit of a dodgy strategy. It might make sense if you could just learn guitar in a year or so, if you practised hard, then reap the rewards for the rest of your life, but I don't think it works like that. I see it more as a lifelong process of development, which means that you'll never get to the point where you are done and can cash in your investment of time. Also, it's really hard to stay motivated if there is no enjoyment built into the process, and the expected reward is years away. I think you have to make it a journey you can enjoy, which means performing or playing things well - maybe easy things - sooner rather than later.

PS I have found that if you try to play something that is too hard and then come back to your usual stuff, it does seem much easier, as Salvador says. Whether you are actually playing it any better is another matter - I'm not saying you are not, but it could be psychological.

dtoh
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Re: Studies vs Music

Postby dtoh » Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:20 pm

Mr Kite wrote:I struggle a bit with the idea of someone whose sole goal is to develop their skill.


Suppose though that through correct practice technique, you can get to point A in 1 year instead of 2 years, and to point B in 3 years instead of 6 years, and to point B in 5 years instead of 10 years, wouldn't you then be willing to defer the gratification of playing something beautifully.

Maybe the skills required in perfecting pieces are so critical that the most efficient and effective way to learn guitar IS to spend a lot of time perfecting pieces and developing a repertoire early in the learning process. For me though, I'm in the middle of my second attempt to learn classical guitar, and I'm trying a "defer the pleasure" approach this time. I've noticed a couple of things.

First... If I had attempted to work on any given piece a year ago, it would have taken me a couple of months to play it as well as I am now able to play the same piece with literally only an hour or two of work.

Second.... without having first developed the necessary finger independence needed for a specific piece, trying to perfect a piece results in a lot bad habits. Specifically a) using the LH thumb and other LH fingers in order to lever the LH finger required for a note onto the required fret quickly, b) a lot of dragging and scraping your fingers along the string when releasing rather than cleanly lifting your fingers off the strings, and c) poor RH strokes because you're so busy concentrating on the LH before the RH has become natural and automatic.

I'm not sure the approach I'm taking is the correct one, and I'm sure it is certainly not the right approach for a lot of people, but has anyone else tried something similar or have thoughts on the efficacy of this approach.

2handband
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Re: Studies vs Music

Postby 2handband » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:19 pm

Mr Kite wrote:My thoughts are that the skillset we are all looking to develop probably includes the ability to work a piece up to performance standard, and developing that ability may itself need practice - if so then it would obviously make sense to spend time polishing at least some pieces along the way. I read a Doug Niedt article recently which talked about habit strength vs momentary mastery. It implied much the same thing.


This is a hugely important point and one that a lot of people miss. Having spent years training rock guitarists, one of my own struggles includes getting students to master complete songs instead of just collecting cool riffs. Because once your technique gets past a certain point, you're overqualified for most gigs you're likely to get. Being able to play the music technically is often not the hard part it is memorizing the damn arrangement. Especially when you have to learn a whole show in 12 hours because somebody's guitar player got thrown in the drunk tank and they need a stand-in...

Mr Kite
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Re: Studies vs Music

Postby Mr Kite » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:33 pm

dtoh wrote:Suppose though that through correct practice technique, you can get to point A in 1 year instead of 2 years, and to point B in 3 years instead of 6 years, and to point B in 5 years instead of 10 years, wouldn't you then be willing to defer the gratification of playing something beautifully.


I don't know, I can't help thinking I'd be deferring the gratification until after I'm dead. After point C there is a point D, then a point E and so on ad infinitum. If there was a deal with the devil to be done, where I was absolutely guaranteed technical mastery in 5 years, in exchange for a following a very boring practice regimen, then yes I might go for that. But real life is less certain, and come to think of it, Beelzebub is not necessarily to be trusted.

If the point is to defer in order to get more in the long run, you also have to ask how much more enjoyment there is in playing a hard piece well, as compared to an easy piece? So far I have found that the difference is not as much as I would have guessed.

dtoh wrote:I'm in the middle of my second attempt to learn classical guitar, and I'm trying a "defer the pleasure" approach this time. I've noticed a couple of things.

First... If I had attempted to work on any given piece a year ago, it would have taken me a couple of months to play it as well as I am now able to play the same piece with literally only an hour or two of work.

Second.... without having first developed the necessary finger independence needed for a specific piece, trying to perfect a piece results in a lot bad habits. Specifically a) using the LH thumb and other LH fingers in order to lever the LH finger required for a note onto the required fret quickly, b) a lot of dragging and scraping your fingers along the string when releasing rather than cleanly lifting your fingers off the strings, and c) poor RH strokes because you're so busy concentrating on the LH before the RH has become natural and automatic.


Most likely I was nit-picking about it being the sole goal and it is more a question of balancing the need to improve with the need to play for the sake of it, aka when exactly do you leave off a piece. My answer to this is not "when you can play it perfectly", because I know that's never going to happen - even if "perfectly" only means "as well as [insert name of favourite concert guitarist]". I think you do run into specific technical problems - like some of the finger issues you mention - that are not going to improve by going on practising that specific piece. I am happy to let those passages go. I think my answer to the question of when to leave off is "when I can consistently play the passages that are within my technical ability cleanly and with my chosen articulation, dynamics and phrasing". That said, the progress you describe is impressive.

Ultimately I think the inner game is the most important thing, and what keeps that healthy is likely to vary a lot from person to person. I got to where I am now after several months trying to move on as soon as I felt I'd hit the point of diminishing returns, but this meant I was spending all my time battling through pieces and quite possibly destined to do so for the rest of my days. With my new approach, I am less concerned when a piece has to stay in for an extra lesson and enjoy playing pieces we are not looking at in lessons, even though I know that that time could be put towards getting the next one ticked off.

2handband wrote:Especially when you have to learn a whole show in 12 hours because somebody's guitar player got thrown in the drunk tank and they need a stand-in...

Oh man...

dtoh
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: Studies vs Music

Postby dtoh » Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:22 pm

Mr Kite wrote:I don't know, I can't help thinking I'd be deferring the gratification until after I'm dead. After point C there is a point D, then a point E and so on ad infinitum. If there was a deal with the devil to be done, where I was absolutely guaranteed technical mastery in 5 years, in exchange for a following a very boring practice regimen, then yes I might go for that. But real life is less certain, and come to think of it, Beelzebub is not necessarily to be trusted.


It's probably not a straight line. I feel like you definitely get more bang for the buck deferring gratification earlier in the process than you do later in the process. I think that's because progress in terms of technical mastery plateaus out after a while. Joe Satriani said he'd mastered technique after 3 years. (For someone old and uncoordinated like me, it's probably more like 30 years. :( )

I also think it really depends on the person. In my case, I've been able to adopt a mental attitude where I'm able to enjoy practice (most of the time) even when I'm doing mundane exercises. As you say a lot of it is the "inner game." So sometimes you just need to practice what makes you happy not what makes you a good musician.

And finally it probably depends a little bit on other skills like sight reading and fretboard knowledge. With the right skills you can get enjoyment out of new pieces a lot faster without having to spend a lot of time figuring out where to put your fingers.


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