Ahhh, the dreaded octave jump exercises in the Session 4 Bonus Exercises. I’ve been reading the Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar Forums regarding these and they are by far, the most difficult skill to master so far.
I did well with the first octave jump exercise in the “Sixth String Exercises” (bonus materials). It took me almost two full weeks to get it, but I did and now those quarter notes aren’t even an issue. I could easily warm up to the exercise. I also did well with exercise 2 and 3 in the “More Sixth String Exercises” (bonus materials). Now, by “well” I mean it only took me a few days to master the exercise and now I use them as warm ups. Each time I play them, I think less and less about what I’m doing.
The challenge, and I’ll say “challenge” here because it is indeed a challenge, but much less of a challenge than the first octave jump exercise, is exercise 4. You can see it in the photos above. The same exercise from the previous page has morphed into a new beast. The quarter notes turned into eighth notes and instead of only going up the scale, now we have to go down as well. I’ll tell you that this threw me for loop the very first time I looked at this, but it’s much better now. I am plan on working on this exercise for a few more days.
I’ll tell you something – I really don’t mind spending my time on these exercises. They require me to use all notes learned thus far on all six strings. It’s not like I’m missing out on something. I mean, I’m playing guitar, which is what I wanted to do. And it feels great. Just to let you know, my record runs strong – I haven’t missed a day yet.
I read a post on the forum last night where someone was venting about how they feel as though they are regressing in Session 4. There was a lot of support in the responses that followed, which was really good to see. Quitting guitar is really easy to do. Support is crucial and when I start feeling the frustration, I head over to the forum simply to remind myself that I’m not alone. I haven’t responded to any posts such as these, but I would like to offer some advice here. And this comes from what I’ve experienced so far and it’s regarding motivation and progress.
First off, (I know I’ve mentioned this before) make sure you eat something before playing. When you need to dig down mentally, you need energy. If you do this on an empty stomach, you’ll play like an idiot.
Second, use the metronome as a tool. Practice playing through the exercise in chunks and then practice playing them through. Then turn on the metronome to see where you are. Turn it off and practice again. Then turn it back on. Keep doing this until you’ve done all you need to do. Give the exercise a check mark and go have a beer. Enjoy.
Third, learn how to read music. If you don’t know how to do this yet and you’re months into learning how to play the guitar, I don’t know, you really need to do this. All you are going to have is issues going forward. It’s really one of those things in life. Get it done. Stop what you’re doing and just practice that.
Before I started going through this course, I thought that reading music was a given. As I play and read, I am finding out that there is a large population out there that is trying to avoid learning this skill at all costs. I wonder about this. The other thing I wonder about is the population that has decided to only learn chords, but that’s something for another day.
Anyway, I’m creeping up on three months here and things are rolling right along. I have my good days and I have my bad days. But, I’m using all six strings in first position and I’m feeling good. After I finish up these octave jump exercises, I move into sharps and flats and then I get to try my hand at “Fur Elise” and “The Entertainer,” which I have heard stories about. Man oh man.