June 4, 2012
Practice time: 4:30 – 5:00
I warmed up with “More First and Second String Exercises” in Session 2 a few times. I felt comfortable with that and moved on to a few rounds of “Ode To Joy” and “Jingle Bells.” I am good at playing both of those songs at 90bpm and could probably do faster. I haven’t tried yet because I am anxious to move further into Session 3.
After I warmed my fingers up, I moved into Session 3 and reviewed the “Eighth Note Exercises.” I am finding that even though there are minor mistakes, I am choosing to ignore them, simply to move on. I feel that if I can gather a bit of practice in new material each day, I can always go back and review. This is becoming detrimental, so I think I am going to stop this approach – especially after reading this article on how long to practice each day.
I am okay at the “Eighth Note Exercises.” Just okay. I need to go over them more systematically in the future. I plan to really focus on what I’m doing. Moving on to the notes on the third string – I am marginal at best. While the first two strings have become quite simple, incorporating the third string is tough. That second string seems to get lost in the shuffle. Will work on that too. Today, I played through the “Third String Exercises” a few times and called it quits.
Practice time: 10:00 – 10:45
I wanted to focus much more on left hand finger placement, so I slowly went over “First and Second String Exercises” in Session 2. I also wanted to really hammer the right hand string picking. I am getting better and I think with time, my accuracy rate will increase. Instead of simply practicing this exercise at 40bpm, 60bpm and then 92bpm to see how I do, I set the metronome to 92bpm and played at my own pace. At times, I would let two ticks equal one beat and at other times, I would play at regular pace. If I hit a trouble spot, I would repeat each measure until it was smooth at 92bpm. I can tell this is going to be a daily thing. I also want to say that I feel really good after this practice session. I feel as though I focused well and hit that sweet spot in what I was doing.
I do want to mention one thing though – I am finding that the harder I play, the better I do. I am able to hunt the strings down and I almost stop thinking about what’s going on. It feels fluid and eerily reminds my of typing. If I don’t think about typing, I can do it without looking. If I think about it, I have to look. Strange. There is one thing though – I want to work on finger accuracy, so I think the faster “pushing” through is going to have to sit on the back burner for a while.
June 5, 2012
Practice time: 7:00 – 8:00
What a frustrating practice. I started off going over Ode To Joy and Jungle Bells to warm up my fingers. I played them slowly and then at 92bmp with no mistakes. I also focused on proper finger placement. Everything went smoothly, so I moved on to Session 3.
For about 15 – 20 minutes, I went over the Eighth note exercises. Everything was fairly smooth, so I again turned on the metronome. I practiced at 40bpm and then every other beat at 92bpm. If there was a mistake, I repeated the measure until I got it. I think I am doing everything correctly. I mean, I couldn’t practice more “correct” if I tried (which I am).
Then came the Third String exercises. The first two were very simple. They basically went over the G and A notes. In exercise two, I practiced G and A eighth and quarter notes. Not a problem. Then came exercise three – someone snuck in B, C and D, so it was B, C, D, G and A. This actually wasn’t too difficult, so I moved on exercise four. And this is where the issues began.
As you can see, this starts off with a low G and then goes to two high Gs and then to a C. I know it seems small, but I am having a heck of a time transitioning from the G to the C when my mind is on the low G. I continuously hit the an A instead of a C.
I am thinking that I have a practice threshold of about 45 minutes. anything after that, I really start making mistakes. With this last exercise, I couldn’t seem to get anything right. When this happens, I usually start shifting on my stool and moving the guitar into a more comfortable position. I’ve trained in enough things to know that when this is the case, I should wrap it up. So I proceeded very slowly, just so I could end things with something other than mistakes.
My goals for tomorrow’s practice are to work on the third string exercises so I can walk away with a smile on my face. I really want to focus on slow, steady accuracy.
June 6, 2012
Practice time: 3:00 – 3:30
I’ve been wondering all night what would happen with today’s practice. In the past, if I was having trouble with something during my previous session and I tried again the next day, things would miraculously heal themselves. I was anxious to see how my fingers would handle going from high G to C. I’m here to tell you that my theory holds true – practice, screw up, think about it overnight and go in with a goal. The next day is always brighter. That’s the way it was today.
I stopped after a half hour. Maybe later on I’ll do it all over again, but for now, I am happy with how I focused on the Third String Exercises in Session Three. I spent the entire half hour slowly going over them while paying extra attention to finger placement and pick placement. I’ve been suffering from pick misfire with these B and G strings and things went very well today.
I’m not sure if it was because the sun was beaming through the window or what, but I just felt “on” today. I even used the metronome for a few minutes towards the end. 60bpm threw a slight curve ball, but overall, I feel I did very well.
June 7, 2012
Practice time: 4:00 – 5:00
I am thrilled. I wanted to write this update before the feeling wore off. I’m simply astounded at what the mind can accomplish.
If you read back a few days, you’ll see that I was having trouble hitting the B string when coming from the G string. That issue seemed to resolve itself yesterday. Then yesterday, I found that something clicked and my fingers were having an easier time. Well, today, I played “Yankee Doodle” at 120bpm. It took an hour of repetition (while focusing on proper technique) to do it, but I did it. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, but being able to run through the song at that tempo three or four times without major error is something to write home about.
My fingers seem to have woken up. I can now direct them where they need to go with much less effort than I used to use. Also, during this practice and before I really started working on Yankee Doodle, I worked a bit on the D string and the low D, E and F notes. They are challenging, but if I can get this comfortable with G and A so quickly, I have high hopes for that string as well.
And get this – just at the half hour mark of this practice session and just as my butt was really starting to turn numb from this terrible stool I purchased, the UPS man came down the driveway with my new “Essential Medical Supply Memory P.F. Sculpture Comfort Seat Cushion.” Couldn’t have come at a better time. Well, I guess if he showed up a half hour earlier, that would’ve been better.
June 8, 2012
Practice time: 5:15 – 6:30
I don’t think that went very well. I may have gotten a bit to confident yesterday and decided to sit and chill this afternoon. I figured I would let my fingers do the walking instead of really trying. I thought I would just brush up. It didn’t work that way.
I started off going over some G string exercises and then move into some E, B, G and D string exercises. I don’t know. I just wasn’t feeling it. I then tried going from low D to high G a few times and wasn’t feeling that either. Lastly, I played Yankee Doodle a few times and guess what? I wasn’t feeling that.
I may do another half hour later on tonight. It may be my mood getting in the way.
June 9, 2012
Practice time: 7:00 – 7:45
Today was better than yesterday. I went in much more humbly. I think the issue people like me have with trying to learn guitar is impatience. We constantly hear music and all we want is to make it like they do. Obviously, that isn’t going to happen any time soon, so I figure we should probably sit back, relax and let our fingers learn new things. That’s what I plan to do.
I went over the third and fourth string exercises in Session 3. I then played Yankee Doodle, When the Saints Go Marchin’ In and Aura Lee a few times over. None of those songs quite sounded like music, but I made it through.
Tomorrow I plan to turn on the metronome again. Slowly that is.
June 10, 2012
Practice time: 6:30 – 7:15
I think I did well today. I turned on the metronome and set it to 60bpm. Although I feel this was a short practice, I am happy with my steady successes through the exercises and all three songs. I plan on increasing the rate of the metronome to 92bpm and working on the same material for the next few days. Then, I am going to turn back to the DVD to go over the new chords for this section.
June 11, 2012
Practice time: 3:15 – 4:00
I am finding that I can only practice for about 45 minutes per session. It’s like a buzzer goes off in my mind. My fingers start making mistakes and I become frustrated at the world, even if I’m doing well. Surprising how mental learning guitar can be. My fingers seem to be doing fine, it’s my brain that gets in the way.
I still practice for a good 45 minutes though, and I’d say that’s fair for just starting out. Steve Krenz suggests 15 minutes a day – with 30 being even better. I suggest 45, but I’m not a guitar teacher. And I think 45 might burn some people out. If I were practicing one song or something – and got lost in it – I can see myself practicing for over an hour. But exercises and short practice songs, no way.
Today I went over the same thing I did yesterday, with one difference. I increased the beats per minute to 92 from 60. I seem to be doing okay, with one exception – exercise four in the “Fourth String Exercises.” I’m not sure I’ll be able to get that one, ever. But then again, less than a month ago, I didn’t know one note on the guitar. Now I am playing songs. So there may be hope yet.
I did well today. Again, if I increase the beats per minute, I excel. My mind works a bit faster than average, so I think I can nail the speed thing. It’s when the tempo slows down that I have the trouble, but I know that’s part of the game. I need to respect the stops and the longer notes. I keep reading that rushing through those two things is a nasty habit to break later on, so I am really using effort to play by the rules.
On a side note, I had a thought yesterday. I looked back at all the things I’ve tried to learn throughout my life and discovered that the ones I stuck with – I stuck with for a reason. Jiu Jitsu being the primary one. I’m almost at three and a half years with that. And that’s because virtually every time I go to practice, I get to fight someone. The challenge lies within that. I don’t know how I’ll do in that fight. Other activities haven’t fared so well – those with no enemy. flying planes, working out, etc. If there’s a nebulous goal, it doesn’t last.
So what I need to do is to find my enemy within guitar. And I think that may be the metronome. If it beats me, I lose. If I keep up with it, I win. Let’s just see if I can make that last the rest of my life.
I do want to share a tip with you though – something I picked up today. It’s not really mine because Steve already went over this in the DVDs (I think), but I’ll share it nonetheless.
Take a look at these notes:
From the beginning, if I had to play a D, then an A, then a D again and then a C, I would use independent fingertips. Meaning, I would play the D by placing my third finger on the third fret of the second string. Then I would lift it off to play the A and so forth. Today, I would cruising right along and didn’t even realize that as I was practicing the measure above, I was holding the D, not lifting the finger and then playing the A, releasing the A to continue on with the D. After that, I started experimenting. I held the C and the D and placed the finger on the A when the time came. After that, I played the D and simply lifted that finger. Since the C was already there, I moved on with that.
I have a strange feeling that people already figured this out, but for me, it was a small breakthrough.
June 12, 2012
Practice time: 6:30 – 7:30
I had planned on ramping up the metronome to 92bpm for this practice session, but I never got to it. I used up almost 45 minutes playing through all the material in Session Three, along with playing two songs from Session Two. I wanted to make sure I still “had it” from the previous session. I do.
I really focused on finger placement. I know one area that will challenge me forever will be finger placement, so I am carefully taking my time. I think I’m doing alright because I haven’t fallen into one of the classic bad habits, such as looking at my hands. I haven’t ever looked at my hands, so I guess that’s good. I’ll tell you this though – when I look down on purpose, life becomes easier.
For some strange reason, high D torments me. It is my most often missed note. I’m not sure of the cause, but when I am picking around, I’ll either hit the G string or the high E string. Anything but that B string. I have to take extra special care when playing, so I need to work through that too.
After I was finished with my 45 minute warm-up, I turned on the metronome and set it to 60bpm. I did well. I even gained some accuracy in exercise four in the “Fourth String Exercises.” I can do what sounds something like a scale. My fingers are moving much more in tune with my mind.
Goals – hmmm. I would say that I am going to work on increasing the speed to 92 bpm and continuously run through these exercises and songs until I feel comfortable. Then I will work on the chords for this session. I am also going to purchase the “Hal Leonard Guitar Method, Complete Edition: Books & CD’s 1, 2 and 3” that Steve Krenz suggested. On Amazon, I was able to browse through a few pages and it seems like music I can handle.
June 13, 2012
Practice time: 3:45 – 4:20
First off, I’d like to mention that I just ordered the “Hal Leonard Guitar Method, Complete Edition: Books & CD’s 1, 2 and 3” set. There were other options available, but one book went for around $7. All three went for double that, so I figured it would be wise to buy all three. I am excited to start playing some songs from them.
Today I went through Ode To Joy and Jingle Bells at 92bpm. Those songs are no longer challenging for me. I also warmed up with all the material in Session Three and then went over it at 92bpm. While I was not perfect, I played a heck of a lot better than I did a week ago. I haven’t practiced any chords in this session yet, so tomorrow I’ll be playing with Steve on the DVD again. I’ll practice with the DVD for a day or two.
I am trying not to fall into the trap of attempting to perfect something too much. I wasn’t perfect at the notes and material taught in Session Two, but I am damn near close to that now. I attribute that to my constant looking back and warming up with older material. I am confident that I will continue this trend as I continue on.
Here are my strengths at this point: I can read music like it’s nobody’s business. I think I may have picked this up from my six years of playing the trombone as a kid. Whatever the reason, reading music is not a problem for me. I don’t use the TAB and I don’t need to write the notes in on top of the measures. I can also play notes just fine. I am able to look ahead in the music to prepare my fingers for where they will be in the future. As far as learning new material, I think I am rather strong at that as well. Once I learn a note, I need only go over it a few times before I memorize it. So I think what may traditionally hold people back when learning guitar doesn’t have that much effect on me. The only thing that challenges me is finger placement. I misfire here and there, but that’s simply because my fingers haven’t adapted to their new environment yet.
I think I will spend a few days with the DVD and then I’ll move onto Session Four. If what I think is correct regarding my learning abilities, I think I’ll be fine.
I do want to talk about learning method for a moment. A few weeks ago, I was sitting on the mat during Jiu Jitsu practice, talking to one of the younger players. I explained to him that I enjoyed learning everything at once. I wanted to be presented with as much material as I could handle and then spend the rest of my life perfecting it. I don’t like surprises – and luckily, Jiu Jitsu caters to this type of personality. We oftentimes have new students who are thrown into the mix. Their first class may contain techniques intended for more advanced students. They are merely introduced to it and then continue on with more basic material. When they reach the advanced techniques, they do just fine because they’ve seen it before. I think this is what’s happening with guitar and that’s why I am comfortable with moving ahead soon.
June 14, 2012
Practice time: 3:20 – 4:15
This is too funny. Listen to this – I was working with the DVD today, playing “Aura Lee” with Steve when I realized that what he was playing sounded like a song and what I was playing didn’t. I said to myself, “Something is up.” I paused the DVD and turned to my handy electronic tuner that’s built in to my metronome. I tuned the E, B and what I thought was the G strings. Then I continued on and tuned what I thought was the D string, the A and the E. Strange thing is – when I tuned all the strings, minus the G and D, the tuner meter held strong, facing straight up. When I tried to tune the G and D strings, the needle bounced all over the place. Those strings sounded funny too.
For the fun of it, I decided to twist the key for the G string one whole revolution. Like magic, the needle corrected itself and held strong. I did the same for the D string and the same thing happened. Also, those strings now sounded like they should.
So what was going on? Well, when I opened the guitar from its packaging way back when I bought it, I guess it was really out of tune. I have been playing those two strings all this time tuned to a different note. Beginners mistake? Please don’t answer that.
Anyway, today I played along with Steve in the Workshop section of Session Three. I did okay. I misfired some notes, but overall, I think I am ready to move on to Session Four. I know, I know – some out there may think I’m rushing it, but let me tell you, 100bpm is no longer crazy fast. I actually did that scale I thought I would never do at that speed. Somehow it just worked. I’d like to learn the notes on the A and E strings now, so I can get that sense of completion and play all the songs in the books I ordered.
Lastly, I was looking at Steve’s wrist today while he was playing and I discovered that his was held somewhat lower than mine. I lowered my wrist so it wasn’t “hugging” the neck so much and I believe my accuracy improved just from this slight adjustment. I am going to focus on this more because it actually made me more relaxed and will help a lot with those lower strings.
June 19, 2012
Practice time: 2:00 – 3:00
I mentioned on the Guitar page that I recently downloaded the Learn & Master Guitar bonus material. I decided that it would behoove me to reverse course to go over some of the “More” exercises and songs in Session 3. I did that today and found some interesting results.
First, my neck is hurting. For some reason, when I play new material, I get a real pain in the neck. My posture must be off or I may be tightening some muscles. I don’t know, but it’s annoying. Second, I found that it really does take a few days and many repetitions be become competent with new material. The going was really slow today, especially with “Amazing Grace.” I mean, that song is tough, especially for something with so few notes. “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” was much easier, but still very choppy. I spent about 15 minutes on that and got the hang of it later on.
I am going to spend two more days on this section and be done with it forever. Later sections incorporate the same notes, so even if I’m not playing these songs at 120bpm, I can still practice all six strings. I do feel comfortable with the material though and will speed up the songs in the next two days.
June 20, 2012
Practice time: 4:00 – 5:00
Today was very satisfying. Unlike yesterday, I limited myself to only the four Third String Exercises in the bonus material. Man, what an hour can do for a person when they focus. By the time my hour was up, I had almost perfected something that sounded horrible not long before. Over and over and over. That’s what seems to work. Start the metronome at 60bpm, increase to 80, 100 and then 120.
June 21, 2012
Practice time: 3:35 – 4:25
I just finished going over exercises 1, 2 and 3 of “More Third String Exercises” of the bonus material. It really does take a while to get things to a comfortable level. In the forum, I am reading that people complete this Session (3) in just a few weeks and then move on to Session 4. They then get frustrated with the material introduced there. The reason for that frustration may be that they haven’t really completed Session 3 (like I haven’t). While I thought, for a brief moment that I had mastered the third string (G), I hadn’t come close. I’m glad I turned around and began practicing the way I am. Slow and steady. Focused. It’s paying off because I am playing more accurately and more smoothly than I have until this point. There are many mistakes, but I can feel my fingers taking on a life of their own.
Here’s what I do – I first warm up with going up and down all the notes. I can do this at speed now. It’s not a problem. I know all the first position notes on all six strings. By warming up this way, I loosen my hands and keep the notes fresh in my mind. I can also say the letters to myself if I want.
When my fingers are ready, I begin going over new material. The exercises I completed at speed the day before are now complete. I don’t get over them again. If I didn’t make it to 120bpm, then that exercise isn’t completed yet and it stays on the “to do” list. I go over just what I can get to 120bpm in an hour. If it’s only one exercises, then it’s only one exercise. If I don’t make it, I continue with it the next day.
This works for me. It trains my mind and my fingers. It let’s me dream about it and I wake up with skills I didn’t know I had.
Today, I finished exercise 1 and 2.
June 22, 2012
Practice time: 5:15 – 6:15
Today, I worked on Exercise 3 under the “More Third String Exercises” bonus material. Exercise 3 is somewhat challenging, but I managed to make it through at 100bpm. I took a full half hour to work on that. For the remainder of the hour, I played three songs from the Hal Leonard Guitar Method book I received in the mail this afternoon. You can read about that on the Book 1 page I set up to log the songs I play from that source.
June 23, 2012
Practice time: 7:10 – 8:20
I had a pretty decent practice today. I went over another exercise – number 4 of “More Third String Exercises” in the bonus material. I really like my method of learning guitar. If I am facing a challenging exercise, I focus on only that one for my entire session. Well, at least a half hour of it. After that, I play some songs from the Hal Leonard Guitar Method. I’ve done this for the past two days and it feels good.
Exercise 4 was a handful. There’s a lot of range and the finger positions in a few spots were difficult to manage. I played at 60bpm the whole time and when my half hour was up, I was happy to move on. I have a feeling I wouldn’t be able to make it to 80 and 100bpm today. I was feeling the fatigue after what I did.
It’s funny. You can really feel fatigue playing guitar. Especially if you are getting frustrated. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but after about 45 minutes, I start to get antsy. I make more mistakes than earlier on and I just want to finish. I am training myself to push through this though because I’d like to eventually practice more than an hour a day. I don’t want to have to think about the time, but my internal clock seems to know what it likes.
I played for about an hour and ten minutes this afternoon. When I started making mistakes, I played a quick scale or two. In between songs, I played a scale again. I think that kind of breaks things up a bit.
June 24, 2012
Practice time: 6:00 0 6:45
I think I just had one of those stupid days of guitar practice. I feel so guilty. I don’t know what happened, but I couldn’t do anything right. Starting out bad began the downward spiral until I said enough was enough.
I did manage to finish up the third string exercises in the bonus material though. I played through 5 and 6 and then went over Aura Lee once more. Exercise 5 was somewhat challenging to play with the metronome. I think eighth notes are the issue and in Exercise 5, there are tons of eighth notes. It’s that “down – up” that throws me (in one beat). Reminds me of patting my head and rubbing my belly at the same time. Coordination that I’m sure I’ll get one day.
Aura Lee didn’t work out so well. I knew I was tired when I started screwing that song up. I’ve played that song through without issue so many times that I knew something was up today.
Ahh, learning guitar. Nothing but hard work and a lot of ups and downs.
Practice time: 11:40 – 12:00
Note to self – never practice guitar on an empty stomach. It doesn’t help the cause.
I work all day and oftentimes forget to eat. Don’t ask, it’s been happening for years. Sometimes I don’t have my first bite until 5pm. Unfortunately, I tend to practice guitar around 4, so I am lightheaded most of the time. Today’s first practice was terrible because even though I ate around 2, I had a lack of food in my system. As I mentioned above, it made for a lousy result.
I just gave it another 20 minutes to redeem myself. Things were much better. I knew I couldn’t fall asleep like I felt earlier, so I had to do something about it. I decided that going over Exercise 1 and 2 of the “Fourth String Exercises” in the bonus material would help things along. And they did. I practiced both of those simple exercises at 100bpm and called it a day. Smooth.
June 25, 2012
Practice time: 4:50 – 5:20
I decided to make today all about accuracy. Since Exercise 3 and 4 of the “Fourth String Exercises” in the bonus material are a bit more challenging, there wasn’t much more I could do. I’ve been having issues trying to make my mind compatible with playing eighth notes to the metronome, so this was a good time as any.
I played Exercise 3 a few times through and then set the metronome to 40bpm. I got down the tapping pretty quickly. One and a two and a three and a four…If I keep the beat in my head to the taps of the metronome, I do okay. I raised it to 52bpm and did well again. Then 60 and started to lose it. It’s a speed thing and I didn’t want to push it because if you recall, today was all about accuracy. So I stopped that exercise.
I then moved onto Exercise 4 and was totally lost the first time I played it through. I tried again, only this time crawling like a snail. I played it measure by measure at about 10bpm and then at 20. Within a few minutes, I had the rhythm in my head enough to play at 40bpm accurately. I did that a few times and left it there.
I am going to play these two though for another half-hour tonight to see if anything sunk in between now and then.
Practice time: 12:45 – 1:15
There, I just put in another half hour on Fourth String Exercises 3 and 4. I am through with 3 now. I played it quite handily at 40 and then 60bpm. At 80, I lost it. And now that I read back to what I wrote earlier today, I see that I lost it at 60 last time. I suppose that’s an improvement now isn’t it? I think that’s pretty good.
I played through Exercise 4 again and did well. I am going to turn on the metronome again tomorrow to see how I make out. I have a feeling I’ll do well at 60bpm. I am quickly getting better at playing eighth notes with the metronome and am happy to make improvements every day.
June 26, 2012
Practice time: 5:45 – 6:15
I took it easy today. I have been running full steam for over a month now and decided that it was high time to put in only a half hour. It worked well because I stayed relaxed and worked on fairly simple exercises.
I moved into the “More Fourth String Exercises” and worked on Exercise 1 and 2. They were both very straightforward, but gave me a chance to work on finger placement on the fourth string. Every time I pick up the guitar, I think I discover something new, even if it’s tiny. I guess that’s what they call learning.
I did discover something that made me quite pleased today though. I was reading through the forum again and found a post written by someone who was having issues playing eighth notes to the metronome. I would say that I fall into this category as well. I’ve been working on it. In the past, if I wanted to play an exercise with eighth notes at 40bpm, I would set the metronome to 80bpm. This would eliminate the strain from my mind and let me focus on the music instead of the timing. Over time, I felt like this was cheating and forming a bad habit, so I set the metronome back to 40bpm and continued on.
Well, today I found that my metronome has an eighth notes setting (from the response to the post in the forum). Hmmm, I guess I wasn’t cheating after all. The setting does exactly what I was doing – basically injecting a half-way click in between each beat. I played through Exercise 3 in no time flat like this. I have a feeling this is going to make things much easier.
June 27, 2012
Practice time: 4:00 – 4:50
I felt good today. With my new metronome eighth note setting, I was able to push through Exercise 3 of the “More Fourth String Exercises” with no problem. I believe I made it to 80bpm before things came apart. By that time, I had already played that exercise about 30 times, so it was understandable.
I was talking with someone about playing these exercises this afternoon. I said that it’s interesting because I don’t have much of an issue playing them the 4th, 5th, 6th time, but when I get to the 20th, I begin to have issues. I think there’s a point of diminishing returns with these things. That’s why I stop playing each one when I feel that I’ve played it all it can be played. If I make it between 60 and 80bpm accurately, I’m happy.
I also played through Exercise 4 a bit, but decided to wait until tomorrow to tackle that one in earnest with the metronome. My fingers were getting tired today and when they get tired, I have difficulty finding high D. It’s weird how that works.
Tomorrow, my goal is to finish up Exercise 4, 5 and 6, so I can move on to some additional exercises and 4th string songs.
June 28, 2012
Practice time: 5:45 – 6:45
While my goal for today was to complete Exercises 4, 5 and 6, I actually spent some extra time to not only meet that goal, but to complete Exercises 1 and 2 of “Ties, Dots and Rests.” As you can imagine, those last two exercises, while simple, proved to be somewhat challenging. Towards the end of my hour, my fingers get sloppy, which in turn causes me to make mistakes, which in turn frustrates me, which in turn causes a vicious cycle to occur. It’s a terrible thing, but if there is a silver lining, I get to learn how to push through it to finish what I set out to do.
I am not working on these exercises for speed. I keep reading that speed will come over time. I know I can play faster than I am. I’ve done it before. I don’t want to spin my wheels trying to play as fast as possible – accurately. I’m sure that years down the road, when I’m not thinking of where my fingers go and which strings to strum, I’ll play as fast as I want. For right now, I want to be as careful as I can be while focusing on where things go. And it’s working because I’m getting better. I can feel it.
June 29, 2012
Practice time: 5:00 – 6:00
I have to say, I am rolling right along. I finished up the “Ties, Dots & Rests” section of the Session 3 Bonus Material today. Exercise 4 was easy. Exercise 5 became slightly more complicated with the eighth notes and rests and Exercise 6 was the most difficult of all. But it really wasn’t difficult because I played the exercise through at a snail’s pace a few times before I set the metronome to 40bpm. It’s quite simple when things are broken down and practiced slowly before showtime. I gradually increased the metronome to 50 and called it a day. I then played a song I’ll mention in the Book 1 Section.
All I have left for Session 3 is two songs in the bonus material and seven songs in the Hal Leonard Guitar Method book (which I hope to get through tomorrow and the next day).
June 30, 2012
Practice time: 6:00 – 9:45
No, I didn’t practice from 6 to 10. I began at 6, got frustrated playing every single note incorrectly on Amazing Grace and quit. I think my blood sugar was low or something. All I had eaten up until the point I started playing was a bagel. I know something is up when I do stupid things. I decided it was better to stop, get something to eat and then try again. So that’s what I did.
I think I gave it about an hour when I started playing again. I decided to go ahead with We Wish You a Merry Christmas this time. It’s a bit easier than Amazing Grace. I did well too. I started at 40bpm, then raised in incrementally to 100bpm. I played okay at that speed. There were mistakes, but I played the song.
Something strange happened when my hour was up. I lost it. I just lost my playing ability. Strange. I think my brain tells me when it’s had enough. I think it may have been because I was plowing through with full steam. I suppose I ran out of it along the way.
July 1 & 2, 2012
Practice time: 5:45 – 7:00 & 4:15 – 5:15
These two practice sessions were all about songs. I only have three more to go before I move back into Session Four, so I wanted to take a bit of time to get these right. Going was a bit slow yesterday, but today came through somewhat stronger. I’ll talk about them more in my Book 1 page because the songs I’ve been playing were from the Guitar Method book.
July 3, 2012
Practice time: 5:45 – 6:45
Today was a really good day. For some reason, I felt loose and playing came easier than it usually does. I felt like I am actually starting to play guitar. My wrists seem like they want to move and my fingers are really beginning to develop a style. I know, hard to believe with only a month and a half under my belt. I haven’t missed a day yet though, so that gives me approximately 45 hours worth of practice. Funny, because you need fewer hours than that to fly an airplane.
I am now officially moving into Session 4 (again). If you remember back, I had to return to Session 3 because I hadn’t completed the bonus material. Somehow, that escaped me. But now that I’m finished with and proficient at all the Session 3 exercises and songs, I can move on. Today was my final play of Amazing Grace, unless it pops up again in the future. I must say, I played the song quite well. I was having some trouble with it the last few times I played it, but the mind works on things wonderfully in its off time. Surprisingly, I plowed through all my trouble spots this afternoon.
I also worked on a few songs from my Guitar Method book, which I’ll mention over here.
Well, this is the end of Session 3. Check out my entries for Session 4.