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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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Discussion Starter #1
First off I recognize that most of us are just dedicated amateurs trying to learn new things and have fun along the way. Nobody takes this class intending to play professionally but I think if you add just a little structure you will improv faster and have more fun playing wherever you end up playing. so heres some thoughts

1. spend half your time becoming a better player on your instrument. I know many many guitar players in my circles who think being a better player means you know more songs. But the reality is that all they do (I won't mention names) is learn new songs with the same, time, tone, form, lack of chord knowledge , and in general all the same problems they had playing the last song. So, the things that most listeners notice when they hear you never get better unless you address them on their own. So i personally work on Tone (long tones and overtones) , time (locking a simple phrase right into the beat, Technique (doing chord tones with many rhythms) and theory (working on common chord patterns outside of a tune, such as a I to IV or II V I or I Vi II V I etc), and then tunes. (memorizing forms) These are all separate skills and just like a gym , if all you work on is your arms , your legs and back never get better. so each skill might need to be addressed then

2. Last half. Apply to whatever you d like to do. For me it means working on blues and bop songs I d like to play. So I'm memorizing and trying to add vocabulary into my playing. If you are playing blues there are probably 20 or so licks you should know, same for funk, same for bop, same for jazz. If you never solo and need to read tunes then reading skills is what you need most. If you play in a band and parts are wicked hard, practicing the music might be the best use of your time and

3. On a regular basis walk around you house playing whatever makes you happy, whatever music got you to pick up the instrument in the first place. If I forget to have fun I'll play some hermans hermits or gary and the playboys songs on my sax or flute. that makes me happy. Or I'll go to old music and see if I can play it faster.

4. Lastly its not a bad idea to write down a general plan for what you want to get done this week. Not a do it or else but just what you'd like. I find in my own practice if I have no expectations I get little done or I settle for what I always do. I never improve. And you might use on line metronome to help you with time, and time management. I thought I was doing a good job on long tones and over tones and the reality was I was spending 90 seconds on each. Just going to 5 minutes on each had dramatically (and noticeably ) changed both my flute and sax tone much. Especially on flute. I'll hear myself play and wonder who's playing it sounds good and I'm not used to that.



So have fun, do what you do and by all means share the talent and passion you posesss with your friends/family. Music has such an ability to heal and inspire. K
 

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Great post Keith. What a thoughtful thing to send your students.
By they way, hope the play on works in the second line (improv/improve) was intentional:)
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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5,384 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Hey < peter I think about you every week when Im rushing too and from church going right by your house. We'll hook up K
 
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