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Efficient practice time

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by MKS, Jul 15, 2002.

  1. Hi. I've really enjoyed the thread on playing confidence, but it has sparked another question... Steve L. mentioned to me once that one way to keep practice time fresh and focussed is to keep it really short. He suggested starting with only 5 minutes, to try to focus and concentrate your brain on useful material as opposed to fudging around playing stuff you already know. Guilty, m'lud...

    So... Question is, what kinds of things would it be worth practising to get maximum benefit? Scales? Broken chords? (Is that like Bmin7 with a flattened 9th?) Fingerboard familiarisation? Intonation (for fretless players)? Remember, only 5 minutes now... We can work ourselves up to 6 minutes next week. ;)

    Bass practice for the interminably busy.
    Any thoughts?

    PS. BTW I collect broken jokes: "My dog smells terrible... He's got no nose." Sorry. :D
  2. steve_man


    May 15, 2002
    I have two suggestions.

    But carefull not to go over board. I like fret board familiarization and keeping beats along with a metranome (I forget is that how you spell it).

    maybe not even just playing along to the metranome but rather just listening to a strait beat for 5 min and tapping your foot and creating a beat in your head.

    and remember don't go over board!!!


    If you're getting the wrong idea I'm saying keep it simple!
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    It all depends on what you need to work on - what have you tried recently that you weren't satisfied with?

    If nothing particularly springs to mind - or you want a break to do something different and refresh yourself - that's when you can flick through these online forums or books and magazines (or your bass video collection, or music collection, or notes from past lessons... etc) and just pick something. In some ways, it probably doesn't matter too much, as long as you don't entirely neglect working on your problem areas; trying new things and reinforcing what you've learnt before is all part of a balanced musical diet.

    One idea I've been trying this week, having finally acquired Mark Levine's masterful Jazz Theory Workbook, is to play up a scale in the ionian mode, down in the dorian mode, up in the phrygian mode (etc) and then reverse the whole lot and do it descending. Having started in one key, then move round to the next stop on the circle of fifths and repeat.

  4. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Last night I worked out the melody to the Eastenders theme tune (sad, but true!). Then I figured out what scales the melody fitted into and what keys it could have been in.

    Tonight I'm going to work out a couple of modal harmonies for the same melody.

    It's the 1st time I've done this, but it just dawned on me as a really good method of practicing because...

    1) it trains your ear when you figure out a melody from your head

    2) it trains yout fretboard familiarity as you are finding specific tones/intervals from a melody in your head

    3) you work on your scale knowledge and familiarity by having to figure out what scale the tune is using

    4) it improves you knowlegde of modes and keys by making you figure out what keys the melody could be in?

    5) If the melody has several parts, you can also work out the rhythm of the different parts of the melody.

    It usually doesnt take long to figure out a popular melody, there are millions of them, it's relatively easy to do, but does involve thought... and it's pretty good fun if you dont choose a sappy tune like i did!

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