Practice rut

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by SIFJiggy, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. SIFJiggy


    Jan 22, 2011
    Here's the deal.

    I have most of my basic scales down, I keep time very well and have received plenty of compliments on my playing at local open mic.

    I just completely blank out when I sit down to practice.

    I play (practice) mostly unplugged and then ill hop on irig/amplitube if I want to learn a song. Learning songs is great and fun but I feel like it rarely teaches me anything.

  2. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Learning tunes teaches you quite a bit IMHO.
    Different keys,changes, fingerings.
    Methods books are a good challenge.
    JS Bach cello etudes are great finger busters.
    I'm working thru the RUSH deluxe tab edition 1975-2007.
    Great challenge & fun and standard notation too.
    MAybe time for a good teacher.
  3. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Find a music teacher, or someone else similar to set your practice for you. You are in a rut because you are setting out what you know to practice, so in effect you already know what is happening.

    There are some good sites on line, some great books and videos to use, but the crux of the matter is you need outside help to challenge what you learn so influence/add to what you already know. If you do not you are in fact just re-arranging knowledge to suit, a bit like moving the same furniture about the room, yes it looks like a new room because it is different, but in the end it will be that very furniture that needs changing. :)
  4. SIFJiggy


    Jan 22, 2011
    Any sites that you guys recommend? I dot have time for a lesson- I really try to find 30 mins at least 5 days a week at my convenience.
  5. msaone


    May 13, 2012
    Keep on the scales. Learn the different modes. You have too much to learn to be bored.
    Just screw around. Sometimes you'll play something that'll make you think of something else and before you know it you've learned a whole new thing.
  6. Start learning songs in whatever style of music you dig.
    Standard notation, not tab.
    I say this because standard lets you figure out the fingering that works for you.
    If you need some sheet music / fake books in PDF format just pm me. I have a decent collection id be happy to share.
  7. TreySonagras


    Aug 11, 2013
    I am a high school band director and this is what I encourage my jazz band kids to do. It would work just as well if one were a country/rock/blues player on any instrument. It goes like this:

    Every week learn a new song from the style of music they play. Memorize the whole thing. Learn it in the original key, plus a half-step up AND down.

    Every day learn a new little lick or riff...just a couple of bars. Learn it in all 12 keys.

    If they do this at the end of one year they'll have 50 tunes under their belt and they'll have over 350 riffs in every key they can use in soloing or grooving. That would be enough to get them through just about any gig situation.
  8. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Learn new and varied forms of music, that will fuel the need to learn new techniques and take on new ideas.
    Learn new music then any theory that applies to it, let your ear develop the sound of it, then let your mind understand and relate. Any theory to it.
    Also get out and play with varied musicians to get a better perspective of music.

    I will relate this recent situation to you.

    I had a player with over sixty years of playing experience come to ke because he wasin a rut. He believed he had lost rhe ability to learn new songs. His justification for this is he never really struggled to learn new songs, but in helping his grandson he was struggling and could not workout why this had developed, so came to me for a technique review and advice.

    As we talked and i watched him play his skill and ear were great, he plays 50s music and rock'n'roll is his passion because he grew up and started playing in this era. There was not really a song he did not know or could not play, he was like a musical jukebox of what he knew, and what he knew was thousands and thousand of song.

    The issue was he related the amount of what he knew rather than the content of what he knew as the bench mark of his knowlege.
    What he knew was a handful of styles that covered all the songs he knew. So when he heard a songs that used G C D he could organise and order that into a 1-4-5 use or a 1-5-4 use or a -5-4-1 use etc in any key in any of the styles he knew. Add a 6th to this and he could cover any amount of song written using the progression 1-6-4-5. He knew the 6th was a minor because he could harmonise a major scale.

    But his grandson was listening to music that offered more than structured chords repeating over a set amount of bars. This new music had intros, verses, bridges, middle 8s, pre choruses, key changes etc etc with no real repeating function that he is used to.
    For him as a rule all his songs simply repreated the same idea, not introduce new ones as it developed.
    Once he got the idea that he was not losing skills he was happy and relived. Simple fact was he had no experiece in new ideas, so and never developed the ear to hear such changes, so never had them to lose in the first place.

    He left happy knowing why his situation was so.....will he learn new music? I feel he will not, his main fear was losing what he never had in the first place, but it took another 'set of ears' and some different experience to make him aware of it.
    Did he know theory? He knew what he had to know and knew more about playing 'his music' than i could ever learn, so yes, he understood what needed to be played and how best to play it.
    So do not think learning lots of songs is might find there is a commonality to the songs you learn and that can lead to a feeling dis-satisfaction in you playing because you are going though the motions of what you already know.:)
  9. work on arpeggios/chord tones in all inversions on all chord types...this will keep you busy for years and will improve your playing more than running scales and modes ever will.