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I got told last night...


(@lue42)
Reputable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 356
Topic starter  

For the past couple of months I have had no focus when it comes to practicing. I have surely been putting the time in - usually at least 1/2 hour a night... more on weekends. However... I find my interest jumping from style to style, and from song to song. I go from blues soloing, general scales, sweep picking on the electric, to strumming/rhythm on the acoustic to fingerpicking on the classical. I just can't seem to get myself focused on one thing long enough to learn it.

So, last night my instructor pretty much gave me an ultimatum... she said that I need to pick one thing to work on for a while - that me bringing in a different guitar every week and a different song is absolutely not productive and that I am not getting anywhere doing that. Either that, or she can't really teach me anymore. She basically said that our lessons lately have been jam sessions. She is an amazing teacher and probably the best guitarist I have ever heard in person (that wasn't on a stage). I don't want to lose her as my instructor. I have learned so much from her, and we vibe well together. I don't think she is really used to teaching an adult - most of her students are kids. Up until last night, I think she was letting me decide what I wanted to learn... but, has now decided to put her foot down.

It seems like no matter what style, song or guitar I use, I always tend to go back to my acoustic (Ovation) and do fingerstyle. It is the most enjoyable style for me.

So, I have chosen that.

I picked two songs to focus on, and a 3rd for Christmas.

1) Here comes the Sun ( http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/tabs/h/harry_sacksioni/here_comes_the_sun_ver2_guitar_pro.htm )
2) California Dreaming (Michael Chapdelaine arrangement)
3) For Christmas I think either O' Come all ye Faithful or We Three Kings

Here comes the sun is within my skill set right now - I can play it, but it is a matter of perfecting it. Dreaming is just out of my league, but I want something challenging.

So, after saying all that... can anyone offer advice, your opinions on what my instructor said and my focus lately, personal stories that relate, etc?

My Fingerstyle Guitar Blog:
http://fsguitar.wordpress.com

My Guitars
Ibanez Artwood AWS1000ECE-NT
Schecter S-1 30th Anniversary Edition
Ovation CS257
LaPatrie Etude
Washburn Rover RO10


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

Hmm that probably wasn't fun to hear that but in a way you should be happy that your teacher is concerned about you making progress on the guitar more than her just making money. I'm sure it would be easy for her to just let you call the shots and do what ever you want even if you weren't actually improving so that's the good part.

I guess the bad part is that it's a bit of an eye opener in that you've been told you need to focus more and decide what you want to concentrate on going forward.

In some ways i'm in a similar situation, I'm an adult who takes lessons and pretty much calls the shots as to what I want to learn. But in my situation I'm alittle more focused because of the situation I'm in.

Since I play with a group of guys that we "loosely" call a band I work on the songs that the band wants to play. They tend to mostly be classic rock unless I can sneak in some newer music but for the most part it's pretty straight forward stuff. In the band I play rhthym guitar and a few short solo's and we do a couple harmony licks/riffs with the other guitar player.

My lessons basically consist of me going in with a song on a CD that i want to learn and then he will tab it out. When I go back the next week we will either finish the song we started or start a new one. I sometimes play for my teacher and alot of times I don't and it's usually a part that I'm having trouble with that I'll play for him the next week otherwise I want him to be working on the tabs.

Is this the best way to structure my lessons? I'm sure it's not but at the moment it serves a purpose and that is I am learning alot of songs at a fairly fast rate and these are songs that I'm playing with the band so I have to be able to play them up to speed pretty much in a week.

We used to spend half the lesson writing out/palying some technical exercises but have dropped that for just working out songs.

I do need to go back to some type of technical stuff since my ability to improv solo's has pretty much stagnated and that's really what I want to do. (Of course if I wasn't lazy I'd just keep practicing my soloing over backing tracks)

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@elecktrablue)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4389
 

I think your teacher is absolutely right. You do need to focus on one thing at a time and since you've chosen fingerpicking (my personal favorite way to play), I just uploaded 16 songs so far to the ESD, all fingerpicking stuff with more to come! (I'm sorting out all of my tablature and breaking it into categories and just happened to start with fingerpicking!) You may find something there (or coming) that you might want to use for future lessons.

..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
((¸¸.·´ .·´
-:¦:- ((¸¸.·´ -:¦:- Elecktrablue -:¦:-

"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"


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(@joehempel)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2418
 

Good luck on that Chapdelain California Dreaming....man that's a tough tough song. But I bet if she can help you get through it it will sound great!!

Good luck on your fingerstyle journey. I love playing fingerstyle!

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


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(@minotaur)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1092
 

In some ways i'm in a similar situation, I'm an adult who takes lessons and pretty much calls the shots as to what I want to learn. But in my situation I'm alittle more focused because of the situation I'm in.

...

My lessons basically consist of me going in with a song on a CD that i want to learn and then he will tab it out. When I go back the next week we will either finish the song we started or start a new one. I sometimes play for my teacher and alot of times I don't and it's usually a part that I'm having trouble with that I'll play for him the next week otherwise I want him to be working on the tabs.

Is this the best way to structure my lessons? I'm sure it's not but at the moment it serves a purpose and that is I am learning alot of songs at a fairly fast rate

Jeez, I swear I could have written that. In fact, only when I got to the part about the band I realized it wasn't me.

A few weeks ago when I told my teacher I wanted to put a hold on the songs for a while, since what I had to practice with them was gettng backlogged, and wanted to start some basic theory, he said something like yes we should do that. Whereas in the beginning I was taking the lead for what I wanted to do, which was further work on and polish songs I was working on, now he's taking the lead on the theory. He teaches mostly kids (teens) and they simply want to learn to play Stairway to Heaven, Smoke on the Water and Sweet Child of Mine without learning anything underlying.

And that's ironic because the parents are paying for lessons, and you'd think they'd keep tabs on what the kid is learning. But I guess if they hear the kid play a song they knew from their youth, they think the kid is learning.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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(@mercury187)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 38
 

Hey what ovation is that? My only acoustic is a ovation 1537 and once I got it I stopped bringing my electric to lessons and have only been taking in my ovation as well.


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(@lue42)
Reputable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 356
Topic starter  

It's a CS257. It is the super-slim one. Plays great, sounds great... but kind-of lacks volume. No way I can afford a US made Ovation right now... some day!

My Fingerstyle Guitar Blog:
http://fsguitar.wordpress.com

My Guitars
Ibanez Artwood AWS1000ECE-NT
Schecter S-1 30th Anniversary Edition
Ovation CS257
LaPatrie Etude
Washburn Rover RO10


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