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Practice Question Regarding Books

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(@morenoise)
Active Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 10
Topic starter  

Thoughts
When learning guitar from a book.....practicing tunes....
Should you learn each tune to perfection or move on to new tune to break the repetition of possible errors picked up? ....returning to it at a later date when not so familiar.

Question Rephrased:-
By moving on to unfamiliar material...I think it makes me concentrate more...rather than getting lazy and not moving on.

I am not sure if this is a good way to learn or not.
Any advice would be appreciated.


   
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(@mahal)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 107
 

In school do they lock you in a classroom and not move on to other concepts or subjects until the previous was perfected?

Most people can't learn that way boredom will set in long before perfection. And they quit, given the chance.


   
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(@dogbite)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

go ahead. follow your energies. just don't get a habit of breezing thru songs. correct mistakes as you go.

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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3995
 

Try to maintain the practice of the song, tune or lesson for some days. The number of days and hours depend on the difficulty. Go for new stuff when you play them "enough" good. And return them form time to time. I read if you play your song once per week you your brain is able to remember it for a long time.

Sometimes is a good idea start the book again when you finish it. It is not necessary to do all the exercises again. If there are tunes, you will play much better them in the second pass.


   
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(@phillyblues)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 127
 

When it comes to learning songs, I've found the best thing for me is to work on 2 or 3 songs at the same time to keep from getting bored/burnt out working on any one (especially if its a long and/or complicated song). Typically, I'll pick one song that's pretty simple that gives me that quick feeling of accomplishment and one song that's just a notch above my meager skills to push me to learn something new.


   
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(@mrodgers)
Trusted Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 75
 

Is there, or has there ever been any "lesson books" recommended by you experienced folks?

I think I'd like to do a bit more than "free" lesson sites online. Though, I'm busy and haven't really picked up the guitar in a few weeks now (working on house until the kids are in bed, at which time I can't be playing the guitar...)


   
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(@mahal)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 107
 

Long befor Al Gore invented the internet people learned by picking up the record needle to repeat a passage and using the Mel Bay method books.

I used Hal Leonard myself but there are thousands, if not millions of them and you can find them at libraries and general book stores. Unless you live in a place where books are polywrapped and sealed you can browse and see if any writting/illustration style catches your attention better then the others.


   
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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Long befor Al Gore invented the internet people learned by picking up the record needle to repeat a passage and using the Mel Bay method books.
Hi mrodgers!

Did you review the Instructional Material Forum? There are several posts on books. Some posts ask for recommendations and others just recommend a list of "good" books on a specific style of music, band or level.

There you'll find really good advices.

Hope it helps.


   
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(@daverod)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 15
 

(working on house until the kids are in bed, at which time I can't be playing the guitar...)

I love my old house with its plaster walls. I practice out in the sun room where there are two walls between me and the the kids rooms (it's a ranch, all on the same floor). They can't hear a thing. I practice out here at midnight sometimes.


   
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(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

It's a great question, and one we all face - no matter how long we've been playing. But underneath it is the more important question: "What do I want to get out of this piece?" (And underneath that is yet another question: "Am I really ready for this piece?")

If you're working from a method book, you have to understand that the writer is trying to steer you through a process. But that process is often hard to articulate, and book editors would much rather have loads of music than loads of text - so the author rarely tells you WHY this piece happens on page 9 instead of page 25. For example, the (unstated) goal of the Mel Bay series is to teach you how to read music for the guitar - NOT how to play the guitar. That means the hardest piece to play in book 1 is on page 25 or so, and the hardest piece to play in book 2 comes on about page 9. They fall where they do because they're easier to read than the pieces that come later in the book.

But if you're working through a book without a teacher, you don't know that. So... if you find you're just not "getting" a piece, move on to the next one, and come back in a week or a month and try again. It's likely you'll have picked up things along the way that make your troubles disappear, or at least seem less daunting.

If your goal is to perform something, you probably want it as close to perfect as you can get it. That means being able to play it over and over... there are times I'll spend 20 minutes or more practicing a single phrase over and over if I'm going to be doing a performance where I need to be dead on - because you're not going to be absolutely certain you can do that tough part when the gig is on the line unless you can do it flawlessly 10 times in a row in practice.

On the other hand, if your goal is improving your sight reading, repetition is actually a bad thing. To practice reading at sight, you MUST be playing something you've never seen before - otherwise your memory is helping you out. So either get a boatload of music and keep playing new things, or play the old things new ways - I sometimes practice by playing the notes backwards, or playing down the first measures of each line on a page. That makes it something I've never heard before, and I'm forced to actually read it cold.

So I guess the short answer is "it depends" :) (for some reason when my lawyer says that exact thing she gets paid more for it than I do...) There's a right answer, but it's going to be different for every piece you play.

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