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Backward practice?

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(@hobbypicker)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 62
Topic starter  

I've got a real problem when I try to play along with other people or with recorded music, I get lost when I make a mistake and have real trouble falling in again. I believe that the way I've always been practicing, starting at the beginning of a song and learning it bar by bar, is not very good for training the ability to keep on playing after a mistake. I always go back when I play wrong and do it over, and I always move towards unknown territory. Being a slow learner, this means a lot of repetition before I come through the piece, so most of my playing time I actually practice on stopping and going back whenever I play wrong, and often I don't even know where I'm going next. I wonder if it would help to start on new pieces from the end, and learn bar by bar towards the beginning? That way you'll know what's next after a mistake and probably automatically train on going on, if only for a few beats before you go back and try again. I'll sure give it a try, but wonder if anyone else have thought the same way. (I believe I've read something about it somewhere.)

Playing with backing track, and with other people will of course be the best way to learn, but if this helps, I'll probably feel more comfortable when the music just goes on when I play wrong! :oops:


   
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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Sorry, I'm not sure if I understand you well but you don't have to practice how to recover from a mistake, I think you must practice for avoiding mistakes.

Probably the question is why do you make errors when play. Is it a hard part of the song? A difficult or tricky chord change? Some hard bending? Some technique issue (I mean, lack of technique)? Simply do you forget some bar?

I make errors in all of these situations when I'm learning a new song. Usually I repeat the part and not all the song until it goes well (I don't practice the parts I play correctly). First slowly, then I increase the speed until the normal song beat.


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

Practicing to avoid mistakes is fine, but nobody ever gives a perfect performance. You just have to act like it's fine and keep playing.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@rmorash)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 108
 

Anytime that happens to me it is usually because I've tensed up too much. i know it's easier said than done but try to relax. It's the same thing with a golf swing, you tense up you're not going to hit the ball very far...... Anytime I've gotten together with others to play, most times a mistake becomes a harmless joke and a good laugh

Nothing wrong with the way you're playing either but if jumping in is a problem then why not practice the same way: pick your spot and go along with the track rather than always starting at the beginning. Once you learn some scales and start to improvise you'll be able to hide those spots and only you will know if a "mistake" has been made


   
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(@mrjonesey)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 470
 

You will always make mistakes... we are human and that's the just the nature and beauty of live music. So, just relax and expect a mistake to happen from time to time.

Try to really understand the structure of the song you are playing. Do you play rhythm or lead? If your playing rhythm, then just fall back into the right chord. If your playing lead, then it's real easy..... just fake it until you get it back. As long as you don't panic (and there is no reason to panic) and you truly understand the piece, you will be able to recover. Then later you can laugh about it and see how many people actually noticed.

Jim

"There won't be any money. But when you die, on your death bed, you will receive total conciousness. So, I got that going for me. Which is nice." - Bill Murray, Caddyshack ~~ Michigan Music Dojo - http://michiganmusicdojo.com ~~


   
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(@peejay)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 89
 

On the other hand... :twisted:

From a different perspective on why to do it, if you think about how people (or maybe just me) tend to practice/learn songs, basically it goes something like this:

Learn section A, play A, learn B, play AB, learn C, play ABC, etc.

...so that by the time you're finished, you're quite good at section A while the last section is still fairly new to you, at least until you've played it all for awhile and everything feels good (think: "that's as much as I know" or "I haven't figured out the end part yet").

If you instead learned section Z, played Z, learned Y, played YZ, learned X, played XYZ, then when you went to perform it for the first few times at least, you'd seem to get stronger and better as the song goes on, rather than weaker.

Note: I haven't actually tried this method for anything, yet. :lol:


   
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(@hobbypicker)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 62
Topic starter  

If you instead learned section Z, played Z, learned Y, played YZ, learned X, played XYZ, then when you went to perform it for the first few times at least, you'd seem to get stronger and better as the song goes on, rather than weaker.
That's just the way I think too, and often the first section of the song is the most familiar too, at least for me, I know quite a few intro riffs but not the whole tune. :wink:


   
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 cnev
(@cnev)
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I think it's noraml and I think you're going about learnng like most people. Sure you'll make mistakes but with time you'll learn how to recover easily.

The reality of why your getting lost is you haven't got that part of the song really down yet. Once you do you won't have those problems but even when you know a song cold yo still might hit a wrong chord, be spacing out and miss a note, whatever it'll happen but when you really know the song you'll be able to jump back in fairly easily.

The one thing you'll find is that when you're playing alone it feels like OH my God I just screwed this up and it's the end of the world, when your in a band situation first of all you can't just stop and second of all unless it's the main solo part you be suprised how unnoticible it really is.

I wouldn't start learning stuff backwards as a way to remedy this you'll just have the same problem in reverse order.

Just get each part down and put them all together slowly.

"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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(@chris-c)
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I think it's normal and I think you're going about learning like most people. Sure you'll make mistakes but with time you'll learn how to recover easily.

+1

Not being able to recover quickly is perfectly normal in the early stages.

I can remember when I first started and had a few lessons. We'd stop and discuss something and then the teacher would point to a spot part way through and say "OK, let's pick it up again from here...." and I'd freeze and be unable to do it, even from a standing start. :oops: I had to start right from the beginning again... But the ability to do it came along soon enough.

The more experience you get with knowing songs well, playing music in general, and staying in step with a CD or backing track, the easier and more natural it gets to pick it back up on the right beat. The knack builds up too. Initially you need to know the particular song really well before you can do it. But as you progress the overall ability to know where you are and get back on track in the right place becomes yet another skills that's pretty much automatic. Like having your fingers just go to a familiar chord without thinking about what they need to do.

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@boxboy)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1221
 

I've got a real problem when I try to play along with other people or with recorded music, I get lost when I make a mistake and have real trouble falling in again. I

Whether I'm playing against a track or on my own, I always concentrate on keeping time. So if I make a timing mistake: my hands messed up, but my foot knows what's what. I just keep going, count myself back into the proper meter (sometimes a whole bar of silence goes by as I tap my foot and get reoriented) and go from there.
:)

Don


   
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(@taylorr)
Prominent Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 736
 

I personally make a lot of mistakes while I play. I try to make them in inconspicuous ways like not really messing it up. I guess i dont try to minimize the amount of mistakes but just try to make the ones i do make work. I dunno, thats just my take.

aka Izabella


   
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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Taylor,

i think your right because no matter how good you get you're gonna make a mistake, so you'll have to deal with it. Just know that like everything else, even learning how to recover from a screw up in time, takes time to perfect. So just keep playing, the more you play the less mistakes you make and as you are going through this phase try and everytime you lose your place don't freak out and try and get the groove back without tensing up, sometimes you will do it smoothly other times it may seem like a train wreck but it'll get better, just keep playing and don't get discouraged.

"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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(@scrtchy)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 106
 

What kind of music are you working on? I am a guitar teacher who sees about 55 students a week and the only ones that can't remember what is going on in the songs they are in are:

* The ones that don't practice much

* The ones that are learning long solos or long classical pieces

... The ones that are learning pop/rock/blues/country and other popular types of music don't have much trouble even if their practice schedule is light because everything is so repetative and revolves around a measure or two they can join back in within 2 beats.

I teach them the "A, then B, then AB, then C, then ABC" method but I urge them to not go on to the next step until the have FULLY digested the previous. "Fully" meaning it is something they don't have to think about and the mistakes are minor and meaningless.

With most beginners I like to only teach them music they are listening to, this way they already know the song so well in their minds that memorizing it is not an issue. It is really hard to get lost in a song that you hear all the time.

If you are practicing evderyday, working on songs that you listen to regularly, and they are simple pop songs, make sure you are taking it slow enough to really be comfortable with each measure before allowing yourself to go onto the next and adding it in. Taking it slow is the hardest thing for a student to get into their practices and easily the most important.

If you are already doing all of things you may want to start googling diet and short memory span, how you eat can effect how well your brain works dramatically over the course even just a years time.

http://www.daughtersandsons.net -Cincinnati CEA Award winners for best original RnB/Funk band! (Bragging is in the user manual and encouraged)(Hi Mom)


   
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(@hobbypicker)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 62
Topic starter  

What kind of music are you working on?

This is related to the settings of a jam or comping a singer when you just follow a chord progression, I realised that I needed som training on this when I was on a workshop playing 12-bar blues in A with different inversions using the CAGED system. I'm quite sure it's just me not being used to have to listen to a group playing. There was just to much information at once, so I fell off, and found I had no clue where in the progression we were, of course the real problem there was that I focused only on where to put my left hand fingers and not to where the music was moving. So the moral is to stick to what you can play when jamming, I guess. I'll find someone to play with, and also play more along with recorded music, so I don't sit with my ears next to my own soundhole all the time. :mrgreen:


   
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