I spent $40 for this at my lesson on Sunday, Post your lessons learned too!

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Yossi, Jun 6, 2005.


  1. Yossi

    Yossi Member

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    I had a 1.5 hour lesson, that was supposed to be an hour.

    This was a first lesson with the teacher for me. I started playing guitar 34 years ago. I am horrible at reading music, ignorant of most theory, but I have good chops. The teacher said that I played well.

    The lesson was as follows:
    First he played some chords and I played lead. Then I played some chords and he played lead.

    He asked me if I practiced with a metronome.
    He then explained that I should put some swing into my blues by accenting or lengthening the second note in a beat.

    Then he asked me if I knew the pentatonic scale. I said that I know them but not in every possible position on the neck.

    That's where we started. I have to learn the entire neck.

    Then he said that I should record some chords that he gave me and said that I should play lead to them and "only use the notes in the pentatonic minor scale"
    The reason, the ear is like a muscle and can get strengthened by using it to hear what sounds good. So by limiting the notes that I use, it will force me to be more creative." In my own words, less is more.

    Well that's was about it. Did I learn anything earth shattering?
    No. I've heard this and read this many times. If the teacher will be the catalyist that gets me moving, then it will prove to have been worth the $40.


    Yossi
     
  2. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    I have been playing a long time as well and I think once you have lessons become a catalist for development rather than a learning experience per say. It's always nice to get a new view on a common problem. I think this is what provides the spark to try new things. If it gets you trying new things then it was worth it, if not time to try a new teacher. From what I read it didn't sound that earth shattering though, ... but I wasn't there. I really don't know about playing over chords using just the penatonic minor scale, sounds kind of rudamentry to me. Perhaps if you took pentatonic scales and played them in different keys than the chord played you might have something. I have no idea what you know as a player and how versed you are at changing modes and scales on the dime. If you know how to weave from one scale to another then what he gave you seems below your level as a player.
     
  3. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    That sounds like a good lesson. What I dig about it is it takes soething you know, applies it to something new, doesn't ask you to do what is too difficult, and (I believe) you will learn from it.

    Keep at it.
     
  4. Yossi

    Yossi Member

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    I think that his idea about just playing the minor pentatonic over chords that work well with it was supposed to be more of a listening exercise than theory.

    He mentioned Mike Butterfield as a very expressive guitarist.

    Mabey when he heard me play, he felt that I could use more expression and better timeing.

    On one of the related posts I was reminded of the Mr Jiagi from the Karate Kid, wax on , wax off. Simple stuff for sure.

    I guess that using five notes to make good sounding music forces you to really make them work.

    I'll see how this works for a while.

    Shalom,

    Yossi
     
  5. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Yossi,

    Glad you liked your lesson. And $40. sounds about fair. I pay $20. for a 30 minute lesson that sometimes goes to 45 minutes or longer. The teacher's good. He gives me some exercises to help learn the fingerboard in a thorough way (his own interpretation of the C-A-G-E-D system), we work on a tune for playing over changes and for chord melody (so I get a bunch of chord voicings/inversions to figure out), and then he'll throw in any theory or any other stuff that comes up on the fly. Pretty rewarding experience, if you ask me.

    And as easy as some of the lessons are I find the week flies by so fast that I wind up doing a lot of last minute cramming just not to have the next lesson be a total wash. I guess my next big victory will be to learn how to nail my lesson completely within a couple days of the lesson so I can spend a few days before the lesson perfecting things.

    Anyway, are you working on the pentatonics through the cycle of fourths with 5 different patterns, or does he have you doing something else?

    Cheers,

    Dave
     
  6. Yossi

    Yossi Member

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    Anyway, are you working on the pentatonics through the cycle of fourths with 5 different patterns, or does he have you doing something else?


    I'm not sure what you mean. He just had me find the Am Pentatonic in every position on the neck.

    He said to approach the Pent. Scale from a pattern first and then the notes was "putting the cart before the horse".

    Is that what you meant, Dave?


    Shalom,

    Yossi
     
  7. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Yossi,

    I read your last reply about what your teacher said and if I understand his statement he first wants you to know what notes make up the pentatonic scale and not what shapes the scale forms along the neck. Pentatonic minor is, root, minor 3rd, 4th, 5th, and flatted 7th. Major pentatonic is, root, 2nd, major 3rd, 5th, and 6th. Then there is the whole world of altered pentatonics where you can either raise or lower any of the notes.

    When I play now I try to get a feel for what the note does in terms of movement or rest. I also try to play more with the time being spot on and the note selection being secondary. Try this out, tape some chords with a metronome and then play any note over the chord. Do this in perfect time without drifting from the beat. You will find, or at least my ears find no given note sounds too bad, in fact almost everything sounds ok. I find that I can play almost any note at any time if my phrasing is good and my timing is dead on.
     
  8. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Not exactly, I meant learning 5 sort of established patterns for the pentatonics that are based off the well known open chords C-A-G-E-D. I see that your teacher is encouraging you to learn the notes and figure out the fingerings on your own. That's an interesting way to approach it. It could be a better way to learn them...definitely a great way to know the fingerboard (rather than memorize patterns).

    I've always been taught patterns first and the notes second (that's what GIT did pretty much -- teaching C-A-G-E-D right off the bat -- and I've always kinda' stuck to that out of habit). I don't think one way is necessarily better or worse than the other, rather whatever works best for you to learn the notes/fingerboard. I do agree with your teacher that learning the notes (by their names and by their relation to the chord scale, e.g. 1st, 3rd, 5th, etc.) is extremely important.

    I'd be curious to know what your teacher meant by "cart before the horse" in that context though.

    Cheers,

    Dave
     
  9. Yossi

    Yossi Member

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    This is really helping me review my lesson.
    I've been so busy that I've only had one hour of practice since my lesson.
    I've always been a pattern player. As a result, other than the E strings and A string to know where to put the pattern, I've been pretty much ignorant of the notes that I'm playing. I just go by sound.
    The biggest step forward in my playing has been finding the patterns all over the neck.
    To do that and learn the notes at the same time will be the next challenge.
    As far as the cart before the horse. I'm not sure what he meant now that you mentioned it.
    I suppose that my horse is in the back, since I've never gone the other way.

    Thanks Harry for telling me what the formulas are.
    By the way does minor third and flatted third mean the same thing?

    Yossi
     
  10. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Correct.

    BTW, another way for learning the fingerboard you might eventually check out (somewhere down the road) is the single string technique...which means practicing the scales in all keys on one string at a time. It's a nice way to break out of the pattern habit. There's also a good book that teaches sight reading using a single string at a time.
     
  11. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    Now I know, everybody's gonna say "practice, make the time, you'll get more out of your lessons, blah blah" and they'll be right.
    But I have never been good at finding time, making time, or just plain sitting down and practicing. I have found, however, that the following helped me a lot.
    When I am trying to learn something, and I am having a hard time getting practice in, I make sure I practice something everyday - even if it's 3 minutes a day. I would commit to 3 minutes a day, no matter what. Even if that means picking up my guitar in my PJs just before bed. You'd be surprised how much you learn in 2 weeks. Even if it takes more than that to go through one cycle, I just pick up the next night.
    Of course, this doesn't stop you from practicing longer - which of course, will get you much more out of your instrument - but it sure beats not picking it up for a week.

    I do NOT believe "if you're not gonna practice 2 hours a day, don't bother", I think the knowledge and enjoyment is there for all of us.
     
  12. Dirty Dan

    Dirty Dan Member

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    I tend to agree. There are times when I get busy with other things or simply frustrated with my playing progression. When this happens, I feel completely daunted by the thought of sitting down for an hour and practicing. But I try to always set aside 15 to 30 minutes for doodling on the guitar. If I spend 5 of those minutes practicing what I'm having trouble with and then the rest of it just playing things I already know, well.. that's more minutes I've given to the problem. And, more than that, it keeps me playing and enjoying the guitar. Sure, I may be slowing, if not halting, my progression, but I'm preventing myself from getting discouraged. And usually a week or two later (though sometimes as long as a month or two later), I'm ready to sit back down and practice. I guess what I'm saying is that it's the love of playing that is most important. And while a student that doesn't practice is undoubtably frustrating to a teacher, so long as the player is enjoying what he or she is doing, good for them.

    for some, the discipline of practicing comes easily. That is not to say that practicing is easy, but they have the inner drive and discipline to do it every day. For others, like myself, I'd rather just play. I practice because there are things I want to play, things I'll enjoy playing, but can't. I get discouraged after a while and I take breaks. A person who never practices will probably end up discouraged and quitting. Those who practice haphazardly probably shouldn't be paying for lessons every week if they aren't going to work on the homework.

    Anything worth doing takes effort. I know I'll never be a great guitarist. I don't put the time in for it. But I plod along at my pace and enjoy it. That means I may go a month or two without practicing anything that challenges me. But I'm ok with that because I'm having fun along the way.
     
  13. Yossi

    Yossi Member

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    When I pick up my guitar, I want to "play" not "practice."

    It's a mind set. Playing is fun, Practice is work. Work means getting something done that needs to get done.

    It's a catch 22. If I would have worked more on guitar then I would be a much better player now. On the other hand, if guitar would be work, then I wouldn't have played nearly as much and I'd be a much worse player now.

    Yossi
     
  14. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't think you have to practice for hours and hours but you do need to be focused. You will be much better off if you spend 15 minutes practicing articulation of a note (for example) then noodling around for 25. I think you can gain quite a bit in a short time. The key is picking area of development and staying with it until it becomes second nature and pops out in your playing naturally.

    A friend/professional guitarist recommended this approach to practice:

    1. 5 minutes warm up scales etc... You don't need 2 hours of scale practice unless you don't know them yet. :jo

    2. 15 minutes new material, could be a song, finger vibrato etc.. anything you want to accomplish. The key is focused intentions. 100% to listening and studying your playing. This is the time to be extremely critical of what your doing and do it perfectly.

    3. 10 minutes screwing around, composing, jamming with cd's.

    You can just expand items 2 and 3 out (in equal amounts, this is the hard part) if you have more than a 1/2 hour per day.
     
  15. bbarnard

    bbarnard Member

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    I'm betting he meant Mike Bloomfield who played with Paul Butterfield:)

    That would be Miyagi I think. ;)


    I'm betting you'll learn more than you think. The metronome thing is good advice. My time has improved greatly since I've been taking lessons for 5 years now and using a metronome the whole time. Don't discard that out of hand.
     
  16. Yossi

    Yossi Member

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    Originally posted by Yossi
    He mentioned Mike Butterfield as a very expressive guitarist.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------




    Thanks for your vote of confidence. Especially after I proved how badly I butcher names;)
     

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