picking repertoire songs

mwoeppel

Member
Messages
332
After playing for 5 years, I realized I do not know a SINGLE song I can play from beginning to end.

I am also frustrated learning Freddie King and SRV. After about 3 months and only getting the first 2 pages memorized, I lose steam and confidence. I'm really down after working on Hideaway for 3 months, and realizing I don't have the rythm right. Arrrgh!

So I've decided this year, to learn 3 new pieces. So my question is, how to choose them? How do I pick a piece that is not so hard I lose steam after awhile, and at the same time is so easy, it's boring?


I'm pretty frustrated here guys. I can jam, know my way around the guitar, but I'm mad at myself for letting another year go by without doing something about this.
 

Shakkal

Member
Messages
693
Choose a song that you like to SING ... that way you won't get bored in the process of learning it, and it's likely that you won't forget it.
 

spaceboy

Member
Messages
256
if you think of any good peices to learn - let me know! i always find it hard to find/decide on new peices. so far i've mainly been working through Grade books, cos that way I know what level i'm working at, and cos i need the peices for University auditions, it makes things easier. I'm also working on Hendrix at the moment, just cos I feel guilty for not doing it yet (it's lots of fun though!), but obviously you'll want to be a bit more advanced than that...

sorry, no, i can't help :¬)
 

lhallam

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
17,364
Originally posted by mwoeppel
nothing? no ideas at all?
More information is required.

What kind of music do you like?

Specifically, why can't you get through "Hideaway"? What do you mean you don't have the rhythm right?

How are you approaching it?

Do you have a teacher?

What do you mean that you can't get through a song? Can you get through "Louie Louie"?

I would suggest finding some simple stuff at first. Led Zepplin's "Livin Loving Maid" or Black Sabbath's "Paranoid". More advanced Cream's "Sleepy Time" or Allman Brother's "Revival".
 

mwoeppel

Member
Messages
332
Originally posted by lhallam
More information is required.

What kind of music do you like?
I like ALL kinds of music, but I've been really into the blues.

Specifically, why can't you get through "Hideaway"? What do you mean you don't have the rhythm right??
I can get through it, someday! :) I'm just frustrated because I've been working on this piece for 3 months, and it seems like I'll NEVER get there. As far as the rythm goes, the latest problem is getting one of the riffs inside the 12 bar structure. I'm playing it too slow. I thought I had it down, then the other night, playing with the metronome I realized this part of the piece was broken. A long way of saying I thought I had this part of the piece down and realized I had to go back and relearn ANOTHER part of it.

How are you approaching it?
Starting with the fingering, one to three bars at a time, play it smoothly (maybe not at full tempo), get it under my fingers, then move on to the next section, then transitions between different sections, then a new section.


Do you have a teacher?
Yup, sure do. I'll be discussing my frustration with him today. Don't get me wrong here. It's not that I'm not making any progress, I had a bad day at practice the other night, and I'm very frustrated.[/B][/QUOTE]

What do you mean that you can't get through a song? Can you get through "Louie Louie"?
I could, I'm sure. I just don't know it. It isnt' that I can't get through a song, it's just that I pick very difficult songs, work on them for 3-4 months, get frustrated, then move on to something else. Since I've posted, I've come to the conclusion that I'm being too passive with my teacher. I need to let him have a better idea of what I'm trying to do. Maybe it's taken this long to figure out what I wanted... I was always waiting for him to hand me a piece that was appropriate to my skill and say, "Here's the next bit". What I got was technique and scales - I CAN play along with most anything.

I would suggest finding some simple stuff at first. Led Zepplin's "Livin Loving Maid" or Black Sabbath's "Paranoid". More advanced Cream's "Sleepy Time" or Allman Brother's "Revival".
Thanks for the tips. I really appreciate them.

My question is really more general than this - how do I know that a piece is too difficult BEFORE I invest the time in it?
 

hear and play

Member
Messages
749
Originally posted by mwoeppel


snip

"I was always waiting for him to hand me a piece that was appropriate to my skill and say, "Here's the next bit."

snip

Take this for what's it's worth. I don't play well and I have no repertoire. However, I feel the same frustration that you do, and here's how I'm going to approach it. I hope Ihallam and others will comment on this.

I'm aware of only one book that takes the approach that your post suggests:
http://www.music44.com/X/&unism=4&unisk=695092-H2&AffID=1001

I'm going to take this book to my teacher and tell him that I want to organize my lessons around this approach. I'm going to ask him to help me identify some songs he believes that I can make reasonable progress on in a reasonably short period. I'm hopeful that we can find material that:
1. he believes is consistent with my current skills, and
2. I really like.
If we agree on material, I'll ask him how long it should take to be able to play the whole song. If I agree that the length of time is reasonable, I'll ask him to do what Stetina did in the above book. I’ll pay him extra for it. We’ll then set some intermediate goals (set dates for completion of each part) and we'll start.

If any of the above criteria aren't met, I'll investigate other teachers. If other teachers tell me the same thing (my tastes in material are too rich for my skills, it'll take longer than I think it should, etc.) I'll either re-adjust my thinking and go for it (possibly with my current teacher) or conclude that I'm insufficiently motivated to develop a repertoire.

What I probably won’t do is continue to take instruction that is not organized around repertoire.
 
Messages
429
Maybe it's not the teacher but the student.Neither of you have said anything about the amount of time or effort you will put into learning.
If it takes you three months to learn a song,how many hours are you working on it?Do you pracyice daily?I have found that it's better to move on and learn some things from each song that it is to beat a song to death trying to learn it exactly like the CD.
 

Brion

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,059
It helped me in the beginning to write down the structure of the song. i.e : Intro/ verse/ chorus/ verse/ chorus/ solo/ bridge /chorus/ chorus/outro. Most blues and rock tunes use the same progressions over and over so when you learn the verse progression and the chorus progression, you have most of the song down. It's more important to get through the song using the progressions than playing it note for note.
 

hear and play

Member
Messages
749
Originally posted by tonezoneonline
Maybe it's not the teacher but the student.Neither of you have said anything about the amount of time or effort you will put into learning.
If it takes you three months to learn a song,how many hours are you working on it?Do you pracyice daily?I have found that it's better to move on and learn some things from each song that it is to beat a song to death trying to learn it exactly like the CD.
Thanks for your comment.

I think we're on the same page. In my prior post I indicate that I may be unwilling to put forth sufficient effort.

I partially agree with you on the multiple songs idea -- working on multiple songs can relieve boredom. On the other hand, it's important to me not to spend excessive time learning a multitude of parts. It's important to have something complete and down cold.

I don't think that lack of repertoire is an unusual problem among those who ARE willing to put forth real effort. Below is an excerpt from an article in which I think the author agrees with me. The entire article can be found at wholenote.com.

The Importance of Having a Repertoire
Changing from Guitar Student to Guitar Player
by Jamey Andreas
Over the years, I have met many guitar students who could not actually play anything, even though they had taken lessons, perhaps for years. If they were asked to play something, the best they could do would be offer you some isolated "pieces" of songs or solos they had worked on. They are missing certain pieces of knowledge about the Art & Science of practicing that would enable them to get past a hurdle that stops the progress of many guitar students: how to actually finish something you are learning, and bring it up to what is called "performance level", which is another way of saying "I can get through this without it falling apart so badly I can't keep it going", or "I play it all the way through well enough to not cause me major embarrassment, or the listener major discomfort, or pain
 

hear and play

Member
Messages
749
Originally posted by Brion
It helped me in the beginning to write down the structure of the song. i.e : Intro/ verse/ chorus/ verse/ chorus/ solo/ bridge /chorus/ chorus/outro. Most blues and rock tunes use the same progressions over and over so when you learn the verse progression and the chorus progression, you have most of the song down. It's more important to get through the song using the progressions than playing it note for note.
Indeed, it's helping me, too. It took me a long time to realize that song structure is the best place to start. Once you've got the structure down you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Also, you don't necessarily start with learning the intro, as the intro is sometimes among the most difficult parts of a tune. One of the reasons I so like the Stetina book is that it breaks down song structures. There's an MI book entitled "Classic Rock" that also lays out song structures for each transcription. Regretably, it doesn't go to the length that Stetina does in "spoon-feeding" parts in order of difficulty and organizing practice until the song is complete.

Currently, the ability do it note-for-note is as important to me as the ability to get through the progressions. However, IF I was accomplished enough that I could CHOOSE to do my own thing, rather than being confined by an inability to do it note-for-note, I'd feel differently.
 

hear and play

Member
Messages
749
Originally posted by mwoeppel


So my question is, how to choose them? How do I pick a piece that is not so hard I lose steam after awhile, and at the same time is so easy, it's boring?

In my first post I touched on how I'm going to choose the songs. I'm going to make a list, and maybe a tape or CD, and ask my teacher if he thinks I can realistically accomplish any of the songs in a reasonably short period of time.

Do you (or others) think there's a better way to go?
 

lhallam

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
17,364
Originally posted by mwoeppel
I like ALL kinds of music, but I've been really into the blues.

My question is really more general than this - how do I know that a piece is too difficult BEFORE I invest the time in it?


How do you determine if it's too hard? Start with short songs with short leads and not too many breaks/parts.

Don't worry if you choose something and don't get the whole thing down. You are still learning and benefiting from the experience. You can always go back to it when you become more proficient.

OK - get ahold of Cream's "Fresh Cream" and work through the first tune, "I Feel Free". The rhythm is buried but try and work it out.

The lead is very short but not simple. Listen carefully, Eric does some cool bends. Note that he's getting the "woman tone" and then flips to the bridge pup near the end and NAILS it. Beautiful.

Also try "Cats Squirrel", the timing can be tricky on that one. The lead to "Sleepy Time" is a work of art. Don't worry about all the leads in the verses, just get the solo down. If you try "I'm So Glad" note that the entire lead is played on just on the G string. Cool.

One of my all time favorites is "Sittin On Top of The World" from Cream's "Wheels of Fire". Note the rhythm is mostly three note dominant 7th chords with rhythm runs in between. Excellent arrangement and exciting lead work.

Just about all the tunes on the first "Black Sabbath" release are fairly easy, not blues but if you want to have fun figuring stuff out work through it. "Paranoid" is not too taxing.

Another one that's fairly easy, fun and sounds great is "Oye Como Va" by Santana from the Abraxas album. The chords are basically Am D and the lead is A dorian. I throw that lead in all kinds of A minor tunes and it still sounds good.

"Louie Louie" uses regular E and the A & B chords are E position barre chords:

||:4/4 E-E-E rest | rest A-A rest | B-B-B rest | rest A-A rest :||

See, now you've got a song you can play from top to bottom.
;)

We all get frustrated my man, it's just part of the gig. Those of us who stick it out and work through it "Break on through to the other side." I've been working on the same ear training course for two years and I'm still not done.
 

mwoeppel

Member
Messages
332
thanks for the suggestion and encouragement. I DO practice almost daily; I'm pretty disciplined in that regard.

I think I'm kind of burned out on Hideaway, so I'm setting it aside for something a little simpler and with a little more emphais on rythm.

I'm also going to be a lot more purposeful about getting the ENTIRE song, and making it a part of my practice and lesson regime.

thanks again!

:D
 




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