Albert

What to practice: Ode to Joy, World Beat; note recognition sheet!

Recommended practice time: 10 minutes daily

Keys for effective practice: Take a moment and do the note recognition sheet to help recognize the notes without the guitar in hand. You’ll start to have a quicker reaction time that will translate to your fingers when you pick the instrument back up! While playing Ode to Joy (and any song) remember to chunk – that is, break the song up into smaller manageable parts, ie: divide Ode to Joy by the 4 lines, and practice each one on its own, zeroing in on tricky parts like line three to give that special attention. Iron out the tough parts and then connect it all by playing the song beginning to end.

 

Eliana

What to practice: Iron Maiden – Trooper, Dexterity exercises

Recommended practice time: 15-20 minutes daily

Keys for effective practice: While playing the Dexterity exercises focus on clean, evenness of sound. Do not sacrifice good time and rhythm for speed, speed will come from accuracy, not the other way around. For Trooper, challenge yourself to learn the 2nd guitar part and switch back and forth between the two parts, perhaps in the structure of repeating guitar 1 2-4 times, then repeating guitar 2 2-4 times, etc… Also, try setting a 60 second timer and simply repeat the riffs for the allotted time while honing in and “micro” focusing on one particular aspect of your playing, ie: clean legato, rhythm, relaxation, etc… then restarting the clock to focus on the next tidbit. This is a very effective way to get a lot out of your time practicing.

 

Aarna

What to practice: For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow, Aura Lee

Recommended practice time: 10-15 minutes daily

Keys for effective practice: Review the notes of each song mentally in your head before playing, keep track of the beat by counting out loud as you play, and remember to alternate pick! If at any point your picking hand gets tripped up by a part, take a moment and practice alternate picking between the strings by itself without any left hand fretting happening. Zero in and build it up and then apply the notes again!

 

Aarnav

What to practice: For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow, up to Worried Man Blues

Recommended practice time: 10-15 minutes daily

Keys for effective practice: Aim to emulate a singing voice when playing melodies. To do this pick a little softer while relaxed. It may even be helpful to sing or hum the song once or while playing and try to match your guitar to your own voice – whatever works, works! Feel free to move ahead and check out Worried Man Blues, but be sure to double check you’re fretting the right notes (review the beginning of the chapter).

 

Simon

What to practice: Led Zeppelin – Black Dog, Dexterity exercises

Recommended practice time: 15-20 minutes daily

Keys for effective practice: All the elements are in place for Black Dog, all we have to do now is keep good time and musicality while slowly turning up the tempo. This will require some patience and self-analysis of your playing. Play through the riffs and try zoning into specific focuses for a minute at a time: rhythm, relaxation, position shifting, etc… doing so is a fantastic way to get a lot out of your practice. For the dexterity exercises keep your thumb behind your neck and aim for smoothness, evenness, and good tone/rhythm above speed. Speed will come with musicality, not the other way around.

Bonus videos: Thumb positioning on the guitar

Because we were talking about MIDI, check out this company to get an idea for what types of things you can make with MIDI (literally anything is possible, but this is a good example of realistic sounding instruments versus electronic synthesizers)

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