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Author Topic: Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice  (Read 2359 times)

Offline simonlock

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice
« on: July 21, 2008, 10:07:08 AM »
Once in a blue moon I'll crack a tab book and start working through a song. This usually lasts for about 3 1/2 minutes before my attention is pulled away by my incessant need to solo. I find when I am reading music made by someone else that new ideas arise in me. I usually choose songs that are beyond my reading skills however(rhythm notation) like Vai or Satriani and I get stuck at the first little solo section. I also have difficulty rewinding and playing it slower in my head so that I can master it slowly. Do you guys think it's important to study others contributions to music and how do you employ your skills to get through a complex song? Seems I had more drive to learn Malmsteen songs when I was 15. Now I just don't have the patience. Plus when I was 15 I thought Yng was the ultimate guitar god.

Simon
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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice

Offline Steel Pelican

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2008, 10:44:39 AM »
I think it's important to learn (or at least study) songs that are outside of your general style.  As a prog/metal guy, I'm trying to learn more pop songs and country songs.  Working in your major genre will help to build up your technique, but I think that really expanding your musical palette requires stretching your comfort zone.  Otherwise, the music you make will just end up being a feedback loop of what came before- filtering metal through metal (or punk through punk, jazz through jazz, etc) will just lead to more of the same.  I think to move forward (in your playing, and in your writing), is to bring in other influences and approaches.  

I'm not a fan of working Samba parts into metal songs for the "see what I did there" factor, but it never hurts to explore different harmonic, melodic, technical, and structural elements.  For example, my metal playing improved drastically after I learned Travis Picking.  Translating the alternating bass notes to a picked style instead of a thumbed style, and accelerating it has opened my eyes to some really interesting rhythm patterns.  Also from Travis Picking, I've incorporated hybrid picking into my treble lines, which has let me play more smoothly, rhythmically, and dynamically.  

Right now I'm studying Warren Zevon's compositions (also for vocal practice), to learn a little more about simplicity, harmony, and flow.  "Desperadoes Under the Eaves" and "The French Inhaler" being examples.  It also doesn't hurt that these are piano songs, so translating them to guitar requires another bit of musical brain-stretch.

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice

Offline mojotron

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2008, 12:50:13 PM »
Not that I do this all the time, but I only use tab if I'm really stuck - then I find out that there are at least 2 people that tried to figure the same thing out and came up confused.

I'm not a person that has figured out a lot of songs note for note, but I have figured out a lot of parts of songs note for note - the rest of those songs I generally picked up when I heard it at full speed and I don't want to go note for note with it because it was either trivial or just was not that interesting.

So for note for note stuff I just use "The Amazing Slow Downer" (TASD) and learn stuff 5-10 seconds at a time at 1/5th speed, then 1/3 speed, then 1/2. Then I put about 20-30 seconds of the tune on at 1/2 speed and practice it, then 3/4 speed - then all the way up to 1 1/10th speed. Then I play like 1 minute chunks at full speed and I pretty much have it at that point.

TASD will continuous loops over ranges and do a lot of EQ and panning tricks to make it pretty darn (and I say the word darn all the time [:)] in this process) easy to figure anything out. Getting up to 1/2 speed can be rather humbling depending on the material - but you would be in the same boat with tab and you may be missing a lot of the timing.

I find this method a lot easier and is far more entertaining - thus it's easier.

I only work on music I really like or 'have' to figure out: If I don't really like the music it kills my motivation to actually learn it.

I use tab only about 1-5% of the time - just takes all the fun out of it IMO [:D]
« Last Edit: July 21, 2008, 12:52:53 PM by mojotron »
 

Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice

Offline Paul Marossy

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2008, 01:51:51 PM »
I've started incoporating learning songs into my practice since I have been on the music team at church (a couple of months now). I need to learn how to comp chords to songs that I might not have the sheet music to (which happens more often than seldom), in a supportive role to a piano player and/or another guitar playing songleader. I'm training myself to do this right now, and it's a bit of a challenge, but most of the songs are pretty simple to figure out off of a CD.

The hardest thing for me is that it is a real challenge for me to hear the chords on the piano, and one of the songleaders is a piano player. I have a hard time hearing the root when he is playing chords and melody all at the same time, with the sustain pedal on - I hear all of the overtones and harmonics in there and my ears get confused! But the pianist is a cool guy, he is working with me on hearing those chords and figuring it out. Now, if it's chords on a guitar, that's usually pretty easy - I can usually figure that out real fast. I guess it has to do partly with how you have to voice chords on the guitar vs. all the different ways it can be done on the piano.

It's a challenge, but I'm going to divide and conquer! [^]

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« Last Edit: July 21, 2008, 01:57:19 PM by Paul Marossy »

Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice

Offline simonlock

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2008, 12:05:40 PM »
Congrats on the new gig Paul :)

Ahh to have a PC...I would have had an Amazing Slowdowner thingamajiggy AGES ago. As it is I have to import a song into a mutlitrack program and time stretch it which usually takes about 10 minutes for it to process. Needless to say I never do it. But I did find Amplitube has one built it.

I agree that taking what you like from as many styles as you are inclined to will make you more well rounded. There's only 12 tones so really it's just a stylistic difference.

Simon
Vancouver,BC
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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice

Offline Paul Marossy

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2008, 12:15:11 PM »
quote:
Congrats on the new gig Paul :)


Thanks. I would have joined up sooner, but I procrastinated for a long time... [:I]

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice

Offline mojotron

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2008, 12:20:36 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by simonlock
...
Ahh to have a PC...I would have had an Amazing Slowdowner thingamajiggy AGES ago. As it is I have to import a song into a mutlitrack program and time stretch it which usually takes about 10 minutes for it to process. Needless to say I never do it. But I did find Amplitube has one built it.
...



Audacity can do this as well - but you have to fiddle with the EQ sometimes to get the time stretched audio. Audacity seems to have a big mac user base.
 

Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice

Offline loumt123

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2008, 01:15:36 PM »
I've found learning all types of songs helps. Due to my repertoire, I can go and sit in with a coverband, go play a jazz gig, play some classical music, or even go play some Irish music on St. Patty's day. Learning songs helps increase your reading and aural skills and whatever you learn is almost always useful. [:)]
« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 01:16:08 PM by loumt123 »
 

Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice

Offline simonlock

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2008, 07:06:19 PM »
Isn't audacity another multitrack program? It would be nice to have the option in iTunes.

Simon
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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice

Offline guitarmanuk

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2008, 07:14:47 AM »
I agree with what has been said that learning other peoples songs will force you into areas you wouldn't normally go.  I learn new songs as part of my practice routine, not becasue I want to, but because I have to.  I have to learn 1st dance requests with the function band and with the duo we are tryng to learn new material to get rid of the standards we played when we first started.  I am also now playing in a jazz/funk/reggae/blues band and that has been a lot of new material to learn.  I find this is pushing me to learn new chords and rhythems and styles.  Also I not only have to learn new chords I have to know what they are called so I can confer with the piano player, so this is helping my limited theory knowledge as well.

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice

Offline prjacobs

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2008, 08:56:41 AM »
In addition to the above, I would recommend, if possible, finding a teacher who plays a style other your own that you're interested in.  You'll be forced out of your typical patterns and learn from someone who has a real track record with the genre.  It's also possible that through a good teacher, you might be able to connect with other players.  The 2 jazz guitar teachers I studied with in NYC had periodic jam sessions with their students, which was a great way to gauge my progress and also get me out into the world.  If a teacher isn't available or affordable, I'd still look for other musicians.  Maybe a place to start would be going where a particular type of music is played and asking around.
 

Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice

Offline simonlock

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2008, 09:36:24 AM »
I tend to agree with mojotron that learning songs by ear is better than by tab. One of the main reasons I don't learn new songs is that the author never plays them to make sure the fingerings work. Especially when things get complicated, it matters. Most things can be played in more than one way but sometimes it's way easier to do it a certain way. Also I've found many errors. Notation styles can be a nuisance and it's often just completely wrong. I find when it comes to moderate to heavily articulated lines they often mess up the way it's played. If I'm going to spend time squinting at a page and fighting my A.D.D. the tab had better be right!

Simon
Vancouver,BC
A Whole Mess of Flys and I Love Them ALL!!!!!
 

Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice

Offline Paul Marossy

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Learning Songs As Part of Daily Practice
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2008, 10:44:18 AM »
I never learn stuff from tab. I don't have the patience or desire for it. Besides, I'd rather learn something by ear as I feel that it helps me more with ear training and I have more fun doing that, too.

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