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bad practice habits

dankajdankaj Bergen, NorwayNew
edited July 2006 in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 9
when i practice i tend to get impatient and seem to always get this little mistake here and there, i know i have a tendency to be impatient and start out too fast and therefore get a little flaw that sticks with me and comes back every now and then even after its sticks to my brain and i feel i have learned it well, i know i should start out slowly but then its hard to maintain the enthusiasm. maybe i`m just messed up in the head? i need a pointing recipe for practicing, anything would be helpful.


  • pdaiglepdaigle Montreal, QCNew
    Posts: 233
    Remember that it's all about muscle memory and your muscles will 'learn' the movement ifaster f it is repeated numerous times exactly the same way.

    The best way to ensure you are repeating the movement exactly the same way is to really slow it down.

    You should also practice at higher speed (i.e. even a little too fast) to learn to relax and play under stress.

    What I do is this:

    Let's say you can play an eigth note lick comfortably at 120BPM. Set the metrome at something slower like 80bpm and practice the lick using eigth notes concentrating on repeating the movement in exactly the same way each time (even exagerating the movement of the right hand). Then, try playing the same lick at the same metronme setting but in sixteen'ths (i.e. doubling the speed). You can also just jump to 160bpm and keep playing in eigth notes but the above allows you to practice without continously changing your metronome.

    Also, practicing in a musical context (i.e. over a tune with a slower playback) makes things much more fun than with a metronome (allthough I *really* believe you gain a lot by practicing with a metronome).
  • lukejazzlukejazz Natchitoches, Louisiana✭✭✭ Dunn Belleville
    Posts: 22
    I think those are all great tips from pdaigle. I'd like to add some of my own here.

    One technique when I'm learning something new, believe it or not, is to play without any tempo at all and focus strictly on technique. It can give you the opportunity to make sure you are relaxing in the right places and that your left and right hand form are perfect in every respect. When you are satisfied that you know what you're doing there, then it's time to add the metronome very slowly, so that you can insure all of your hard won technique is still with you.

    The jumping up double speed suggested by pDaigle is a good one. There is another one that also works well that I call "laddering". The natural tendency to build speed with a metronome is to go straight up in tempos. Say something like:

    60, 70, 80, 90, 100. 110. 120, etc.

    But be sure to try doing something like this next type you drag out the old ticker:

    60, 80, 70, 90, 80, 100, 90, 110, 100, etc.

    These numbers are just an example of course.

    The first time I tried it I was pleasantly surprised. You can find yourself playing really relaxed at higher tempos than if you follow a linear tempo path. If, in this example, your goal is to hit 100, by the time you hit it the second time it can be a lot smoother than you'd imagine.

    Although most people probably wouldn't reccomend it, sometimes I like to push the tempos with this laddering technique until there is a "total breakdown" in the playing.

    I don't work on speed a lot but when I do, those are some of my favorite techniques.

    Have fun!!
  • dankajdankaj Bergen, NorwayNew
    Posts: 9
    thanks both of you. patience is the way of a true ninja master. i usually record the accompaniment an play over it in various speeds. but metronome i probably more of a stick it to you re head way since it puts you in the "I'm practicing" mode.

    another thing I'm struggling with is the changing of strings where it goes up and down and skips a string, it would be good to have an exercise that compresses a continuous run of the string skipping change of string thing sort of like a shortcut to string-skip practice?
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