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Warming up/ practice routine

KcoxKcox Montreal, QCNew
edited March 2005 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 110
When warming up/practicing, do most folks start with la pompe to loosen up or go straight into more solo-oriented exercises? I try to mix a bit of both as I warm up...here's an example of my routine:

1) I'll do some very simple and relaxed picking exercises for a couple of minutes.
2) I'll pick a medium to slow song to work the kinks out of my pompe.
3) I'll do some very simple "high" speed exercises/chop builders that don't require a lot of left hand dexterity.
4) I'll do some more demanding solo exercises at slow speed for good technique, like triplet patterns or difficult passages from solos I'm working on.
5) I'll run through my repertoire of solos, playing along with the rhythm so it's a faster pompe exercise.
6) I'll run through some of the passages I was having difficulty with in the solos again.
7) I'll try to fit in some transcribing time.

Do you guys usually try to cover all your bases in a practice like that, or do you say "today I'm just working this one aspect."

Cheers,

Kevin

Comments

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,971
    Hi Kevin,

    That looks like a good routine. With practicing, routine seems to be the best way to focus and develop your skills. It only becomes a problem when you don't adjust the routine to meet new goals (i.e. just keep practicing the same stuff over and over, even though you've mastered it.)

    For warm ups I just play pieces from the Unaccompanied book. For me that's easier and more fun then doing exercises. Those pieces are like little Etudes, you develop picking, arpeggios, scales, patterns, chords, and even some rhythm. And because it's real music you're developing more subtle aspects of dynamics, tone, and other interpretive skills.

    I also encourage my students to spend time every day developing repertoire. It's so common for people to get stuck on technique. They practice and practice one Django solo...which is great except that's ALL they know! One of the best things you can do is get the basic chords a melody down for the 100 songs. You learn so much by doing that....and then you'll be able to hang at jam sessions.

    Good luck!

    -Michael
  • KcoxKcox Montreal, QCNew
    Posts: 110
    I once asked Dennis what he had done in order to play so fast...what his practice routine had been. (Let me say here that my goal is not to "play fast" but to play well...however, I doubt anyone is interested in listening to my 120bpm rendition of minor swing). His bar-context answer was to shrug and say "I learned a bunch of Django solos."

    So what I'm hearing from both of you is to cut down on my technique time and up my learning solos/themes time (percentage wise). Yes?

    Kevin
  • stublastubla Prodigy Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 386
    Kcox wrote:
    I once asked Dennis what he had done in order to play so fast...what his practice routine had been. (Let me say here that my goal is not to "play fast" but to play well...however, I doubt anyone is interested in listening to my 120bpm rendition of minor swing). His bar-context answer was to shrug and say "I learned a bunch of Django solos."

    So what I'm hearing from both of you is to cut down on my technique time and up my learning solos/themes time (percentage wise). Yes?

    Kevin

    Kevin
    I think,as Michael says ,that learning solos/themes IS technique time!
    A few months ago i selected what i consider 3 solos by Django that i absolutely loved--in other words i HAD to learn them
    Learning is fun if you really LOVE a song.

    "I'll see you in my dreams"--just about got it.. but only on a good day:-)

    "Blues minuer"(possibly the best tune to learn all the basic rules and techniques--and its not fast-- all those triplet arpeggios,chords and single lines are like the DNA of this style--you can use them in countless other tunes

    "Them there eyes"--just because i love Djangos solo on this one.

    I reckon you learn more from concentrating on small amounts of material at a time--i know for a fact that some of the alsace gypsies take ONE tune every two weeks and just learn it inside out
    Talking to Yorgui last night at Le Que and he says he practiced 10 hours a day(actually thru the night!) from the age of 14!
    No wonder these guys get good!--they're really hungry for it!
    Stu
  • KcoxKcox Montreal, QCNew
    Posts: 110
    Gee Stu, we must have crossed wires somewhere because started working on "I'll see you..." over the weekend. I've made it to just after the minute 30 mark, as most of the last day of practice was spent on that section that begins with that descending chromatic run up on the high E-string. I spent a long time trying to figure out what he was doing there until I finally gave up and peeked at Dennis's transcription. Still, it's nice to know that players as good as you are having trouble with it (well, maybe not, actually...I hope to not be so frustrated SOMEday).

    Is the Minor Blues version you are talking about the big band version? Thanks to Michael's picking book I know that one, and can play it at Django's tempo (on a good day, as you say, and if no one is watching). I don't recall "Them there eyes" but I think my next task will either be the second chorus to Raphael Fays "Si Tu Savais" (which you recommended I play in Bm, but I have to transcribe it from his Cm first) or maybe Tchavolo's solo to "After You've Gone" from Miri Familia...for some reason that one really sticks into my head (maybe because I listen to Tchavolo too much...I have to get my enjoyment in before I get too knowledgable like all the old coots I hear saying he's just a rhythm player, haha).

    Thanks for the advice,

    Kevin
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