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28

Wrong reps create wrong results. DO NOT play fast and wrong. Practice as slowly as you need to to avoid wrong notes. This is very important. The reason that you need to practice in the first place is that you need to create muscle memory. If you tell your muscles to do the wrong thing they will remember to do the wrong thing. Every instance of ...


23

I write from personal experience -- I now always wear earplugs as an audience member in big gigs. When music is very loud, it impairs your ability to hear detail. Pitch and even rhythm become difficult to discern. At a certain level of loudness, your brain "fills in" the detail. This is why it's a good idea to play demo tapes loud to A&R men, but keep ...


22

I'm reminded of what my mother once told me. Music is not competition. Leave the racing to the horses. Having taught children myself and having lived in a house of teachers for 22 years I can tell you sometimes it is refreshing to be able to talk to your pupil like an adult. You are constantly running the proverbial mine field when trying to teach children. ...


15

The admonition I run into again and again, attributed to such lights as Thelonius Monk and Louis Armstrong is "play the melody." Of course you will syncopate it, put a little ornamentation here and there, but simple is fine That covers soloing pretty well, but what about comping? Guitarists with jazz chops rarely hang on the same voicing for more than a ...


13

The important thing is to feel the pulse of the tempo in your head as you play. Tap your foot if it helps you. When listening to music, tap your foot, clap or drum on your legs, to reinforce that instinct for rhythm. Do, however, bear in mind that when playing unaccompanied, it's not always vital to keep a rigid tempo. Some pieces benefit from expressive ...


13

I've had about five different teachers over my career as an instrumentalist, and they all taught me to play slowly when I was learning a new passage. The objective has always been to play it as slowly as necessary in order to play it smoothly and without error. In doing so, it will naturally become easier to play it faster later. I believe that playing it ...


13

I would suggest you take note of the parts you most commonly get wrong, and practice each of those parts as a mini "exercise". Write out the short section separately somewhere, and run through those parts in your practice routine. Once you've got them well practiced, make sure you can incorporate them smoothly into the surrounding sections. Practicing ...


12

I can identify with your situation. I play guitar and sing primarily, and am constantly learning new songs to perform. Some songs are very easy but others take more practice to learn to play proficiently. Invariably, on the songs that are more difficult to learn, the first time I perform it for a live audience, I experience the same thing you are ...


11

Learning production is like learning any musical instrument in a lot of ways. You first need to practice a lot to become very familiar with your software. The software is your instrument, you need to know it inside and out to become proficient at creating songs. For instruments, daily practice is the fastest way to improve, and the same goes with digital ...


11

I suspect that if you keep making random mistakes with a specific piece and you are not generally out of shape (as in, "I have been playing three hours a month for the past six months") you probably did an half-assed job at learning the piece in the first place. What works for me in these situations is Taking out the metronome, setting it to davvero ...


10

They say amateurs practice until they make no mistakes, while professionals practice until they're not able to make any mistakes... Mistakes include not only wrong notes but incorrect timing, dynamics, and whatever. This might be the cause for the first two characteristics you describe: they both play well but the professional is completely in control ...


10

This answer is based on a lecture from Manfred Spitzer, a German psychologist and university teacher. He said that for example, the part of the brain which controls the left hand is significantly larger in the brain of musicians (in this special case violinists) who started practicing at a very early age than in the brain of non-musicians or violinists who ...


10

There aren't any special intervals you should focus on. All of them are equally important. What you can do is to find songs you know, with melodies you can sing, and see what kind of intervals they use. This way you'll remember what the intervals sound like. Now, no one can really suggest these kind of songs to you. They have to be songs you know and ...


10

Any tips on how to make it sick, so to speak, when trying to internalize the distance between notes? There are three ways you can easily get those intervals in your head. Sing Singing the intervals will make learning them much more easier and effective. Try this before doing your interval exercises: Pick one interval you are having troubles with. ...


9

If you play fast and sloppy and "get in more reps", your sloppiness will tend to accumulate in the same places. There will be stuff you always play wrong in similar ways. And you'll get desensitivized to playing it wrong, to boot. You'll feel that it's ok to make the same mistakes over again and again if you are just making them fast enough. "more reps" ...


8

One golden rule. Play less. Lay out. Leave space. If there's someone in the group who CAN play jazz, allow him room to do it. And have fun! Let the music go where it will. Don't rehearse it to death. If it's your turn to play a solo, the melody will be just fine.


8

It's hard to translate this into definite advice without one-to-one tuition, but I think the key is not to "learn pieces" but "learn to play your instrument". Learning pieces, especially if it involves lots of practice for one particular piece, is like "teaching to the test" in school, rather than teaching the subject. Try keeping a list of your "random" ...


7

There's no research that I'm aware of which provides what I think you are looking for, which is a clear guideline on how much practice per day is needed to provide what results. But there is some research on the topic. The most general indication of the research results has been that there is a much stronger correlation between time spent practicing and ...


7

With any solo, you want to tell a story. The licks, riffs and grooves are your words. Writers structure stories as narrative arcs. A narrative arc is usually: Exposition: The introduction the story in which characters are introduced, setting is revealed. Rising Action: A series of events that complicate matters for the protagonist, creating a rise in ...


7

I'm a violinist, not a pianist, but it's very common for beginning violin players to have severe pain because they are too tense, especially when they are self taught. I'm going to suggest a few generic techniques to start minimizing tension. When you sit down at the piano, think about how you are sitting. Look for any tension, especially in your neck and ...


7

As a guitar player I can assure you that your description of the difference between a self-taught and a instructed player apply to other instruments as well. I am not a piano player myself, but I took guitar lessons and taught myself a lot of things on my own after not taking lessons anymore. The difference between a high quality teacher and yourself is ...


7

I always use Audacity for transcribing music. It's a free audio editor (for Mac and Windows). If necessary you can change the tempo, and you have a lot of other useful options. However, I've been transcribing music for many years and I've come to the conclusion that in most cases you just need to be able to select the difficult bit and be able to loop it ...


7

No doubt, if you plan to perform, there are many reasons to perform (and therefore practice) standing, most mentioned by topo morto and others that you may be aware of. When I perform, I prefer to stand - so I spend time practicing while standing because it is different than playing seated and it does require dedicated practice to get used to the change ...


6

Learning intonation on violin is difficult a) because a new student doesn't necessarily have intonation in their ears so it is hard to judge accuracy and b) because even if the student does have relatively decent intonation it's not a trivial task to get the fine muscle control to execute an in-tune note. I'll lay down some basic suggestions and then get a ...


6

When I practice with my band, and when we do gigs, I always wear earplugs. It does not affect the ability to hear details in the music, to hear what the other band members are doing. Everybody else in the band always wears theirs. I use the earplugs that are sold at music shops (such as Guitar Center). (I don't use all-purpose foam earplugs.) Edit: I would ...


6

I have two answers, but first a caveat: I'm a singer, and I firmly believe that, as a singer, a solid technique should let you sing in any style — but rap isn't really my thing (like, I don't even recognize the name "Mike Shinoda"), so my advice is going to be about basic, healthy vocal technique in general (especially for men, which I'm guessing you are one ...


6

Yes, this is a common problem for anyone who's ever trying to do more than one thing at a time (which for musicians, is quite often). You have to be nice to your brain. Take it slow, painfully, agonizingly slow In fact, don't even play in time. I suggest breaking down the physical motions into their most basic components, and explain what needs to happen ...


6

It's an open question, and it will likely be a long time before there's a concensus. But given that there's a lot of interest in this, and that there are precious few poster childs for the unlimited human potential side, I at least is firmly in the "incontestable advantage" camp. Given the vast amount of people in the world, and their differing ...


6

1. Stop Playing 2. Go to the Doctor Seriously, your health is more important than your studies and your playing. Why potentially damage a half century of playing guitar and your career to save a few hours? What you describe doesn't sound trivial to me and could be indicative of something more serious that could affect all areas of your life, not just your ...


6

Breath control, breath control, breath control! I recall one of the top University Marching Band directors talking to us (Midwestern Music & Art Camp circa 1970 :-) ) about his "aha" moment. He was a trumpeter & got a summer job (high school or college age for him) with a circus orchestra. First couple performances, his embouchure collapsed ...



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