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The point of practising with a metronome is to verify that you are able to keep to a constant meter while playing arbitrary rhythms, or to help you gain that ability if you don't have it. Executing tempo changes such as ritardandos and rubatos requires that you already have that ability, because they should be deliberate choices to deviate from the beat ...


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Learn how to reharmonize the tune, or passages in the tune, with passing chords, secondary dominants, cadences, etc. Then identify tones in each new chord which you use as target tones in your solos. For each passage in your song, identify the tonic chord. Then learn how to use a solo to establish this chord as the harmony of resolution: approaching it and ...


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Everyone's given some great advice, but here's the thing about solos; they're melodies, and melodies are constructed in a certain way. It's possible to figure out that certain way just by playing, but I found it far more useful to actually understand the principles of melody construction ahead of time. Once I did, my solos improved by leaps and bounds. ...


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One-Finger Soloing It's a very simple technique but I came across this recently. You literally choose one finger on your fretting hand - index most likely - and are only allowed to use this finger. The idea is it breaks your ingrained muscle memory of playing scale patterns. And also, following the scale is now no easier in terms of finger movement than ...


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You have probably got more advice than you can use, so I will be brief. I am coming to the conclusion that no matter what type, style or period, the introduction of half-step, non-scale intervals in melodies makes a difference in the interest that music generates in the listener. The appoggiatura is just one kind of half-step ornamentation, and it has its ...


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This isn't a musical answer but have you already visited your doctor about this? While RSI/Carpal Tunnel can be combated by changes in how you go about your life, there are also treatments which can make a massive different, for instance surgery which "frees up" your wrists. You should probably visit the doctor anyway for general exercises and advice on ...


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This is a seriously overengineered solution. Like several others stated, you should really invest in actual musician earplugs which are designed for attenuating with a constant frequency response rather than focusing on the most "disturbing" frequencies which also happen to be the most important ones for, well, not being annoying to the audience. Yes, they ...


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This might not be good enough in terms of sound quality but my thought was you could use a smartphone/tablet, Some phones like the high end Lumias have very good microphones (maybe modern iPhones too) and you can buy a separate microphone for your iPhone for sure - and of course then you can plug headphones in as normal. It could be a much cheaper way to ...


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I've been learning flute for 11 months, and I have only very partial control over the 2nd octave. If you are comfortable in the first two octaves after just 6 months, I'd say you're doing better than me. To your question, I also have times when nothing is working right, and I can't tell whether it's the flute or me that has gone haywire. Personally, I tend ...


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It's one of the joys of being human! We can't always switch on and be whatever we want. Mental and physical states have a lot to do with it. Some of my pupils play fantastically at some lessons, but if they come, say, after playing a football match or a couple of hours maths coaching, they might at well go straight home! Try to be able to play at any time ...


1

Not sure what instrument you are trying to learn but I am a big fan of learning to play an instrument by learning to play songs you personally like as opposed to learning "When The Saints Go Marching In" because it's in a lesson book. Learning an instrument takes dedication and practice and it is easy to lose interest if you are only learning to play songs ...


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Not exactly blindfold but playing in the dark or very low light increases the detail in my hearing. I find it a very useful method especially for acquiring a good sound and interpretation rather than technique. An other suggestion may be to play all transposes of the song from the hearth after memorizing the piece in the original key. This exercise breaks ...


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An exercise I've been given by my trumpet teacher that is specifically for strengthening lip muscles is to put a pencil in your mouth and attempt to hold it horizontally using only your lips. It is quite difficult at first but makes no noise, requires little equipment and can be done while doing something else.


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While Carl's suggestions seem to be more on realistic, another option you have is cardio! Playing a horned instrument requires a healthy heart and lungs, but also a strong diaphragm like you mentioned. Cardiovascular exercise has been known to increase lung capacity and efficiency. Additionally, this can be done anywhere without bothering people. 20 ...


4

Blindfolding might be taking it a bit too far, but I guess it can't hurt. I personally like to play in the dark. :) I find it helps in several respects: Obviously, it's going to help you learn to play automatically, without any crutches, and reinforce your muscle memory. I've also found that it helps you focus your attention on your sound and execution: ...


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I'm all for studying with teachers, but if you want to take ownership of your musicianship you should also spend some time in self-directed study. Play along with the music you like to listen to on your iPod or whatever you use. You will feel lost at first but keep at it. Try different things and listen for whether it sounds good. Study chord ...


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It's good to play with others who do not have their heads down all the time. You can communicate with them, have a laugh, guess what they're thinking.And there's often lots of interesting things going on on the dance floor that you'd otherwise miss. Apart - yes, it's a good idea. Maybe not the blindfold or paper bag, but certainly looking away for periods ...


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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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The important things about practising stuff is improving and learning. One experiment worth trying is taking it down three notches: pick out some stuff you already mastered some time ago. Now play it perfectly. Once you play it perfectly, record it and listen. Anything to improve left? You'll find as you retry "really easy" stuff and/or listen to ...


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From my experience, fixed session every morning (15 - 20 min) plus a weekly teacher lesson works well enough. Short as it looks, this makes more than two hours a week of the most productive time, with nobody distracting. With weekly piano lesson from the teacher in addition, this seems is enough to make progress that is satisfactory for me. Started from ...


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There are so called "time tracking" programs mostly used by people who work at home, various jobs. They allow to count the spent working time, starting and stopping the timer manually, and provide logs on how much have been spent. More advanced versions allow to count multiple jobs, so you could also measure time spent for playing known and learning new, ...


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Tim's pretty much got it there, but I just wanted to add there I don't really think there is just one way you should learn. I've been playing guitar for over 10 years now, and I've met all sorts of different musicians who've learnt in different ways. It all comes down to personal preference, which can be daunting for a beginner because you don't know what ...


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To an extent, it will rely on many different factors. How musical the student is, what other musical experience he has, what instrument it is, whether he's learning from music are several of them. Rather like a child reading from a book, a beginner can sound stilted, and not play fluently. If it's just one piece, the more times it's practised, the smoother ...


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I use Level Me Up!, because I'm a gamer and I love the whole idea of earning "experience points" in order to "level up" my skills. Basically, you create a "character" (you), add "skills" (the things you want to practice, IE "guitar") to your "character sheet", and then log the time you spend practicing. The app scales the total accumulated time against the ...


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I have used the Music Journal app for logging practice time on my iPad. It has some really nice features but also some shortcomings. On the plus side, it will record both time played and BPM goals, with different kinds of practice color coded. On the minus side, it only organizes practice by “songs” with no way of tagging or filtering practice by type. I ...


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I'm sure if you looked you would find something, especially if you looked in the fitness world as people often log their workouts and achievements. However if you are a bit of a "data geek" I humbly suggest you simply create a spreadsheet in Excel/LibreOffice or online in GoogleDocs, whatever fits your lifestyle and computer habits. This would work well and ...


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I'm not a medical doctor, but I am a middle-aged guy who's played both keyboard and guitar for years, and I have found that shoulder and back issues definitely affect the way my hands and forearms feel, to the point that whenever my fingers tingle or my forearms ache, I reflexively think about keeping the shoulders back and low and making sure my posture is ...


2

Gee... there isn't enough space to answer your question here or in any written, set material really. If you want to study systematically, I strongly recommend you hire a few teachers, explain what you are after, see which ones you like best, and stick with that one for a year rain or shine before reassessing where you want to go. The problem with ...


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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 ...


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I don't know the answer but I feel for you - but seriously: See a doctor!! This is your health you're talking about, and although it might not seem so at the moment, that's much more important than your exams. I know you can get pain in all sorts of weird places when your nerves are messed up, and back pain may be a factor in that, but I'm no doc. It may be ...


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If you continue to progress, you'll soon run into parts written in other transpositions, and thus will learn to "re-think" the meaning of tone names. It's not that different from learning to read "concert pitch" in bass, tenor, alto, and treble clefs. So I agree that the answer is "all of the above,... and then some" :-). Typically a discussion of ...


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Most players think and speak in the written key, in my experience. However, they DO need to be aware that when discussing with other musos, that most others will probably be in 'concert'. Imagine an alto sax player communicating with a tenor and a pianist... So, Yes to 1, 2 and 3! As an aside, it would be interesting and useful for you to attempt to read ...



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