84

My father was a French horn player for the New York Phil and later the Pittsburgh Symphony. It was a rare day when he didn’t go down to the basement and play a series of scales and arpeggios, sometimes for extended periods. I talked to him about it, but years ago so I can’t tell you if the following thoughts are his or mine: There’s a lot of repetition in ...


68

Consider the wise words of Ira Glass: Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing ...


66

Your experience is quite typical. Playing two hands at the same time is completely different than playing both separately. But the point of learning parts separately is NOT about making it easier to play both hands together. It's about learning all the "other" stuff (like correct hand position, articulation etc.) without having the distraction of the second ...


62

If your aim is to record smooth performances without having to do too many takes, the simple answer to that is to perform pieces that are comfortably within your capabilities, rather than pieces where you're pushing the limits of what you can do. This is generally what you are seeing when you watch an impressive performer playing live - however complex the ...


56

Some alternatives from the top of my head Double the guitar part on both guitars Double the bass part on one guitar Split the roles inside the chord: guitar 1 plays power chords (root and fifth only), and guitar 2 plays the third and the fifth or seventh, without root note. Split the parts rhythmically: guitar 1 playing kick/snare and guitar 2 playing "hi-...


55

I'm told that my great-grandmother, a professional pianist, practiced her scales for some hours each day. I don't think that you're "ever done," unless you've decided to quit playing. As with any sort of athlete, you have to practice to keep your skills sharp, and scales are one of the best exercises to do. You could probably substitute other exercises, ...


49

It's a clip that you use to hold music books open on the stand, like so:


39

Supposedly Heifetz said, "If I skip practicing one day, I notice the difference. If I skip two days, the critics notice. If I skip three, the public notices."


39

Three hours at one session! Unless you're the sort of person who can concentrate really well for that length of time, you've wasted at least some of it. Harsh, but realistic. Most of us cannot give 100% for that length of time! If you can organise your time into (much) smaller chunks, the progress will usually be speeded up. Perhaps even 20 minutes at a ...


36

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 sloppy,...


35

Learning the guitar as a beginner has many inherent challenges from the very start. For one, you are asking the new guitar student to teach their brain how to tell their fingers to contort in very strange and unnatural ways that they have never before even remotely contemplated. And the finger strength needed for many chords has not been developed yet. ...


33

As a piano teacher for more than 50 years I can assure you that you are not alone! Many students have the same experience, though quite a few do not. Of the hundreds I have taught I would say it breaks about 60-40 toward having the problem. As Brad said in his comment to the original question (a comment which has now strangely disappeared), the secret is ...


33

You could be not reaching those high notes for any of these reasons: You are young and your voice is still developing your vocal technique is bad you're doing the wrong exercises and over-straining your voice you have a naturally low voice, and you'll never hit those notes Only a qualified voice teacher will be able to tell you which of these is the case, ...


31

Don't get hung up on 'learning theory' or 'not learning theory'. What you want to do is gain knowledge about music, so you can use that knowledge to produce music. In the field of music, some of that knowledge tends to get packaged under the heading of 'theory', and some doesn't... but so what? what aspects of music theory should I learn first? Learning ...


30

You have to practice the skill of playing onwards after making a mistake. You might have to start by having the music in front of you, finding the place where you made the mistake in the music, and reading the next measure until you can get back into it. When practicing this, don't let yourself back up and play over the mistake notes correctly. Leave the ...


26

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 ...


26

There are so many things that I play all the time that I can't figure out how to play with two fingers at all that I wonder if you are mainly playing very specific music. You will want to be able to use all of your fingers, and you will want them all to be strong but not too strong, and flexible but not too flexible, and you will want them all to have ...


25

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. ...


24

Yes. The key signature of Db has a Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, and a Gb. Those notes are flat unless otherwise noted no matter the octave. For any key signature on any staff, you will only ever see the accidentals written once in a typical pattern. The octave the accidentals are in are entirely based on the clef used, but apply to all octaves. You can think of the ...


23

If you don't have a metronome, get one. They have phone apps for them now so it is pretty easy to get one. Start with a very slow speed. Once you are able to perform it ten times in a row at that speed, increase the speed by 5 beats per minute. Once you can play it ten times at that speed, increase again. Do this until you reach the speed it is to be ...


21

I don't see why you wouldn't be able to achieve all of your goals within a year - they are a perfectly reasonable. 1.5hrs of practice a day is a typical average of many college musicians, but I digress. Let me address your questions directly: Is it possible, within my barriers, to achieve my goals? What would a weekday excercise (1.5 hours) look ...


21

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 ...


21

To add to these great answers, I only have one suggestion - climbers chalk Moisture in the hands leads to blisters. Chalk alleviates moisture build up in the hands and helps to build callouses. Some notable guitar players who use chalk before every show: Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, etc. Chalk is a great when you haven't played in a while and don't ...


21

These types of recordings are usually called or "play-alongs" or "play-a-longs." A company called Music Minus One has been making classical music play-alongs since the 1950s. The company is now owned by Hal Leonard. They produce accompaniments for some of the most famous concertos for all instruments, including Saint-Saen's 2nd Piano Concerto. For the play-...


20

I think you were too harsh. Improvisation is itself a useful skill, especially so if your friend has an interest in jazz. Trying new things can also help with composition - I'd imagine most music doesn't spring from the composer's head fully formed. You may find an interesting melody or rhythm when just noodling around that you want to keep for later. And ...


19

This is common for mainly two reasons: Most musicians are clueless about gain structures, electronics, and acoustics. It is easier to turn one knob up than every other knob down. The solution: Wear ear plugs, use in ears, or just live with it. Chances are you can't change these people. If you feel you can then try to reason when them. The situation is ...


19

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 molto ...


19

Practice it at a speed where you CAN play perfectly. If you can't play a section correctly however slowly you go, sort out why. Your fingers are moving to the wrong place. Move them to the RIGHT place! Yes, it really is that simple. Every time you 'take a run at it' and mess up you're practicing playing it wrong. Go slower and practice playing it ...


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