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What would make you feel you’re now a “Good” player?

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What would make you feel you’re now a “Good” player?

When strutting your musical stuff pulls potential ‘partners’ (common guitar fantasy apparently!)
2
4%
Being able to play with some mates in a band
9
19%
Achieving a certain level on an approved grading system
0
No votes
Knowing how to write and play your own songs or music
6
13%
Being able to attract students
0
No votes
Realising that learning feels like fun and not a chore and that you enjoy your own playing
6
13%
Hearing that friends and family appreciate your playing.
10
21%
Playing at a pub open mic night or similar and having strangers applaud
10
21%
Making a successful career as a professional musician
1
2%
Other. Please post your ideas.
4
8%
 
Total votes : 48

Postby genemaniac » February 29th, 2012, 11:09 am

Hi, All,

One of the boxes I checked in the poll was 'Other'.

I feel that I will have made the ranks of 'Good' when I can consistently play any given tune reasonably well in any musical setting, whether it is jamming with mates, performing on-stage, or performing in smaller settings, with the confidence that I won't be creating train-wrecks! I am able to do this to a great extent on violin as I can sight-read sheet music, play off of chord sheets and improvise harmonies and background effects, and play by ear). Not as much with the guitar. And it's more in the public performing realm where trouble starts. Example: I do monthly music performance with a guitar playing buddy at a local nursing home. At one of these recent events, I attempted my 1st public performance on guitar of "Mood For A Day" (Steve Howe's Spanish-style acoustic piece on Yes's Fragile album). At home, in the comfort of my practice room, I can usually nail this one with few problems. At the performance, though, I got totally finger-tied at the first descending note run, lost focus, and lost my place in the song. Fortunately, I was able to recover reasonably well and finish the song. And as most of the elderly residents were not familiar with this piece (or Yes for that matter) nobody noticed the foul-up, and applause still came at the end! Nevertheless, I was deeply disappointed by the performance. I had failed my expectations. What really irritates me about this sort of thing is that I no longer suffer from any form of 'stage fright'. I've played enough in public that there are no 'butterfly' issues at all. It's just that I have a greater propensity to messing up on-stage. Even though I don't let on to the crowd that I've made a mistake, I know that I did, and that's what bugs me. When I can overcome this, I might be able to call myself 'good' without choking!
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Postby NoteBoat » February 29th, 2012, 12:26 pm

For hearing things I was the opposite of Crow - I was one of those that had to work at it. Ear training classes terrified me... I ended up always getting the best grades in the class, but only because I was so insecure about my ears that I put a lot more effort in than anybody else.

I wasn't confident about my ability to hear changes and identify the chords until I was probably 30. I mean, I'd guess right - but I still wasn't certain. So I really never stopped working at it.

Right now I'm trying to see if I can develop perfect pitch. I'm using a website (good-ear.com) that generates pitches to identify - it's kind of tedious, because once I've heard a pitch, I'd be relying on the relative hearing I've developed... so I do one pitch, then take a break, then do another... it takes me about an hour to do 15.

But I am making progress. When I started working on it (just over 15 months ago) I was averaging 55% right. Now I'm consistently averaging 90%, and having a couple days a month where I get 15 of 15. So even with perfect pitch, I'm starting to believe it can be learned if you want it badly enough.
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Postby cnev » February 29th, 2012, 12:33 pm

Tom I trried a similar site and i think it was testing intervals and once I heard them I did so-so for just starting but I felt the same way that it was more a lucky guess than anything else.

I'm at a point now that I can hear changes and things but i never have a clue what they actually are and extentions scare me a bit.

Not even sure where to start maybe just with single notes?
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Postby NoteBoat » February 29th, 2012, 12:54 pm

Start with pitch relationships - two notes one after the other; try to hear how far apart they are. When you get good at that, try to hear them together.
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Postby Cat » February 29th, 2012, 2:45 pm

NoteBoat wrote:Start with pitch relationships - two notes one after the other; try to hear how far apart they are. When you get good at that, try to hear them together.


Spot on...intervals are everything! :wink:

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Postby Chris C » February 29th, 2012, 4:04 pm

NoteBoat wrote: I was one of those that had to work at it. Ear training classes terrified me... I ended up always getting the best grades in the class, but only because I was so insecure about my ears that I put a lot more effort in than anybody else.


Very interesting point about the effort you put in. There are lots of possible motivators for that, but it seems to be an absolutely crucial factor.

There's a section in Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers (about people who achieve unusually high standards) where he talks about some research done at a highly regarded music school (I think it was in Germany, but I've lent the book so I can't check right now). The researchers were looking for reasons why some students seemed like 'naturals' - the ones that seemed to cruise to the top of the pile as opposed to the 'grinders' who, while still talented, never reached the same peaks.

Apparently, they separated the subjects into three groups - those whose level of talent would be expected to lead to solo careers, those who would secure good orchestral positions (or similar) and those who would most likely gravitate to less performance oriented roles in the music business. They were hoping to find some describable difference in character or approach, but the overwhelming correlation that they found was simply how many hours they put in. If I remember rightly, in the early stages (as young kids) they all put in similar hours, but as time progressed some started putting in more and more time.

They were the violin students who never quite got down to the pub with the others because they couldn't bear to put down something interesting that they were working on - or, for that matter, they were also the kids in their bedrooms endlessly listening to their rock records and practising the riffs and chords over and over and over until they nailed it. The Lennons and McCartneys, etc.

So it seems that the ability to be highly motivated is a crucial factor. Perhaps it doesn't matter so much whether it's driven by curiosity, fear, love, obedience, insecurity, passion or just good old obsession, but you do need to put the hours in - with some sort of intensity.

Crow wrote:Everything else had come so easily, a bit of lazy arrogance had set in.


With general schoolwork I was like Crow - it all seemed to come pretty easy at first. Regularly top of the class, head of school, scholarship, etc - up until early teens. Then something drifted. Whatever natural passions and interest that had kept me afloat and on track got derailed. Without an established work ethic based timetable to follow, my results slid downwards - not to rock bottom, but out of the top rank.

I've done OK since, and had a very interesting life. But I can still see a direct link between my successes (in any endeavour) and finding out what the motivator is for me to keep concentrating long enough to get those all important hours in. It's what the tens of thousands of guitar students who quit every year either lose or never manage to find.

Cheers,

Chris
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Postby Chris C » February 29th, 2012, 4:24 pm

Incidentally...

I also believe that the difference between a "Good" teacher and the merely average is their ability to provide that motivation their students need. The mediocre ones just dish out the facts, but the good ones inspire you to go away and put the hours in.

I had some lessons from a guy last year who was great. They were really nothing like regular lessons We'd sit in his studio and natter on about music, he'd fiddle with this and that, and then he'd try and take little or no money on the basis that "we didn't do anything today". I'd says "Nonsense, I got what I came for. I already know where the notes are..." and I'd go home and play and play... :D
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Postby cnev » February 29th, 2012, 5:03 pm

Chris never read the book but I've always wondered if motivation or the abilty to stay motivated was what makes up what we call natural talent.

It probably can't be 100% since there a child prodigies that obviously must have some god given talent since they couldn't have possibly put the time in.

But I think it is possibliy the biggest single factcor in determing how far you will get.

Love reading your posts makes me think.
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Postby Vic Lewis VL » February 29th, 2012, 7:19 pm

Then - there are the little victories that keep you going. Couple of weeks ago, I decided I had to learn "Do The Strand" - an old Roxy Music song. Looked up a couple of tabs, and they were absolutely rubbish. Sigh.....going to have to do it from scratch. SoI sat down with a guitar, fooled around with riffs, took me about two days, 60-70 cigs (so much for giving up smoking again!) and a few drinks and a lot of persistence - but I finally cracked it. Most of the tabs had the song in G - an the opening riff to each verse line as G#, then G. I couldn't actually sing it in G, tried it in A, and lo and behold - opening riff, F - F# - G - A# - A.....after that it was easy. Another Roxy Music song I really wanted to learn was "Pyjamarama" - I had the whole song down pat, but couldn't work out the intro. I sent Tom (Noteboat) Serb a message - he put me on the right track. he identified the intervals, and woring on that, I worked out D (xx0232) DM7 (xx0222) D7 xx0212) and D6 (xx0202) for the intro....sounds OK to me.

And then I think to myself, OK, do I really need my (extended) family looking down on me like that? Criticising everything I do, saying, "you'll never get anywhere....not with that kind of rubbish you play." Hmmm - if they think Under The Bridge, Substitute, All Right Now, Behind Blue Eyes, Norwegian Wood, Working Class Hero, Bad Moon Rising etc etc are rubbish, I'm thinking, well, it's not me who's got the problem....you're the ones who listen to JLS, One Direction, Rihanna, and watch the X factor.....bleeech!

So now I'm thinking, hell with 'em - I'll play the music I like to play. I'll play my old rock'n'roll; I'll play my old classics; I'll work on my own songs; and I'm going to make time to record stuff. I could either throw the guitars out and think, "hell with it - I'll never get anywhere. What's the point?" OR I could keep playing for my own amusement. And at the end of the day, there's that little stubborn streak in me, when someone says "you'll NEVER do that," said streak thinks, "***** you, oh yes I will - might take me a while to get there, but I WILL get there. And I've got a hell of a lot of songs I want to record yet....

Fired up. Watch this space. I WILL show 'em!!!!!

(Sore fingers from the unaccustomed 3 hours or so I spent playing tonight - they might still be sore tomorrow - they WILL be sore tomorrow - but I'm going to put the hard hours in, whatever happens.)

NOW I'M MOTIVATED!

:D :D :D

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Postby Chris C » February 29th, 2012, 7:31 pm

cnev wrote:Chris never read the book but I've always wondered if motivation or the abilty to stay motivated was what makes up what we call natural talent.

It probably can't be 100% since there a child prodigies that obviously must have some god given talent since they couldn't have possibly put the time in.

But I think it is possibly the biggest single factor in determining how far you will get.



I'd totally agree with your assessment Chris. :) Motivation can't be everything as we're definitely not all born with the same set of physical characteristics or mental processing equipment. I was a whizz at school, but my son is intellectually disabled. He's 19 now but, despite thousand of hours of patient instruction from us, can't answer a simple question like “What's your favourite colour?” because “favourite” is an abstract concept and he works almost entirely in the concrete. Yet, with subjects that grab his interest, he can do extraordinary feats of visual memory that I couldn't manage if I studied for years on end.

It does seem that the ‘child prodigies' have some natural advantages (and all the students at the music school that was studied were thought to fall roughly into the category of having some sort of basic or 'natural' aptitude for music to have got in at all). But 'prodigies' or 'naturals' still need some kind of facilitator to provide the equipment and the opportunity to work on a skill. Usually that does mean they have also put in quite a lot more hours than most kids their age. The golf prodigy may have had a Dad who worked at the local club, or some kind of mentor. Bill Gates hustled up the opportunity to put in an unheard of amount of hours on a computer back in the days when access was severely restricted for the lucky few and non-existent for the vast majority of people. Mozart's Dad was one the most successful musicians of his day and was well aware of the value of promoting his son as a prodigy. The family lived and breathed music. And so on. It seems to be a sort of balance between potential (natural aptitude, tenacity, etc), motivation, and opportunity - and you usually need a good dose of them all.

Yesterday I was given a very nice camera by my wife. It's a belated 65th birthday present and the equivalent of a retirement set of golf clubs I guess. I have plenty of creative ideas in my head for “good” shots, but I know that I lack the skills to take them right now. There's a big pile of manuals and hundreds of hours of practice to get through first. Two good friends who have gone from amateur snappers to award winning professionals over the last 5-7 years have advised me to re-shoot the same shots over and over to get a feel of how to achieve the subtle differences and nuances that sort the good photos from the average, and to join a camera club (the equivalent of getting a musical playing buddy or joining a band). They also advised entering the club competitions to keep it interesting.

So I know roughly what I need to learn and realistically how long it takes, and I also know how to go about doing it. But I still don't know if I'll last the distance to get as good as I'd like. I've got a pretty good track record at maintaining motivation for things that I set my sights on, but only time will tell. It's also the thing that I have most control over. Wish me luck.... :D
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Postby Chris C » February 29th, 2012, 7:36 pm

Vic Lewis VL wrote:Fired up. Watch this space. I WILL show 'em!!!!!

(Sore fingers from the unaccustomed 3 hours or so I spent playing tonight - they might still be sore tomorrow - they WILL be sore tomorrow - but I'm going to put the hard hours in, whatever happens.)

NOW I'M MOTIVATED!

:D :D :D

Vic


WOOHOO! Go get 'em Vic. :mrgreen:
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Postby Vic Lewis VL » February 29th, 2012, 8:07 pm

Chris C wrote:
Vic Lewis VL wrote:Fired up. Watch this space. I WILL show 'em!!!!!

(Sore fingers from the unaccustomed 3 hours or so I spent playing tonight - they might still be sore tomorrow - they WILL be sore tomorrow - but I'm going to put the hard hours in, whatever happens.)

NOW I'M MOTIVATED!

:D :D :D

Vic


WOOHOO! Go get 'em Vic. :mrgreen:


Zoom MRS-8.....come to daddy......time we got together and sorted a few things out. The adrenaline's started to kick in - which is really unfortunate, it's 4:15 am and I could REALLY do with some sleep....

:D :D :D

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Postby TRGuitar » February 29th, 2012, 10:37 pm

I love it when people get fired up about playing!
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Postby s1120 » March 1st, 2012, 5:37 am

You know the talking about ear training reminds me of a few months ago. To start out with, I'm not a very advanced player. I'm getting better,but I have a long way to go. So I'm sitting there practicing and the kids are watching something on Disney Chanel. So I started strumming along to some of the songs and it clicked. I started to know when the chords were going to be changed. I'm sure its from years of listing to music,and most pop follows set patterns, but it was cool to put that to use on the guitar. I could not figure out the chords used, but was getting good at knowing if the upcoming chord was going to be higher or lower. Many more years of work, but it felt like a ste in the right direction
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Postby Chris C » March 1st, 2012, 3:44 pm

s1120 wrote: So I'm sitting there practicing and the kids are watching something on Disney Chanel. So I started strumming along to some of the songs and it clicked. I started to know when the chords were going to be changed. I'm sure its from years of listing to music,and most pop follows set patterns, but it was cool to put that to use on the guitar.


I reckon that's a great way to go. :D

I used to do the same thing with kids shows and found that I could reasonably quickly have at least some success at picking up on some of the tunes. The good thing was that the songs were often pretty simply melodies in a small range of keys, and they might be familiar anyway, such as nursery rhymes etc.

The downside of it was that I didn't get too many attempts before I got firmly told to shut up and stop distracting from the shows!!
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