beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > How to Practice
How to Practice
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352 posts
Oct 30, 2017
9:07 AM
While checking out the book, Effortless Mastery, discussed on the other forum, I stumbled over "First, Learn to Practice" by Tom Heany. It's an evening's read with what seems like a lot of good practical advice. Inexpensive on Kindle. It's got an interesting take on differentiating between practicing, learning, and performing. One emphasis is on patiently perfecting small segments of music and techniques at slow speed. It's not startling new advice, but he gives it a context.
Phil Pennington
177 posts
Oct 30, 2017
10:18 AM
Lot's of good info out there on how to practice.
One thing that may or may not get mentioned. is at some point we actually have to know what a particular note sounds like.
Some people are super good at that. They can recognize a note if it's played on a harp, piano , guitar etc etc. It's something I'm always trying improve on as it is not my strong point.

Sometimes we blow right by the note we are trying for and always seem to hit it flat. you see that with the 3 often we can learn how to to bend it..but another thing to hit it pretty and not something cringe worthy.

I use something to record myself..often I don't hear it right while I'm playing it..but the recorder show no mercy it's either on target or not.
On the plus side it's great when you actually sound better than you thought and can say.
man that sounds great and start to work on something else.
5112 posts
Dec 06, 2017
10:46 PM
How to practice; today I fell right into the place of not knowing what to do. Exercises, like drills are easy. Bending drills, scales. Ok.
But then I got into the licks. I was speaking with Ronnie Shellist yesterday and he suggested I get into playing ‘looping’ licks. This would include triplets for instance, and also those figures which seem quite common on the 4 chord, basically patterns which come back to the start and repeat. They are good in themselves as things to use but also for training movement patterns and building speed.
So I sat down and started listening and playing but soon hit the same problem of moving on to the next thing, without really feeling I’d learned much (too basic, or should I still work the basic?) and then deciding to work some triplets to a track until I actually fatigued and had to move on to something more practical: picking up my wife from work. Now I’m wondering if I’ll muster the energy to get back to it.
2412 posts
Dec 07, 2017
8:10 AM
This is a real problem. That's why I'd go to a teacher. On the whole they don't actually teach new things, more giving advice on which things to practice, out of the many things that need working on.

Not easy to assess on your own.
481 posts
Dec 18, 2017
11:42 PM
One thing that has worked for me is to begin each morning practice with some scales using a tuner - just for a little while. In particular, I am getting much better at hitting all of the draw notes on the three. I only do this for a couple of minutes and then do it by ear and, occasionally, record myself or listen to something from a gig to check myself. This fits my learning style and might not work for someone else. I have also found Tomlin Leckie's lessons great - anything from how play certain specific licks or songs, or strategies for improvising and structuring solos. I really like his teaching style.
5128 posts
Dec 19, 2017
4:16 AM
I’m pretty good at learning songs, note for note, presumably because that’s what I’ve been doing for a long time. That’s ok if you want to play those songs, and you quickly need to get it together. In the longer term though, it’s a drag.
Now I’m trying to re-educate myself, learn licks, smaller pieces and ways to join things up.
I find this more difficult, and I suppose it’s because I’m not used to doing it. I’m hoping that in time I’ll get better at picking things up in this way.
It’s making sense to me, but I am struggling with the process.
Sticking to 3rd position but I keep turning them into V IV I type licks.
And then forgetting them.
It’s somehow easier for me to remember the longer story.
I’m quite excited by the prospect of changing the way I think. But it’s not happening as quickly as I’d like. I’m hooked on fast food type learning, and I need to get back to basic whole foods.
Anyway, Ronnie Shellist is simultaneously inspiring and daunting, I’m gonna focus on the inspiration part. I know it will happen if I work on it consistently.

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