A very good free book on practicing

wqking

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https://practicing-guitar.readthedocs.io/en/latest/index.html

This book (or documentation) is for practicing classical guitar, it also works for Ukulele.
It gives comprehensive information on practicing, such as practicing routine, and practicing strategies.

I hope you may find it useful.

One new technique I learned from it is "chaining", and I start realizing "slow" (or simple blindly "slow") doesn't work.
 
https://practicing-guitar.readthedocs.io/en/latest/index.html

This book (or documentation) is for practicing classical guitar, it also works for Ukulele.
It gives comprehensive information on practicing, such as practicing routine, and practicing strategies.

I hope you may find it useful.

One new technique I learned from it is "chaining", and I start realizing "slow" (or simple blindly "slow") doesn't work.
Thanks. I'm looking for a good practice routine. I'll take a look at this one
 
It does look informative. To bad we can't download it.
 
I want to offer a slightly less than useful recommendation. There was a while back one of those threads about beginner books and Brad Bordessa, a very accomplished player and teacher, gave some recommendations on books that were very esoteric and conceptual. They were more like big-picture type of books about how to conceptualize the entire process. I think those books would be a great complement to books such as the one offered in this thread. Use the search functions and find those other recommendations. I think it would be very edifying as I once heard it termed in a Wodehouse novel (I believe it was in reference to the philosopher Spinoza)
 
I want to offer a slightly less than useful recommendation. There was a while back one of those threads about beginner books and Brad Bordessa, a very accomplished player and teacher, gave some recommendations on books that were very esoteric and conceptual. They were more like big-picture type of books about how to conceptualize the entire process. I think those books would be a great complement to books such as the one offered in this thread. Use the search functions and find those other recommendations. I think it would be very edifying as I once heard it termed in a Wodehouse novel (I believe it was in reference to the philosopher Spinoza)
Spinoza. Isn’t his latest book filed next to Florence Craye’s novel Spindrift?
 
It does look informative. To bad we can't download it.
I suggested to have a pdf download on Github
If you have Github account (most here may not), you may discuss there, or even help the author to make the pdf.
 
I've read through this a few times now, and you know what? I'm in!
One new technique I learned from it is "chaining", and I start realizing "slow" (or simple blindly "slow") doesn't work.

This is HUGE. So many of the people I started following on YT bang on about "start slow, get it right, and only then speed up, or you'll only be teaching yourself bad habits." But what I've found is that a lot of things get easier when you go faster. There simply aren't as many mistakes as you speed up.

Learning to ride a bike is the best example. You have to be going fast enough in the first place, so you might learn to push off before you even start pedaling -- speed first, then pedaling. Learning to ride with no hands isn't even close to possible until you can go fast enough.

I've found this again and again in my life -- dancing, martial arts, swimming, and plenty more. They're easier to do faster than they are when you're trying to do them slowly.

Even in my stumbling, bumbling beginnings on the ukulele, I found that I couldn't get the island strum AT ALL until I sped it up, like twice as fast as I'd been trying. Yeah, you have to go slowly enough at the VERY beginning, but man o man, did it get so much easier when I went faster. I'm finding the same thing as I'm trying to sing while I play. The closer I am to song tempo, the easier it is.

One thing I've appreciated about Matt Stead's channel is that he's very clear that tempo is the boss, not perfect chords. Better to completely miss a chord and catch up on the next round than to stop, fiddle around, and try to find the tempo again. That's a good way to stay lost forever. LOL And this is despite his overall emphasis on tone. Much better to refine the tone after you can play the thing in something resembling the right timing.

I'm not even worried as much about locking into the metronome yet as much as just plain speeding up. One of the songs in my current mix is "I'm A Believer", and working on perfectly landing every chord with every string ringing out, then slowly speeding up, was gonna take me a year. I found that speeding up my pace, and working on landing those targets at speed, has been both more effective AND more fun.

None of this is entirely either-or, of course. It's like a web of spectrums, which is why this "easy" little instrument can present so many challenges....but even after just trying this for a week or so, I'm finding that leaning more into the "speed first, tone second" end of the spectrum is working much, much better than "tone first, speed second" method I'd been pursuing.

Feel free to poke holes in my post, but I do hope that folks will at least take a look at the original link for a much-better articulated look at how and why this can work, along with the included example videos. I dug it! Thanks for sharing this, @wqking!
 
https://practicing-guitar.readthedocs.io/en/latest/index.html

This book (or documentation) is for practicing classical guitar, it also works for Ukulele.
It gives comprehensive information on practicing, such as practicing routine, and practicing strategies.

I hope you may find it useful.

One new technique I learned from it is "chaining", and I start realizing "slow" (or simple blindly "slow") doesn't work. That's exactly what I need right now. I've wanted a book like this for a long time. I didn't like the others at all. At the moment I'm reading a monster book, using https://studymoose.com/literature/monster-book for that. As soon as I finish this one, I will start the one you recommend. to your question I will answer, it will definitely be useful. It is talked about a lot, and it is already an indicator.

Wow, thanks for that 👍
 
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I've read through this a few times now, and you know what? I'm in!
Tim you invited us to poke holes but I'm a bit trypophobic. So instead I want to say that I think speed is what you need. With your personality I think analysis paralysis is a very real possibility. So playing fast and not sweating the small stuff would help you greatly. For example if you're playing a song with 32 bars and you mute a chord in bar 17 or you miss a beat in bar 26--screw it! Just keep going and don't let that right hand stop. In this way you get the accomplishment of successfully completing 30 bars of music whereas if you stopped every time one of the four voices of a chord is muffled, you would never get anywhere.
 
Tim you invited us to poke holes but I'm a bit trypophobic

Okay, maybe not THAT many holes. LOL

With your personality I think analysis paralysis is a very real possibility. So playing fast and not sweating the small stuff would help you greatly.

I definitely hear you, and agree. My first attempt at an antidote was to work on a song a week, changing on Saturdays. I wanted to discipline myself to be less, uhm, disciplined I guess? LOL You can guess how that went. Lots of rushed, half-finished songs and bad habits.

For example if you're playing a song with 32 bars and you mute a chord in bar 17 or you miss a beat in bar 26--screw it! Just keep going and don't let that right hand stop.

What I'm trying to do now is to focus on what matters. That's going to be different for everyone, but for me, it's a combination of chord voicing and melodic movement.

To use a non-Beatles example for once, Pete Townshend's "Let My Love Open The Door", like a lot of Pete's songs, has mostly relatively simple chords, and not that many of 'em per song, but you've got to really move to keep up. There are two places in the song where Bb shows up - once for two measures, once for half a measure. The half a measure is a transitional chord, so if I muffle the E string in the Bb for a single down-up between two other chords that sound fine, then who cares? But if I've missed the mark for two full measures that start feeling longer and longer because of how badly I missed, well, that one's a problem.

(btw, this song is a gas to play, and sounds great on ukulele. It also sounds dandy at slower than breakneck pace, which is very helpful indeed while learning!)

whereas if you stopped every time one of the four voices of a chord is muffled, you would never get anywhere.

That's kinda the flip side. Rather than analysis paralysis, it's me trying to balance my still-improving skill set with my still-accelerating ambitions. LOL I'm not aiming for perfection. One of the great things I heard Matt Dahlberg say in his new year's resolution video is that 75% is a good target. It needs to a little higher for me, but his point that perfection isn't a helpful goal is something I need to give myself room to accommodate.

That said, there are some things that you have to land, or the song won't sound like the song. Matt calls them "musical moments", and those I feel like I do have to get right. So I may not need to hit the A string on EVERY downstrum, but if the melody note is there, then yeah, that's the one I need to hit, and maybe I can miss the G string on that strum -- with the knowledge that if I'm having fun singing and my listener is hopefully singing along too, then yeah, keeping time is probably more important than any of the rest anyway.

So I'm getting better at being good enough, which is all I really want anyway. I'm starting late in life, without a lifetime of other musical skill to help carry me along, and there's no area of my life where perfection is a helpful goal. Being less hard on myself is a good goal, but so is not giving into my lazier tendencies. It's my life as a bipolar dude, trying to keep my mania at bay while also enjoying the energy that comes from focusing more sharply as skills improve.

I'm also starting to clarify for myself a mix of something 85% strumming and singing, and 15% on chord-melody intros and solos. I'm not a shredder, and don't play in a group, so I'm not looking for single-note lead lines. I need my uke to be the full band, not just a downsampled guitar. So if I'm needing more precision, I do it for those specific parts of the song, but for the singing parts, getting closer to "grip it and rip it" is certainly more the goal. 😁

I've joked many times that the ukulele is the first thing that has had as big an effect on me as the psychiatric medicines that helped save me, but you know what? It's also kinda like the therapy part, too, where I have to keep doing the work to maintain balance, and not keep wrapping myself around my own axles. There's a fine and constantly shifting line between mindfulness and getting stuck in my own head, and you gotta keep paying attention. Just not too much. :ROFLMAO:
 
I've read through this a few times now, and you know what? I'm in!


This is HUGE. So many of the people I started following on YT bang on about "start slow, get it right, and only then speed up, or you'll only be teaching yourself bad habits." But what I've found is that a lot of things get easier when you go faster. There simply aren't as many mistakes as you speed up.

Learning to ride a bike is the best example. You have to be going fast enough in the first place, so you might learn to push off before you even start pedaling -- speed first, then pedaling. Learning to ride with no hands isn't even close to possible until you can go fast enough.

I've found this again and again in my life -- dancing, martial arts, swimming, and plenty more. They're easier to do faster than they are when you're trying to do them slowly.

Even in my stumbling, bumbling beginnings on the ukulele, I found that I couldn't get the island strum AT ALL until I sped it up, like twice as fast as I'd been trying. Yeah, you have to go slowly enough at the VERY beginning, but man o man, did it get so much easier when I went faster. I'm finding the same thing as I'm trying to sing while I play. The closer I am to song tempo, the easier it is.

One thing I've appreciated about Matt Stead's channel is that he's very clear that tempo is the boss, not perfect chords. Better to completely miss a chord and catch up on the next round than to stop, fiddle around, and try to find the tempo again. That's a good way to stay lost forever. LOL And this is despite his overall emphasis on tone. Much better to refine the tone after you can play the thing in something resembling the right timing.

I'm not even worried as much about locking into the metronome yet as much as just plain speeding up. One of the songs in my current mix is "I'm A Believer", and working on perfectly landing every chord with every string ringing out, then slowly speeding up, was gonna take me a year. I found that speeding up my pace, and working on landing those targets at speed, has been both more effective AND more fun.

None of this is entirely either-or, of course. It's like a web of spectrums, which is why this "easy" little instrument can present so many challenges....but even after just trying this for a week or so, I'm finding that leaning more into the "speed first, tone second" end of the spectrum is working much, much better than "tone first, speed second" method I'd been pursuing.

Feel free to poke holes in my post, but I do hope that folks will at least take a look at the original link for a much-better articulated look at how and why this can work, along with the included example videos. I dug it! Thanks for sharing this, @wqking!
Great perspective, Tim. When reading your post, I couldn't help thinking about how, in my younger days, I always wanted to be able to juggle 3 objects (tennis balls, for instance)-- not because I truly wanted to become a juggler, but just because I was always so fascinated by the concept of being able to juggle 3 things-- and it eventually became clear that there was really no good way to learn the skill by "starting slowly". I had to just DO it, at pretty much normal speed, and make a mess of it hundreds of times, until one day... bingo-- I crossed the threshold from NOT being able to do it, to BEING able to do it! So, I definitely see your point about certain things being easier to do faster than they are when you're trying to do them slowly!
 
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As a slight contradiction: I teach juggling as a 3 step process:

1. pass one ball from hand to hand
2. pass two balls from hand to hand
3. do step one and then step two back-to-back, and then start doing step one again

that's juggling.
 
As a slight contradiction: I teach juggling as a 3 step process:

1. pass one ball from hand to hand
2. pass two balls from hand to hand
3. do step one and then step two back-to-back, and then start doing step one again

that's juggling.
Thanks, Ripock! Now I'm tempted to go out and buy three tennis balls...!
 
do it, bro. Slightly bigger objects seems easier. I learned on orange balls about the size of softballs and I also juggled shotputs for a workout. Once you can do round objects, mix one club into the mix. That's when the sh*t gets real. For there are 360 ways to catch a ball, but one way to catch a club.

And I can provide an entire juggling curriculum that will last you a very long time. I will only say: work up to the snatch/claw. If you can do that, then people watching you will turn into the weeping/gnashing front row of a Beatles concert.
 
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It does look informative. To bad we can't download it.
You can. Use a print-to-pdf program such as Cute PDF Writer, then concatenate using an online PDF processor. Which I've actually done already (the printing to file part, I'll concatenate later today as I need to go throw pots now). I just don't have anywhere to upload the pdf file thusly created to.
 
I just don't have anywhere to upload the pdf file thusly created to.

Ah but you do! Just use the "Attach files" button in the lower left below your post! We added PDF support a while back for this very reason, so that folks can share helpful materials like this, tabs, and such.

Maybe after you throw pots? :)
 
Well not throwing pots today after all. So I have the concatenated file(s). There are 2 versions - one exactly as downloaded from the site with blank pages in places, and one where I took out all the blank pages. 115 p vs 129 p

@TimWilson you posted just EXACTLY as I was writing this post. Perfect timing! files attached. Practicing Guitar 2 has the blank pages removed.

Note that none of the internet links work in these documents anymore, and I had no way to delete the spaces linking to online videos. I can't actually edit these files, just "print" and stick together.
 

Attachments

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  • Practicing Guitar.pdf
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For the outside links that didn't make it through to the PDF, here is a list. This does not include links inside the document to different parts of the document. I did not copy links to book titles for sale on Amazon as not everyone has access to Amazon US, and at least one such link was going to Amazon.ca to which US subscribers don't have access. Well access you would have. But high shipping costs even if they will ship to wherever you are from wherever you are not, which they may not. Just google the titles to find a local source.

Just fyi, take a lot of this stuff with a heapin' helpin' of salt. All the stuff about having to "dream" a thing to consolidate it in your memory is nonsense. Consolidation takes place over time whether or not you actually "dream" a thing, and having "dreamed" it does not mean it is consolidated in your memory.

Also the "20 min" rule he espouses is entirely arbitrary. Sure, work up to physical things like stretches, barre chords, toughening your fingers, and don't overwork any of the physical things required to play. Personally the way I currently practice the multiple instruments I have is to have them all out all the time (out of their cases, on stands) and pick up and tootle or plunk for a few minutes at a time throughout the day. After a very long absence from playing much of anything, I am working back up to competency essentially from zero. This works well for me at this time.

So 20 min - if that's good for you, if it doesn't overstress any of the physical things needed to play uke or guitar, and that's what floats your boat, then fine. But if you only feel like hitting it for 10 mins, or if 40 mins suits you better (emotionally/psychologically) and it isn't overstressing you physically, fine. If you follow my pattern and you pick it up and play for 10 or 15 mins and then do that again at intervals throughout the day, hey, as long as you are physically managing it, its whatever floats your boat. Just sayin' - there is considerably more room for flexibility in this than is implied by the text.

Part 1 - The Nervous System
Steinhausen - Physiological Misconceptions this is a link to a download for the PDF of this entire dissertation. I haven't read it so ... not sure about its reliability.

Part I - Speed
Start with Speed (Youtube link)
Picking video (Youtube link)

Part I - Tension & Relaxation
Claudio Arrau, YouTube interview (Youtube link)
Release Tension & Recharge Energy (Youtube link)
Left Hand Basics (Youtube link)
Relax Picking Hand & Arm (Youtube link)

Part II - Practice Time & Schedule
The Pomodoro Technique

Under Part III - Practice Techniques there are a whole bunch of sound files illustrating the scored snippets of music. Those are embedded in a way that hides the link. I would have to tear into the actual HTML to find them. Honestly I don't have time for that depth of investment into this, better when you need those to just open the relative section in your browser and play them from there. Sorry! I think there are some in Part III as well. I'll probably look into methods of generating a PDF file directly from the HTML that might preserve the links better (including within the document), but probably not very soon.

Part III - Tempo Variations
Jason Sulliman, trombonist and educator (Youtube link)

Part III - Other Techniques
Rick Graham on “planting technique” (Youtube link)

Part IV - Cliffs of Dover Hybrid Picking Lick (Youtube link)

Appendices - References
Most of the link are written out in plain text and can be highlighted to go to those links.
This is the link to Troy Grady's Cracking the Code site.
 
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