Tales from the Woodshed – Day 4 & 5

Hi again, Yesterday (day 4) was a little busy, however I managed to fit in 3 hours of practice.  After yesterday's session I started thinking about  how I rarely read music nowadays  so I decided to spend some more time on music reading today. Today's session went really fast and I had a fun time trying to slow down and work out a few Thelonious Monk licks. Today's practice plan is below. Tomorrow I'll post a couple of exercises I found useful. Have great weekend all!     Day 5's practice plan looked something like this: Warm up – 4th intervals over neck,  mMaj 7 chord inversions, M.Min, H.Min, Major - 3 note per string, Diminished, Wholetone  Alternate Picking exercises focusing on Upstrokes Permutations of spider exercise, again focusing on Upstrokes Scales –Melodic Minor scale (1 octave) in half steps, whole steps, b3rds, 3rds and 4ths Reading - Rhythm reading, Ragtime piece (focus on 16th note syncopation) Bert Ligon concepts (from Connecting chords with Linear Harmony book) Improvisation – Jazz blues – focusing on phrasing Comping...
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Tales from the Woodshed – Day 3

Hello again! All is going as expected in the woodshed, my upstrokes feel better already ;), however today was a bit challenging. As I stated in the first post, the aim of my practice time is to undo a few bad habits and focus on sound, which means every exercise, scale, chord etc. has to be practiced as slow with as much awareness possible. Today's challenge was fighting the temptation to play everything at my "normal" tempo, it was almost painful playing so slow today and a real struggle to keep in time on some exercises. I found it quite funny as the most common phrase I use when teaching is "slow down!" I have to admit the last time I practiced this slow was around 8 or 9 years ago and the difference in my playing was noticeable within a few weeks. In the end I decided to dust off the metronome and set it to 40 bpm leaving me...
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Tales from the Woodshed – Day 2

Today I went through the same routine as yesterday but had more time to spend on improvisation and transcription. I also went through  Major, Harmonic minor, and Melodic minor 3 note per string shapes, Diminished & Wholetone scales, plus worked on some Dominant 7th chord voicings as well as blues comping. I had much more time available today, but didn't want to overdo it. To avoid injury, it's always best to increase practice time gradually. Stay tuned for more posts, lessons etc....
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Tales from the Woodshed – Day 1

So, today was a great start into my new practice plan. I had roughly two hours to practice, which was the perfect amount of time to ease myself back into the swing of things. After my session I was left feeling excited and super positive about the week ahead.   Today’s practice plan looked something like this: Warm up - b2nd intervals over neck,  mMaj 7 chord inversions Alternate Picking exercises focusing on Upstrokes Permutations of spider exercise, again focusing on Upstrokes Rhythm Reading – syncopation exercises Scales –Melodic Minor scale in whole steps and b3rds Legato exercises minor ii-V-I licks Improvisation – Jazz blues – focusing on phrasing Transcription – 1 chorus from Jazz blues solo (Freddie freeloader), songs etc. for students   I have more time to practice tomorrow so I'll add some more technical exercises and another tune ;)  ...
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Enter the Woodshed

Hello to you all out there! Just over two years ago I moved from England to Sweden and since moving here I've had lots of fun gigging and recording with various bands. However for the last 18 months I  have been so focused on learning  and studying Swedish that my guitar practice has suffered quite a bit especially in the technique department. This blog is a way for me to share my thoughts on guitar playing, elements of my practice routine and outline my specific problems. To begin with, the biggest  part of my practice routine will focus on Guitar Technique.  For the first two months or so I will be going back to basics and using  "slow practice" to iron out all the bad habits I've accrued over the last year or so. Another area I will focus on is Improvisation. Stay tuned for more posts with exercises, concepts etc. Jay...
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