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MikeC

Posts: 79
Joined: Mar. 19 2015
From: Panama (living in South Florida)

Playing level consistency 

Hi guys,

I'm trying to participate a little bit more in the forum. As a beginner I feel that I don't have much to add. Hopefully my knowledge keeps growing and I hope that one day I'll be able to meaningfully contribute to the forum. Many thanks to all of you for your contributions!

My playing and understanding of compas has improved tremendously thanks to the online lessons I've been taking with Ricardo. As many people have mentioned here, he is an excellent teacher and pays attention to every little detail that I need to correct or improve while moving forward at the same time. The only thing I regret is that I should have started taking lessons earlier! I feel that I have wasted so much time with books and videos...but I digress.

Anyway, I just wanted to know how long did it take you to start playing at a"consistent" level. What I mean is that right know I feel that I play pretty good one day and everything sounds great then the next day it feels like I take a step back. I keep improving but not in a steady way. It is frustrating!

Just wanted to hear about your experiences and please share any practice tips!

Thanks

Mike
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 5 2015 19:51:54
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3076
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

I feel that the "rudiments" of the right hand only start to get solid after a few years of practicing on anything (knees, steering wheel, tables, guitar, etc).

Things get more consistent when there's a solid foundation. Just practice rudiments until it hurts... and then practice some more.


Anyway, don't overdo it. I have pinched nerves, a wrecked knee and numbness on the right side of my body... and playing all the time is something that surely wouldn't help.

_____________________________

"Ya no me conoce el sol, porque yo duermo de dia"
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 5 2015 20:10:21
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
Joined: Jan. 17 2005
 

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

After 20 years of daily practice I could drink a fifth of whiskey and play all night. Was it consistent? How would I know I was drunk.

In truth it took me many years to be able to sit down cold and play for hours without serious mistakes (on stage or off). I tried to keep 6 hours of material ready to play at the drop of a hat...half flamenco and half classical. That required hours of practice every day but I have no talent so others might do it with less effort.

_____________________________

John Shelton - www.sheltonfarrettaguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 5 2015 22:40:49
 
MikeC

Posts: 79
Joined: Mar. 19 2015
From: Panama (living in South Florida)

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to Sr. Martins

Sr. Martins: Yes, I've being doing that! practicing rasgueados on my thigh, tables, etc etc

Jshelton: a fifth of whiskey! hmmm...maybe that's what I'm missing

I can only get 1 hour or maybe 2 hours of practice per day. Witha fulltime job, a wife and 2 kids...it's tough.

But anyway, I'm not complaining at least I'm seeing some progress! I just wish it was more linear without so many ups and downs.

I'm still getting acquainted with my relatively new flamenco guitar, I've notice that I tend to apply a lot more pressure than necessary with my fretting (left) hand leading to fatigue. I tend to tense up when playing something more challenging. I'm trying to be more aware of this to be able to relax my hands and arms
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 6 2015 1:55:27
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3527
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

It is a journey, not a destination. There is always something more to learn, there is always backsliding if you neglect something you have. If you can learn to enjoy practicing, you'll be set.

_____________________________

Connect with me on Facebook, all the cool kids are doing it.
https://www.facebook.com/migueldemariaZ


Arizona Wedding Music Guitar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 6 2015 2:08:47
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

Any guitarist that tells you he doesn't have bad days is lying. You do have less as you progress though. But they'll always be there.

_____________________________

\m/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 6 2015 2:38:25
 
davidheis_24

Posts: 132
Joined: Feb. 4 2011
From: QLD AUS

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

thats easy

keep practicing for another 10 years until you either finally figure it out and start the journey all over again with your wiser self with years of experience and renewed invigoration

or change into a bitter old man because you were massively disadvantaged from the start, youve wasted your life and gotten poorer and poorer, resign yourself to spending most of your time on flamenco forums and increasingly questionable porn, and so just settle on the conclusion that everyone whos better than you must have just simply been born that way because you couldn't do it so how on earth can they be so good and you are sh*t, right?....... right?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 6 2015 7:48:24
 
MikeC

Posts: 79
Joined: Mar. 19 2015
From: Panama (living in South Florida)

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to davidheis_24

I've been through "option 1" many times in my life. This time it feels like I'm in the right path. I encourage people to take lessons as soon as possible otherwise most people will just waste their time like I did.

I just cannot wait to have a decent repertoire that I can play through without having to stop every few minutes due to mistakes. Patience is not one of my virtues!

It kind of sucks, as you get older you have more maturity and patience but at the same time you start losing physical skills...

In any case, I'm enjoying the journey especially since I don't know exactly what is the destination!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 6 2015 13:57:06
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to Leñador

I'm OK ...always consistent ...always the same ...

I'm really crap
consistently

if I practice , I'm still crap .
when I play .. crap
recording ...also pretty crap

crap live performance ...

But consistent.. thats the important thing ... consistently ....

_____________________________

Don't trust Atoms.....they make up everything.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 6 2015 16:24:05
 
Dudnote

Posts: 1800
Joined: Nov. 13 2007
 

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to El Kiko

quote:

ORIGINAL: El Kiko

I'm OK ...always consistent ...always the same ...

I'm really crap
consistently

if I practice , I'm still crap .
when I play .. crap
recording ...also pretty crap

crap live performance ...

But consistent.. thats the important thing ... consistently ....



_____________________________

Ay compañerita de mi alma
tú ahora no me conoces.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 6 2015 18:27:38
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to Dudnote

Merci ..

_____________________________

Don't trust Atoms.....they make up everything.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 6 2015 19:08:40
 
Joana

Posts: 43
Joined: Jan. 14 2015
 

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

Hi Mike,

This is an excellent point,

"It kind of sucks, as you get older you have more maturity and patience but at the same time you start losing physical skills..."

However, as you get older, you appreciate things differently. So, take the time and
enjoy the experience. I can tell you the dates on the calender fly by a lot faster at my age, but I manage time and interests more carefully. So continue to practice on a regular schedule and focus. You will soon attain your goals! Best wishes from another novice flamenco guitar student...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 6 2015 21:34:54
 
MikeC

Posts: 79
Joined: Mar. 19 2015
From: Panama (living in South Florida)

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to Joana

Hi Joana,

I know it is a cliche that I heard all the time from my grandmother and parents, but time flies. When I was a kid a year felt like a long time. Nowadays, I feel that my kids start a school year and poof!, it's over and summer again.

Hopefully I'm not coming across as depressed, because I'm not. I'm really enjoying all the things I'm learning. And after starting this post I've had a string of "good" guitar days So maybe I need to vent every now an then...

Kiko: That was too funny!!!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 7 2015 3:13:37
 
tele

Posts: 1462
Joined: Aug. 17 2012
 

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

One hour or more per day is the key to me.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 7 2015 14:38:49
 
sig

 

Posts: 296
Joined: Nov. 7 2007
From: Wisconsin

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

quote:

If you can learn to enjoy practicing, you'll be set.
I am by no means an expert in this art form however I think what Miguel said was key. There is hardly a day that goes by I don't practice, I really enjoy the process. I have been lucky in that I have a teacher and in addition have made use of online lessons and have been lucky enough to take lessons with a few really incredible players. I have been at it for over 15 years now and I'm just getting to the point where I feel comfortable with my playing especially in a performance situation. I started playing guitar when I was 12 but not really seriously until I was in my late 20's. I used to play metal and rock and always loved flamenco but wasn't able to pursue it until I was older. Things kept getting in the way, marriage, mortgage and life. I have been fortune to be able to also find some others to jam with and now we perform. Nothing gets you up to speed faster than playing with other musicians. To me anyway, I grew the most when I started playing for dance classes and jamming with other guitarists...
Sig--
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 7 2015 22:46:33
 
MikeC

Posts: 79
Joined: Mar. 19 2015
From: Panama (living in South Florida)

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to sig

It is interesting that a lot people that are now into flamenco used to play metal when younger. Similar to you I started taking guitar lessons when I was about 12 and quit after less than a year.

I picked up the guitar again when I was 14-15 years because I was interested in Iron Maiden, Black Sabath/Ozzy/Randy Rhoads, etc...When I was 16, my friend's dad lent me an album, he said "listen to this, this is real guitar playing!" followed by "don't scratch it" with a stern voice. It was Sabicas Flamenco Puro! When I got home I started listening to the LP and my jaw dropped! I couldn't believe my ears! I was in awe and shock! I thought: this is not humanly possible! I called my parents excited to my room so they could listen to it. For weeks I tried to figure out what he was doing but i had no clue.

My parents agreed to pay for lessons again even though I didn't show enough interest when I was 12 and quit after less than a year. They found a classical guitar teacher. He was a really nice old man who had been something like the Director of Classical Guitar at the National Conservatory of Panama. I learned a lot from him, but mainly classical guitar. I asked him about flamenco and he agreed to teach me "some flamenco" warning me that he only had very superficial knowledge. I learned a couple of solea falsetas without any knowledge of compas. A couple of months later he became very ill and passed away. That left me devastated.

Shortly after, I started pursuing other interests like surfing and a new girlfriend and the guitar was put aside. Then medical school, internships, residency, marriage, kids, life..... I kept playing guitar on and off during all this time, mostly electric and steel string. But I've always been fascinated and intrigued with flamenco guitar since listening to Flamenco Puro. About 2 years ago I got the urge to learn flamenco guitar again. I bought a couple of books and dvd's and tried to learn on my own achieving very little progress. Thanks to this forum I got in contact with Andy Culpepper who built me a beautiful guitar and with Ricardo Marlow who's been teaching me for the past few months. As I said before, finally I feel that I am on the right path!

Mike
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 7 2015 23:51:23
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

Metal!!! \m/
I was at a stop light once and had my iphone on shuffle so Necrophagist finished and Segundo Falcon started and the lady next to me looked at me like a crazy person and said "Your all over the map dude!" Lolol I yelled back "Flamenco is so metal!" And gave her the horns. \m/

_____________________________

\m/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 8 2015 0:20:35
 
MikeC

Posts: 79
Joined: Mar. 19 2015
From: Panama (living in South Florida)

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to Leñador

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 8 2015 0:49:49
 
sig

 

Posts: 296
Joined: Nov. 7 2007
From: Wisconsin

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

Yup, it seems there are quite a few of us on here that started with rock/metal. I still love both genre's and I've always had a love of the blues as well. I started playing guitar because I saw Jose Greco on an old TV show back in the day. The dance and guitar playing blew me away and I begged my mom for a guitar but no luck until my uncle gave me his old "Spanish" guitar. It was basically an unplayable F hole, warped neck, high action steel stringer that made my fingers hurt and bleed! I loved trying to make that thing sing but really couldn't until I met a couple of guys in middle school. They helped me get on track and we used to jam to many diff styles, except flamenco. So a long journey that never really ends as there is always something else to learn from others no matter how good or bad you think you play...
Sig--
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 8 2015 16:48:43
 
Bulerias2005

 

Posts: 602
Joined: Jul. 10 2010
From: Minneapolis, MN

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

It really does boil down to being consistent with practicing... by which I mean working through material and not necessarily going through exercises, scales, whatever else. I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about practicing, which ultimately holds them back pretty significantly.

That being said, past a certain point of proficiency, you can not touch the guitar for days and not really miss a beat. And some days you practice every day and things just don't come together. Even the best have off-days!

_____________________________

Daniel Volovets
Jazz, Classical, Flamenco, & Latin-American Guitar
http://www.danielvolovets.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 10 2015 19:49:44
 
MikeC

Posts: 79
Joined: Mar. 19 2015
From: Panama (living in South Florida)

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to Bulerias2005

Daniel,

How do you practice? do you just go over a piece? do you do any exercises or drills?

At this point, I'm still learning flamenco technique, so that means practicing different rasgueados, arpeggios, thumb techniques, etc. I basically play the few falsetas that I know using all the above techniques. I try to improvise a little but I haven't internalized the flamenco compas yet. I wonder if "exercises" like in "pumping Nylon" would be beneficial.

Mike
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 10 2015 20:30:04
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13240
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

quote:

ORIGINAL: MikeC

Daniel,

How do you practice? do you just go over a piece? do you do any exercises or drills?

At this point, I'm still learning flamenco technique, so that means practicing different rasgueados, arpeggios, thumb techniques, etc. I basically play the few falsetas that I know using all the above techniques. I try to improvise a little but I haven't internalized the flamenco compas yet. I wonder if "exercises" like in "pumping Nylon" would be beneficial.

Mike

in pumping nylon there are two main topics that can benefit flamencos IMO. The chapter on nail shape and the topic on speed bursts for apoyando alternation. The rest you will find better things to workout in the music itself (arps rasgueado left hand moves and legato etc)

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 10 2015 22:39:04
 
Bulerias2005

 

Posts: 602
Joined: Jul. 10 2010
From: Minneapolis, MN

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

quote:

ORIGINAL: MikeC

Daniel,

How do you practice? do you just go over a piece? do you do any exercises or drills?

At this point, I'm still learning flamenco technique, so that means practicing different rasgueados, arpeggios, thumb techniques, etc. I basically play the few falsetas that I know using all the above techniques. I try to improvise a little but I haven't internalized the flamenco compas yet. I wonder if "exercises" like in "pumping Nylon" would be beneficial.

Mike

I don't have a formal practice regimen. I remember working through the Giuliani arpeggios ~10 years ago, and the speed bursts that Ricardo mentioned are helpful, but I am firmly in the "99% of technical exercises are superfluous" camp. I have always worked through repertoire -- exercises here and there, especially to develop a particular technique (e.g., rasgueado or alzapua), but never on a regular basis. I think it's important to keep in mind that practicing slowly almost always does *NOT* translate to playing at full speed (most are not aware of this).

Nowadays, practicing entails either getting a concert program together, playing through existing repertoire to make sure I don't forget it, and arranging/composing new material. So honestly, I would just keep refining the techniques you're working on while working on repertoire!

_____________________________

Daniel Volovets
Jazz, Classical, Flamenco, & Latin-American Guitar
http://www.danielvolovets.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 10 2015 22:54:22
 
tele

Posts: 1462
Joined: Aug. 17 2012
 

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

I picked up the guitar at age of 12 because of iron maiden inspired me
Still like to listen to metal alot, altough I do it rarely

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 10 2015 23:19:09
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to Bulerias2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: Bulerias2005

I am firmly in the "99% of technical exercises are superfluous" camp. I have always worked through repertoire -- exercises here and there, especially to develop a particular technique (e.g., rasgueado or alzapua), but never on a regular basis.


Apparently, such a method seems to work for some lucky guys (it did for my cousin and obviously for you), but under general didactical terms it seems like the worst advice one could be giving to a beginner. (With one exception: Being surrounded by inspiring gitanos all the time, which in a way was the case for my cousin who was friend with guitarists from Ecuador.)

Other than that my experience (who for the first decades did not practise at all, but just spontaneously do what it took to play music) has been that just playing lets you only imprint the unergonomic routines most everyone unschooled tends to have, and have them reinforced to no end, until it would take you ages trying to cancel them out, if at all.

For the majority of cases it should mean to perfectly sabotage one´s possible progress.

The diametral and recommendable opposite would be to have a didactically versed and inspiring teacher. Ideally from the very start.

And this:
quote:

ORIGINAL: Bulerias2005

I think it's important to keep in mind that practicing slowly almost always does *NOT* translate to playing at full speed (most are not aware of this).

ought to be the biggest didactical contradiction I ever read.
Ask the 5% of musicians who came to focal dystonia through strain and blockage of fast & wrong technique.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 11 2015 0:43:18
 
Bulerias2005

 

Posts: 602
Joined: Jul. 10 2010
From: Minneapolis, MN

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

Ruphus, you completely misunderstood my point. I am referring to the muscular differences between playing slowly and playing quickly. Strain and blockage is a consequence of fast and wrong technique, as you yourself noted... but not correctly learned, fast technique. If one is left to their own devices, yes, one's "unergonomic routines" will be reinforced. But not if one has "didactically versed" teachers who know the instrument and teaching well enough to realize that suffocating their students with endless exercises is just a convenient way to kill an hour's worth of time and make some money without actually having taught much. This is a very inconvenient truth that, understandably, the majority of guitar instructors do not want to discuss.

Not relying on technical exercises has nothing to do with luck. I am not "lucky" -- I put in a lot of work and was guided by "didactically versed and inspiring teacher(s)" from the start. I firmly believe in this approach not because it has worked for me, but because it works for all of my students who are passionate about the guitar... and, for that matter, all the passionate students of my instructors.

_____________________________

Daniel Volovets
Jazz, Classical, Flamenco, & Latin-American Guitar
http://www.danielvolovets.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 11 2015 1:02:57
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to MikeC

I see, with the precondition of throughout supervision of skilled teachers, things can certainly work out that way.

To my understanding conveying an as much as possible detailed picture in mind about ergonomic dexterity makes for efficiency in teaching. And ensuring correct execution, maintained while gradually speeding up, helps greatly with achieving seamless fast technique.

But I stem from the failed* autodidact fraction, and from there focussed insights on how not to do.
(* Originally, apparently having belonged to the guys who come to physiologically useful ways unconsciously, though after some years got lost when having seen the ergonomically awkward posture of a famous classical player; unfortunately thinking that would be how to do.)

Such an approach is being different from starting out from an all inspiring (ergonomically playing) surrounding, where the student´s unconsciously detailed observation of good performance leads him to great results, even if not always aware of how things are being executed in the minute detail. (Which then is not necessary to be intellectually known.)

Without a doubt, the latter way of learning is the optimal one, and the easiest mentally as advance is being literally playfully.
- And you are not at last an impressive example for how good the method works.

Too bad hence that not everyone can have such an opportunity of ambience and mimicking.
- For those meanwhile who don´t, neat imagination building of ergonomic execution is the next best thing to find.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 11 2015 3:16:52
 
Bulerias2005

 

Posts: 602
Joined: Jul. 10 2010
From: Minneapolis, MN

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to Ruphus

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ruphus
To my understanding conveying an as much as possible detailed picture in mind about ergonomic dexterity makes for efficiency in teaching. And ensuring correct execution, maintained while gradually speeding up, helps greatly with achieving seamless fast technique.

Absolutely! The trick is to facilitate the transition between playing slowly/carefully and executing the fast version of the same technique... it tends to just "click" after a while. :)

_____________________________

Daniel Volovets
Jazz, Classical, Flamenco, & Latin-American Guitar
http://www.danielvolovets.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 11 2015 3:32:55
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13240
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Playing level consistency (in reply to Bulerias2005

quote:

basis. I think it's important to keep in mind that practicing slowly almost always does *NOT* translate to playing at full speed (most are not aware of this).


Not good to generalize here. Depends on specific passages. Some things require the "momentum" of a certain minimum speed in order to feel properly, yet others require slow and carefull attention to detail. Still other passages require speed burst repetition ... And such fragments are the inspiration for certain "excercises" which might otherwise seem non musical if not understood as a musical excerpt on loop or set to sequence. For sure jumping in at full gallop, most challenging music can lead to injury without warm up, as I feel Ruphus is warning. Repertoire running is most useful practice when done in a specific graduating order that lets one warm up IMO

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 11 2015 6:42:10
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