An Ethereal Guitarist's Path

Friday, February 8, 2008

Jazz lessons 2

so pretty much its last week's lessons repeated. I totally didnt have much time to practice. I memorized the chords but couldnt play em well enough in sequence. I need to work on keeping my eye on the music and switching smoothly, without interruptions. So my teacher just gave me the rest of Satin Doll (the song from which he taught me the chords) to work on. I kinda feel bad or like i "failed," but thats what music is all about. Try-fail-try-fail-try-succeed. If you dont get something at first then youve got room for improvement.

This weekend im spending a shit ton of time practicing. Not just guitar but viola too

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Guitar lesson 2

Holy crap today has been a long day already. Im soooo tired even as I write this. Anyway. I had my second classical guitar lesson today. My teacher copied some scales and little simple pieces for me to practice. Ill finlly be really working on my music reading skills, which seems like its gonna be fun. He saw me work through a few measures in like less than a minute, so he said he thinks ill be able to catch on quickly. He also told me ive developed a good sense of the instrument. I feel like i have as well. My right hand technique was a bit off. What im supposed to do is pluck with my top knuckle as opposed to the bottom knuckle. Its like walking with your leg instead of your knee. Also, with my left hand, hes been helping me keep my pinky especially curved. Ive been having trouble with that. It tends to straighten up a bit. He noticed when i try to curve it, I would bend my wrist, but after he corrected me, i realized something. My fretting hand/wrist is supposed to be completely straight. Then if i need to keep my hand so curved and move up to higher strings, I move my thumb/whole wrist up the back of the neck of the guitar. So pretty much i need to work on keeping my hand aligned at all times. One other thing he corrected me on, was that my thumb is supposed to be between my index and middle finger at all times, whenever I move it. It feels a bit better. I always thought it should be behing the middle finger. Plus a lot of the times it would lag behind or get ahead of my fingers. So aside from that, I need to re-work my right hand technique as well, which shouldnt be too hard. Im gonna be practicing a lot this week on reading music, and memorizing key signatures. My music theory class teaches me to memorize the note names of the staff for a specified clef, but not the ledger lines above or below it, and for guitar i need to work on memorizing them below it. So thats a bit extra work on my part, but its all good. The open E string (6th string) is the space right beneath the third ledger line going down from the staff.

I have jazz lessons this friday. ive memorized most of the chords, still need to do a few more though. It seems like everything is coming together, with learning key sigs, the notes of the staff, and on the guitar, and starting out with basic music reading. I think after a few short easy pieces, I will know the notes of the staff and key signatures well enough to move quickly onto more advanced pieces of music. Im not trying tp aim so high, it just seems reasonable.

Monday, February 4, 2008


First lesson today. I learned how to hold the instrument, and the bow, as well as some bowing technique. Im so happy i started picking this up, I feel like im going to progress very fast with this instrument. Plus i feel very connected to it somehow, almost that it comes natural to me.

The first thing my teacher taught me was how to hold the viola. She told me to stand straight, keep my weight completely balanced between my feet be relaxed, so that my body is aligned correctly/naturally. Then to bring the viola up to me neck and may be, if i have to, put my neck down slightly. So pretty much this will relieve all tension i have. It took me a bit to get my left hands position down, but i told her it was feeling tense and she corrected it for me.

Then I learned how to hold the bow by itself, which was a little weird. I remember vividly how to do it and get comfortable with it. Then once i started playing with the bow there were a few things to keep in mind. The first thing was that basically you let the bow ret on the strings. I guess you dont really have to put pressure on it, but pretty much guide it. When i was doing that my hand was shaking a bit, but thats probably because im not used to it. Then I learned that when im moving to different strings, to move my elbow slightly first.

On another note, Ive got my next classical guitar lesson. I hope im ready for that. I just wish i started earlier than now to take lessons, and well music in general. Ah well, just gotta make the best of it Ill update my blog again tomorrow.