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My Official Report of My College Guitar Class

EmptinesOf Youth

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well since ellwood insists i tell, heres the scoop:


the areas were concentrating on now are still with Technique, knowledge of where all the notes are and learning the major scale forms.


My technique, which is a pain in the ass to mess with after so long, is gradually changing. I rarely used my pinky before except for stretches but now im being forced to use it when i do my scale practices. It sucks cause its so weak and not accurate at all, i think id be playing the scales better without it, but it is improving. The rest of my technique is pretty sound with the exception of my thumb. It does tend to peak over the top every now now and then, but i see alot of players do that so i dont think it can be that bad. well see though.


IVe got the first three forms of the major scale down, but its hard for me to remember alot, which is another problem with me learning the actual notes. I actually have the class tomorrow and ive been practicing for the last week on learning all of the notes, its gettin better but on like the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings my knowledge is very hazy. I just look at it and its really hard for me to remember it.


So along with that im supose to know the make up of the major scales (what notes are in what key and how many sharps for each scale, etc...) but i think thats gonna hev to wait, like i said my memory kinda sucks. I think things are improving thouhg, well see what tomorrow has in store.


Ryan :confused:

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Hay just excellant Ryan! your guy there is doing it exactly right as far as I'm concerned, good for him! You are going to be SO glad he is making you work with good old number 4! you will soon see why too. Remember it's completely an additive process and repetition is the key to total success. I like the memory work he is insisting on, pretty soon you will not believe how great it is to actually know what note is where and why your scales are the real key to great playing of ANY kind of music, the skys the limit then. Push yourself hard and it will get easier and allot more interesting, that is a guarantee. Thanks for the update and good work Ryan! :thu:
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i tried to major in music, but there was some confusion with classes and so i had to drop my music theory class and so it was just guitar and two gen eds (which i ended up dropping). So yea i go to school for a whole hour a week now.


But with my music theory class, it apparently was recommended i take a class called fundemenatls of music first and i didnt know that, and so i didnt know enough for the music theory class. It was so stupid, cause it was a class that was only recommended but you NEEDED to know stuff from it...

but yea my guitar class is pretty much one on one private lessons so i dont need to know much for it.

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i honestly have no idea what i want to do with my life. Music was just kind of a "well i like that stuff and i know some about it so why not try it". Since the middle of highschool ive realized im not a school kinda guy. I cant help but feel its a waste of time, even though i know it would probably benefit me job wise, its just really hard for me without some sort of inncentive (like money). So really i probably wont go back next year, im gonna try and save my money over the summer and move somewhere, preferably out of of country but whatever is cool with me. So anybody that can hook me up with a job doing pretty much anything for fall '06 would be greeeaaattttt....



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One good thing to do to help learn the notes is to say the name of the note as you play the scales and arpeggios. Then take the same passage and play it in a different part of the neck saying the notes.. maybe an octave higher.


After a while, it becomes much easier.


Re: the pinky. I remember some pieces where the fingerings used the pinky and it would have been easier to finger it with the third finger. But the fingering given which much more logical and efficient! And for jazz and classical stuff that's very important - they're not trying to torture you - in the long run you'll find it's easier!


Practicing trills with the pinky is helpful. I do it on mandolin regularly, and it's starting to get "STRONG LIKE BOOL!" which don't hurt on guitar, either!

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Ryan, glad to hear you're getting something out of your music class! Like Lee said, the time you put in now is going to help you for the rest of your guitar-playing life.


Most traditional music programs are aimed at kids that have gone through band and orchestra from grade school through high school. When/where I grew up, band started in 5th grade (age 10), and the orchestra kids started a year or two earlier. So, by the time they get to college, they've been playing scored ensemble music for at least 8 years.


The emphasis is different than it is for a rock garage band. In that case, you're mostly learning songs by ear from recordings. In a school band, you're learning how to read standard music notation ("sheet music"). Scales are taught in school. For my high school, I had to learn major/minor two-octave scales for all 12 keys. (That's probably more than most high schools.) In school you also benefit from having a director. (Some may argue that point anecdotally, but how many rock band directors do you know of?)


So, a traditional college music program kind of expects its students to know things, like how to read standard notation and have a bunch of scales memorized. You need proper intonation and good tone, especially if you want to major in performance. (Intonation -- playing the proper pitch -- is easier on a fretted instrument. For "tone", think more along the lines of avoiding fret buzz and unintentionally muted strings.) Finally, students are familiar with a wide range of dynamics (rock tends to have just loud/louder) and rhythms.


I assume you weren't in the school band, Ryan, and that's why your college recommended you take the fundamentals class. It's no big deal. It is unfortunate, however, that during the admission/orientation process, nobody advised you about this earlier. Most music schools require an audition for admission. That seems like it would have been an ideal time to address this.


Oh, and all that ear training you've worked so hard on? You'll be ahead of the other kids that only read sheet music in that regard.


You might find a better fit at a music college aimed at guitar players and popular music. (Maybe someone with first-hand knowledge can comment on that.)


In the mean time, your private lessons class will help you no matter what.

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Originally posted by Scatterbrain:

i honestly have no idea what i want to do with my life.

Ryan, the sooner you figure this out the happier you will be in life. Find out where your employment services (or similar) are on campus. They can help you figure out what you like to do and what you're good at. Then they search 100s of different occupations and give you the matches. A lot of people are surprised at some of the matches. "I never thought of that", or even, "I've never heard of that".


Kids learn too late what's available. When we're really young, we think the only things out there are fireman, police (wo)man, doctor, nurse. Maybe we learn what our parents do, too. That's not enough choices to figure it all out. Sadly, that's all a lot of people ever know.


Take advantage of your college resources. (For those not in college, try your local library or community college.)


Once you know what you want to do for a living, it's a relatively easy matter to figure out what you need to do to get there. If you want to be a guitar player in a cover band and play in bars every weekend, do you need a degree in music? Are you ok with not having health coverage, like you would if you had a 9-5, or a steady paycheck? What if you break and arm and can't play for a couple months? What about a retirement plan? Talk to some musicians in your area -- or even the guys on here -- and find out what you're in for. (That's just one example; there are careers in music where you'd want a degree.)


Don't just take any old bus to a random exit and hope you like it when you get off.


A friend of mine is 39, she has a college degree, and is going back to school so she can enter a new career now that she's finally figured out what she wants to do. She's been miserable for pretty much the last 21 years of her life.

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My opinion about the pinky is since it's hanging out on your fretboard, give it something to do.


As far as learning your scales, it'll get easier. I can't determine from your post whether or not you're picking apart the modes of a major scale but I'm sure that will come.


Regardless, you should at least know that a major scale increments in whole steps throughout except between the 3-4 notes and the 7-8(octave) notes.


Looks like you're confused about key signatures. Study the circle of fifths. Start at the Key of C and go clockwise. While you're doing this, have some staff paper handy (what?... you don't have staff paper? get some!). Start at the key of C, write out all the notes on staff paper. Move to G, write them out... etc.


You'll start to see a pattern here. When you go clockwise, all the sharped notes from the previous scale are brought into the next. In addition, the 7th note is sharped for the new scale. Also notice that the key of the next scale is a fifth note of the previous scale (circle of fifths).


Now, when going counter-clockwise, you're moving in fourths. The fourth note of the C scale is F. When moving in fourths, the fourth of the new scale is flattened.


I probably confused the hell out of you which is not my intent. I just wanted to show you that there is a precise pattern in learning all of your key signatures.


If you get nothing else from this long-winded post, at least take my advice on getting some staff paper (not tab) and write these scales out. You'll soon see the relationships yourself.

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