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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Neil Lowe How Often Do You Practice? (40) RE: How Often Do You Practice? 05 Apr 00

I play when the urge strikes. That's almost every day. I very seldom practice, per se. Mostly what I do is sit down with a recording and work through the guitar rhythm to a song I like. These songs are for the most part in the I-IV-V genre, generally not much more complicated than 3 or 4 chords. The majority of the time spent learning a song is devoted to memorizing the particular pattern of chords, or (occasionally) picking apart an unfamiliar chord (of the b5sus9/6 family of weird chords). Then I'll spend a few minutes practicing, trying to get my fingers to make the weird chord and working it into the pattern of chord changes. Sometimes it's an inversion that throws me for a loop: damn, I didn't know there was an F#7 up here.

If it turns out that a song is more advanced than my playing ability, either I pass on it, hoping to return to it someday when I'm a little better, or I memorize the particular part that's giving me difficulty and practice that for a few minutes each time I pick up the guitar. I'm doing that now with a little melodic run I picked up off a song - each time I pick up the guitar I play that little run for a few minutes hoping I can play it up to speed someday. I don't care if it's tomorrow or years from now.

Mainly to stay "connected," I try to play a little every day, even if it's only for 15 minutes. I feel that's important. Often I wish I had more time. Most days I could play 2 or 3 hours, no problem - working through my "repertoire," or learning a new song. If I miss a day of playing, I regret it - weekends and holidays included.

Realizing that without concentrated effort focused on playing faster or more accurately, I'll never be very good. But working at it like that takes the fun out of it for me, and I just play for fun. It's enjoyable to sit down at the kitchen table, open the windows, and strum along for a while with some John Prine or Hank/Lucinda Williams tunes, or fingerpick along with "Blind Fiddler," or try to keep up with a bluegrass picker playing "Wabash Cannon Ball." Or fool around with the recording end of it. Little birds are welcome to listen, join in, or fly on by. Playing on stage doesn't particularly appeal to me...recording music for others to hear would be nice, but not nice enough to make me want to break a sweat. It's a nice hobby - keeps me off the streets and out of trouble.

Regards, Neil

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