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Thread: Playing level

  1. #26

    Default Re: Playing level

    Advanced musicianship is somewhat characterized by "learning"; yet the more one advances, the more complex/sophisticatied the learning is. Same as with any art: the greater the ability to apprehend, clarify, and render - the more there is to see, hear, etc. And the "goalposts" are forever changing.

  2. #27

    Default Re: Playing level

    I've been hitting the mandolin in a serious way for the three years I've been playing one. Three hours per day, mostly fairly task oriented playing. It is exciting times for me because in the last three months things are starting to click in the middle of the fretboard as I have been finding all the chord inversions and arpeggios up the neck and how they relate to actual songs. Not to the point where I can improvise too well, but there are a few songs I'm asked to play regularly with singer/guitarists, and I've worked out several lead breaks for them. I'm also finding myself playing unintentional licks that work, the path that leads to improvisation.

    I've also been getting tips from a pro, whose teaching is pretty conceptual. He doesn't want me playing licks but says stuff like figure out when it makes sense to start an arpeggio lick on the third or fifth and where the chord you want to go to lies in relation to where you are on the fingerboard. Also we are studying solos from major players, not to parrot them, but to understand the underlying theory. Copping the licks is fun too.

    All this is exciting, and I feel sorry for all the people my age who are stuck playing stuff they have known for forty years, over and over. There is something to be said for anyone, especially older folks, ditching their comfort zone. Taking up a new instrument at age 65 and playing it in front of people while you are singing too, will stimulate your brain for sure.

    Time is a gift, squander it wisely.
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  4. #28

    Default Re: Playing level

    Another skill that belongs to “advanced intermediate” and “advanced” players is the ability to kick off a song (vocal number) with a kick off that is in time, makes it clear to the rest of the group (and any listeners) what the song is, and very clearly shows the group where the first downbeat is. Devising and playing a kickoff that does all these things is an art; you have to know the tune very well in order to play a kick off that captures its personality. David Grisman once said of John Duffey (in a Frets Magazine column analyzing several Duffey kickoffs) that Duffey was very good at “setting tunes in motion with his mandolin.” That’s the skill you are aiming for.

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  6. #29
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    Default Re: Playing level

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    I've been hitting the mandolin in a serious way for the three years I've been playing one. Three hours per day, mostly fairly task oriented playing. It is exciting times for me because in the last three months things are starting to click in the middle of the fretboard as I have been finding all the chord inversions and arpeggios up the neck and how they relate to actual songs. Not to the point where I can improvise too well, but there are a few songs I'm asked to play regularly with singer/guitarists, and I've worked out several lead breaks for them. I'm also finding myself playing unintentional licks that work, the path that leads to improvisation.

    I've also been getting tips from a pro, whose teaching is pretty conceptual. He doesn't want me playing licks but says stuff like figure out when it makes sense to start an arpeggio lick on the third or fifth and where the chord you want to go to lies in relation to where you are on the fingerboard. Also we are studying solos from major players, not to parrot them, but to understand the underlying theory. Copping the licks is fun too.

    All this is exciting, and I feel sorry for all the people my age who are stuck playing stuff they have known for forty years, over and over. There is something to be said for anyone, especially older folks, ditching their comfort zone. Taking up a new instrument at age 65 and playing it in front of people while you are singing too, will stimulate your brain for sure.

    Time is a gift, squander it wisely.
    That is a great place to be except that your head might feel like it's fixin to 'splode from time to time. You're about 1.5 years behind me (journey wise, not ability wise) and it is still a fresh memory. Soon, just before you splode, things will begin to settle into their categories and your ability to improvise almost anything will take front stage.

    I too, as I expect many have changed genres within the last five years. Like you state, it is not only important but fun to step outside our comfort zone and stretch into something new. I've been doing this now for abot 15 years. I was a rock guitarist, then when fusion exploded I became a fusion guitarist and keyboardist. Next I studied straight up Jazz with Warren Nunes. Then it was soft jazz. Now about 5 years ago I discovered my family's traditional music Bluegrass/OT/Gospel and started to follow in my fathers footsteps playing mandolin and acoustic flatpicking.

    You and I are both at exciting points in our discomfort zones, and like you I would wholeheartedly recommend stepping out.

    Blessings

  7. #30

    Default Re: Playing level

    Discomfort zones are where progress is made. I became addicted to the discomfort zone when my long term rock band dissolved and I started going solo to open mics. Seeing the same people play strictly in their comfort zone, like the same six songs over and over, I challenged myself not to repeat a song for a year, and to write half of them. That became an interesting experience, writing the last verse in the parking lot, not knowing what the melody was going to be, realizing flameout was around any corner. It was a musical life on the edge. After a year it took a good few months to detox to where I could strike a balance.

    I did get a pretty good idea where I needed to be improving. Four years on some are playing the same six songs. They play them perfectly. No drama no excitement. No thank you.

    I have a friend who is like minded in that he wants to improve continuously. We have had the conversation that it is where you are on the line of progress. Some are going to be to one side and think you are truly awesome, then there are the seemingly endless amount of players better than you on the other side, and you just have to be content moving the right direction.

    I was in Gryphon one day when a guy came up to me and asked if I gave lessons. I came close to laughing out loud. I said I'd play him the most advanced thing I knew, thinking I'd convince him of my unworthyness to teach guitar. He was flabergasted and said that that was exactly how he wanted to play. So it is really all your perspective. Believe me I would not take someones money to teach them.

    I do believe nothing gets a brain going more than playing music. You need to improve brain function to counteract your body falling apart. Right now it's a race to get good before the body refuses to work anymore, so times a wastin'.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  8. #31
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    Default Re: Playing level

    This is a good discussion, but in the end, it's always subjective. Many players are advanced in some areas, but rank beginners in other areas. For instance, a electric guitar player may be advanced in bending notes and playing the blues in all keys by ear, but have no idea how to read music. Another classically trained violinist may be able to sight read and transpose music at ease, but would be lost at a bluegrass jam.

    This of course doesn't mean the guitar player can't learn how to read music, or the violinists can't learn to be a bluegrass player, it's just they haven't mastered those skills because they're not important to the style they are playing.
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

  9. #32

    Default Re: Playing level

    Oops. Where's the paradox? I thought I was posting about a paradox I was thinking on the other day.. it obviously didnt come through in my post.

    Something like, becoming absorbed in this ever expanding field of experience, like it's a very different experience of learning. But I guess it's like any language/system - expressing the refinement of thought/experience through (the) medium..

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