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Thread: Learning Song Variations?

  1. #1
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Learning Song Variations?

    I usually either have a lesson (from my classical violinist teacher), practice alone or play through some pieces alone for my own enjoyment. To enhance the whole experience, and to prepare for someday being able to play with others, I'm starting a new regimen.

    These are steps I started today with a simple arrangement of Amazing Grace in G:

    1. Play the melody from a simple written arrangement (as a warmup)
    2. Sing the lyrics, playing a simple chord pattern
    3. Play the melody with drones (I'm double stop challenged)
    4. Noodle around with the pentatonic scale
    5. Play chords using different strum patterns
    6. Play along (melody and chords) with a Youtube version if I can find the correct key
    7. Find a more difficult version of the song and play melody


    Any thoughts as to other things I might try? Or suggestions/criticisms regarding my list?

    I'm OK with always having the written music in front of me, but am trying to venture out with some pentatonic scale embellishment.
    Last edited by Sherry Cadenhead; Sep-05-2020 at 6:30pm. Reason: I keep thinking of things to add!

  2. #2
    Registered User Bunnyf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning Song Variations?

    I see you’re already taking lessons, but this is something that’s working well for me.
    https://pegheadnation.com/string-sch...rboard-method/
    Sharon’s course walks you through simple movable patterns to play breaks in any key and find appropriate double stops. I’m what I would call an adv.beg/early interm. player and it has been a game changer for me. A plus is that Sharon uses a really great core bg song for each lesson, “I’m On My Way Back”, “On and On”, “In the Pines”...so you’re learning a great tune with each lesson while you’re learning to navigate the fretboard and improvise solos.

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  4. #3
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning Song Variations?

    Here's another one:

    8. Mark all the I, IV, V, etc. chords and play the chords in multiple keys while incorporating earlier steps as appropriate.

  5. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning Song Variations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    to prepare for someday being able to play with others
    I don't recall how long you are playing alone but I would highly suggest, if at all possible, to find other players at your general level of whatever instruments to play together. There is no substitution to playing music together with at least one or more humans. Take advantage of warm weather even in Covid time to get together for the next warmer months the recommended distance. Work on tunes together.

    That is how I learned way back in the Jurassic period. I got together with a small group of like-abled players and played slowly and had a blast.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Learning Song Variations?

    This is a really nice resource to play along with, I see newer tracks at slower tempos are now there but YouTube lets one slow things down so you can use the faster ones. I have alot of fun just playing along and letting the next one come up, if I don't know it I just chord along or try to improvise. Not the same as playing with others of course but I feel free to just go for it...yeah, I make mistakes but since our local jam is on hold this is good.

    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCB9CE...8gDQ2lw/videos
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

  8. #6
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning Song Variations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I don't recall how long you are playing alone but I would highly suggest, if at all possible, to find other players at your general level of whatever instruments to play together. There is no substitution to playing music together with at least one or more humans. Take advantage of warm weather even in Covid time to get together for the next warmer months the recommended distance. Work on tunes together.

    That is how I learned way back in the Jurassic period. I got together with a small group of like-abled players and played slowly and had a blast.
    Jim, thanks for your input. I've played alone all 5+ years I've been playing - except that I played with a group of guitarists, a bass and a harmonica player at the senior center for a year or so until about 2 years ago. I enjoyed that group and it was at a good level for me. If I were to play with them now, I would say I would be little improved. My improvement has been along different lines. What I would have loved back at the time would have been to be able to take breaks. Only 2 others in the group could do it.

    I hope to be able to play with others soon, but would like to lay the groundwork now. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of being able to run to jams here and there whenever I please (which would be all the time!). My husband tolerates my weekly lessons and one hour practice sessions. Aside from that I have to be careful as to how much I test his patience. More than you wanted to know, but it is the reality of my situation.

  9. #7
    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning Song Variations?

    If you have ripped a CD to your computer, you can play back the file at various speeds without changing the pitch. Good for transcribing, or playing along - Just knocking the speed down to 85-80% can make help enormously as a play-along.

    (Obviously you can't do that with a CD since it has to spin at a given speed to play.)

    NH

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning Song Variations?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigskygirl View Post
    This is a really nice resource to play along with, I see newer tracks at slower tempos are now there but YouTube lets one slow things down so you can use the faster ones. I have alot of fun just playing along and letting the next one come up, if I don't know it I just chord along or try to improvise. Not the same as playing with others of course but I feel free to just go for it...yeah, I make mistakes but since our local jam is on hold this is good.

    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCB9CE...8gDQ2lw/videos
    Wow, bigskygirl! That's a great resource. I don't play much bluegrass, so maybe there's something similar for other genres. I'll have to see.

  12. #9

    Default Re: Learning Song Variations?

    Yeah, there must be similar channels out there. Look into iRealPro and strum machine both are good play along tools. Amazing slow downer is great and I just discovered a great video slow downer from Cafe member Gina Willis called AudioStretch...the free version does 3 min but I liked it so much I bought the full version.

    Replayer is a nice tool I downloaded to my iMac, it functions as a slow downer/pitch changer etc.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

  13. #10
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning Song Variations?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigskygirl View Post
    Yeah, there must be similar channels out there. Look into iRealPro and strum machine both are good play along tools. Amazing slow downer is great and I just discovered a great video slow downer from Cafe member Gina Willis called AudioStretch...the free version does 3 min but I liked it so much I bought the full version.

    Replayer is a nice tool I downloaded to my iMac, it functions as a slow downer/pitch changer etc.
    OK. Now my head is swimming!

  14. #11

    Default Re: Learning Song Variations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    OK. Now my head is swimming!
    Ha, I know...there is such info overload nowadays. Seems I always have too many things on my mando todo list.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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    Default Re: Learning Song Variations?

    Create fills on half or whole notes. For example, play an eighth note on the melody
    note for "grace". Add 8th notes and 8th note rests so you fill the space naturally
    between "grace" and "how". Use notes from the chord scale associated with the chord.
    For example, if its G play some combination of these: GABCDEF#G. Notice certain notes
    work better than others. Some are better as passing notes, rather than emphasizing them.
    Landing on the F# or C wouldn't be my choice. Listen for the "flavor" of notes against chords.
    I think its better for communication's sake to use some repetition of notes instead of unspooling
    a long complex string of tones.

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