Rebuilding and Revisiting

As I mentioned the other day, I’ll be revisiting music and learning to move through the world this way again. A lot of how I think about music is very similar to how I think about martial arts, a lot of how I think about martial arts is very similar to how I think about music. Maybe it’s that there’s one way of thinking that’s expressing itself in two very similar ways. Regardless, my approach is summarized this way:

  1. Have a plan
  2. Drillers are killers

Having a Plan

Having a plan means knowing what it is that you want to accomplish, and how you will know you have done it. In other words, have a strategic goal and clear criteria that you will use to measure progress along the way. In this case, I want to be able to be able to play jazz guitar in two similar, overlapping modes

  • Chord melody
  • Fingerstyle

The way that I will accomplish this, specifically, is to work on a few things

  1. General technique
  2. Repertoire
  3. Guided methods

(1) will consist of things like scales, modes, arpeggios, etc.

(2) will consist of learning songs, whether completely written out or from lead sheets.

(3) will consist of working through chapters in books.

I haven’t figured out the exact proportions, yet, but I’ll be calibrating that.

Drillers are Killers

I used to think that the way that I learned was a weakness. What I do is isolate things that I know are weak, repeat them till the mistakes are improved and then move on back to the whole pattern. I don’t try to make the mistake perfect, but I do try to improve it so that I don’t make the mistake as frequently or as badly as I did before. This isolation method made a lot of sense to me, but it didn’t seem to be the way that others whom I respected learned, so I thought I was stupid, by comparison.

Then a fraternity brother taught me a great phrase, “Drillers are killers.” The ability to determine a weakness, isolate it and focus on it with the intention of improvement and without getting obsessed by perfection is that hallmark of incredible intention and focus. To drill like this will get you wonderful results, in martial arts, you’ll become powerful very quickly. The same is true for music.

So, when I encounter a problem, I’ll devote some time to it and see what I can accomplish.

Specifics and Details

I make charts using two pieces of software:

  1. Guitar Pro
  2. Tux Guitar

I prefer seven string guitars, generally, but it’s good to practice for a six string, too. As such, I will be working with three tunings.

  1. Standard Tuning, 6
  2. Standard Tuning/Low B, 7
  3. Van Eps Tuning/ Low A, 7

Of these tunings, the Van Eps is the one I like the most. It makes the most sense for solo guitar.

I will be working through two books:

  1. Jody Fisher’s Jazz Guitar Method
  2. 100 Jazz Lessons

The former is a really good comprehensive method that takes you from nothing to a lot. The latter is something like topical lessons here and there for someone who has a sense of what he’s doing already and wants to get better.

Who wants to work through these with me?

Leave a Reply