Learning music

Discussion in 'The Common Room' started by Elf, May 17, 2015.

  1. Elf

    Elf Immortal Staff Member

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    Learning Music
    @wolfcry and I have been picking up some musical instruments over the past year or so. @wolfcry has been playing acoustic guitar and I have picked up guitar (mostly electric), drums, and bass.

    We have been learning with these resources:
    We put a bit of a music room together. There is an old photo below which doesn't show the bass gear, but might give you a bit of an idea.


    Gear:
     
    wolfcry likes this.
  2. Elf

    Elf Immortal Staff Member

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    So, it's great that we have all this music gear, but what are we actually doing? I will let @wolfcry say what she wants but for myself:

    Guitar
    I have been around the end of the Justinguitar Beginner's Course for a while now while I fool around with other things. My big achievement so far has been learning Fukai Mori reasonably well, which seems to have cemented my ability to play barre chords up and down the neck. I have also tried some Cowboy Bebop / Seatbelts songs like Gotta Knock A Little Harder and The Real Folk Blues but I am not nearly as good with these mostly just due to a lack of practice.

    So far my biggest problem on the guitar is that I was making really good progress until I started learning the notes on the fretboard which takes me out of rhythm guitar territory and into playing some more complex stuff. I want to do it (made flash cards and everything) but I guess I just need to find some songs that will really motivate me to learn it properly. I wish I could learn skills independently of using them in songs I want to play but it just doesn't seem to be happening for some reason.

    Bass
    This is probably my most steady instrument that I can make progress on for some reason. So far I have learned the notes pretty well on all strings at the top of the fretboard and, most likely due to playing the drums, have an easy time with the rhythm elements. Currently I just passed a bunch of stuff with the "classic rhythm" and I am about to move up the fretboard. I find I like reading notes off the staff a lot more than tabulature style.

    The Hal Leonard Bass Method songs have been entertaining enough that I haven't tried to play bass lines from any of my usual musical fare, but that is something I really, really need to sit down and try.

    I enjoy the low down sounds. I guess there isn't too much more to say?

    Drums
    Went through the basic beats, dynamics, and simple blues/jazz stuff really quickly and then got totally stuck on what drummers call "coordination," which basically means limb independence, so you can be tapping out the jazz ride pattern with your right hand and be doing something completely different with arbitrary eighth notes on the bass, snare, etc. Without coordination you are basically stuck doing everything as subdivisions of something else (e.g. eighths on the hi-hat, quarters on the kick, 2/4 on the snare). I guess if you are "fully coordinated" you can play completely independent 32nd and triplet note rhythms with all four limbs, while clicking a castanet with your teeth. You are probably at that point completely insane in the clinical sense, though... It took me a while to slog through that but I am beginning to get it.

    Prior to "getting" coordination I found it almost completely impossible to play any real sort of fills, but now I find I can start tapping out some simple stuff on the toms as well. The coursework hasn't gotten to fills yet but it seems to make sense that these are related skills. You definitely need a working internal clock to play some of this stuff properly, and thankfully mine seems to be cooperating when I compare it to the metronome. I know some other people aren't as lucky!

    Song wise drums are a bit tough since so much of the music I like is really complex. I feel like I need another breakthrough or two on the drums before I can really start to fully play the drum lines from the music that I enjoy. I've been chipping away at things like: Trip (Larval Stage Planning), Beyond the Hill (Takeshi Hama, Maoyu OST), Omoide to Yakusoku (Queen's Blade OST), as well as the thankfully much simpler Bebop songs Gotta Knock A Little Harder and The Real Folk Blues (The Seatbelts). Complex stuff! To me, anyways...


    Are you learning an instrument? Post about it!
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  3. wolfcry

    wolfcry High Priestess Staff Member

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    On stage 6 of the Justin Guitar beginner course for a while now, which mainly focuses on learning your first barre chord, THE DREADED F CHORD (tm)(r). Plus a few other exercises, like picking individual strings, but not learning to play individual notes on the neck yet. I think this will also be used in the next stage or later on a rhythm pattern where you pick out the bass note of a chord.

    Mainly I've just been trying to play more songs from the song book that comes with the course, it has a lot of classic rock songs which I've heard before and like. Also I can almost play F properly now, it just takes practice to strengthen the muscles of your hand enough to do it.

    Learning to play on Acoustic vs Electric Guitar is a bit more difficult (you have to press the strings harder and they are thicker), but if you learn and practice on an acoustic regularly, you can play it easily on the electric. Also nice to be able to just pick up the guitar and play it anywhere.

    I'd also like to add that if you're thinking about picking up the guitar that Seagull is a great value, $350 with electronics and $300 without. Very well made despite the low price point, they just don't add any fancy bindings or other frills. Of course if you want a fancier guitar they have other more expensive lines. Sweetwater has started carrying Seagull guitars too.

    We're thinking about getting an Epiphone Hummingbird as a second acoustic, which is also a good choice for a first guitar.
     
  4. Bemoliph

    Bemoliph High Priest Staff Member

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    Pretty neat stuff. How often did you play to get where you are now?

    Also, do either of you have any suggestions for learning the piano? I was one of those kids whose parents tried to make them play at a crazy young age, but I never got far, didn't retain any skill(?), and I'm not sure where to start over. On the plus side, I still have this Casio CTK-573 in the corner that I've been eyeing for years and just got a new power cord for, so I just need the drive and somewhere to go.
     
  5. Elf

    Elf Immortal Staff Member

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    At the peak I was practicing about 2-3 hours a day, also went on vacation for two weeks and spent a lot of the time just doing music stuff. Right now an hour to an hour and a half a day is reasonable.

    I don't have any keyboard / piano resources per se but I know @wolfcry is interested in learning that sometime. I did see that the Learn and Master series (which I am using on drums) has a piano course.

    Learn and Master Drums has been excellent so far so I would probably just pick up the piano course also.

    We are looking to get a Roland FA-08 for keys but for just starting out I think anything is fine. In high school I re-learned piano on a keyboard without even any velocity sensitive keys, so you are already a leg up on that.