This weekend was Bopps’ birthday. She turned 4 and we had a little get-together in the backyard with a few folks. There was a bunch of food and a kiddie pool, so both kids and adults were happy. Because of this and a visit with some relatives from Trinidad who stayed with us for the past 2 weeks, I didn’t get to sit down and practice for a few days. I finally got some time to myself just now, though, and went through the Hal Leonard book again. I completed everything up to the “More Notes on the A String” exercise, which gives us A#/Bb and C#/Db, along with introducing us to the finger roll.
I made it through the first page of the new lesson with A# and C# and got to that “Roll It” lesson that has the fingerings above the notation that was stalling my reading last time. It did it again, so I’m stopping for now, since I’m tired anyway and need to throw some clothes in the dryer.
I got in a little practice this AM, running through all of the More Notes on the E String exercises from the HLBM and then moving onto the Notes on the A String exercises. I was able to get through all of them, and surprisingly had an easier time on the A string than the E. It might be because A, B & C actually fall into the same pattern as the minor scale, so its something that I’m somewhat used to playing.
The last exercise, Cattle Crossing, was a little bit of a twister to play initially, because it uses both the E and A strings and a sharp instead of all natural notes, but I did it! I’ll try to run through these again later today, depending on how work and baby stuff goes.
I practiced a bit this AM. Warming up took me about 15 mins, with the two exercises I’ve been running. I’m doing them across all 6 strings, not just the 4 that I posted earlier in the week, so its a little more tiring. I understand now how some people have warm-ups that are like 30 mins. Its really about the exercises you do, even though I’m only doing a single run of each, together, they take a chunk of time.
Anyhow, after that, I ran ex. 42 in the Hal Leonard book again, to see how I’m doing, and its smoother than when I last posted it. So, I’m getting it under my fingers. I’m trying to think of that whole thing differently now as well.
Previously, I fretted about memorizing exercises from the book because I want to use them as reading exercises, but I watched a video from Scott Devine about learning licks, and how they become part of our voice. I’m trying to think of it like that – if I physically memorize a sequence of some sort, then for the time that it remains in my tenuous memory, its part of my repertoire of “licks”. Moving along a few pages in the book will probably work it out of memory again.
Anyway, this is how it sounds now, as opposed to how it sounded a few days ago.
I did it. I played through ex. 42 from the notation – not from memory or even using the scale degrees that I was looking at yesterday. I’m going to run it more later tonight, but tomorrow, I can go on to the next page and see what fresh horror awaits me.
I’m 2 days behind where I thought I’d be. The rest of the book wasn’t much of a problem – but this exercise really beat me up. Hopefully whatever’s coming won’t do so as much.
I made some progress with the dreaded ex. 42 in the HLBM. It wasn’t the way I intended though. I tried running the exercise by reading it, but was getting nowhere. I kept making mistakes. So, I tried to play along with the track again, to give myself some audible cues. Well, I didn’t do so well there this time either. I kept frazzling my B’s and D’s.
So, I just ran it by ear. Surprisingly, I got it. Then I did it again… and again. I mess up a little bit with it on some runs, but for the most part, I can play it through by ear and memory, but not by reading the notation. Two steps forward. You know how it goes.
I’m gonna get this via notation. I have to break, run out and get my brother-in-law home before Walking Dead starts, but when I return, if the baby doesn’t jump me, I’m going to go at it again.
Ok. Its 8 AM now. I’m not sure why this particular exercise is so hard for me, even after I’ve eliminated the chord symbols from above the notation (they weren’t starting on the root and were really throwing me off). I’ve made some progress though. I acquiesced and listened to the CD track, instead of just playing it from the notation. The thought was that at my level, hearing the music the way its supposed to sound might help me connect the notes or phrases in a meaningful way so I could play through it.
It mostly worked.
After listening to the track twice and then just playing an open string on each note to get myself used to the rhythm at whatever tempo it’s being played at, I attempted it a few times with the CD and made some good headway. There are times when I hit the wrong note and either lost my place and had to start over, or was able to recover with the next note or jump back in on the next bar and then continue.
This is interesting to me because it also means that if I’m not frazzled by screwing up, I can continue on without starting over – although that’s not consistent yet. For some reason, the D note, in particular, is throwing me off more than the others. I’m trying to read ahead and I’m mostly saying the note names aloud, which helps me hit the right one, but its going to take more practice.
This is the exercise I stopped at when I was last going through the HLBM. Also – its a country song.
So I got up at 3 AM and wasted 45 mins on Facebook looking at what people ate to wrap-up their Thanksgivings. After that, I brushed and toyed with the idea of stuffing my face. Instead, I stared at the note names for the spaces and then the lines on the bass staff for a while and then warmed up and tackled ex. 42 in the HLBM again. I used my edit that doesn’t have the chord names.
I’m able to make it through 6 bars now. That’s everything except for the 2 endings. Yep – that’s a new thing introduced with this exercise: 1st and 2nd endings. I’d kind of have preferred 1st and 2nd helpings instead, and I’d have taken leftovers over standard notation, but, that’s not going to teach me how to read music, so I went with the road less-traveled.
Anyhow. Its 4:45 AM now. Everyone else is sleeping. I’m going to break and eat something after all. I don’t want any of the food to go bad and, uh… breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Here’s some of what I’ll be staring at while I chew: