If Inanimate Objects Can Sync Themselves…

by guitarkadia on December 29, 2008

in Blog

…so can you.

This is an unusual way of telling you how bands work; how best of friends work; how a great team works; how partnership works. You have to be in sync with your partner(s) to make it work – to make music as a whole.

But first, you need to get in sync with your metronome. The importance of that is the difference between you and someone great. It’s never the licks, the riffs, the ‘great personality’ of rock stars that you need to drum into your subconscious.

Speaking of metronomes…

Kaitlin December 29, 2008 at 4:12 pm

There’s another cool TED video about spontaneous syncing. It’s about lottery tickets and fortune cookies.

Kaitlins last blog post..Collages

Chris December 29, 2008 at 6:47 pm

I’m going to have to play the devils advocate here. I hate metronomes, and they didn’t really make me any better, faster or cleaner when I was just starting. I was a metronome junkie during undergrad, but I don’t think that’s where my sense of time came from. I do think metronomes are good for creating tense guitarists, and tense guitarists don’t last long..

Want to be an awesome musician for the rest of your life? Start playing with people from day one. I fell into playing with a band at church every week. Best experience of my life. Can you imagine having a weekly gig four months after starting guitar? I was awful, but I got better really quick.

Find people. Play with them. I was lucky enough to have a “partner in crime.” A friend was a drummer, same guy who played at church every week, and we jammed together a lot–A LOT. Just experimenting, and messing around; writing music and playing our favorite songs.

Playing with someone, anyone, is the best way to learn how to sync with other people. I recently jammed with my friend again; we haven’t played together for a few years. But that chemistry we’d had before came right back. It was a lot of fun.


Chriss last blog post..Monday Motivation: New Year Edition

emon December 30, 2008 at 2:29 am

Chris: I agree with you about playing with others, but you’ll see the problem arises when you’re in the studio or playing with an orchestra. But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself there.

In the beginning stages of learning, it helps to practice the basics – scales, chords – with a metronome, just to keep the speeding up in check. I had that problem and had a bit of a problem keeping in sync with the band. Went to basics and practiced scales and stuff staying on 60 bpm.

Would love to know what your routine is like when practice.

Kaitlin: Thanks for the tip. Will check it out.

Chris December 30, 2008 at 12:13 pm

My routine is to not have a routine! Well, sort of. During the school year, I have a time only routine. I shoot for at least 3 hours/day, more if I have time that day. Out of school it’s…whatever. I have a few goals to accomplish over this winter break, which I’m well on my way to to doing. But it’s break, and I play guitar all the damn time, so I tend to ease back a bit. I almost always mysteriously get better after not playing much during breaks. It’s weird.

Other than that, I spend about 30 minutes on “technique” which includes a basic RH warm up and some arpeggio patterns. Sometimes slurs for the LH, sometimes not. I usually break my practice into hour sessions, as I can’t stand sitting there for more than that. I usually chunk that hour up into half hours and work on a specific piece or section during each half hour. As I get better at a given piece I can practice more of it in a half hour, while I’m just starting those thirty minutes may be spent on a few measures.

I played in band from a young age (clarinet and later upright bass), so I think a lot of my sense of time comes from that. I did have a problem with speeding up when I was first starting classical, but it was a nervousness issue. I wasn’t trying to suggest that people not play with a metronome, but I think guitarists put too much emphasis on playing with one. Everyone should be able to play with a metronome without a problem, but there’s a time for using one and a time for not. Knowing when to put down that metronome is a valuable skill.


Chriss last blog post..An Interview with Charles Mokotoff

emon December 30, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Chris: Thanks for sharing your routine; very informative! It goes back to a post you’d written about goal-oriented practicing. II know what you mean re: getting better after not playing much during breaks. I guess stepping back a little helps what you’ve learned come together.

Chris McCarley January 6, 2009 at 10:19 am

emon, thanks for the pointer to the strogatz thing. I’ve actually read his book.

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