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Mandolin Lessons: How to Practice

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I'd like
to talk now a little bit about practicing,
about how to practice, how to get the most
out of, out of the limited time all of us
have to spend with our instruments.
I'm sure you all have regular lives that
your mandolin might not be the,
the thing you do for 24 hours a day.
And so there's always that, that time
How in the world am I gonna find time to
all the things I wanna do on this
And couple of things come to mind.
One is I always leave my mandolin out
where it's sitting out where I can see it,
rather than in the case under the bed.
Just so that as you walk by, you see it
sitting sitting there calling to you,
that's one.
[LAUGH] I like to have a station where my
practice always takes place at the same
time, which I think is very helpful, that
I always have the same place.
So its not this gigantic ritual of having
to get the case out,
go find the chair, go get the music stand,
go get the tuner and the metronome,
you're at your home, you're at your
computer and set this whole thing up.
So having it already set up, and a, and a
sorta sacred zone for
it is pretty essential.
So that you just drop in very easily and
begin working, even if it's for five or
ten minutes I can actually get a lot of
work done in a real short time, you know.
[LAUGH] When I'm under the gun.
So, but if I have to do all of those
things of getting the instruments,
setting up this and setting up that, I
might be less inclined to do that.
So that's number one, and number two is
finding that balance between,
spending time just jamming which, of
course, we all love to do.
We've had a hard day, working all day in
the office, whatever it is you do.
You're dreaming about just picking a tune,
you know, just grooving out,
and, and that is an important part of
playing music.
Let's not forget that's why we do it
because it is fun and, and we wanna keep
it fun, but, then you wanna zero it down
to the stuff that actually needs work.
And rather than playing through a whole
tune a bunch of times and making the same
mistake in the same spot, I recommend that
you, you know, play it for
fun, get in the grove, get to know your
instrument, find out what's going on, and
then zero down and really try to find the
places that need work.
And like I've said in, in past parts of
the, of the video,
is it's usually a super small issue that's
usually about the [LAUGH] right hand,
about the ri, the pick not crossing over
the string the way it should.
Very rarely is it something you're,
you're unable to do with your left hand
believe it or not.
And if you could zero down to those
that's how you're gonna clean up your
Is, there's a way to, when I think of the
greatest players I know,
people like Chris Dailey and
Bela Fleck and Edgar Myer and how hard
they work, having seen them work.
I have noticed this, that they have a way
of zeroing in on that which needs work and
only working on that.
Even so much as working with a metronome,
you know.
Rather than setting the metronome on 60
and playing the whole tune at that tempo
and then setting it on 61 and playing it,
and then playing the whole tune at 62.
Take the one little part that's hard, just
those, just that one bar, and
do that one bar at, at gradual tempos, and
you'll straighten out that part.
The other parts are fine, they don't need
as much work, and you'll you'll, you'll
zero in on the problem, fix the problem,
and then you've fixed the whole tune.
These are just a couple little tidbits to
help you practice.
Something else I wanted to say was just
play a little bit,
I just wanted to play and show you kind of
my process, like,
if I'm just sitting down, and I start
playing like the last tune we
played was Fishers Horn Pipe, I think it
I might play it a little too fast.
You know, here I am just kind of jumping
into it,
and I'm missing somethings, you know.
So I'm gonna try and be really honest.
Now I'll say okay, well, what did I really
get, what did I not get, you know.
Even that.
That little moment.
So I'll zero down to that moment.
Even those first notes.
I'm not really hearing them.
I'm hearing.
I was kind of missing the middle note.
So now I'll zero down.
Might even slow it way down.
And really grab that.
And then when it comes back.
It's cleaner.
Here I am looking at my left hand, but you
know where the problem is?
It's right here.
It's between that C sharp and that E.
Because I'm having to cross over pretty
far away from,
I was down on the D string and I'm walking
very quickly over to the E.
So, it's, if you zero done on it, it was,
probably had something to do with my arm
not reaching across.
Like I said in an earlier lesson.
So, slow it down.
Focus back here, watch the hand.
And voila.
Then bring the tempo up.
Did you see me miss it?
Now that's pretty fast to be trying to fit
that triplet in.
do the riff a couple of times in a row.
The treble riffs.
We're out of tune.
Always like to fix it.
Again get focused on the right hand,
that's where the problem is.
Anyway, just a little insight into how I
do it.
And I hope that, you know,
you do some of the same things at whatever
tempo's comfortable for you, but
that gives you a little incite into my
process, hope it helps.