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Technique and Routine

Question by Francisco Fuchs
(Cipolletti, Rio Negro, Argentina)

Hi,

I can’t find good technique exercises other than transcribing solos. What can you recommend?

I also wanted to know if you have a practicing routine that you could recommend.

Your lessons are excellent!

Greetings,

Francisco.


M-A’s Answer:

Hello Francisco,

Honestly, I find that working on transcribed material is the best way to increase general technique and technical abilities. Sing along and a be very thorough on the phrasing level and you’ll make the most out of it.

By only practicing solos from transcriptions, I’m sure you’d enjoy great improvement technique wise (provided that the music is challenging enough.) That is: you could never really “practice” and spend your whole life learning other people’s solo and still improve very much!

To develop technique outside of transcriptions, working on the fundamentals of music is the key: I recommend you increase your fretboard knowledge by working on scales, arpeggios and chords.

Learn your scales/arps in positions (as shown in this article series ) and then in a diagonal way on the fingerboard. These are both great starting points.

You can always make these fundamentals more challenging by using different patterns. (scalar pattern 1234, 2345, 3456, etc. for example.)

I can recommend two great books on patterns :

Patterns for Jazz (by Jerry Coker)

Expansions (by Gary Campbell)

(both endless sources of little “gems” to practice)

Speaking of routine, the main thing is it’s different from player to player! You have to ask yourself the right questions: What are my goals? Where do I wish to go with my music? What can I already play with great ease? etc.

Slowly, you’ll be able to devise your own practice sessions that will improve the areas you’re interested in. Also don’t worry too much about the “routine” aspect; it will (and should) always change over time.

Perfection is a moving target.

(ie my current “routine” never stays the same for too long. The material that is deeply mastered doesn’t have to stay in the “routine” forever!)

I hope this helps,
Practice Well,

Marc-Andre Seguin

PS

As deceiving as this answer may seem (because there’s no actual notes or exercises), it’s probably the best answer that applies to everyone.

Think about it. Organize your own practice around what you like and where you wish to take your music to. … read this practicing article.

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