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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:25 pm 
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Of course Donna... Speed is never impressive at the cost of musicality, tone or anything really for that matter. :)

Yesterday I set about working my tone. I started with my scale work and really concentrated on making sure the I was hitting on the spot (accurate) and then making sure I was exact in my rhythm and finally working out the very little details such as making sure each string had the same tonal qualities. It was a very deep dive and I spent a lot of time doing this. The more I work like this the more I realize that everything about playing the classical guitar is about awareness and how aware you can be to these details. This is what separates players more than anything else. Those child prodigies that we know are born with an innate ability to be aware of these microscopic things.

The cool thing about this work (just like Scott said) is that I can already see and hear it coming through in my pieces now. It is amazing to me how the path keeps on progressing. I was sure I would hit a wall years ago and not be able to transcend it but somehow I keep on keeping on and the path gets more and more beautiful.

BTW: I ran my first 5K run yesterday since my injury. I actually ran more than 5K. I ran just over 4 miles and did those in 10 min each. My dog actually slowed me down. Poor thing cannot handle more than 3 10 min miles it seems. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:11 pm 
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You definately need a new dog!

Scott


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:25 am 
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You definately need a new dog!


Or one with longer legs. :rotflmao:


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:24 am 
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Yes, give Sherman over to those of us who run at a slower pace! Oh, what am I saying this dog would run himself to death to be with his mama!

All kidding aside - I'm proud of your physical work Karla - our bodies will carry us into old age one way or the other.

When my Father died of a heart attack I was 275 pounds. I had a complete physical and although the doctor said I was surprisingly healthy I still looked like crap.

I started doing cardio and weights. One hundred jumps a day with a jump rope and a series of exercises with 20 pound dumbbells. It was pathetic. I think I cracked a few sidewalks jumping. (Ever feel like a scale slog?). I fought through a series of injuries, (shin splints - long hot baths after my big 3 minute workout). I learned to start slow - any other method produces poor results. I learned patience. How did I feel in three weeks, not three days? And I learned to be consistent. I have worked out 3-5 days per week for over 22 years.

Today I can do over 4500 jumps in a row and typically lift well over 5,000 pounds in a workout. (Really, if you do the math - that's not all that much). I have read more about nutrition and exercise that I have about the guitar. I've worked with a handful of trainers and am never more excited than when I get to try a new workout regime. (I am currently doing a compilation of exercises - something I've wanted to do for about 7 years - I had to come up with this method using a few different training sources that I've become acquainted with over the years -mentioned below).

I mention all of this because many of my practice techniques and overall practice methods come from training manuals. I just find a lot of similarities between athletetic training and technical training on the guitar. I also think that most musicians aren't patient enough for long lasting results - athletes need to be - they trully compete! I've read about training for a marathon, swimming training, etc, even though I have no intention of competing in those arenas. When I went to buy a ‘Soloflex’ the guy pulled me aside and sold me two dumbbells and Bill Pearl’s book “Getting Stronger”. He told me to come back in three months and buy more weights. I have a complete set with benches at half the price of a machine and haven’t looked back since. Pearl's book on weightlifting is a simple bible on the subject

More complex is Michael Colgan’s method - amazingly complete for lifting. Great year-long program; sensible and effective. My other favs are “Core Performance” workouts and of course “Body for Life”, all good primers. The first two mentioned work with professional athletes on a regular basis - always a good sign.

In any case, we should all take care of our bodies; stretching, moving, building strength and eating right. I don't know about you but I want my body and hands to work their best up until my last days! Most people complain about their birthdays - I'm never happier than when I reach another one!

Scott


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:36 am 
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Oh, one thing mentioned in Colgan's method is posture. We must lift and move from good posture, otherwise it's like adding weight to a weak link - something is going to break.

I've been doing Rolfing, a form of body realignment. This is in the vein of Aston Patterning which I started in the 70's at Micheal Lorimer's recomendation, (which also started the whole left leg support thing).

Just more food for thought!

Scott


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:03 am 
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Scott's instructions to Karla..."accountable to the tone and consistency of the tone for each and every note".

This is my new mantra, reading it has changed how I approach everything I am practicing, the phrase is now highlighted on my Practice log.

It helps us e-learners to hear about the face-to-face lesson experiences of the local-learners. Thanks for sharing Karla.

Rick


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 Post subject: Nov 17, 2007
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:16 pm 
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Why do I hate it so much when Scott changes fingerings on me? I can't explain it but it actually bums me out and demotivates me for some time. It is silly for this to be the case because usually I redo the fingerings and it does take some time but it ultimately gets me to learn the piece better. I guess it is because it takes so much time for me to get it. I watch Master Classes and how the players just get the new fingerings and I am in awe of that skill. I certainly cannot just get it so quickly. :) I guess it is easy to see that I had another series of fingering changes to one of my long-time pieces. (sigh...) I was hoping to take my Milan Pavanas into a master class sometime this winter and I told Scott that so we went over number 6 and the result is a lot more woodshedding. I know it will ultimately all lead to good but man those kinds of lessons hurt..... It is back to the basics for awhile for me on this one. I so wish I could just wrap my head around doing this real time.

Sometimes I get pretty frustrated with all of this stuff.

The good news is that my work on being anal retentive about my tone paid off. Scott was pleased with that work and truth be told that is a huge deal. My playing overall was upleveled this week due to this work. When you are doing this type of work it can't help but spread to others.


Wow... Scott thanks for the long post on physical fitness and working out. I am just a shell of my former self thanks to your help and by next year I will be in awesome shape. Just try to keep up there fellow CGI friends! I just climbed off my bike (an hour ride) and now will shower and get to practicing. I have a bunch of refingering to do.

And Rick, it is my pleasure to post these as I know they help to bridge the gap for many of you.

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 Post subject: Dec 02, 2007
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:48 am 
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I got myself into a rut the past two weeks. It was more of an organization and mental rut (turns out) than it was a real rut though. With the addition of that very long Guliani piece and the addition of longer work hours and now exercise into my life, my guitar program toppled. I no longer felt like I could keep up with every piece that was in my bins. This was frustrating to me mentally and when I showed up for my lesson and Scott said he wanted to go over this one piece it turned out I was pretty rusty on it. I told him that I was in a place now where I did not know how to handle my workload. My Guliani piece just to play it through is 10 min long. My Bach is 20 min just to play through, etc. Scott walked me through organization of my practice log and gave me the directive to clean it up. He asked me to put some real thought into what pieces I want to keep "hot" and what pieces I was to allow to simmer, etc. He then gave me the mental break I needed by telling me it was okay to just play through the ones I want to simmer. He allowed that I did not have to play the simmer ones more than 1 time a week. I don't have to keep all of them to a higher order. Of course he did warn me that in my lesson I will still be accountable for all of them to these levels. So with that encouragement and guidance I went out and fixed my practice log. With that I found myself able to better focus and I got great practice time in this week. (very productive)

It is the last month of the year and also the last month of my 4th year of study. Next month I will start my 5th year of CG study. :) This week my lesson was the dream lesson I have been having for about 2 years now. I have been wanting to learn and play Bach for the full 4 years that I have been studying. When I approached Scott about this 2 years ago he would have nothing of it. So I snuck off and learned the Prelude from the 1st Cello Suite. I then secretly learned the Sarabande. When Scott learned of my little secrets he helped me with fingerings and made me keep the pieces very slow but other than that he mostly refused to acknowledge these. Every now and then we would take a glance at the pieces. One day he suggested I learn the Minuetes and after I had learned the notes to those, I picked up the Allemande which is all my all favorite piece of music. If I learn to play that one piece well, I will die happy. I have been learning all of these but largely I have been pushing Scott to alow me to learn them and he has (mostly reluctantly) allowed me to learn the notes.

Yesterday I came into my lesson prepared to go over the Guliani piece and Scott says, "Let's do some Bach" My heart raced because I had suggested the previous week that it might be good for me to play the Prelude in the next PAR class. I generally do not perform these pieces well. Besides the fact that they are physically challenging for me I am so emotionally wrapped up in the music that I get easily side-tracked. I will finally get the channce to learn how to overcome that now as it seems I have not only Scott's reluctant agreement but his full support to make these pieces a part of my performance repertoire. I have cooked the Prelude now for a solid 2 years and the Sarabande not much less time. So in our lesson we went of the Sarabande timing again. I think that I will have to have this lesson a few thousand more times on this piece before I get it. Sarabande's have such a funny timing to them. One day, when I get that timing I am going to figure out some ornamentation. Scott likes the way Lorimer does this but I personally prefer Scotts way. I think I will copy Scott rather than Lorimer or perhaps even create some of my own. I so look forward to the day when I have the skill to do this. On the Prelude we actually worked on the polyphonic qualities of the piece and on the complexity of Bach. (I am SO in love with everything about this) I was instructed to find the simplest and purest melody line that I could find in this piece and write it out. At first I thought that woud be impossible but sitting there I was able to actuallly pick it out.

I LOVE this part of the Classical Guitar. Some people say I am stubborn. :D Perserverence is paying off for me. I was willing to simmer on these pieces for 10 years if I had to before I was allowed or able to perform them. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Dec 02, 2007
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 12:56 pm 
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kfisherx wrote:
It is the last month of the year and also the last month of my 4th year of study. Next month I will start my 5th year of CG study.


Happy Anniversary! :ok: :girlplayer:

I guess I too am starting my 5th year (I don't count the 9 months in the middle that I was between teachers). This journey is very hard, very slow, and very rewarding.
Tom


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 10:20 pm 
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Oh life is SO good. As I dive deeper and deeper into the Bach pieces I find I am happier and happier to play and practice. This week at lessons we went over the Prelude primarily. I was tasked last week with adding dynamic changes in the phrases and it turned out that I did not do that as well as I thought. Scott has me doing a cresendo up to the high point on each of the starts of the measures. This is fascinating as it forces me to get into this repeating theme all over the place. God folks, this music is SO DEEP that I am quite certain that I will spend a happy lifetime studying it.

Next he had me get into each phrase and tie notes together whever it was possible. I have been letting notes up too quickly many of the times. This is going to take me forever to figure out this week but it will be great trying it.

Finally we worked on the Allemande. I think I said this before but I'll say it again since I like to hear myself talk.... If I can one day play this piece in a performance and make it sound decent I will die a happy girl! Really this piece is so amazing to me and it touches me on so many different levels. Scott helped me to find a flow to the piece by making me be aware of where I was in it. So I am going to spend a great deal of time counting. He also asked me to know the chords to the piece. This will be challenging too as I am not a chord person so much but I am willing to go for it if it will help.

This year of guitar study has been incredible. Just now I am finally feeling confident enough as a player to really bring this sort of repertoire out. Scott set a goal for me to be performing intermediate repertoire in 3 years. That was a year and a half ago. I will hone this stuff in over the next year and I think I will actually make that goal. When he set it I had my doubts.

Okay folks I am off now to practice! Life is good!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 9:31 am 
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kfisherx wrote:
God folks, this music is SO DEEP that I am quite certain that I will spend a happy lifetime studying it.



From Ben Verdery's Commentary in his music collection: "Classical Guitar Recital":

"If you were on a desert island with a guitar, wich composer's music would you want to have? My answer would have to be the music of Johan Sebastian Bach...One of the reasons I decided to lay classical guitar was because I heard a harpsichord recital given by the great Bach interpreter, Anthony Newman....(who) later became my teacher and close friend and is quoted as saying, 'Bach sounds great on any insrument, even 'tuned bathtubs'! In this sense Bach is the most universal of composers".

Jim once told me that the amount of music Bach wrote transcends human capacity. In addition to this, he taught all his sons music, and was a church music director. Jim also told me that Bach never heard his music played by professional musicians.

Karla, your posts on this Bach suite are so very inspiring to me. I, too, love Bach. I have 4 pieces in my repetoire: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Gavotte I and Gavotte II from Cello Suite #6; and one of the Minuets from the first Cello suite. I hope to someday learn the prelude and other parts of the first cello suite; so it is exciting to read, study, and learn from your journey. I find that I get lost in the beauty of Bach and time will just slow down as I discover so much more about it. You are so correct in that it is very DEEP. I don't think I will ever completely get it; but, like you, I am sure enjoying the journey!

Not too long ago, I was working on my minuet and my daughter was snoozing at my feet, with her cat and little dog. She is an avid rap listener, but will delve into Celtic music and Josh Grobin at times. When I was finished working with the piece, she said, "Wow - that is just beautiful music!" I responded, "Yep, doesn't get any better than Bach".

Donna


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 2:11 pm 
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I recently heard a cellist on NPR say about playing Bach's music,
Quote:
No matter how well you play Bach, the music is always better
:lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 2:30 pm 
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scott wrote:
I recently heard a cellist on NPR say about playing Bach's music,
Quote:
No matter how well you play Bach, the music is always better
:lol:


That's the best description of Bach I've ever heard!

Donna


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2007 1:55 am 
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You guys all know how I like to be the best at everything? Well I finally found the one thing that I am the best at hands down. I am the absolute queen of denial. Last Saturday during my lesson I had a bit of a sore throat. By Sunday it was burning and I had a fevor. On Monday I got up and went to work figuring that I could kick it. I did sort of take it easy in that I didn't go to the gym that day. On Tuesday I got up and went to work even though it was hard to get up. By noon I felt much better so I went to the gym for personal training. Then after work I went to the gym again. I had extra work to do at home then that evening as I had to wrap gifts for my adopted family and got little sleep. The rest of the week went like this with me pushing and pushing through the fevor, the sinus pain, the sore throat but not missing a beat. On Saturday I had my first day off from work and I could not get out of bed until almost 3:00PM.

So during this week of denial I did my practice pretty dilligently as well and strangly I felt as if I was making no progress. I had five pretty big but straightforward objectives.

1. Get focus back in technical work (arps esp)
2. Guliani with slow metronome
3. Sarabande with correct time
4. Allemande count measures and get pulse
5. Allemande chords

I was able to do part of 2 and 3 pretty okay but 1 and 4 and 5 were impossible. I kept thinking that I had finally reached my point of total incompetence on the guitar and that I woud not get it.

Scott agreed to give me a lesson on Xmas eve morning. So even though I felt like I had accomplished almost nothing I went with guitar in hand. I explained how I did almost nothing and that my worst pain point was with the Allemande. It is my most favorite piece in the world and it just wasn't coming together at all for me. I tried getting the count down but that just made less sense then when I just played it.

I started to go into what I was doing and Scott cleared up all my confusion by explaining that the piece was in cut time not 3/4 time. That means the accent is on 1 and 2 beats. All of a sudden the whole piece made sense. I would NEVER have figured this out on my own and this is the reason why lessons are so important. :D :D He then walked me through drawing out and playing the chords over the piec and I actually managed to do this on the 1 and 2 beats as he played the melody and again the piece took on yet another flavor and I felt as if I had reached yet another level of understanding....

It is amazing what your mind can do when you aren't suffering from a fever and denying that you are sick. :roll:

Merry Xmas to all of you who celebrate it!!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:21 am 
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Oh such a long time since a report... I have to admit the past month has been very tough on me. I posted a bit about this in the thread about motivation. Basically speaking I felt trapped by my new work (the Guiliani one) and the Bach. I felt as if I was over my head and my reaction was to work only on these pieces and abandon my practice log and my other pieces. The result of this action was catosrophic to my morale and my ability to play music. Besides technical work, I was working almost exclusivly on works that are over my head. This caused me to get frustrated with my progress which made me work even harder on these pieces. After several weeks of this rat hole, I discovered that I could no longer play any of my other pieces either. Everything I tried to play came out with hesitancy because I was no longer listening to the flow or music but practicing everything in detail mode.

Scott met this issue head on at my lesson last week. He was kind and even somewhat gentle given the gravity of the mess I had worked myself into but the end message to me was that I needed to get back to the basics. I had fallen off my practice log and that derailed my focus, my path, my motivation. It would be like a dieter who fell off the diet plan and was complaining that she was gaining weight.

Even though Scott was kind and gave me very valid reasons for letting this happen, I still felt a little bit stupid about the answer being so simple. So this week I took his new lesson log and input my data to it and assigned my works different practice techniques and guess what? Thingsa are again better. :) :D

Sunday and Monday were amazingly focused and powerful practice sessions for me. I feel a new renewal in my passion and my confidence. I am falling again in love with my old pieces while I learn to listen to them with new ears. Yesterday I had the Bach Prelude with counting measures. I took just the first page to do this and I read the music and counted the measures. I was pleasently suprised to hear the tension at the 3rd measure of each 4 measure section. It is just as advertised and it made me have a new awareness of that piece. I am learning to let go of the mistakes I am making and allowing the focus of the practice directive be the only focus. That is so liberating.

Anyway, I just thought I would drop in an update and perhaps if some of you are not on your log that you go ahead and pick up the template and get on it. It is worth its weight in gold.

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