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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:07 pm 
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Thanks for the report Karla. Could you expand more on why this happened? You have always been so focused that it seems weird to me you would get so off track.

Donna


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:40 pm 
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Well.... It happened that about 4 months ago it was time for me to learn something new. I was pretty heads down on my Bach suite but wanted to learn something more my level than that so I asked Scott for a recommendation on an "easier" piece that was also beefy (in other words large work) He responded with the Guiliani work. Sonata Allegra....

Now this work is the "real deal" in music. It is orchestral and it is classical. Both of these qualities really stretched me. In addition to this the first movement is 6 full pages of unique music with almost zero repeats. The theme itself does repeat but it is in a completely different key so that required still work. Anyway, once I started to get into the piece it took me way deep and then I started to fear that I would loose my Bach so I worked exclusively on Bach and Guiliani for the past few months.

Scott reminded me (this was the gentle part) that I also started a strength training program and I am going through many life changes right now too. I am trying to fit working out more regularly into my life as well as balanced healthy eating. This is all going really well but it also added to some squeezed guitar practice time which made me feel like I had to just survive for some time.

So that is how it happened. I am out of that hole now or at least climbing up. I have the Guliani piece in my hands now at a slow tempo (it takes over 15 full minutes for me to just play through it) and I have the Bach works now to where I am comfortable doing them less frequently.

I feel like a person who has had the flu and am on the mend right now. It feels really powerful to get back to a structured and focused practice.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:06 pm 
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Hi Karla
Jim here..Im new to the forum and phase 1. I appreciate your sharing your life and your path with CG

In 1974 I attended a master class with a special teacher, Maestro Manuel Lopez Ramos. I was so thrilled at that time that I vowed to make classical guitar my career. A year later, after starting a path of his methodology, I moved to Mexico City and lived in a beautiful smaller city, Cuernavaca. Once a week I would travel by bus and metro to his studio to review my studies in Guilliani, Segreras, Carcassi....Wow. It was a lot..but so rich ...6 hour practice days without missing any days...wow what a time that was. I always thought some day I would finish what I started

After being there for 6 months, a new marriage pulled me back home to Texas and I lost my dream to be a teacher and player...I had what it took, facility wise, but life for me took another course...my choice..

Just few days ago, (since how many years has passed....?) i pulled out my fourth year books and diary notes and started to play again and the Guillianin pieces just jumped out to me like never before. I suppose part of it was so connnected with one of the best times of my life. Im going to enjoy those studies again, no doubt

Anyway, youv'e been at this for 5 years now? That is so awesome...We appreciate so much more as we get older. Its a new beginning for me and I will look back 5 years from too. These moments are precious. Its hard not to regret letting 30+ years go by and know what could have been.

Part of our process is about the PROCESS....and the lessons within the lessons...And you know, now later in life, its so exciting to experience the adventure as new.

I remember Ramos told us that Bach was for later in life when we were able to appreciate and express it. That makes so much sense now. One of his students, Robert Bluestone, i remember, was learning the Chaconne. Ramos really got on him about him being to young to interpret that piece

We have a lot of life and music to live. Keep doing what your doing and what ever your doing, its perfect...

Im reading a book called "Effortless Mastery" by Kenny Werner. He has 3 affirmations he loves..
1. Music is easy
2. There are no wrong notes
3. Every note i play is the most beautiful sound Ive heard.

see you soon
jim


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:32 am 
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Jim thank you for that beautiful post. I have Kenny's book and need to revisit it as it has been awhile since I read it. Yes, it has only been 5 years and I need to keep reminding myself that 5 years is not that long to be studying music. I still am a baby. I am very grateful to have my teacher and you guys to help pull me up with I fall down.

I did another really wonderful and powerful practice this evening. I am again in love.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:21 am 
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Jim,

What a great post. Thank you! I am very much looking forward to meeting you -- your experiences with the CG are going to add so much to CGI this year!

Karla,

I have been thinking....Would you consider formally writing up your experience? The things you have gone through are some of the things I see that affect adult learning all the time -- the basic issue: finding the balance to achieve the goals we want to achieve. Setting out to play the CG is a pretty big goal. Of all the styles I have played, I find CG the most difficult. It requires a great deal of discipline, and deep study. Fitting the time in to do this can be difficult without giving up something else. Your goal to achieve physical fitness is also a very challenging goal. As Scott said in one post -- physical fitness is different from losing weight. It's a big commitment. Either one of those would be enough to fill in any extra time one has in a day.

From your posts, I get a clear sense that this journey has been very, very difficult for you. Yet, it has been an inspiration to me. I have been making a goal of working harder to find a balance with physical fitness routines as well as classical guitar routines, while at the same time balancing all the other demands in my life. In the end what happens is that the physically fit body is able to do more -- i.e. more stamina for practice sessions. And, the physically fit body affects emotional well being -- i.e. more positive thinking and therefore more belief that "yes, I can play the Classical Guitar". I think that your story could be a inspiration to many adults who want to learn the classical but are faced with the issues you have been faced with. I think that this experience would really inspire many readers beyond this forum -- I'm picturing it published in a classical guitar journal/magazine or a magazine like "Acoustic Guitar".

my thoughts,

Donna


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:33 pm 
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Donna funny that you should ask this.... The local PGS just asked me to do a series of articles for their newsletters and I agreed. My first article is just on the subject of focus. It is short and it involves (touches lightly) on all the things we discussed here but I am limited in that article to 1-2 pages. I will post these articles once they are published in PGS newsletter and will create a folder for that.

But on the subject of a more "in depth" article, what are you thinking specifically? Are you looking for something that is geared towards guitarists who want to work on fitness or just on how to fit in guitar practice when other things get in the way? :)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:22 pm 
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kfisherx wrote:

But on the subject of a more "in depth" article, what are you thinking specifically? Are you looking for something that is geared towards guitarists who want to work on fitness or just on how to fit in guitar practice when other things get in the way? :)


How to fit guitar practice in when other things get in the way and how to also find the time to maintain physical well-being THEN once it is fit in, how to focus.

This issue is huge for adults who want to learn the guitar - classical or not; but I feel if someone can do it for classical (which IMO is the most difficult), it can be done for any style. That's why I think it would be a great article for "Acoustic Guitar" magazine.

If you study the thread under "hot topics" entitled "Practice Impediments" this will give you more of an idea what I am talking about. For example, in that thread, myself and many others struggle with finding the time whereas Tom has the time, but struggles with finding the focus. Perhaps entitling the article "Practice Impediments for the Adult Student of Guitar" .

Finally, I feel that it is so important to weave into this finding the balance so that there is time for physical well-being - stressing how that affects practice outcomes.

Donna


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 11:03 am 
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It seems that when I have a lesson to learn, that lesson hits me from every possible angle in my life. My lesson these past few weeks is the positive power and momentum of consistency.

In my current efforts to reshape my body this has become most obvious to me. One of the fortunate outcomes of my competitive nature is that I entered a body shaping contest with about 60 other women all over the world. Since this is a "e-contest" it is required that we post our daily journals as well as monthly pictures of our progress. The monthly picture exercise is so telling to me and I am so grateful that I do it. When you are doing body reshaping, your body is moving in very small increments. It is sort of like when you take tape off a roll. You don't see the changes really as the tape comes off the roll but you eventually see that the roll is getting thinner. So it is with your body. As you begin to take off fat and increase mass the changes are not so obvious to the every day person. And that is why it is something that people tend to quit doing after a lot of good hard work.

By taking pictures at the beginning of each month, I can look very critically at the changes my body is doing and I can clearly see the positive results of all my hard work. In living through this experience I know that it is the consistent daily effort that I put into this that reaps me those results. There is no "Killer abs in 12 weeks" or any such magic bullet but rather a better and healtheir me through consistent attention to the details that make up me.

Last week as I sat in my guitar lesson these were the words spoken to me. If I could classify my single biggest pitfall in my effort to learn the classical guitar it would be that I always "try" so hard. I really cannot explain this except that somehow I think that if I try harder it will come to me faster. In my lesson I came to the understanding that of where this mentality reaches ridiculous. Of course to a degree there is much truth to this statement but beyond that degree it is self defeating to contiue to try so hard.

Scott gave me a long term directive last lesson that seems so simple and yet so powerful that I am excited about it despite the time it will take for me to show progress. He encouraged me to make it my goal by CGI to have the most quiet hands and demeanour that I can conjure. I always think about John Williams when thinking of quiet hand and for inner quiet Peter Zisa actually always comes to mind. He is the small, white hair guy that plays with the hat for those of you who have been here to see him.

Over my past couple of practices I have been trying this and the results have been incredible alreay. I have to give up a bit of volume and a bit of punch but I receive so much in doing so and I suspect that sometime in the future I will be able to try a bit harder without having that "try" take over my playing. This work will take nothing more than consistent focus and practice for a year or perhaps more. The results will not be so obvious at first but my knowledge is that by CGI you and I will both know that something is different and better about my playing.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:57 am 
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So the past few weeks have been interesting to say the least.

I got my new guitar from Alan and that has caused me to again go off my practice log for a little bit. I did not deviate too strongly but enough to where I had to pull myself back to it. The first week or two of a new instrument is so distracting. :) All you want to do is touch all the new buttons so focus goes completely away. I am finally getting into the grove of my new guitar now and can get some actual work done. :D

I really am liking the new logs especially in the past weeks as my practice times are now very limited. Since December I have been having some pains in my right elbow (tennis elbow) and it is definately made worse when I play guitar. So I am keeping my sessions to 20 min until I can figure out how to rehab this injury.

Yesterday's lesson was fun. We played with my new guitar a bit. I can't seem to find an E string that I like for it so I tried a set of strings that Scott uses. They did not work so I am off for more experimenting this week. After we agreed the strings did not work we went off to some repertoire.

We started with my biggest work which is the Guiliani piece. We talked a little bit about how a piece that large is so hard to imagine actually ever performing because it takes 15 min to play and to keep focus that long is so hard. Scott said that technically speaking the piece is not so hard it really is just how big it is and the musicality of the piece that makes it so hard. Anyway, he told me to begin playing at a point half way through and I did. I played for a very long time and was able to muddle through much of it. This is new for me. Normally I start this piece and have to stop it almost immediately due to the fact that it intimidates me so badly. So that was a good confidence boost for me. I made some sloppy sort of mistakes so my goal for this week on this piece is to do GDM again on it. Section by section of course.

Next I did the Bach Prelude. My directive in the past was to play it very metronomic and exact. So I did that nice and slow and I made way too many mistakes. I mentioned that it is just crap how I still cannot play this piece without so many mistakes. Scott asked if I found any section or sections especially challenging. I told him that I did not. So he said to try it faster and he set the metronome way up and off I raced. It was so much fun and so liberating to play it that fast. And while I made mistakes I don't think I made as many. So that is what I get to do this week. I get to play that piece faster. Yeah!

I am so loving this guitar thing. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 10:40 am 
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kfisherx wrote:
Since December I have been having some pains in my right elbow (tennis elbow) and it is definately made worse when I play guitar. So I am keeping my sessions to 20 min until I can figure out how to rehab this injury.



Karla,
I highly recommend the book "Arm Care: a Complete Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Tennis Elbow." by Robert P. Nirschl. http://www.countrforce.com/armcare.html This book is the bible among professional tennis players and baseball pitchers. I have battled tennis elbow (caused by tennis, not guitar) for a long time, and this book has solved the problem for me (at least for now, I can't say I have gone back to high level tennis since curing my elbow).
Tom


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 7:25 pm 
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Exciting news about the Bach Prelude. It made me think about what a little student once said to me, "if I think about it too much, I can't play it; but if I don't think about it, it is easy".

Today at one of the services, I had to play a percussion instrument - the cabassa. I found that if I thought about what I was trying to do I couldn't do it - so I decided to just relax, close my eyes, and really take in the drummer's beats and the conga player's beats. It worked really well; and it was such fun!

Music is so interesting to me that way - part of it is very academic, but the other part is letting go and just playing the music. It sounds like this is what Scott is letting you do with this piece. Can't wait to hear it!

Donna


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 5:35 pm 
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Gosh so much to report. I have been lazy in posting but not in my guitar life. A couple of cool things to report.

1. Last Friday I actually performed the first 1/3 of the Gulliani work. Just that section is 5 min so I stopped there for the sake of the audience. It went well. It doesn't sound good yet but it is steady and coming along and playing it out is giving me confidence that I will one day actually be able to play this piece. This one nearly kicked me to the ground. :)

2. My tennis elbow is finally allowing me to have longer practice sessions. I have been plagued this year with two pretty serious injuries. First the ham string and then (even before that one was over) I got this silly elbow issue. I have been doing proper stretching and accupunture for it and it seems to be on the mend. I will not be able to play for hours and hours at CGI but I will be able to play. :)

3. I grew anyway! So the past year has been nothing short of frustrating for me with my injuries. So much so that I nearly threw in the towel once or twice. I have been actually sort of dreading CGI because I figured my progress would be embarassing. This past week at my lesson Scott had me record my Italian pieces again. I remember that I did this last year and I remember how awesome I got those pieces to sound. I was thinking that this year they would sound worse. Well.... I got the first one recorded and there is NO CONTEST what version is the better one. I have totally grown despite the lack of practice. :)

4. My personal trainer has started CG lessons. What can I say? Another one bites the dust. As a side note our dear Scott will start personal training sessions. This is a true Win/Win. :)

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