Montana Musicians

I find like most Musicians that daily Practice is key in becoming a well rounded player. Im finding that concerning practice every one is different. It is seed that Joe Pass at the height of his carer practiced only one hour a day where is Al Dimeola practiced for eight, Joe Pass could crush Al D despite the thousands of hours less practice and the 30 year carer gap? Here are some tips on being a healthy musician.

-listen to music
-listen to people you admire
-listen to players who might even play a different instrument for ideas.
-Keep your practice space free of distractions(TV)
-Set goals
-Practice in small segments to keep it interesting
-If you begin to play sloppy slow down, if it hurts stop!
-JAM!! Most likely the hardest and most important type of practice possible jaming with other musicians(especially for the young or beginner) will teach you more then any teacher or DVD.

Sorry for being a bit long-winded but now i would like to here how Montana practices and what tips tricks and general advice do you have? From the beginner to the virtuoso help Montana musicians reach their dreams. Feel free to respond to the question in the first paragraph.
Rock on !!!


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There are many times that we are alone when practicing. In those situations I have found that using a loop pedal is helpful. You can do a lot with one chord and a good beat. Play an acoustic into the loop pedal and play your electric over the top of the chord progression you choose. (or visa versa). There is no substitute for daily playing even if its only for 15 or 20 minutes. I also think that if you are inclined, you should sing while you play. And, practice playing rythym. Its the backbone of every song. Don't just focus on lead guitar. There you have it. dm
Im not going to say this IS THEE way to do it, but its probably true on most levels, a real key is quality over quantity. If you practice for one hour but are fumbling over notes and you do not slow down to correct it, then not only will you not go forward, but youll also go BACKWARDS!! Everything you do whether you know it or not goes into muscle memory. We are constant programmers of habit. If there is a certian technique that you want to work on, then slow it down to a metronome and start there. It may seem boring as hell, but if you are trying to do a Dimebag lick and you have to slow it down to 40 BPMS then 10 minuets of that will get you further then 30 min trying to hash it out in the incorrect time....with incorrect technique... it will come out, just flat Incorrect! and all that work you put into learning it may get you close, but then youll have to go back and saw through all the bad habits you just developed in the process. Theres no shame in starting slow, becasue even if it doesnt seem to be productive, the correct motions with correct timing are going into muscle memory and as you gradually speed up youll find your fingers doing the right thing. So, in reality, your actually getting better a lot faster by just slowing it down. Hope this helps!
trust whatever bobby says... he's a ripper!
I wish this was common sense to more people!
well i found when i first started playing (about 9) it was almost painful to practice, i could not concentrate on what my teacher wanted me to learn and and i did not understand most of it. But the better i got the more i practiced and after awhile it was fun to practice.
Not being a virtuoso myself, I must say that the Al D/Joe Pass question puzzles me.
I honestly just try not to look at it as practicing. I see it as playing. Drumming/guitarring is fun to me, and I feel like if I tell myself "Oh man, you better practice so you can get good" it takes alot of the fun out of it. With my drumming, I mainly get my practicing/brushing up done a half hour before I start recording or gigging. I do practice rudiments every now and then but usually with a click just so my timing doesnt sag. Definitely dig your practice techniques, Henry. Listening to a broad spectrum of music is something that hs really opened my eyes alot. I used to only listen to heavy metal and punk but I grew up and realize that there is SOOOO much more to be had. My playlist ranges anywhere from Slipknot to Simon and Garfunkel.
That's good advice for any one, all I'm saying with the Al D thing is that some people need/want to practice endlessly where others barely practice at all. Take the late great Frank Zappa who was completely self taught and by the time we was doing his real work he didn't practice at all. That blows my mind because he was fucking amazing.
It's funny when you say you do your main practice right before a gig or recording. I've always done that too, for the same reason. Practicing for the sake of practice ALWAYS takes the fun out of it for me too. I try to stay loose when recording because I'm always under the gun $ wise, so that gives me good motivation to "get it" in one take if possible. If it stays fun I have good luck.
I've always listened to a wide variety of music and try to play with other folks as often as possible in a jam setting where you just go around in a circle and everybody takes turns playing a song at a time. Nobody in the circle has to know your song, but you have to know it well enough to lead it. The last "jam practice" I went to, there were 6 people and we played music for 6 hours straight with just a little wine,goodies and bathroom breaks. It keeps your brain ticking and your fingers limber if sore at the end:)
When I was reading Bobbie Riviere's reply, it was like breath of fresh air to hear somebody admit that ya gotta SLOW DOWN to speed up. I wish I had a nickel for every begining musician I've played with that hasn't gotten past being more consumed with speed over accuracy. GOOD TIMING IS EVERYTHING.
Speaking of which, I suggest you listen to two very different songs. If you're not completely prejudiced against mainstream country, listen to Brad Paisley's Baby you are the World. It's played fast and clean. Every guitar note in each riff is right on the money. I like the bass line too. Then go listen to Stevie Ray V. play Wall of Denial. Just listening to his lead in intro makes chills go down my spine! Doug, if you're reading this.....I'm afraid I HAVE to learn that song for our upcoming gig, so get practicing:)
It helps to have a regular teacher and practice what he or
she tells you to.
Well as you might, suspect a classical guitarist like myself spends tons of time in practice mode. Over the years I have developed many ways to achieve the desired effect.
For example; when confronted with a super hard chord I will play the chord once, let it die away while I take a deep breath, exhale, play it again. After repeating that about eight or ten times, I feel the tension in the left hand start to ease up and my reach has more extension. Yoga like. This increases my odds of nailing the chord when played in context at tempo, but even more important, playing it in tune.
If people heard me practice they would be surprised at how I crawl through sections super slow. Over and over. I loosely keep a score-card in my head about how many times were perfect and how many times were misses. Everything unintended is counted as a miss on my score-card.. NO CHEATING! I can't afford to be practicing my mistakes, or else I might get good at them. I don't nudge up the tempo until I get it wright several times. Classical guitar soloists spend 80% or more of their time maintaining repertoire, so this all applies to pieces I have performed hundreds of times for many years. My mentor Chris Parkening once told me that in fact it's the older pieces that give him the most trouble. Now that I think about it, I rarely play through a piece all the way in practice unless I want to get a sense of it's architecture, and the way one part relates to another.
Practicing is where it all happens; not in concerts or recordings. It's in practice that I have my break-through moments, where I really find out what the guitar and I are capable of. It feels like I could go on forever talking about practice habits and psychology, but I will sum it by saying that I can imaging myself never recording another CD, or performing another concert, or teaching, but I would never give up practicing.
Amen! Great pointers Stuart, thank you for the input!
I just copied this and put it on my fridge. EXCELLENT tips. Thanks man.


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