7/5/2009-BAND PRIMER-Practice At Home


JULY 2009


-This month, as the title suggests, is about practicing at home. Now that you’ve got the desire & the gear, let’s get into it!

-So where do you start? I would say start w/ the basics. Yes, I know-they can be boring at times, but I believe that your playing ability (as well as many other things) is akin to building a skyscraper-you need to have a strong foundation or it will collapse. So many players learn to sprint before they can even walk. How many times have you seen a guitarist play all sorts of fast, technical licks yet couldn’t jam out of a 12 bar blues? Or a drummer who can play all sorts of double bass blast beats (“Unleash The Canons!”), yet can’t even keep steady time to a simple cover song? I had a drummer audition for my band CAROLINE BLUE a long time ago and he couldn’t properly play a AC/DC or KISS song-but wanted to know if we could jam on some Rush (??). Learn to be a solid player who excels at the basics and whatever you build on top of that will be a lot easier & more enjoyable for you-not to mention you’ll become more in demand from other players & situations.

-I’d start by picking up a book or DVD or CD lesson book and work your way-all the way-thru before grabbing another one. DON’T buy one product, work with it a week, then buy another one, work on that for a week,etc. I made that mistake. I have a large amount of lessons that I’m just now starting to get reacquainted with. Go thru the whole thing-it will give you a sense of accomplishment & will help establish the discipline & patience you need to get through more advanced stuff. Finding a good teacher is also recommended.

-One thing-If you’re learning a song, learn all your parts. Ever been jamming w/ someone and they say they know a song-but then just play the main riff? Weak. You don’t want to be like that.

-Always practice with a metronome. Good timing is essential-no matter what instrument you play. In fact, w/ the exception of drummers, you might want to do what I do (well, did till the battery for the memory ran out) and use a drum machine. Not only will this give you the metronome, but you can play to a beat and it will be more closer to playing with a drummer. You might even get some song ideas (BTW-this is how the CAROLINE BLUE song “Deny” was born).

-When I started, there were times when I’d practice up to 4 hours a day. While that’s great, it can also lead to burnout. Pace yourself and take breaks. You don’t want half your practice time to be doodling. Have a plan & know what you want to accomplish. Keep striving to make your playing better & better.

Oops-looks like I ran out of space. Cya next month!


About Wayne W. Johnson

Hiya-this is Wayne W. Johnson (WWJ) & thanks for dropping by to my site! I hope you enjoy your visit to my home away from home online. If you have any questions, comments and /or concerns about this site, please let me know via the CONTACT page. Thanks & best wishes to you & yours!
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