Monday, July 27, 2009

Practice and Drills

Lead GuitarImage by Charlie Antonio via Flickr

As of today, my next jam session is scheduled for Thursday evening in Willow Street PA. Thus far only myself, and our bass player have confirmed that we will be attending. Hopefully we can finally get this thing going, and try to turn this thing into something resembling a band.

I know that I need to show up with a solid game plan, so we don't waste time standing around and looking at each other and saying "okay, what do we do now?". I am actually going to go so far as putting a few bullet points on a note card so we can have a clear agenda. Hopefully, I can get the other guys to buy into my game plan.

First off, I actually want to avoid writing songs during practice until we become tight as a band. Everyone already has some material they have already been working on anyway, so we can spend some time teaching each other those songs and riffs. Also, I eventually want to agree on a practice time where we can get together for at least 2 hours every week. I also want to see if everyone is one the same page with our goals. Personally, my ultimate goal is to quit my day job and tour.

If I can't get everyone on the same page, I will just have to keep my involvement limited to occasional casual jam sessions, so I can allocate my time and resources elsewhere. I hope that is not the case, but I am not going to try to push my dreams on other people who don't really share the same goals. In the meantime, I am just continuing my practice routine by myself at home.

As of tonight, I am starting a program of drilling with scales, modes, and arpeggios. Right now, I have a guitar exercise book that uses 25 different scales and 25 arpeggios. This includes 5 major scale positions, and 5 each of natural minor, melodic minor ascending form, melodic minor descending form, and harmonic minor. The arpeggios include 5 patterns each of major, minor, dominant seventh, minor seventh, and major seventh chords. I realize that this is only the tip of the iceberg in a sense, but this should give me plenty to work on for a while. I want to memorize and become fluent with all of these pasterns, and then practice applying them in various real life situations, so they all eventually come naturally to me.

I have definitely been getting into a rut when it comes to composing lead guitar melodies, and I think these exercises will help alleviate this problem. My goal is to break the monotony caused by only knowing a couple scale positions, and not really knowing how to effectively apply my knowledge of most of the scales I do know. I will let you know how this goes.

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