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question re: practice and solo performance
  • Dear Jim and Campy Forum members,

    I'm a newbie and this is my first post.

    I really enjoyed the solo performance and interview that aired on WNYU, and it's spurned a number of nested questions regarding practice.

    In the interview, you mention how you enjoyed preparing for this solo performance, which is different from what you usually do. I was wondering if you would say something about how you prepared and how it differed from the prep for your more "normal" gigs?

    Which brought up other questions: do you still prepare specifically for your trio gigs, say the regular ones at Rockwood? And does your gig-specific prep differ in some meaningful way from your regular day-to-day practice?

    These are rather large, open-ended questions -- sorry! I'd be interested to hear how everyone tackles this.

    Thanks,
    Barrett
  • "....In the interview, you mention how you enjoyed preparing for this solo performance, which is different from what you usually do. I was wondering if you would say something about how you prepared and how it differed from the prep for your more "normal" gigs?...."

    Solo guitar is a completely different animal than playing in a trio or in a group setting and although I've been studying classical guitar for two years and know a number of Chet Atkins tunes I wanted this solo performance to be more open ended and less structured. But still -there was a challenge to keep it interesting. Basically, I "played" the tune (in all octaves, add doublestops, chord substitutions) to practice for my solo gig and usually I'm more structured then that- but I wanted to totally avoid note for note renditions of practiced pieces. At this point in my life I wouldn't enjoy that so I tried to stay relaxed and prioritized pleasing myself. Hence -the backwards loop piece etc etc. This was a first for me and I was apprehensive about it at first, but I'm glad I did it. And yes, the Boomerang helped!

    "....Which brought up other questions: do you still prepare specifically for your trio gigs, say the regular ones at Rockwood? And does your gig-specific prep differ in some meaningful way from your regular day-to-day practice?..."

    Unless it's a non-Campilongo gig -My regular practice schedule starts the same with scales and then maybe some specific song I'm working on (usually a standard) then I move to nylon string lower intermediate classical pieces. I feel if I learn something new it revitalizes everything, if you know what I mean. It's like if you get a new shirt and put it on, the old suit seems a little more brand new. So, unless a specific tune is bothering or challenging me to frustration, I wait for Monday night to do my loud improvising and playing of those specific tunes. Again, assuming I'm inside the tunes and feel comfortable. Some tunes like "In a Sentimental Mood" I feel like I can practice everyday, forever - so it depends on the tune too.
  • " I feel if I learn something new it revitalizes everything, if you know what I mean. It's like if you get a new shirt and put it on, the old suit seems a little more brand new. "


    I have found this to be THE most important .."piece"?... of practicing, over the years. Learning anything new- be it a song, a part of a song, arpeggios you haven't learned yet, ANYTHING- keeps the spark lit. Sometimes all it takes is learning a main theme... the first 4 chords of Sleepwalk, or the melody to Lipton Tea/Stella, or perhaps discovering a different way to play a chord somewhere else on the fretboard...something small like that, brings the joy right back. Must never stop learning. I have never done well with practice routines where I merely repeat stuff I already know. I feel like I MUST learn something new, no matter how small.

    (I of course DO repeat stuff I have already learned, that kind of practice is of course a necessity; I'm just saying that little bit of "learning" is so very important as well.)
  • Thanks, Jim and ruger9 for your comments. I really appreciate it.

    For what it's worth, I enjoyed the backwards looping. It caught me off guard -- pleasantly.

    And I also thought your phrase "inside the tunes" was apt. (I immediately started thinking of tunes I "know" but am in no way "inside of" yet; something to work on.)

    Happy practicing, everyone,
    Barrett

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