Friday, October 29, 2010

Practicing Cumulative Material

This was in response to Roxine, who wants to know how to practice material in the Rhythmic Lead Guitar book/CD and the Guitar Fretboard Workbook at the same time.

I get a lot of inquiries on how much to practice exactly which items in specific order, when to move on to a new exercise, and so on.

The main advice is that whenever a topic is new for you it needs to be practiced for at least 2 weeks in order to enter your long term memory and for you to be able to use it without stopping to figure it out again. It could be 4 weeks or 6 weeks. The test is whether you know it enough to use it easily.

That means you should review any unfamiliar material in one chapter of any book every day for 2 weeks before moving on to any other topic that has that material as a prerequisite. This way you're not figuring out two things at once. When you feel this happening it means you are advancing too quickly.

I believe this applies to any educational process, not just music.

For these two books in particular, there's no worry about pacing one to match the other, because the two books cover different areas. I always write a book to stand alone as much as possible. You can study one for 10 minutes, then the other for 10 minutes, doing that once a day for several months, and see a lot of improvement in both fretboard knowledge and rhythmic command of music.

Friday, October 22, 2010

creating your own jazz soloing ideas

> writes:
> I have your fretboard and chord tome soloing books.
> I'm in a jazz band. Pretty much self taught, and still
> learning. Your books are terrific.
> I'd love to have some soloing ideas stemming out of the
> standard jazz progressions. Any thought to applying your
> skills to such a work?


Thanks for using my books! I'm glad you like them.

You'll find chapters 20-23 of Chord Tone Soloing contain major and minor II V I progressions to play over with linear targeting.

I have a new book out, Rhythmic Lead Guitar, which discusses motific development, long (4- and 8-bar) phrasing, and handling song forms (12, 16, 32 bars, etc.) when soloing. These are all very important concepts for jazz improv. It also has examples of solos for jazz waltz, 4/4 swing, 16th-note shuffle and other grooves on the accompanying CD.

Along with checking that out I'd suggest that you include regular transcription and analysis of your favorite solos by other players. Take time with the analyses to look for elements that you've been exposed to in your studies, so you can see how they are applied to make the solos stronger.

Thanks again,

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pacing Your Practice Schedule

> Hi Barrett,
> first I just wanted to thank you for the work you have put
> in your books, I am currenlty following the Chord Tone
> Soloing. I have to tell you it has help me fill the gaps and
> have a more rounded picture of music.
> Barret, I wanted to ask you if you could share more
> Practice Plans, that could help me organize the content of
> your book as i progress.
> I would appreciate if you could do that.
> Again, thanks for sharing your knwoledge.
> Ivan

Hi Ivan,

Thanks for writing, and for using my book!

I often get asked to create a schedule telling how many minutes to practice each thing, and how many weeks to keep it on the practice list.

I could only do this if I watched your every practice session and constantly tested your ability to apply what you've learned. A private instructor can help, but you should learn to take responsibility for your own development and your retention of material. I am not copping out; it really has to be your job.

When you find you are using elements of an exercise in your own soloing vocabulary, that means you know that exercise well enough to retire it from your practice schedule to make room for advancement. If you forget how to use it in your playing, it's time to go back and review.

To learn anything takes repetition, so your first practice schedule should include reminding yourself daily of the above parameters for moving ahead in your practice. Otherwise, you might forget what we talked about here and find yourself either repeating stuff you already know when you could be moving ahead, or setting material aside before you really have a handle on it.

If you are a beginner, you should only practice for short sessions, playing slowly and accurately so that you teach yourself good technique habits. With time you will be able to cover more material in a session, and the sessions can get a little longer. New exercises are added each week, while the old ones get covered in less time because 1) you already know them and 2) you can now play them faster.


Friday, October 1, 2010


An uptempo Latin instrumental inspired by "Armando's Rhumba" (Chick Corea) and "Tico-Tico" (Zequinha de Abreu).

Barrett Tagliarino - guitar.
Jon Rygiewicz - drums.
Alexis Sklarevski - bass.

Barrett Tagliarino

Barrett Tagliarino