Very Secure

Guitar Practice Log 7

June 2nd, 2020

This session was done on May 31st

I. Warmup

Nail care
Stretches
String climb + spider crawl + chromatic scales

II. Technique

Vibrato
- Practice relaxing fingers without guitar

Tremolo
- Work on stability of hand with thumb (keep thumb straight instead of bending back)
- 10x of PAMA, PMAM, PIMI, PMIM at 60bpm

Rasgueado
- Rotate accents 60bpm with speed bursts

III. New Repertoire

Go over first page of Bourree

Review

I. Warmup

I shouldn't file the left edge of my right hand nails because it is too difficult to remove the corner. I should order nail strengthener.

Stretches 30min

Notes on Finger independence stretches.
- Fingers were splaying too far from each other, sign of tension.
- I need to remember to bend both the 1st and 2nd phalanges.
- To ask: is it possible to fully disconnect M & A?

II. Technique

Vibrato (5 mins)
- Practiced some, still struggling with pinky / index.

Tremolo (35 min)
- Recorded from new camera angle. I realized that I need to push my fingers forward and contract a bit. I also noticed that each pluck I am relaxing the last part of my finger before playing. I think my fingers need to be fully relaxed when they are "on deck" for plucking so that the pluck step is just a contraction rather than a relax-then-contract.
- Try the https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ukbQysEehk technique tomorrow.

Rasgueado: (20 min)

- I realized I've been contracting my hand and need to remember that I only should be using the extenders, and I should place the right hand so that extending strikes the strings.

III. New Repertoire

- My ability to play this piece regressed after my break.

Guitar Practice Log 6

May 25th, 2020

I. Warmup
1. Pepe Romero exercises
2. Spidercrawl

II. Music Theory
1. 20 mins of interval ear training.

III. Technique
1. Tremolo Practice
2. Rasgueado Practice
3. Double Notes

IV. New Repertoire
1. Continue work on Borree

V. Play around

==

Review

I. Warmup

Pepe Romero Warmup: (30 min)
Spidercrawl (5min)

III. Technique

Tremolo: (40 mins)

- I learned to: keep hand/fingers at a slight angle to the strings. I can do speed bursts that almost begin to sound like tremolo, but I can see shakyness in my hand. My hand can't shake because my fingers need to stay in a precise spot to keep even articulation. Occasionally my thumb knocks my hand out of position by shaking the hand.

Take a look at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tOYiRv3_rY
a. Ring finger is at 90 degree angle to strings while middle / index stay at about a 75-80 degree angle

Rasgueado Practice (10 mins)
- Sounding smoother, hold fingers at angle (e and continue to work on ring finger + pinky isolation.

Double Notes: (S: 1.08) (4 mins)
- Same problem with

IV. New Repertoire

(24 mins - No Notes)

V. Play Around

(~15 mins. Listening to some recordings of my pieces, it seemed my high e has a less than pleasant twang sound.)

Guitar Practice Log 5 - Pepe Romero Stretches and Basic Shoulder Anatomy

May 25th, 2020

This practice session was done on May 24

I. Warmup

1. Pepe Romero exercises
2. Spidercrawl

II. Music Theory

1. Learn the basic 7th Chords.

III. Technique

1. Tremolo Practice
- Add no guitar "bicycle" technique.
2. Rasgueado Practice
- Try to relax pinky while flexing the ring finger.

IV. New Repertoire

Write out the notes I know so far in the Borree (for memorization)

Next 4 measures in Borree.

V. Play around

==

Review

I. Warmup (1hr 10 mins)

Notes on exercises:

Always make sure head and neck are relaxed. Do each drill 10 times.

1. Raise hands over head, then bring them hands from the side.

2. Shoulders up, hands up, shoulders down, hands down.

3. Shoulder circles, rotating backwards.

4. Shoulders up, head left to right and back, keeping shoulders up the whole time.i

5. Three part exercise that goes through three shoulder joints:

i. While touching the shoulder joint with the opposite hand, move arm outwards by lifting elbow.
ii. Use shoulder joint to rotate arm out and pull arm back in with palm facing upwards.
iii. Raise elbow while touching glenohumeral joint. Then raise arm while touching Aromioclavicular joint. Then move arm inwards while touching the sternoclavicular joint.

6. Prayer pose, trying to put elbows together.

7. Rotate arms starting with arms out in front with palms facing each other, then lower them and pull them back, lift them back up again with shoulders.

8. Put arms forward and rotate wrists in and out.

9. Contract fingers, relax, flex fingers, relax..

10. Single hand clapping.

11. Extend fingers, wait, relax, repeat (do not extend with max tension.)

12. One hand keeps fingers relax, while other hand knocks them out of position. They naturally return to their relaxed position.

13. Bicycle fingers.

II. Music Theory

- Skipped

III. Technique

Tremolo Practice (20 mins)

-Speed is indeed easy after learning Romero's technique, I need to work on even articulation and steady timing.

Ragueado (40 mins)

IV. New Rep (1 hr)

I didn't do the exercise where I write what I have remembered of the score, in part because it is annoying to write music without having staff paper.

V. Play Around

Skipped.

  1. Notes on Shoulder anatomy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3GVKjeY1FM

    The bones of the shoulder are:
    a. Humerus (upper arm bone)
    b. Scapula (shoulder blade)
    i. Acromion - Roof of the shoulder is formed by the Acromion, part of the scapula.
    c. Clavicle (collarbone)

    The joints of the shoulder are (4):
    a. Glenohumeral joint - The main joint formed where the ball of the humerus fits into the scapula. (Shallow socket is called the Glenoid)
    b. Acromioclavicular (AC) joint - Where the Clavicle meets the Acromion
    c. Sternoclavicular (SC) joint - Where the shoulder connects to the main skeleton.
    d. Scapulothoracic joint (false joint)- Shoulderblade glides accross back of rib cage.

    Ligaments - Connect bone to bone.
    Tendons - Connect muscle to bone. Muscles move bone by pulling on tendons.
    Bursa - Water tight sack found in many places of the body between moving surfaces that contains lubricating fluid. []

Guitar Practice Log 4 - "Relax faster" With Notes on Chord Progressions

May 23rd, 2020

I. Warmup
1. (RH) String Crossing - Alternative i & m up and down strings 4x per string 3x, 2x, 1x... (120bpm)
2. (LH) Spider Crawl whole neck (Ascend high e and then descend B, try not to look) (60bpm - focus on concentration)
3. (LH) Chromatic scale in first position, paying attention to pinky legato.

II. Music Theory
1. Proofread yesterday's open fingerings
2. Take notes on chord progressions and what scales to solo over them, specifically minor chord progressions.

III. Technique Development
1. Left hand legato pink placement. Play A Major and E Major open scales (51bpm but only 1npb)
2. Tremolo PAMI
- 60 bpm Legato
- Rotate accent (P, A, M, I, No Accent)
- 60 bpm Sticatto
- 60 bpm Ascending / Descending thumb.
3. Double Notes (Play with dynamics between p and ima)

IV. New Repertoire
1. Go over Bourree by Bach first 16 measures.

V. Repertoire Review

1. Mauro Giuliani C Major Piece incorporating double notes.

==

Review

I. Warmup

String Crossing (3min) - upon descending I don't always drop my finger lower enough to reach the higher pitch string.
Spider Crawl (6 min) - Pay attention to moving the right hand in accordance with the left hand.
Chromatic Scale (4 min) Noticeable improvement on pinky placement. Focus on not extending fingers instead let them return to the string through relaxation.

II. Music Theory

1. Proofread open fingerings - I noticed I missed bolding a root. Corrected. (15 min)
2. Minor Key Chord Progressions (20 min)

The minor key chord progressions are just the shifted version of the relative Major Key.

So for CMaj / aminor

I. C Major (tonic)
ii. d minor (supertonic)
iii. e minor (mediant)
IV. F Major (subdominant)
V. G Major (dominant)
vi. a minor (submediant)
viio. b diminished (leading tone)

If we start on a minor chord the progression is:i

i. a minor
ii. b diminished
III. C Major
iv. d minor
v. e minor
VI. F Major
VII. G Major

III. Technique

1. Pinky Legato - (10 min) (good improvement!)

2. Tremolo (1 hr 4 min)- Notes from Watching Pepe Romero video:

1. The return of the finger to prepare for the next pluck is done via relaxation. The return of the finger to its position is subconscious. Only the plucking of the string is conscious.
2. You should mentally group the tremolo as "AMIP" not "PAMI"
3. I stumbled upon Pepe Romero's video on Rasqueado. This is the technique where you fan out the fingers. The interesting part of this technique is that you need to have the finger's flexers completely relaxed the entire time, which is the opposite of normal guitar playing where you are always tensing the flexers to pluck notes.

New Repertoire Practice: (about 1hr)

Repertoire Review - Skipped.

Overall:

Lots of distraction despite having turned off my phone. But the tips from Romero were a good discovery.

  1. I'm not sure the names of the roman numerals for the minor chord progression, but I believe they are: tonic, supertonic, mediant, subdominant, dominant, submediant, subtonic []

Guitar Practice Log 3 - With Open Fingerings for d,a,e,b,f#, and c# Minor Scales

May 22nd, 2020

I. Warmup (70bpm)
1. (RH) String Crossing - Alternative m & a up and down strings 4x per string 3x, 2x, 1x...
2. (LH) Spider Crawl whole neck (Ascend high e and then descend B, try not to look)
3. (LH) Chromatic scale in first position, paying attention to pinky legato.

II. Music Theory
Write out fingerings for Aeolian mode (relative minor) of open positions C,D,G,A,E,F,B Major scales.

III. Technique Developmentf
While focusing on pinky placement...
1. Picado 51bpm 2npb open position in Circle of Fifths Order: F,C,G,D,A,E,B Major Scales (w/ passing note except for B Major)
2. Tremolo PAMI
- 60 bpm Legato
- Rotate accent (P, A, M, I, No Accent)
- 60 bpm Sticatto
- 60 bpm Ascending / Descending thumb.
3. Double Notes (Rest stroke with thumb + free stroke with fingers)

IV. New Repertoire
1. Go over Bourree by Bach first 15 measures.

V. Repertoire Review
While paying close attention to dynamics:

1. Etude in C Major
2. Mauro Giuliani C Major Piece

==

Review of Session (Total Time: ~1hr 19min)

I Warmup (8 mins total)

2 mins String Crossing (Even sound, but I only used the flesh of my finger and no nail.)
6 mins Spider Crawl + Open Chromatic Scale

(Lots of problem with chromatic scale with buzzing, perhaps move it to technique development. Spider crawl revealed a problem in concentration - as I crawl down the neck I forget where I am because my mind wanders.)

II. Music Theory (28 mins) (TODO: Review below)

Result:

F Major; d minor

013 / 013 / 023 / 023 / 123 / 013

C Major; a minor

013 / 023 / 023 / 012 / 013 / 013

G major; e minori

023 / 023 / 024 / 023 / 013 / 023

D Major; b minor

The passing note is conveniently the note in the harmonic minor scale.

023 / 024 / 024 / 023 / 023 / 023

A Major; f# minor - There's no passing note here.

024 / 024 / 024 / 124 / 235 / 245

E Major; c# minor

024 / 024 / 124 / 124 / 124 / 024

B Major; g# minor - I learned that I should use the 0 on the G string as the passing note.

024 / 124 / 124 / 013 / 024 / 024

III. Technique Development

Picado Scales (4min) (TODO: More pinky legato work, slower tempo, and dynamics)

Tremolo (11min)

I need to work on evenness in volume.

Double Notes (1 Min) This was useful. (TODO: Play with dynamics between thumb and ima)

IV. New Repertoire (18min)

Still needs some work, but progressing fine.

V. Repertoire Review - skipped.

TODO: Improve Giuliani C Major Piece by using rest strokes with the thumb for the double notes.

  1. I noticed that the passing note is not the raised seventh of the harmonic minor like it is in a few other scales. What if instead of using the 3 on the g string as a passing note, we use the 4 on the g string and then use 134 on the B string, with the 4 now being the new passing note which is also the note used for the harmonic minor scale? []

The Circle of Fifths

May 21st, 2020

The Circle of Fifths is a mnemonic tool used to memorize which notes are a perfect fifthi away from a given note. The Circle of Fifths is also helpful for figuring out which notes are sharp or flat in a given key.

The first diagram belowii lists all of the major keys, their relative minor keysiii, and the notes that are sharpened or flattened in that key.

circle_of_fifths-2

Each time you go up the chart in the direction of the sharps starting from C major, another note gets added to the list of sharpened notes in that row's key. The mnenonic I use to memorize the order of the notes that get sharpened is:

Fidel Castro Gets Drunk At Every Bar.

This mnenonic captures the order of the tonics as they ascend from F in the Major Key column, excluding the top two tonics: F# and C#. If you are in the Major key of one of the notes enumerated by the above mnenonic appended by F#, C#ivyou find the sharps in the key by sharpening the notes starting from F up to 2 indices down your current key's tonic's position. (i.e. A is the 5th note in the list so the sharps are F#, C#, and G#. We stop at G because G is 2 down from A)

This trick does not work for F Major, which has just 1 flatted B, nor for C Major, which has no sharps nor flats.

As you go down the rows from C Major, the notes in the keys get flattened. The (popular) mnenonic I use to remember the order of the notes that get flattened is:

BEAD GCF (Greatest Common Factor.)

If you are in any of the flattened Majors keys, to acquire the notes that are flattened in that key you list the notes in the mnenonic up to one index greater than the position of your key's tonic. For example, A is the 3rd note in the mnenonic so the notes flattened in Ab Major are all those up to and including the one in the 4th position: B,E,A, and D.

***

There are 12 pitch classes, and thus there are 24 possible keys (1 Major and 1 minor key for each pitch class). Yet this chart has 15 rows, so there is redundancy with three pairs of Major and minor keys whose respective tonics are enharmonic notes. Those pairs are

(C#/a# with Db/bb)
(F#/d# with Gb/eb)
(B /g# with Cb/ab)

This second graph, the Circle of Fifths itself, shows those pairs of keys. I believe that these three pairs of enharmonic keys are enumerated for the sake of making the nice pattern found in the first diagram. But I do not know the reasons why one would choose one key over another key from the above pairs - i.e. why would anyone consider themselves in Cb Major instead of B Major?

circle_of_fifths-1

After writing these notes, I figured that I need a larger mnenonic for memorizing the full clockwise walk around the Circle of Fifths to be able to acquire the note that is a fifth away from my current note. I came up with:

Fidel Castro Gets Drunk At Every Bar, Gbod Dbamn Ablcohol Eberyday, Bbad Fidel...

I should eventually memorize F->C, C->G, G->D, individually so I don't have to "sing the alphabet from the beginning" to know the next letter. Likewise I should memorize the relative minor key for each major key, instead of walking back a minor third each time.

Anyways...next up, intervals!

  1. i.e. 7 semitones i.e. the frequency of the reference note * 2 ^ (7/12) []
  2. Taken again from The Complete Musician by Laitz []
  3. The tonic of the relative minor is the note found a minor third down from the tonic of the corresponding major key. []
  4. i.e. F,C,G,D,A,B,F#,C# []

Guitar Practice Log 2

May 21st, 2020

I. Warmup (70bpm)
1. (RH) String Crossing - Alternative m & a up and down 6 strings 4x per string, 3x, 2x, 1x...
2. (LH) Spider crawl over whole neck
3. (LH) Chromatic scale in first position. Pay attention to pinky legato.

II. Music Theory
1. Play B Major in open position.

III. Technique Development
1. Picado 51bpm 2npb open position C,D,G,A,E,F,B Major Scales (w/ passing note except for B Major)
2. Tremolo PAMI
- 60 bpm Legato
- Rotate accent (P, A, M, I, No Accent)
- 60 bpm Sticatto
- 60 bpm Ascending / Descending thumb.
3. Double Notes (Rest stroke with thumb + free stroke with fingers)

IV. New Repertoire
1. Go over Bourree by Bach first 15 measures.

V. Repertoire Review
While paying close attention to dynamics:

1. Etude in C Major
2. Mauro Giuliani C Major Piece

==

Review of Session (Total Time: 1hr 25 mins)

I. Warmup: (Total: 10 mins)

String Cross - had trouble with getting loud sound with a finger; had trouble keeping nail/flesh even between fingers. (5 mins)
Spider Crawl + Chromatic Scale (5 mins)
(Almost had pinky legato down, tomorrow I should focus just on pinky placement)

II. Music Theory: (Total: 6 mins)

Learned B Major in open position, fingerings are:

024 / 124 / 124 / 134 / 24 / 024

Made a few errors, keep practicing at same bpm.

III. Technique Development (Total: 20 mins)

Picado on C,D,G,A,E,F,B Major Scales (5 mins)
Few mistakes, keep practicing at same bpm.
Tomorrow play in Circle of Fifths Order: F, C, G, D, A, E, B

Tremolo (15 mins)

Didn't seem to improve from first session, if anything it seemed like I did worse. I have a hunch I need to fix my nails. Bad nail shape might lead me to practicing with the wrong form. I sent an email to a potential teacher to take a look.

I skipped practicing Double Notes in the interest of time.

IV. New Repertoire: (40 mins)

I still wasted a lot of time from fatigue / hunger / boredom.

One thing I did well was noting on my score the places where I make mistakes and focusing only on those spots. I need to do this immediately.

Repertoire Review: (10 mins)

Quite a flop, I received a message on my phone and let myself break concentration and lost myself in a piece. Phone needs to be off while practicing.

Guitar Practice Log 1

May 20th, 2020

In order to have more structured practice sessions with measurable goals, I've decided to keep a practice log. The log will contain the goal/schedule for the practice session followed by a review of the session.

Below is the schedule I made for my practice routine and a review of the practice itself.

I. Warmup:
1. (Right Hand) String Crossing - Play alternating i & m up and down the 6 strings, 4x per string, then 3x per string, then 2x per string, then 1x per string.
2. (Left Hand) Spider crawl over whole neck, saying note names as they are played.
3. (Left Hand) Chromatic scale in first position.

II. Music Theory/Technique Development:
1. Picado 51bpm 2npb open position C, D, G, A, E, F Major Scales (w/ and w/o passing notes)
Note: Work on keeping legato w/ pinky
2. Tremolo PAMI single string.

III. New Repertoire:

1. Go over Bourree by Bach first 13 measures.

IV. Repertoire Review:

1. Etude in C Major
2. Por Carolina
3. Mauro Giuliani A minor Piece
4. Mauro Giuliani C major piece

==

Review of Session

Warmup (Took about 10 mins)

- Struggled with ascending alternative fingers on ascension for 1x
- Forgot to do thumb ascending/descending
- Had to look at fretboard for spider crawl, could not name notes at the same time. (hard to say the flats/sharps, maybe just say the notes mentally.)
- Chromatic scale: struggled with not looking at fret, + normal trouble with pinky placement.

Music Theory/Technique Development

Picado on Paco De Lucia Major Scales:

- Pinky can avoid touching bottom strings by lifting the hand and having more of an arch.
- The A major has no passing note
- Passing note for both D and G major is 3rd fret G string (i.e. A#)
- E Major passing note is 1st fret B string.
- F Major passing note is 2nd fret B string (also, high E string is 0 1 3, i kept accidentally playing 0 2 3)

- Tremolo practice went well.
- I rotated accents but I did not practice moving the thumb up and down the other strings while playing tremolo on the E string yet.
- Potentially should reach out to Beckman for lessons.

New Repertoire

-I was tired and kept spacing off playing random rifts.
-I learned that in measure 2 I can preemptively place my pinky finger on the D# fret.

Repertoire Review

-I realize I don't understand the tempo of Por Carolina

Names of Scale Degrees and The Three Forms of Minor Scales

May 15th, 2020

A diatonic collection is a collection of 7 notes where each letter (A..G) is used exactly once.i

A scale is a stepwise ordering of a diatonic collection.

The tonic is the most prominent pitch in a scale. Playing the tonic gives a sense of resolution and subjectively is the best note for the end of a song/rift.

The full list of of the names of scale degrees in a major scale are:

1st degree = tonic
2nd degree = supertonic
3rd degree = mediant
4th degree = subdominant
5th degree = dominant
6th degree = submediant
7th degree = leading tone

A minor scale in its natural form contains the following intervals:

W,H,W,W,H,W,Wii

Note that a minor scale is also the aeolian mode of a relative major scale.

Because the 7th degree in the natural minor scale is no longer a semitone away from the tonic, the 7th degree is referred to as the subtonic instead of the leading tone.

The two other forms of the minor scale are the harmonic and the melodic.

The harmonic minor scale raises the 7th degree so it is once again a "leading tone." Its intervals are:

W,H,W,W,H,W+H,H

The melodic minor scale raises both the 6th and 7th degree one semitone to form the following interval pattern:

W,H,W,W,W,W,H

However when one descends the melodic minor scale one returns the 6th and 7th degree to their natural position.

minorscale-1

A staff displaying the three forms of the A minor scaleiii:

  1. The convenience of being able to have a diatonic collection where, given the context, each note can be specified with only a letter is the reason for the existence of enharmonically equivalent pitches - i.e. two pitches with the same frequency but different name such as A# and Bb. []
  2. A "W" is a whole step i.e. two semitones, an "H" is a half step i.e. one semitone. To go up a semitone one increases the frequency of the previous tone by the twelfth root of 2. []
  3. Taken from The Complete Musician by Laitz. []

What I've Been Up To

May 14th, 2020

For the past few weeks I've been occupying my time by surfing, guitarring, and reading.

Poseidon recently blessed the west coast of Costa Rica with a swell that was reported 3m from trough to crest by magicseaweed. Prior to the arrival of this swell I had my best to date "on day" surfing; I managed to sneak my way into 3 front side barrels whilst in a crowded lineup. During the large swell I had two sessions where I managed to avoid being held down. But the last time I paddled out I let the lip of a wave crash on my back, leaving me sore for the next 30 hours.

While not in the water I've been spending a lot of time on the guitar.i I found myself a maestro, Ruben Diaz, a student of Paco de Lucia who has a youtube channel with over 2,000 videos about playing flamenco guitar. I've been learning some music theory using musictheory.net, and I just began reading The Complete Musician by Laitz.

I've also taken some time on land to read a few plays. I started with Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and Hamlet. Digesting Shakespeare is a bit tricky even though the scripts I readii have summaries of all the scenes and provide definitions for archaic words/phrases. After reading those two Shakespeare's I moved on to Ibseniii and read Ghosts, An Enemy of the People, The Lady From the Sea, John Gabriel Borkman, The Wild Duck, and Hedda Gabler. I also read How He Lied to Her Husband by Bernard Shaw. It may be worth writing a little plot summary and a short reflection for these plays lest they fade from memory.

I've been enjoying myself, but I have not been at ease knowing I've been shirking the responsibility I have to focus my time on more important tasks. Three of those are: writing, learning Spanish, and making money.iv If I start acting smarter about how I use my time, I can be productive while still leaving space for my hobbies.

  1. Learning an instrument being one of the better things to do while under house arrest. Not that I've been following the rules here, the beaches are still closed afterall. []
  2. Provided by the Folger Shakespeare Library []
  3. Translated by Rolf Fjelde []
  4. My saltmines faucet has been exhausted and if I want more fiat I'll have to look for more work. []