Week 1: "First Steps & Fresh Tunes"

WELCOME TO THE MAIN THREAD FOR THE FIRST WEEK OF "Practice Plans Challenge" 

  1. Dive Into the Practice Plans: Start by exploring our new Practice Plans feature. Use the self-evaluation quiz to identify areas of potential growth.

  2. Screenshot Your Plan: Capture a screenshot of your chosen Practice Plan. This will be your commitment snapshot—a before picture of the journey you're about to embark on.

  3. Share a piece you are currently working on: Alongside your screenshot, let us know how you implement the newly discovered exercises in your practice. Share a piece of your choice that you’re currently working on!

  4. Update your Practice Plan: If you have completed the recommended videos in your Practice Plan, retake the quiz to update your recommendations!

  5. Share Your Journey: Post your video in our community forum under the "Practice Plans Challenge" thread. Include a brief write-up about your experience learning the piece – what challenges you faced, how you overcame them, and what this piece means to you.

 

↓ Happy Sharing! ↓

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  • Thank you for the initiative, Martin. It challenged me to dive deeper into this feature.
    I had the impression that the skill building suggestions at my level (10, after quiz) were focussed mainly on more scales, trills,  barres etc to build more strength, speed and virtuosity. That’s t not the direction I’m going at this moment. I’m Im now concentrating more on finding a bigger and more consistent tone (preserving its warmth). I think it’s not easy to progress without a regular educated feedback. That’s why I’m having face to face teaching at the moment, and won’t let random info distract me too much from my path.

    I learned now also how to change to level up and down so I can make myself more flexible practice options, according to my needs. So it does help me, but takes some organisation. Btw I think the repertoire suggestions at level 10/11 are mostly beyond my capacities, although I play Hika, BWV 998, Torre Bermeja, all the others are way too difficult. 

    I found and loved Brandon Acker’s lesson on Baroque ornamentation. Decided to work on this and try to implement it in Bach and a few pieces by Jose Antonio Carlos de Seixas, a late Baroque Portuguese composer (contemporary of Domenico Scarlatti). Hope to share some progress in the coming weeks.

    This in addition to assignments for my lessons at Leuven Academy (Brouwer, Dyens, Barrios, Kruisbrink), so, quite busy these months 🎶🎶🎶😓

    Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      joosje That sounds amazing! We're going to have Brandon back for a live stream around May!

      Like
    • martin great news. 

      Like
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      joosje Hey Joosje, I just discovered Seixas last year (by way of Rebeca Oliver). I was really impressed with his works and I purchased a pair of his sonatas but, as of yet, I have not worked on them - I am really slow at working things up. I hope to get to hear your work on some of Seixas' works when you get them worked up.

      Like
    • don
    • don.2
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    it’s a good challenge but im not sure how it will help what im currently working on.  

    1. Polishing an old piece - the girl with a flaxen hair (working on tone)

    2. Working on BWV 1007 - Allemande (struggle with slurs)

    3 pet project - Chopin Raindrop Prelude (struggle with stretch - There is a stretch from 1 on F and C bass,  3 on A on 4 string 2 on F, 4 on high C) that i dont think i can ever do it  

    Like
      • don
      • don.2
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      martin i've tried using the practice plans, just some feedback, some of the recommended learnings are a particular section of a wider course. Not all of them make sense to break it into sections. For example I was recommended Step 13 of the Carlevaro Left Hand Technique, there are quite a bit of other techniques involved to perform the step 13 such as displacement, shifting etc. So it makes more sense to to go through the entire course than jump straight into step 13. Thanks!

      Like
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      don Hey Don. I have worked on the Chopin op.28.15, Raindrop Prelude and hope to revive it in the next few weeks (months?). I have a couple of transcription, Tarrega and Paul Palmer. I use the Tarrega transcription, which I like. I have not worked thru the Palmer transcription. What transcription are you using?

      Like 1
      • don
      • don.2
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Jack Stewart I'm learning the Drew Henderson's arrangement in drop D tuning, it sounded a bit closer to the piano version which I like. But there are some crazy stretches that I cannot overcome, even I can reach those notes, I won't be able to do it in tempo. :-(

       

      But do check out his version, I've not heard of Palmer's arrangement but I prefer's Drew Henderson's arrangement over Tarrega's. 

      Like
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      don I went back and listened to Henderson's performance and it is really good, such that I just purchased to score from his website. I did notice some very intimidating stretches, esp in the 'storm' middle section. I'm not sure I am ready to take that on. I also listened again to Lorenzo Micheli's recording of the Tarrega transcription. It has always been my model/ideal. If you have not heard it, it is worth hearing. I don't feel anything is lacking in his performance, though Henderson's is much fuller.

      BTW, Artyom Dervoed has some really good LH stretching exercises in his Technique Mastery Course on TB. I've started incorporating some of them in to my daily practice.

      Like 1
      • don
      • don.2
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Jack Stewart just listened to Lorenzo Micheli's performance! I like it a lot but for Tarrega's arrangement, my favorite has to be Rafael Aguirre's performance. 

       

      Glad you like the Henderson's version too. I attempted it for a bit I think other that than the crazy stretches, the piece seemed easier than Tarrega's arrangement but of course that stretch is one key part of the piece 😭

      Like
  • Hi everyone, I'm at level 4 in the practice plan (I think). There's so much to learn and absorb, pretty time-consuming and sometimes I fall into the trap of trying to learn too many things all at once.

    I'm going through the practice plans in addition to trying other exercises and pieces. 

    Anyways, currently I'm working on Julia Florida by Barrios and Prelude No.1 by Heitor Villas Lobos. Pretty difficult pieces for me. I especially struggle with the crazy finger stretches in Julia Florida.

    Hopefully by the end of this challenge, I'll be able to play it with a little bit of competence.

    Like 1
  • Hello,

    Here is the result I got from the new practice plan feature

    The top 3 suggestions are part of the beginning guitar course by Daniel De Arakal That I completed last year. I checked these specific parts of the courses and I do not see a real benefit to doing them again.

     

    The next 2 suggestions are for An introduction course to rest stroke and free stroke and a Basic arpeggio concept course by Edouardo Inestal. I checked these courses and I feel I could certainly benefit from adding them to my work list.

     

    The next suggestions are related to the 120 RH studies course with Joseph Palmer. I already started that course and use these studies to warm up at the beginning of my practices. I normally work on five of them every day and add 10 new ones on the list every month. I have introduced 30 of them so far so it will take another 9 months before I get to the 120.

     

    The last suggestion is for a course on tremolo with Stephanie Jones. However, when I check with the level system, tremolo is part of the basic skills at level 7 only. As I am still at level 2; I do not intend to add this course to my working list this year.

     

    I am actually working on the 120 RH studies (part of level 2) and on the Sketch no. 1 of Sergio Assad. The next piece I had on my list was the Pujol no.1 study. I will move that down the list and take right away the 2 Eduardo Inestal courses.

     

    I am not sure I will have completed them before the end of the challenge but we will see. 🙂

     

     Bottom line, this was an interesting exercise.

    Like 1
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Andre Bernier I hope you don't mind a suggestion/observation. I have the impression that your practice program gives too much attention to the  right hand, at the expense of the left. Both need to be developed, in about equal measure. (Personally, I devote far more time to my fretting hand, but this is due to a need to rehabilitate it following an injury.) Among the types of exercise that I think you would find useful are scales (various sorts); legatos (a.k.a. slurs, i.e. hammer-ons and pull-offs); intervals (thirds, sixths, octaves, and tenths); and chords (this last often neglected by classical guitarists). It's probably neither possible nor advisable to cover every element in a single practice session, but over a longer period, say a week or two, I think it is beneficial to have devoted at least some time to each. Like you, I incorporate such technical work into a warm-up. (My 'go-to' source for exercises at the moment is Carcassi's op.59, which has a wealth of material to choose from. I have a strong preference for exercises that are musical, but many guitarists prefer material that is rather dry, on the grounds, I suppose, that this permits one to focus one's full attention on the mechanics of playing. I'm afraid I don't have the patience for that!)

      Like
    • David Krupka  I really like to get suggestions or comments from the Tonebase community including yourself. As I say, I do not have a specific guitar teacher but with Tonebase I feel I have many experienced guitar players willing to share their experience and wisdom. 🙂

      Your observation is right on. Effectively, my actual practice plan is Right Hand loaded. This can be easily explained by two elements.

      First:

      I consider myself a beginner (1 year) classical guitar player (level 2-3). However, I am coming from a background of 4 years of acoustic guitar playing including intermediate finger picking techniques.

      Starting from the beginning in my classical guitar journey, I found that the left hand techniques are very similar to what I have been learning on acoustic guitar.  However, the right hand techniques are completely différents. As the head educator of Guitar tricks was saying, in modern guitar and when accounting of flat picking, hybrid picking, finger picking and finger picking with a thumb pick; the right hand techniques are the Far West.

       

      Bottom line, I need to learn new skills for the right hand but still keep the good one I learned for acoustic guitar. This is mainly why I am actually concentrating a lot on the right hand.

      Second:

      As an intermediate acoustic guitar player, I am already comfortable with slurs, Hammer-on and pull offs, I have solid foundation on chord structure and chord progressions, Good understanding on scales , key structures, circle of fifth  and on and on. 

      As I am still practicing and progressing in my acoustic guitar journey, I do not see the need at this point of time to focus more on the left hand techniques.

       

      You made a very good suggestion with the  Carcassi's guitar Method (op. 59). I got a free pdf version on the Web and despite there is not a lot on Tonebase from that Opus; I see the value to progress with this method in parallel with the Tonebase level system.

       

      Anyway, Thanks for your comments and suggestion; this is very much appreciated.

      Like
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Andre Bernier Thanks for explaining that, Andre! I thought perhaps the ToneBase algorithm was failing to suggest a more balanced program, but obviously that's not what you're looking for. I agree that the fretting hand is used in much the same way across a wide variety of styles and genres. (And arguably, the demands on the left hand are greater in non-classical playing: at least we don't have to worry about string bending, fretting with the thumb, or even making particularly fast chord changes. For us, the great challenge is finger independence.) One thing I would suggest is that you consider tackling some more ambitious repertoire, just to see how you do with it. (While continuing with what you're already doing, I mean.) Possibly Tarrega's well known study in E minor would be a good starting point. (For some reason, ToneBase categorizes their course on it as 'all levels' but it is not a difficult piece.) 

      Like
  • This is the result of the exercise that I did - it puts me at level 10 or 11 but some of the pieces might be a slightly out of range. 

    I'm not sure why the music theory videos came up, I am quite secure with those.

    The arpeggios are interesting, also some of the left hand techniques.

    I am currently refining Sunburst (Andrew York) and also Etude 7 (Villa Lobos). I will apply some of the lessons to those pieces. Sunburst seems to me to be a good left hand workout - especially hammer-ons, and of course the Etude is a scale study (among many other things).

    In the advanced arpeggios video, there was reference to the Sainz de la Maza "Paseo" which I have not played before. I am looking at that as well, trying to balance the voices. In that piece and also in Sunburst, there is a tendency for any note fingered with "a" to dominate slightly - part of how my fingers are built. Looking at ways to achieve the necessary reduction in volume (or conversely, increasing the volume of the other RH notes).

    Like 1
    • Romy
    • romy
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Level 7 in practice plan. All courses are too easy for me. Indroduction to eighth notes, Andantino by Carcassi. Level 7 and eighth notes? I am currently working on a Duo, Comme un Tango by Patrick Roux.

    Like 1
  • First update on my work with the practice plans. Notice that same level (10) gives different plans according to the details given in the quiz. I know which aspects of technique are not my strongest. That doesn’t mean I would insist and practice them all until perfection. The drilling offered in these videos is not what I want to spend my time on. Btw many are familiar, and I gave it some attention before. 

     

    What I’d really like to focus on is to give special care to every detail of my pieces, and be convinced that this is the way I want to convey them at this moment. Ideally, I would  need someone with good ears and lots of patience to listen to my playing and communicate if what I think I’m doing is what they actually hear. Recording one self is an option, but sharing the recordings is adding stress, because of the urge to share only (nearly) perfect recordings.

     

    One other important issue at my level of playing: choosing a repertoire that will reflect who I am, what I like to share with an audience (varying audiences). That doesn’t mean just playing pieces, listed on your level. But most pieces I would go for are more complex ones and need lots of time to grow in my hands, before I can even test them out before any audience.

    Like 2
  • The practice plan presented looks like an interesting mix. I'm working on several things but for this, I was going to focus on La Seguidilla from Torroba's Aires de la Mancha. It's a little above my grade so we'll see how it goes. There are a few challenges in it like some stretches and a few scalar runs so some of the courses in the plan are particularly applicable and that's where I'll start. The others I'll still go through since even the lower-level courses I've done here seem to be beneficial for me as a primarily self-taught player. 

    Like 1
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