Practice Diary 2023 - Jim King

I am starting this practice diary so I may record videos of myself of various pieces that I am working on for others to view and comment.  I look forward to receiving your comments for my improvement.

By way of background, I first learned to play guitar in the summer of 1968 through a summer program offered by our local school board during for students going into grade 7 or 8.  That summer I decided to take up guitar.  The program provided group lessons provided over 20 days.  By the end I could play a few open chords.  I messed around with that on my own for a few years, never advancing beyond those open chords.  After that, life got in the way and I stopped playing.

Now, jump ahead to my retirement in 2020.  Decided that with retirement and the pandemic that I would pick up the guitar again.  I followed a subscription program over the internet and learned to play again.  In 2022, through the program I was using, I developed a liking for playing classical music.  So, in November 2022, I joined Tonebase.  Since then I have completed both of the beginner courses and some of the level 1 material.  I am also working on the level 2 material now.  Also, within the last month (July 2023) I have found Bradford Werner's site where he has a program for teaching classical guitar.  I am finding that his material is helping me with various techniques.

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    • Jim King
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    • Jim_king
    • 11 mths ago
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    Here are my first videos that I have posted anywhere. 

    The first video is Sicilienne composed by Matteo Carcassi.  I learned this one a little while ago but have revived it since I finally had the nerve to post videos.

    The second video is Prelude in E Minor composed by Aaron Shearer.  I just learned this one and seemed to be able to pick it up quickly.

    The third video is Landslag I composed by Gulli Bjornsson.  I started working on this one a while ago but then put it away as I stopped making any progress.  I have started playing again recently and been seeing some improvement.

    All three of these pieces still need some work, but I thought I would share warts and all.

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    • Jim King Hey, great job Jim. This could be very interesting to practice just a little bit and record these pieces again. I am sure you will be able to hear and visualize your progress since then.

      Happy guitar in 2024 馃巺

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      • Jim King
      • Retired
      • Jim_king
      • 7 mths ago
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      Andre Bernier Sounds like a great idea!  I'll give it a try and see what I can come up with.

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    • Jim King
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    • Jim_king
    • 7 mths ago
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    At this time of the year, it is appropriate to reflect upon the past year.  Here is a summary of my accomplishments of the first year (actually 13 months) of learning classical guitar.

     

    By way of background, as noted in my first post to this diary, I first learned to play a few open chords on the guitar when I was about 12 or 13 years old.  I played at this level for a few years before putting the guitar away in the closet.  Now jump to 2020, a few months after my retirement, I decided to re-learn the guitar.  I used Guitar Tricks to re-learn the open chords and a whole lot more.  One of the things there that caught my attention was their sheet music and video lessons for playing classical guitar.  Unfortunately, the lessons did not include instruction on technique.  Accordingly, a lot of bad habits were learned here and I quickly stalled as to how to progress.

     

    I decided that I need some proper instruction to learn to play classical guitar.  To do that, I joined Tonebase near the end Nov 2022.  Together with material I bought from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Canada), I began learning classical guitar, and undoing some of the bad habits picked up previously.  About mid-year, I felt I didn鈥檛 have a good grasp of the fundamentals and as a result, struggled with the repertoire suggested in Tonebase鈥檚 levels 1 and 2.  In July 2023, I became aware of another website, This Is Classical Guitar & Werner Guitar Editions, taught by Bradford Werner.  Since then, I have focused on his early level material as well as continuing on with the Tonebase and Royal Conservatory of Music (Canada) material.  I would estimate that currently classical guitar is about 2/3 of my practice time.

     

    Here is a summary of my 2023 classical guitar accomplishments:

     

    Courses/Online Instruction

    路        TB Beginner Guitar Course Part 1 by Daniel De Arakal;

    路        TB Beginner Guitar Course Part 2 by Micrea Gogoncea;

    路        TB Reading Music on the Guitar by Micrea Gogoncea;

    路        TB Music Theory Basics by Ben Laude and Micrea Gogoncea;

    路        Tonebase Academy 鈥 Reading Music Course by Micrea Gogoncea; and

    路        Bradford Werner鈥檚 Classical Guitar Method Book Volume 1.

     

    Repertoire (not part of courses/online instruction above)

    路        Sergio Assad Sketch No. 1

    路        Guilli Bjornsson Landslog I

    路        Antonio Cano Leccion No. 1

    路        Johann Kaspar Mertz Study on E and Variation

    路        Emilio Pujol Etude #1

    路        Fernando Sor Op. 60 No. 9

    路        Various pieces from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Canada)

     

    I also participated in the recent Fernando Sor challenge, being the first Tonebase challenge that I had participated in. 

     

    When I see it written out like this, I can better appreciate how far I have come in 2023.  I am looking forward to see where my musical journey goes to in 2024.

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    • Jim King  Incredible Jim. We finally have a very similar story 馃憤

      You are doing well and have a very structured approach. This will prove successful over time.

      Keep participating in the challenges. This is very helpful. 

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      • Jim King
      • Retired
      • Jim_king
      • 7 mths ago
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      Andre Bernier Agreed, it is pretty incredible how similar our stories are.  I remember thinking our stories were similar when we both started posting in the TB forums just after joining TB last year.  This became more obvious during the year as you started posting videos of repertoire you were playing here and on MU and I was often working on the same pieces.

      I see you noticed that I tend to follow a very structured approach.  That just seems to follow my personality and how I have approached a lot of things in life.  It's not for everyone, but it works for me.

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    • Jim King
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    • Jim_king
    • 7 mths ago
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    As previously suggested, I have practiced a couple of the pieces previously posted in this diary and today have recorded those pieces.  Attached are those recordings. 

    Note, I had planned on doing Landslag I as well, but I wasn't playing as well as I know that I can do.

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    • Jim King  Nice playing Jim. Here are just few comments:

      1. You remember in MU superlearning program. Slow down much more ''The Sicilienne'' until you can play it perfectly. Then ramp up slowly the speed.
      2. The prelude in E minor is in 6/8. I learned that right hand finger picking pattern with Guitar Tricks. What you can try to do is hold a bit longer the first note of each triplet pattern which creates a kind of musical wave. You will be able to use the same approach with the triplets in Landsl枚g I.
      3. For the ''Lullaby no. 1'' I will just make the comment someone on TB told me. Try to keep the notes (by keeping your finger fretted) until you play the next note.  This is making the music flow nicely which they call ''legato''.

      Keep posting your work. You are making great progress.

       

      Hope these comments will be helpful

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      • Jim King
      • Retired
      • Jim_king
      • 7 mths ago
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      Andre Bernier Thank you for the compliment and your comments.  All of comments are good suggestions.  As for legato, I have been working on doing just that but so far have not been very successful at it.  I've seen some improvement but nowhere near what I need to do.  I believe that there is a Tonebase workshop on legato which I need to watch and learn.

      Just wanted to follow-up on the comment on Prelude in E Minor.  I went back to the score and it is written in 3/4 time, not 6/8 time.  So, in the score, each measure consists on one sextuplet rather than two triplets.  This difference, to the best of knowledge, would mean that the first note of the sextuplet is accented whereas if written as triplets, then the first note of each triplet would be accented.  I think your suggestion of holding the first note of the sextuplet still holds, but thought I would raise this in case you disagree.

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    • Jim King  This is all good Jim. I think that improving legato is kind of a lifetime challenge 馃槀 As long we are aware of it; our brain is working on it and the improvement builds up over time.

      Don't worry for the Prelude in E minor; this is just a question of exploring different interpretations. At the end, the player is always right 馃憤

      Good practice 

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    • Jim King
    • Retired
    • Jim_king
    • 6 mths ago
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    Being a new year, time to set up new goals.  My primary goals for 2024 for classical guitar are as follows:

     

    1.       Improve my overall technique in playing guitar. 

    Success to be measured by:

    a.       Completing Bradford Werner course material Method Book Vol. 2 and Grade 1.

    b.       Starting Bradford Werner course material Grade 2.

    c.       Learning at least 8 new pieces of repertoire from non-course material (from such sources as Tonebase level system, Royal Conservatory of Music (Canada) graded repertoire books, and Bradford Werner sheet music and collections).

     

    2.       Improve my musicality; i.e., those qualities greater than what is written in a piece of music; expressiveness. 

    Success to be measured by completing at least 4 Tonebase video courses that discuss and illustrate the qualities of music over and above that written in sheet music.  Note this will, to some extent, overlap with the goal of improving my classical guitar technique.

     

    3.       Do more video recordings of self playing classical guitar for posting to my practice diary and/or Tonebase challenges at least once per month.  This will increase my comfort of video recording myself.

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    • Jim King Very nice plan Jim. Good luck. I will be very interested in following your progress.馃憤

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    • Jim King
    • Retired
    • Jim_king
    • 6 mths ago
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    Here's a couple of updates to pieces that I have previously posted in this diary.  The first is Aaron Shearer's Prelude in E Minor.  The primary change here is a bit of changing dynamics during the piece.  The second piece is Matteao Carcassi's Sicilienne.  The goal here was to play without error.  I notice one hesitation in this production.

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    • Jim King  Very nice Jim. I can notice some improvements and the biggest win is to be able to record yourself and post the video. Bravo 馃檪

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      • Jim King
      • Retired
      • Jim_king
      • 6 mths ago
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      Andre Bernier Thank you Andre.  It was an interesting exercise reviving a previous piece and seeing what I could do with it.  Thanks for the suggestion to do this.

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    • Jim King
    • Retired
    • Jim_king
    • 6 mths ago
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    I have posted an update to a previous video in the End of Year Challenge.  The piece is Lullaby No. 1 by Isaias Savio.  This is a Brazilian lullaby.  Here is the video posted today:

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    • Jim King Great work Jim, I can hear and see the improvements since the last recording.  Bravo 馃憤

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      • Jim King
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      • Jim_king
      • 6 mths ago
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      Andre Bernier Thank you Andre.

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    • Jim King
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    • Jim_king
    • 4 mths ago
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    Here is a recent video recording I made playing Sor Opus 60 No. 1.

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    • Jim King 

      Great job Jim. You are able to sustain a very good tempo for both sections of the piece.

      Last year, I bought the book on these 25 studies of Sor from Bradford Werner. So far I learned the first 3 studies but I am not able yet to play them as fast as you. 馃槈

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      • Jim King
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      • Jim_king
      • 4 mths ago
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      Andre Bernier Thank you for the kind words Andre.  I feel pretty good about this one. 
       

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 4 mths ago
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      Jim King Great work, Jim. You have come a long way since your first videos here at TB. 

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      • Jim King
      • Retired
      • Jim_king
      • 4 mths ago
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      Jack Stewart Thank you Jack.  Much appreciated.  I feel like I am making good progress recently.  So, glad it is coming through my videos.

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    • Jim King
    • Retired
    • Jim_king
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    This is an update to an earlier posting of Landslag I.  I have been working with this piece off and on over the last several months.  Over the last couple of months, I have used this piece in a course on performance.  Here is the result.

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    • Jim King  Well done Jim. Great progress. Bravo 馃憤

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