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 Songs and Arrangements and the process... 
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Post Songs and Arrangements and the process...
Okay, we are all working on the same thing. Trying to get better at playing tunes, and maybe refine our musicianship along the way. Some of you are way ahead of others on the "path" others of us just beginning...

How long does it take y'all on average to learn a song? Why? And what could you do, do you think, to make the process more efficient...

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Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:53 pm
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Post Re: Songs and Arrangements and the process...
I suppose it depends on the song. For instance in our band I use Stick on original material that I originally played bass on, which means I get to choose which ones I feel confident in reproducing on the Stick. As I already know the song itself it's simply (heh!) a matter of transitioning from one instrument to another.

However if I were to write a piece on Stick, that can take longer as I'm discovering the music as I write it and my limitations as a player as I overcome them. And in doing a cover it would depend on the complexity of the piece- it took me four weeks to figure out "Acid Rain" by Liquid Tension Experiment (and that was with a score), but we still couldn't play it well enough for an audience. However "Another Brick In The Wall (Pt 2)" was sorted in a mere two hours.

Horses for courses, is what I'm saying I guess...

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Post Re: Songs and Arrangements and the process...
One thing that is very important to remember is that we are all different. It is always best to compare yourself to yourself rather than others when it comes to learning. I myself have a very severe form of dyslexia so I could honestly say that I never truly learn a song. I "know" songs as I play them but I never really "learn" any. so however long it takes it's quicker than me. It's natural to compare yourself to others but I really try to avoid it at all costs, but that is me for some it might be helpful. Also taking lesson from Steve Adelson or Greg Howard can supply a shortcut to learning. A good teacher is a guide to leaning and understanding, these guys are great at it.

Just my 3 cents

Brett


Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:34 am
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Post Re: Songs and Arrangements and the process...
I suppose the short answer is "between hours and months depending on the song".

The long answer is this:
The more complicated you arrange things to try and achieve certain results, the longer it will take. For instance, if you always pick the inversions close to each other on RH chords, pick simple bass lines and ignore kerchunks, harmonics and such, a song can be learned quickly. As soon as you start adding substitution chords, 2 hand chords, percussive elements and harmonics, learning slows down immensely. So, the problem can be thought of as an optimization issue: Time vs. complexity. How many cool elements can you fit in your time frame? What is the minimally acceptable arrangement you can do to get the fastest completion? Once you do this are you willing to spend more time refining your arrangement?

I hope this helps.

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Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:19 am
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Post Re: Songs and Arrangements and the process...
I agree with Brett; it's going to be different for every person.
Plus, there are different definitions of "learning" a tune. Level one is deciphering what the notes and rhythms are. Level two would be the ability to functionally play it. Level three would be playing it with all dynamics and expression ... making it truly "musical". The fourth level would be knowing it all so well that it's totally internalized and can be played naturally, with almost no thought. Level five: being able to expand on it/alter it at will.
(Most people who identify as musicians, if they're lucky, might know one or two guys at level four; most of our acquaintances will live at level two or three. We're lucky here at Stickist...we have at least half a dozen members at level 5.)
For myself, it took me from late March 2012 (when I got my first Stick) to late April of 2014 to be able to play ONE tune at a high level two/very low level 3. It took from that point until December (having toyed with it here and there before) to get to that level with my second.
That kind of time really sticks in my craw, because my whole life I've been accustomed to musical things coming fairly easily and naturally to me. It's been good for me, really, to get some perspective. Aside from everything else, I've had to learn patience and accept a long view when it comes to the Stick.

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Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:40 am
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Post Re: Songs and Arrangements and the process...
I also agree with Brett. Everyone is different. I typically avoid "progress" videos, because I don't like to measure myself against others. Music is a journey of personal growth, not a sport. Even if musicians are the "elite athletes of the small muscles". However, I do love watching "performance" videos and I often find them motivating and inspiring.

It still takes me a long time to really nail down a tune. I am constantly refining as I go. My Stick saga has been full of ups and downs. While learning a tune, I usually hit a road block that requires me to go back to a certain technique before I can move passed it. My biggest problem is finishing tunes to the point where they are performance ready. Typically I will get bored and move on and return to it later. One of the tunes I am working on now is one I started learning a few years ago. It was very close to being ready when I just forgot about it until recently.

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Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:14 am
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Post Re: Songs and Arrangements and the process...
Sacrosanct wrote:
I typically avoid "progress" videos, because I don't ike to measure myself against others. Music is a journey of personal growth, not a sport. Even if musicians are the "elite athletes of the small muscles". However, I do love watching "performance" videos and I often find them motivating and inspiring.
Alan, I completely agree that music is a personal journey, not a competition. But I never looked at the progress videos as a competitive sport. Particularly Jolyon's once-a-week videos. They show newbies and oldtimers the struggles that we all go through along the way, hopefully validating our own struggles, inspiring us to do better, and hopefully not discouraging us from ever touching the Stick because we'll never be as awesome as them (Rodrigo--you're not human at only 7 months but bless you!)

I did one at 100 days and at 150 days because I had a song that I developed at each milestone to share (PainStickingly at 100 and a new one that I wanted to show at 150 but then got sidetracked with playing Stick horizontally.) And that's the other reason I've done them: it's pushed me to have some significant milestone to share with people and to get my stuff together for a milestone video.

But I totally agree with you that it's not a competition, and I already concede losing to Rodrigo, if it is a contest. (My pride lets me say that he's two months ahead of me). But that's me being competitive--but just to push myself, not to push or pull anyone else.

Sorry, that's all I had to add to this topic since I don't spend time learning covers at all, anymore. I'm trying to turn a couple of my easier piano songs into Stick songs, so those are technically covers, but it's slow going and I'm not patient. (To illustrate that we're all different on this topic). :)

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Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:48 am
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Post Re: Songs and Arrangements and the process...
For me, if I go at it, I can learn the parts in a few weeks. But......that is only step one. Putting them together to a point where things are smooth can take a month or two or three. I still play tunes I learned last year that don't sound completely fluid.

I think it's important when you are learning new stuff to concentrate on the bass side first, get it down to a point where you can play it fluidly, then work on the melody side employing the same process. Only then attempt to put the parts together.

If you can sing, hum the melody over the bass part......this can be a good barometer of how easy/ hard the song will be to play as a whole.

cheers,
kev

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Post Re: Songs and Arrangements and the process...
I've been playing just over year. When I started I thought, "If I can play ONE song in 2 years I'll be happy." Now, a year later, my main issue is getting distracted. I listen or hear a song I love and decide to try and learn it. I put it on my list of songs, and suddenly I have a 15-20 songs on the list! Yikes!
So I go back and pare it down... to 12 songs. Then I hear another song I like and.... well, it's like Groundhog day haha!
The good news is there are about 5-6 songs I have been practicing steadily and I can stumble my way through them with lots of clams. But it is getting better.. slowly! All covers btw.
I feel like Luc said... having played drums for over 50 years, I embarked on this journey remembering how I banged those drums every day for months and months before I got some coordination, rhythm, sense of timing.... and I was still lousy lol! So even one year out on the Stick, my expectations were in line with the drumming of that little boy (who is now a big boy, but still learning).
I was barely keeping my head above water a year ago. With taking lessons (Thanks Steve!) I feel light years ahead of where I was and where I thought I would be. It is a road well traveled, but it can be lonely at times. I can only compare my progress to that of the little drummer boy, and .... so far, so good!

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Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:52 am
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Post Re: Songs and Arrangements and the process...
Let's remember also that we all have different opinions on how "a song" is best served! Myself I like songs fresh and un-rehearsed, so I stay away from too much practising on details regarding the playing/performance side. But I am very cautious to listen and think about the song and make sure I know the emotions of different parts, as well as what tempo I like it in. Next phase is to pick up an instrument and check out in what key and voicings the parts work best, might take about an hour or so. If a gig is coming up I often look into a number of alternate ways to play the different parts; so that I will be able to take chances in my playing but keep "a Plan B" in case I should not do so well out there in the heat of the moment.

He, he... I'd say that I am good at knowing what I'm not good at
(and then staying away from those traps)

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Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:29 pm
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