HOME | FREE MANDOLIN CHORD CHARTS | FREE VIDEO LESSONS | FREE PODCAST FOR STUDENTS

FREE BEGINNING MANDOLIN LESSONS | FREE MANDOLIN TABS | BRAD'S eBOOKS


Supercharge your mandolin playing at Brad's MandoUniversity


the easy way to learn to play mandolin

 


 

©2016 Bradley Laird


FREE MANDOLIN LESSON 12 - by Bradley Laird Bookmark and Share

HOW TO SPEND AN HOUR PLAYING 16 NOTES
This section is taken directly from my book "Mandolin Master Class". If you like this kind of thing please consider getting the book. Now, onward to playing our 16 notes...

Play this simple 16 note exercise once and then read what follows:

mandolin tablature

Here is a big secret to playing well. When practicing you must do a detailed and concentrated analysis of every finger and pick movement. Let me go over some of the finer points you should be thinking about as your practice each note:


YOU SHOULD, WHILE PRACTICING, THINK ABOUT ALL OF THIS BETWEEN EVERY NOTE and...

YOU SHOULD, WHEN PLAYING OR PERFORMING, THINK ABOUT NONE OF THIS!!!

That is what makes practicing different from playing.


HERE IS THE "ALL OF THIS" I REFERRED TO:

Pick - Grip the pick fairly lightly. Do not lock the pick in an iron death grip. Play with the very tip of the pick and keep only about 1/4" of pick "showing" between your fingers. Play with a slight forward tilt to the pick so the edge of the pick contacts and slides over the string rather than dragging the flat side over. The front edge does the picking on the down stroke and the back edge on the upstrokes. It is a very slight tilt; perhaps one pick thickness.

Are you placing the pick too "deep in the strings?" About an 1/8" is plenty. Even less is better. Just use the very tip of the pick. Just enough so you don't miss the top of the strings. Are you seeing both strings vibrate when you play them? Are you allowing the pick to "push through" both strings?


Right hand, wrist and arm - Are you relaxed? Are you making the minimum movement necessary to play the string. Are you relaxed? Did I ask you if you were relaxed?


Body tension - Are your shoulders, neck, head, face, tongue, knees, stomach, ankles, etc. tense. Between each note you play do a mental inventory of all of the parts of your body. Tense parts? Relax them before you play the next note.


Left hand - Are your fingertips near the strings and relaxed? They should be within 1/2" of the strings. When you press the first finger down on a string what does the third finger do? Does it curl and get tense or lift away
from the strings? When you reached the 5th note of the exercise was your first finger still pressing on the 2nd fret? It doesn't need to. Relax it. It only needs to stay down until the note which follows it is firmly being played.


Tone - How do you sound? Weak? Wimpy? Scratchy? Too soft? Too loud? Hear what sounds you are making and make your next note sound better. By now you are probably wondering "He's crazy! How am I supposed to go over all of those things in my mind in between each note?!!" Well, I admit, it's a lot to think about. But, if you play slow enough you can actually cover most of them. How slow is slow?

Play the exercise at the top one more time--v e r y s l o w l y ! OK, now get out your watch with a second hand. Play one note every four seconds. That's how slow I am talking about. Those sixteen notes will take 64 seconds to play through just one time.

Why do all of this? Wouldn't it make sense to practice playing fast if I want to become a faster player. Nope. Slow practice means faster playing. Here is how it works. When you run through the exercises at a moderate speed (say 1 note per second) and make some fingering errors, or allow some tension to build somewhere, then your muscles will presume this is what you want them to do and after a few poorly executed attempts THIS IS WHAT IT WILL LEARN. How to execute things poorly. Your muscles do not care, nor do they know what you want them to do. I want you to play so perfectly, everytime, so that your muscles only memorize one way of doing things... THE PERFECT WAY.

Can you play the exercise perfectly at 1 note per 4 seconds? If not, why go faster until you can? Playing sloppily will teach your muscles that it is OK to make mistakes.

Now, don't be discouraged into thinking that if it takes a full minute to practice 16 notes, and there are hundreds of songs I want to learn to play, that you will never have enough time to do this. This is a common misconception. You see, practicing these 16 notes, and various tunes and exercises, to this "Nth degree" will make all of your playing improve. This phase is not about learning tunes. It is about learning technique. Get
good technique and a mastery of your own body and mind and the tunes will come easily later.

I have written a book, which is meant as a follow-up to "Mandolin Master Class" which is a complete set of exercises to help you get control of your fingers and learn the fingerboard and the sounds of the mandolin. If you think this might help your playing take a look at "Mandolin Training Camp".

metronome speeds for practice

This way -------> to Lesson 13.

beginning mandolin ebook download package

 

This download lesson package contains 3 eBooks, 36 tracks and 3 Video lessons specifically designed for beginners.

This will get your ready for the jam sessions! See everything it contains by clicking this link.