Tuesday, May 21, 2019

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 569 #615)

Practice Technique with Highway RickEy
Are you an aspiring harp player? Then as Joe says, you should be listening to the greatest players (especially Little Walter!) with precision. Listen carefully to them; transcribe what you hear; imitate them as best you can.

And to help you do this better, Joe introduced Highway RickEy this week to let him speak about his careful, controlled practice techniques using digital slow down tools. Gone are the days when you needed to hack a Sony Walkman with a potentiometer to get a tune slowed down so you could study it. Now you have Amazing Slowdowner and to a lesser degree, Audio Stretch, that can help you slow down, loop, change pitch and more.

Using the tech tools as just what they are, tools, RickEy walked us through how he uses them for masterful practice.

First step, slow it down. Take the piece you want to own and slow it down. Then, very important, cut it into small pieces. Do not attempt to work on the whole song at once. Isolate the pieces you can't play and listen and work on just those one at a time, a bar or two at a time. Stumbling? Choose an even smaller segment to attack. Work this way until you truly own it, but if your skills aren't equal to the player you're studying, remember that it's better to do something simple well, rather than something complicated sloppy. Simplify the piece to align with your ability or choose a simpler piece altogether.

RickEy demo'd various practice techniques that Amazing Slow Downer allows, including looping, rapid recall, backchaining (playing last fragments of a song first), breaking up by chord changes and more. Dig into the settings and improve your practice time to be more efficient and targeted at the things you most need to learn.

Class Notes

  • No class (and no newsletter) next week due to the Memorial Day holiday.
  • Private lesson registration is now open for returning students. Lock in your private lesson slots now.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

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