Participate in the January 2018 Member Challenge – You Decide What To Work On!

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    Posting my challenge somewhat late but I began practice last week.

    !) Execution – Beginner. Want to master my first strumming pattern and get comfortable with the slap-pluck technique.

    2) Application – Practice minimum of 15 minutes daily. I will use the 12 Bar Blues Strum Lesson to accomplish this.

    3) Evaluation – I will post within next few days my progress on Form 1 (strumming alone) Form 2 will be posted one week before deadline.


    Here’s my mid month progress on Seven Nation Army. It’s a level 3 and I’m more of a level 1, so I made some adaptations to bring it downa bit.

    1. As suggested, I removed the taps is the sections with simultaneous pluck and tap. I can’t coordonate that one at all.

    2. I removed the extra little 16th F on the build up. I can’t change chords fast enough to get to the G smoothly.

    3. In the chorus, I removed the C string note so it didn’t have to be barred. This was a deal breaker. I can’t get a clean bar that high on the neck and would simply not have played the song if I hadn’t figured this adaptation out.

    I’m on track and I’ve memorized it, but I can’t get it any cleaner than this. I’ve looped a zillion times but I’m not progressing any more. Any suggestions?

    I love this song. Thanks!


    Lisa, Never heard this before since I don’t follow today’s music much. But it certainly is a catchy tune. Sounded like a Level 2.9 performance to me. Ha. Keep at this one, you’re doing great.



    Hi Erick, don’t forget to post the 3 steps for how you plan to improve upon “Wind Beneath My Wings”. The 3 steps can be found in the first post on this topic.


    Sounds great Lisa! The timing of the single note picking is off. Go back and double check that and try to count it out as you play. Only suggestion I have is to loosen your right hand wrist when playing, looks a little tight. Keeping it loose will help it flow better. Keep rocking, you are really improving!


    Ok week 2 progress – melody 1 & 2 of Canon. Not perfect but getting there. Couple of buzzy notes, and some work to do on transitioning from the barre chord in bar 5 to the Am7 in bar 6. Have had to slow it down a little this week too.


    Thanks Rickey!

    And thanks Andrew. I can’t figure out though which part has the timing off. Is it the into single picking part or the bit further down? Our both? I’ve been burning up the on screen tab viewer and I feel like the timing isn’t too bad. Thanks.


    For my first challenge I want to work on Ode to Joy. I want to work on the good rythm and the fingers positions Andrew shows in his video.


    1) Execution – I’ve been playing for just over 2 years. Mainly strumming, so I have set myself a challenge to improve my fingerpicking and be able to play a tune steadily without mistakes by the end of the month. I see that there’s a fingerpicking course available on the site so I’ll have a look at that. I’m aiming to practise for a minimum of 15-30 minutes every day.

    2) Application – Probably using one of the Etude pieces.

    3) Evaluation – Making a video of my playing, analyzing where I am still not confident and then targetting those passages for further work. Looking for constructive criticism along the way.


    I think I found the bad timing spot. I was rushing a bit. Thanks…!


    Here is my second week’s work. As you can tell, I’ve been a little remiss in my practicing


    Lisa, it was with the single note lines, the tapped rhythms were spot on!



    I’ll be working Jingle Bell from December’s challenge. I would like to work on smoothing out my transitions, work on my pinky hammer ons and working up to playing the song at 75% of full speed. This month has be fairly busy for me so I’m not sure how much playing time I will get in. I plan practicing when taking a break from work. I will work on my trouble areas by playing just those sections by themselves and playing on along with the tab play along.

    Here is a full video of where I was at the end of December.


    Progress report for my second week:

    I met my daily practice goals, but my time is down from last week. I averaged a bit over 75 minutes per day.

    My ear training is progressing. I’m up to over 95% with identifying melodic intervals, so I’ve added harmonic intervals (doing better than in past years), melodic dictation (still pretty crappy at this), and intervals in context. (This is a feature of the software I hadn’t tried before. The first step is just identifying a melodic interval with a random noise note added afterwards as a distraction. It’s amazing how much harder this makes the exercise, even with only a few intervals to choose from.)

    I’ve started memorizing a new song for my repertoire, but haven’t gotten it all down yet. The songs I’ve already learned are getting more and more solid and I’m trying to focus a little more on interpretation and expressiveness.

    Some of the initial excitement for working on a new project is starting to fade and I’m having some days where I have to just embrace the grind. Having this challenge that I’ve committed to is helping. Also helping is that I’m doing my practice in 15 minute chunks with a timer. No matter how resistant I am to putting in work, I figure there’s no excuse for not being able to manage 15 minutes.


    Tony, what is your overall goal for ear training? For example, are you developing your relative pitch in order to become a better transcriber? I’ve noticed that if I establish a clear and concise goal, it helps keep me motivated and on track.

    And don’t sweat feeling burned out some days, happens to all of us. But, if you stay the course and see it through, you’ll reap the reward. This really applies to everything. Here’s an interesting video that talks about the lifespan of a project and overcoming the dip. In our case, the “project” is practicing.


    Excellent work Kay & James! This is fun to see your guys’s progress 🙂 I’ve been practicing Non-Stop for next week’s lesson, so I’m right there in the trenches with you!

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