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Julie C

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Posts posted by Julie C


  1. 28 minutes ago, Mike G said:

    So, I am very happy to hear about the happy ending. But I do have one request. Would you please play your  song and post it? I would like to hear it. And I will appreciate it no matter what because I understand that just to try is a victory. Not everyone is going to have the same skill level at guitar or singing or song writing or anything else. ☺️

    I will have to think about that. It only exists as words on paper so far.  I have only played it in my head. 

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  2. On 10/8/2019 at 9:43 PM, Mike G said:

    So, I'm curious, then, what you do desire to do with your guitar playing/journey? For myself, when I finally started playing guitar at 44, it was because I decided I could play without having any reason. I would never make money with it or entertain people or... or... or... There simply didn't seem to be any reason other than I wanted to and had wanted to since I was a kid. Now I see all kinds of things happening in my life as a result of playing guitar that I could never have known about, so those things couldn't be the reason. But they are the reward for doing it anyway. You might find a reward performing at an open mic or posting a video here on TAC or just playing for family and/or friends. Any way, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. 😊

    My guitar journey is somewhat complicated.  I always loved the sound of an acoustic guitar and spent years strumming along to songs in the air.  I got to see Peter Yarrow in an small dinner theater concert about 3 years ago and sat about 6 feet from him.  I had never been so close to such talent.  He was one with his guitar. I even got to stand next to him on stage and sing Puff the Magic Dragon. I wanted to strum a real guitar even more than ever.  My dream was to have someone finger the chords so I could do the strumming.   I told my cousin who was visiting from another state my guitar dream.  He plays.  He said why don't I just learn to play ,myself? So my parents gave me a couple of hundred dollars for a guitar and my journey began.  I pictured playing along with my mom when she plays piano.  I pictured playing for family at holidays while everyone sang along.  But things didn't work out as planned.  My closest family, whom I love dearly really didn't like my playing.  My husband has actually gotten up and left the room and closed the door not to hear me.  Or asks me if I can do that somewhere else.  He really does not like music.  My mom didn't see the purpose of playing along with her if I was just strumming chords.  She said there is no point to something that is not playing the melody.  My adult children think I am wasting my time at my age.  My sister says why did I even bother if I can't sing.  So basically when the people who matter most to you do not want to hear you play and think it is a bad idea to even try, performing for others just feels sad.  And I don't want sad associated with playing.  I was so discouraged by my family reaction at one point I stopped playing.  And the good people of TAC encouraged me to continue.  So my playing is pretty much in my bedroom with a very flexible white pick that keeps things soft.  I did make a video for the 30 day challenge.  Got a lot of positive feedback which ultimately made me feel sad all over that I cannot share this with the people I love most.  So I am back to my quiet white pick but thanks to the 30 day challenge I bought a guitar stool and a music stand so I not longer just sit on the bed.   But this is truly not a sad story.  I would have totally given up if not for TAC.  Guitar is a very personal journey now rather than the shared one I thought it would be.  And I have made peace with that and play because it makes me happy.  I even wrote a song called "The White Pick Blues" but of course have never actually played it lol. 

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  3. I find a there is a difference between fear and desire for me.  So many have the desire to perform.  But fear holds them back.  I find I have no fear of being in front of people.  I just have no desire at all to play for an audience.  I thought that desire would appear over time, but if anything it kind of went the other way.  Go figure!

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  4. 33 minutes ago, Lin said:

    Hi Julie, 

    Just wanted to let you know that air strumming with a pretend pick is starting to help me get more comfortable keeping rhythm with my right hand.  Thanks for the suggestion. Lin 

    Great! I have been doing the daily TAC exercises by selecting a chord and holding it and just worrying about how my right hand is moving and sounds.  I am still in shock about how bad my right hand playing is.  But I already can see improvements.  I am most baffled by how I missed this was a problem.  And a big one at that. 

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  5. 3 hours ago, Don H said:

    I agree.   I hit the wrong string far more than I I finger the wrong fret. 

    Hmmm. Never noticed myself before. But I too make waaaay more mistakes with my right hand than my left. You would think your dominant hand would be better at this than your non dominant  fretting hand. I wonder at what point my left hand took over. 


  6. 6 minutes ago, Mike G said:

    Wow, so many people have responded to this thread that it kept popping up on my notifications. But I simply have to restrain myself from checking out every single thread or I'd never get anything done, which I have a huge problem with anyway. So, I just read all three pages. Kinda overwhelming to respond to so much information and so many people.

    First, thank you @Julie C for starting this thread. I couldn't be happier for you. I had already tried encouraging you in an earlier thread and realized you needed more than encouragement. You have a wonderful, never give up attitude. But you did get the help you needed, and in so doing, you have shared those solutions with any one who stops by and reads this. This is a gold mine of a thread. 😄

    Second, I'd like to thank you @Derrick, for sharing with all of us what you learned on your guitar journey. You seem to be one of those people who really dig into anything you're involved with and gain a wealth of knowledge. Like @Karen L said, you get the most detailed/helpful comment award... AGAIN.

    From there, really, I'd like to thank the whole cast of characters. Of course, as soon as "characters" are mentioned, I can't help but throw out @jumpin' jeff s 's name. What a wonderful thread. 😃

    The responses on here have truly been amazing.  TAC is the best! There are so many places to go online to learn things but the community here is second to none.  All the posts in this thread have me really looking at my right hand.  Even though I can strum patterns with ease, turns out I am not consistently even hitting the right strings for each chord.  Sometimes I hit 4 strings for the D.  Sometimes 5.  Sometimes 6. Honestly never noticed. Wow!   And my strumming lacks feeling and variety of tone. 

    Looking at fingerpicking with just my right hand  can best be described as my hands tangled up in the strings while consistently hitting the wrong ones.  No wonder I still cannot play Freight Train after 2 years of trying. 

    I have totally underestimated the role of my right hand. Anyone can learn to fret a D chord.  But its ultimate voice all comes form the picking hand.  "My" sound and style has been trapped in the hand I ignored.    I may have almost 4 years of fretting experience, but I am a real beginner with the right hand stuff. 

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  7. 25 minutes ago, Sharon Tiano said:

    I am pretty sure I have fairly decent string awareness and I have found that I am gravitating more towards fingerstyle.  It's strumming that is my challenge .. and chord transitions.  I am looking forward to digging into all this and learning more.

    @Sharon Tiano and @jumpin' jeff s I would try muting the strings with your fretting hand and practice strumming along with your right hand to songs you love.  Train that right hand without the inference of the left hand to strum along and the strumming will eventually need no thought at all.  I could strum along to anything before I ever played guitar.  I strummed on my leg or stomach when I listened to music.   Many times my hand only moved an inch up and down. The beauty is you don't even need a guitar to practice this. 

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  8. How I adapted today's lesson (KC9)   to work on my right hand:

    I played the lesson the first time only using the Bm chord and concentrated on strumming the proper group of strings  (all 6, 5 or 4)and making the strum sound good.  Played it this way a few times.  Then switch to the second chord, the A7 and did the same thing.  Repeated the procedure for all the chords really focusing on the quality of the right hand.  I still got to play all the chords, but not concentrating on going from one to another allowed me to really pay attention to what my right hand is doing. 

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  9. 3 minutes ago, BobGarrity1 said:

    Totally agree with @Sharon Tiano, this is really an insightful thread. So many good points by our TACommunity and I'm loving how you're already gaining so much from this @Julie C. Julie you started out asking questions and now you're the sensei ... inspiring!

    Really appreciate the links and pointers @Derrick plus the words of wisdom @Steve M and, of course, @jumpin' jeff s ...

     

    When I think about guitar players I love to listen to, they are playing the same chords I am with their fretting hand. The beauty of their personal sound is coming from their picking hand. I love Peter Yarrow’s fingerpicking. It is his picking hand that makes him sound so wonderful. The changes in volume. The flow. The sustains. His right hand is his guitar’s voice. I have soooo much to work on! My guitar will have a beautiful voice one day. Not just a collection of notes played. I am going to work on the daily Tac exercises right handed only for a bit and really work on how my guitar sounds and feels. 

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  10. 11 hours ago, Sharon Tiano said:

    So interesting.  I am really intrigued now.

    The more I have looked into this the more I know this is such a big deal. One site mentioned people who don’t improve lack control of their right or strumming  hand.  Another site mentioned righties strum and pick with the right hand as it has the most dexterity and has the harder job to do. Our right hand is responsible for how our music actually sounds. The volume. The timing. The expression. The rhythm. The speed. The quality of the notes. Pretty much how we actually sound as a guitar player. I personally always concentrate on what my left hand is doing. My right hand was just kind of there. All the right hand exercises I have now tried are hard. I can see my right hand has really never progressed and has held me back. The video Derrick posted about planting your fingers? Cannot do it with any speed at all and I have to really really really think about it. I guess if you look at a guitar journey as a road we travel down,  I never ever noticed the “forks to the right” and how important they are. 

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  11. On 8/28/2019 at 2:35 PM, Sharon Tiano said:

    This is a fascinating thread.. I too still find myself struggling after almost 3 years.  I am going to follow some of the links in @Derrick's post and see where that leads me.  But more importantly, I am going to embrace the oft-stated philosophy here of never comparing myself to where I think I should be and instead focus on where I am now and how to continue to enjoy what I am doing and the journey I am on.

    I kind of always assumed it was all about the left hand.  Going through the books I got and looking at the video links Derrick posted, I am actually surprised at all the right hand can learn to  do automatically.  Mine has always been able to strum.  Even before I picked up a guitar.  My right hand has no muscle memory for anything else--yet!

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  12. 34 minutes ago, Derrick said:

    Yay!!  I think you're on your way to some great success ahead.

    Planting is technique that's going to be a big help for you with these right-hand exercises, especially as you start out.  This video explains the technique in detail.  

     

    This is great @Derrick ! Thank you!

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  13. On 8/28/2019 at 9:39 AM, Lin said:

    Hi @Julie C @Don Hand @Derrick 

    I find this post very interesting.  I can relate to what you are saying except, my problem is kind of, the reverse. I'm really starting to trust my right hand for fingerstyle but put a pick in it and it's worthless!!! All the songs I aggravate toward are finger style. In fact, that is an understatement, I run from away from my pick. Julie, I tried your idea of air guitar and found out, I just can't play one.  In frustration, I put down the air guitar and picked up my air drumsticks, much better!! It's always cool to find a roadblock. Thank you for helping me find one of mine.  Lin

     

    Very interesting for sure! My right hand has been trained to strum and your for fingerstyle.  Looks like we both have something to work on with our right hands! I am very excited to see where knowing this takes us musically over time.

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  14. My first book arrived and I began with the right hand lesson one beginner open string exercises and they did not come easy. I missed strings in the beginning even when concentrating. And they use just two fingers in each exercise  on only the three highest strings. But I improved the more I repeated the exercise. My right hand truly has had no clue what to do. And I had no clue it was clueless. Cool! I can really work on this!!! 

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  15. 47 minutes ago, Derrick said:

    Same here, @Julie C.  Just know  it may not seem like the exercises are making much a difference at first.  I'll admit that after a few weeks in, I wasn't convinced they were making any difference.  Stick with it!  After a several months of incorporating right-hand only exercises at the very start of my practices, I got the nerve up to try a passage with some particularly challenging demands on the right hand.  I was amazed by the greater degree of control, endurance, confidence and relaxation I had gained in my playing.

    I'm wishing you great success in trying this.  Be patient and don't doubt whether you're doing things right or if it's working. Developing reliability in your right hand is a slow process.  But the results are sooo worth it!  Good luck! 

    In my mind I am thinking months of working at this to feel the results.  We always think of our fretting hand as the one that learns muscle memory.  Looks like our other hand needs to develop it too.  I really look forward to the process! It feels real good to have something specific to work on that I never worked on before.

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  16. @Derrick I have been going through your post and checking out the links. I absolutely cannot trust my right hand. Who knew there was such a thing?  I guess you just kind of assume it’s all about the left hand. I ordered a couple of right hand only workout books. 

    In almost four years I truly have done nothing to work on just my right hand. Never thought about it. 

     It all now makes sense why strumming patterns came easy though. I loved guitar loooong before I picked one up. When I listened to music, I would strum along with my right hand on my invisible guitar. Guess I was already training that hand to strum independently. 

    The easy version of Freight Train illustrates my struggles. If I had to strum along to it, easy.  But after two years I cannot play it fingerstyle.  I hit  wrong notes and the wrong strings with both hands ALL the time.  I should actually record how bad I am at it after two years, spend time on my right hand, then see if I can finally play it.   Thank you again for all your insight and taking the time to write it all out!  It is a great feeling to have a direction to head to work on this! 

     

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  17. 15 minutes ago, Derrick said:

    It's not just you.  Two hands doing two different things is something nobody's brain does well.  I'm so happy you've figured out that this is something you can train yourself to do, because you most certainly can.

    Your friend has steered you in the right direction. However, two hands doing two different things is a bit different on guitar than it is for our piano-playing friends.  On piano, your hands need to be able to play melodies and rhythms separately and independently. On piano, for example, left hand plays melody, right hand plays bass.  However, on guitar, the right hand generates the sound and the left hand plays the melody and bass. So the challenge isn't hand independence (hands being able to play separately) but hand interdependence (hands playing together, each relying on the other to do their separate jobs in a coordinated, synchronized manner).  Therefore, the approach to training two hands to do two different things has to be different on guitar.

    DO YOU TRUST YOUR RIGHT HAND?
    I had a big "a-ha" moment regarding this when my classical guitar teacher asked me a simple question in our first lesson: "Do you trust your right hand?"  What??

    What he meant was "Is your right hand reliable enough so that your focus is mainly on your left hand?"  Think about it: if your right-hand sound "engine" isn't reliable--your right hand isn't reliably finding and playing  the correct strings, at the correct time and in the correct way, with a consistent tone--you can't hope to be able to keep most of your focus on playing the notes correctly with your left hand. You'll be too distracted.  You need your right-hand sound "engine" to be on auto-pilot, so that you can focus mostly on your left hand.

    Such a simple thing!  We spend so much time talking about the left hand.  We just assume the right hand is going to do whatever we want. But that's a faulty assumption.  So much of being successful with our left hand is dependent on having a reliable right hand that plays the strings we want to play, in the way we want to play them, without thinking about it.

    DEVELOPING A RELIABLE RIGHT HAND
    So how do you get a reliable right-hand?  Pianist practice the left hand and the right hand separately, then bring them together.  We do something similar on guitar. 

    • Daily training - You need to give your right hand some "love" every time your practice.  Right-hand training is the very first thing I do when I start my guitar practice--it's the "warm-up" section of the Warm-Up section in my practice routine. 

      Open string exercises and arpeggios are proven techniques for developing a reliable right hand, when practiced daily. The video links below reference classical guitar exercises, but they work equally well on steel strings.  The exercises can easily be adapted for working with a pick, whether alternate picking or hybrid/Travis-style picking
       
      • Arpeggio exercises (2-5 minutes)- Arpeggio exercises build stability and stamina in the right hand, and provide  lots of practice with skipping strings.  They help you develop your ability to instantly and accurately locate strings without thinking about it. There is no shortage of arpeggio exercises to be found, or that you can create for yourself.  However, the ones with the biggest bang for your buck are the 120 Guiliani Right-Hand Studies. They've been used to train guitarists for over 200 years for a reason: they are excellent for developing right hand reliability.
         
        • Giuliani's 120 Right Hand Studies Arpeggios - This link is a fantastic overview of the Giuliani Studies and approaches to practicing them.
        • PRO TIP: Search online for free copies of the studies, which have long been in the public domain. If you don't read music, there are lots of TAB versions of the exercises--a testament to how effective and comprehensive they are. 
    • Right-hand first strategy - When learning new music, practice playing it first with your right hand only.  Practice  the "right-hand only" version to point where you can play it without thinking about it.  You will be surprised how much easier the left hand comes when you aren't thinking about the right hand.  This approach works really well on TAC practice exercises.

    Thanks for bringing this topic up, @Julie C.  I hope this reply is helpful to you.

     

    This is extremely helpful! Thank you! So many actionable things I can do to get moving in the right direction. I am excited to see where this approach will take me. It has become so obvious it is a real obstacle to overcome for me. And it is something that can be overcome. Just never knew it existed. 

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  18. Been trying some of the beginners hand and finger independence exercises online and find them difficult. Very difficult.  That is really a good thing!  I have definitely identified something that I can work on and improve. As an example, one exercise has you tap your right hand on Beats 1 2 3 and 4 continuously counting 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and. The left hand taps on beat 1 and 3and. Seems simple. But takes extreme concentration for me. I get out of sync instantly if my mind drifts and sometimes even when it doesn’t. Seems like hand independence is a separate issue from finger independence. My hands and fingers work as a team. I need them to all be able to do their own thing. I have always felt I was missing something. This really could be it!!! 

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