(All images in this post are from http://unsplash.com)
Find a Friend to Practice With
Practicing on you own is very important for musical advancement, but practicing with another person is equally as important. i suggest at least once a week to find a friend to do some practice with. If you are a lead or melody player then you can get your friend to provide some back up rhythm for your melody. If your friend is a great rhythm player, thats good but if not then use a metronome as well, just to ensure that you stay nicely on the beat.
If you are both melody players, then you can take it in turns to play the chords. A steady rhythm is extremely important to have behind you when you practice lead or melody. You will find that this help you to steadily improve.
Question & Answer Exercise
If your friend is also a melody or lead player try this exercise.
- Choose a simple chord structure in a familiar key for you both.
- Run through the chords a few times.
- Then one of you plays a few bars of lead, either improvised or something you both know.
- Then the other player responds to what you just played, a musical phrase that goes nicely with the first player's lick.
- Take turns in creating a question/ answer style musical exercise.
The above exercise is a great way to practice your improvisation skills, listening skills and staying in tune with another player.
It will force you to be on your toes coming up with something on the fly that compliments what the other person has just played. I love doing this and have found that new ideas and musical skills naturally develop this way.
How I have Implemented This
I have been learning violin for 4 months now and I play with others in a session twice a week. These sessions have been so helpful to my progress, as they give me the opportunity to run through a few tunes we all know. I find that I can now include ad lib variations on the fly, something I had trouble doing before.
A couple of weeks ago I did my first public performance on the violin, at an open mic night at our music studio jam night. It went great and I realised that the practices I did with others really paid off.
Try to do regular practice with others and you will also find that your improvement advances considerably.
In case you missed any of the other posts in this series please follow the links below and if you would like to ask any questions or make a comment please use the comment section of this post to do so. This is to ensure that you receive credit for your contribution.