Let’s call it a daily study and exploration session.
Here’s what I’m trying.
I’m giving myself 2 hours a day.
Which oddly makes me feel both guilty and indulgent.
Clearly I’m going to have to work on the psychology behind this.
I’m starting with a visit to this forum.
Then a half an hour of reading.
Then a half an hour of reviewing David’s corresponding videos.
Then “playing.” At this point playing means apply what I gleaned from the above sources in somewhat structured way. I’ve also got to include what I have previously disparagingly called noodling. I decided to embrace my inner noodler.
I also need to include figuring out and playing three tunes that have meant a lot to me over the years. They are: Naima, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat and either Strange Fruit, Cristos Redentor, What’s New or Shenandoah. I’ll probably through in some Radiohead as well.
I know what you mean! However, think of all the hours some people spend simply absorbing passive entertainment. You’re doing something that is both educating you and entertaining you (& maybe others too).
Figuring out those three sounds like quite a (well worthwhile) challenge! Well beyond me at present. Hopefully someday…
Out of interest what’s your definitive version, i.e. the one you hear in your head?
I first came across the tune played by Jeff Beck, so it would probably be that for me.
Nice approach. I’ll tell you what I did to get a handle on the IFR methodology, not counting practice time for ear training and instrument.
I read the book quickly. Then I watched all the videos on YouTube. Then I read the book again slowly. Then I watched the videos on YouTube again, slowly and taking notes on each one. Then I read the book again to take notes on the exercises… so I had a birds eye view of everything on a few pages.
I went to this trouble because IFR is so different from everything else I was taught about music, I wanted to understand it best I could.
Do you need that hour a day of not actually playing or singing IFR exercises? I like to do that once every week or two but focus on the exercises each day. I don’t manage as much time on IFR as you though. I’m envious😁.
I’d go with the extra noodling time too, but now as you noodle you’ll be making use of the insights provide by your understanding of the IFR view of the musical world thus turning it into a useful exercise.
This tiny exercise from the book was so enlightening.
Listen to the song with your full attention for at least one full minute. Don’t think about anything else. Just relax and enjoy the song and really listen. 2. Shut off the music if you can, or move away from it physically so that you don’t hear it so loudly anymore. (Do this quickly because we don’t want to lose the sensation of the music in our mind.) 3. Sing a note that you can clearly remember from the song. It could be the last note you heard or it could be the sound of any particular word or phrase…
I used Shenandoah from my favorite guitarist Bill Frisell.
I used this version:
The note that stuck was the e below middle c.
I could only sing down three notes from this note but amazingly they were two whole steps and a half step which is right where they are supposed to be in the major scale of F… Dm. How cool is that! But, but, but… the actual key of the song is E major because the note preceding the e is a 4th down… a B.
What does this tell me? I’m a depressing guy who likes minor keys.
Hi @niborsilliw I’ve been delving into Bill. Wow. How did I miss him. Thank you. So inspirational. Such command of tone & pace. Such elegant lines. Also interesting to watch his hands especially the left. There are rarely any complex shapes or big stretches.
Bill recently said that he still can’t really do an F Bar chord.
The story goes that early on he went to a John McLaughlin/Al De Meola concert. Watching the fireworks he decided that if was going to continue playing guitar he’d have to take a different path. I’m so glad he did. I haven’t purposefully listened to either McLaughlin or De Meola in a very long time but I’ve been listening to Frisell on more or less a daily basis for literally decades and have seen him play many times. There’s quite a comprehensive article on wikipedia about Bill. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Frisell I have to admit he’s the reason why I’m revisiting the guitar.
Nice to know I’m in good company. Something about the shape of my finger seems to make it impossible to get a clean bar no matter what I’ve tried!
To me that’s pretty much what this is all about. I don’t want to play like guitar hero ‘insert name of choice’. I want to play like me. The IFR approach seems ideally suited to that end.
Sure it’s good to examine the technique of others, but with the aim of seeing possibilties rather than direct emulation. Some people delight in producing perfect covers of original pieces. That’s great. Some are really good ones (‘Band Geek’ & ‘Lexington Lab Band’ are a couple of excellent exponents of this). However it’s not the path that appeals to me. “Horses for courses” & “Each to their own”, as they say.
I’d read the wikipedia entry, but not noticed that thank you.
I think I have a new hobby. Hunting down Bill Frisell videos! Wow. So much good stuff out there. Plus, I have my first two BF albums on order - ‘Good Dog, Happy Man’ & ‘Guitar in the Space Age!’. Thanks again for the revelation.
I’m finding that for me the IFR system is really conducive is exploration and learning in a gradual way…
So far everything seems to naturally leads to another. There are no stages to complete and then move forward. Some other “jazz guitar” programs are focused on the acquisition of physical skills as applied to fairly rigid ideas about theory. I’m finding IFR to be unique is developing musical skills and then acquiring the technique in service to the music.
I have to say that I’m reappraising many aspects of my life thanks to this program. Many things seem much more possible and joyful.
Absolutley agree. IFR gives me an understanding and a way of looking at (& hearing) things that helps me see what it is I’m really trying to get to. Maybe ‘insight’ is a word that emcompasses all that?
This in turn then gives a big incentive (if such is needed) to work on improving technique & ‘ear skills’ to make use of that insight & progress.
And all the way I’m doing interesting stuff, not just trudging through rote exercises.
Agree. On my Sing the Numbers/Feel the Numbers work I’ve stepped back from the higher levels I was trying to work with. I’m now going deep on the 1.2.3 & 1.2.34 levels (occasionally throwing in a bit of 5, e.g. 1.2.3 v 1…3…5) with the aim that it should become ‘thoughtless’ identification before moving on again.
It’s coming along. I’m sure the experience is different for all of us, but here’s one of the things I’m experiencing. Over the last few weeks (especially since I started to try ‘not looking’ at the fretboard while playing) I’ve found that my visualisation (which for me seems happiest in a fretboard grid configuration) has moved from bottom left (i.e. where my guitar neck usually is) to front & centre. From there it’s gradually getting ‘closer’ & is now fight in front of my face. I guess the next move may be ‘inside’?! I suspect that will be ‘A Good Thing’?
Another thing I’ve found about ‘not looking’ is that it has caused (forced!) me to listen & hear what I’m playing much more clearly. I supose it’s obvious that you need to listen more when not looking, but it seems to be more than that.