Practice ideas

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Initially, as trials continue, the presented ideas will be very limited while I work with you to figure out the simplest interface that works for you.  Ideally, we could have one-to-one zoom calls, or group zoom sessions while this is on-going?

The intention is for you to get brief ideas for practicing so you can build your confidence and improvisation skills, to jam with others.

The ideas presented could eventually be tailored to where you are in your musical journey and you will be able to ask whatever questions you like.  “Settings > Your Playing Level” … is intended to let emuso know your current ability. For now, this is a place holder.

Each click on “Practice” will present an idea that will take you a few minutes to read about.  Then it’s up to you how long you work with that idea.

Click on a title below to expand or close a section.


The right mindset

You can’t get better reading or watching videos.  You have to develop your skills through working off the guitar (for visualisation, getting feedback through tests on theory, say, and on developing your ear) and on the guitar, to physically perform whatever is being learned.

Typically, playing problems are around 80-90% mental (where you aren’t familiar enough yet with the idea) and the rest are physical (technique issues, such as inefficient fingering, string noise, timing, to mention a few).  A negative mindset usually arises from not knowing what and how to practice.  Jumping around unrelated ideas is very poor for building memories you can tie together and you obviously should work on those ideas that give you the best return for your effort, such as working with interval shapes.  Equally, your pratice should mostly be fun, satisfying, where you notice steady progress and improvements, while unlearning bad habits (especially technique), resulting in a positive mindset that encourages you to continue getting better for as long as you want.

However, if you are really serious on making improvements, there will be times where it won’t be fun.  It becomes serious. For example, working on correcting a picking problem may require hundreds of repetitions, checking for inaccuracies, maybe videoing yourself to check hand position and so on.  This isn’t fun at all, but it’s where you will notice and fix mistakes.  Just playing without gtetting to tis level of practice (directed practice) won’t really move the bar.

Ego needs to be left outside the practice room, so you can honestly assess difficulties, and recognise improvements. The only person you are competing with is yourself.


For this mini-practice session...

Regardless of your playing level, in this session you’ll get going with some of emuso’s toolkit and see how emuso can help you learn faster and retain that learning!

You may have learned everything to date by note names, such as the notes of C major or G minor pentatonic or the D minor chord.  This makes memorisation a lot harder.

Emuso gives you another way of thinking about these, reflecting how our  brains engage with music, and the physical nature of musical sounds. This requires much less learning and theory becomes much easier, much quicker, and in emuso, it becomes visual, aural, and tactile.  However you do need to know how to locate notes

Below, the main pane contains emuso’s interactive instruments, and the left hand column contains emuso’s Toolkit, when visible. Click the Toolkit button (top left of emuso) to make it visible.


1. Using the mouse, the anchor

There is always one solid-coloured circle on the guitar, which we call the anchor.  This is either solid white when nothing else is on the guitar, else solid red.  Its location determines where a scale is laid out or chord is rooted.  Apart from when the anchor is solid white, it and all circles represent notes that can be listened to, selected, and edited.

Here is one way to move the anchor (and hence all notes located around the anchor, like a scale or chord). If the Toolkit isn’t showing in the left column of emuso, click on the Toolkit button.

  1. Turn on “Move” (click the small circle to its left). Use the triangular drop down to its right and choose “left click moves shape”
  2. Click the string and fret you want the anchor to move to.

If you want to create or delete a note, here’s how

  1. Turn on “Edit” (click the small circle to its left). This turns off “Move”. Choose “left-click creates new note or deletes note”
  2. Use left-click to create or delete as many notes as you like

If you want to create the same-named note everywhere (for example, all the C’s in all octaves on the instrument), here’s how

  1. Turn on “Edit” (click the small circle to its left). This turns off “Move”. Choose “left-click empty location to create its pitch class or delete note’s pitch class”

We call all the C’s in all octaves the “pitch class of C”.  “Move” is used to move the entire pitch class, by moving the anchor.

2. How do I create a scale (e.g. C major)

There are three parts to this.  You locate the “anchor” on the guitar (e.g. at C3), discussed in the section “Using the mouse, the anchor”.  If you don’t know where named notes are located on guitar (piano) check out “How do I find notes on guitar?“.  Then you choose major scale from the toolkit, resulting in a C major scale built around the anchor location, discussed in the section “How do I choose different scales”.

If you want the C major scale, you’d locate the anchor on some C and then create the scale.  Or move an already created major scale to some C.

“Can I listen to the scale’s chords?” shows how to do this.  See “What about using different tunings?” for how to do this.

3. How do I choose different scales?

Enter the Toolkit.

  1. Use the triangular drop down next to the scale family to choose the family.  A menu appears
  2. Choose a scale from that menu or close the menu by clicking at its top on “Scale menu – close”.
  3. Until you choose another scale family, the Scale button will present that same menu.

Emuso remembers the most recently created scale, until you create another one. This is especially useful for exploring and creating chord progression using “Chord-X”.

4. Can I listen to the scale's chords?

Enter the Toolkit if needed.

  1. While the scale is on-instrument, hold down the ALT- key and move the mouse (no buttons down) over a scale note.  It will play the the notes of a chord rooted at that scale note.  By default, this chord is a triad (uses 3 notes of the scale). Emuso chooses the nearest of these notes , provided they are visible.

If you want to hear more complex chords found in the scale, click the triangular drop down next to “Gen-X” in the toolkit. This gives you several choices.


5. What about using different tunings?

Enter the Toolkit if needed.

By default, standard tuning is used (E, A, D, G, B, E).  You can set up emuso to either show string numbers (1 being the top, treble string) to the left of the “guitar’s” nut, or show the names of the notes created by each open string (that is, by the nut “fretting” the string instead of your finger).  Use “Settings > Show tuning info”.

You change the tuning with the Tuning button.  You can make your own or choose some that come with emuso.

This presents a tool that lets you tighten or loosen each string by some number of semitones, provided the tuning heads are “unlocked”.  It also shows the note name for each open string, and if you press and hold the mouse on one of these note names, you’ll hear its sound as long as the mouse is pressed, so you can tune your guitar.

As the tuning is changed, so the notes on the “guitar” move around to where the need to be in this tuning,  For example, if you create a major chord in standard tuning, rooted on the bass string, this changes shapes to a vertical line across the frets when “open E” tuning is selected.

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