Don Turton taking a lesson. after a hard day's work in the landscaping company he owns.
Don is fashionably attired in his green "Metroscape" company shirt!
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Why Must I Use A Metronome To Get Better On Guitar?
How Do I Use A Metronome To Get Better On Guitar?
What Type Of Metronome Should I Get?
| Watch a video clip of Don performing a classical piece using Foundation Exercise # 10 "The 6 note arpeggio".
What you will see is the result of many hours of Correct Practice.
Click to hear Jamie play lightening fast arpeggios, Giuliani's Study in E minor.
STUDENT PROFILE: LANDSCAPER AND GUITARIST DON TURTON
My student Don Turton is someone I like to lift up as an example and an inspiration to the many people who write to me and ask me if they can seriously pursue becoming accomplished on the guitar, even though they are adults with careers, families and responsibilities.
Don, who runs a landscaping business, has a wife and child, and bowls every weekend, has, for the last eleven years, kept the guitar in his life, and worked hard to gain considerable ability on electric and acoustic. For the first few years, we focused on electric blues. As time went on, we did a lot of theory, and arranging. For the last two years we have been dealing mostly with classical technique.
Of course, by this time, we have covered a lot of ground. Don is definitely on the Vertical Growth track, his playing ability continues to reach new levels as we move into more advanced repertoire. From time to time, I make sure we review some old material, so that both of us can see the difference in his playing from the last time he played a particular piece.
We did this recently with "Dust in the Wind", and we both were extremely gratified to see the new sense of ease and freedom he had in his playing, which was the result of a lot of intense "microscopic practice" over the past couple of months.
In fact, Don has a peculiarity which makes him different than most students. Most of the time, I have to fight with people to get them to practice with enough focus, and at slow tempos. Don is the opposite. Left to himself, he would do nothing but this kind of practice, and never allow himself to just kick back, have some fun, and play!
This tendency in the direction of "the school of hard work" as opposed to the usual tendency in the direction of "guitar players just want to have fun" is very interesting. Although it appears desirable to have this ability for hard work, once again, we must understand this in terms of Jamey's "law of life" #317b, which is, of course, "Every Strength is a Potential Weakness".
In this case, it means if I did not at various times exert great effort to make this guy turn off the metronome, and stop working for a half hour on one measure, and start putting the piece together, and then just play it, he would never turn into a guitar player!
(For more insight into this topic, see my essay "Going From Guitar Student to Guitar Player")
I am happy to say that Don has over the years responded quite nicely to me "pushing him out of the nest". He has developed quite a nice repertoire ranging from Stevie Ray Vaughn to Dust in the Wind (the whole thing, fingerstyle chord melody) to Spanish Romance and Testament to Amelia by Miguel Llobet.
I asked Don a few questions to get his advice for other working adult type people with lives that unfortunately require them at times to do something other than play the guitar.
J: How do you find practice time?
D: During the work week, I will do 15 minute practice sessions. I'll spend maybe 5 minutes on some hard spot, a chord change or something. Then I'll work a larger section for the rest of the practice session. On weekends, I will get one or two hours here and there. Then, I'll be able to get more done.
J: How has knowing how to practice affected your growth on the guitar.
D: It made growth as a guitarist possible! Before starting lessons with you, I would try to learn to play, get frustrated, and then put the guitar in the closet! After a few months, I'd take it out and try again. Then, it would go back into the closet! Learning how to practice to get results has made all the difference.
Don recently began work on a piece from the Noad collection of 100 graded guitar solos. The piece happens to be entirely composed of a right hand pattern that is one of the Foundation Exercises from "The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar". I asked him to demonstrate the first few measures for my readers around the world. I am very pleased with how good his right hand finger action looks. When you view it, notice the relaxed and independent movement of each right hand finger.
And further, understand that as you watch Don's fingers perform so nicely on the nylon string guitar, that these fingers spend most of their time wrapped around shovels, rakes, and other instruments of the landscapers noble trade.
Yes, it's possible for anyone!