Practicing without the guitar?

in Technique Posts: 2,682
So we have a small baby at home.
I've actually kept up with my practice fairly well given that several people I know had given up the guitar for several years in the same situation.
But there are times when I have time to practice but can't really pick up the guitar.

To make use of my time I've been doing some things;
downloaded the app for note learning/music reading. Which actually did wonders for me. I wanted to learn reading sheet music for years, would start several times in the past, make some progress then let it go and soon forget everything I learned.
Well when I say it did wonders, take that with a grain of salt because after about a month with it I know all the notes in four octaves but still didn't test it on the guitar because I'm so eager to play when I can that sheet music is the last thing I wanna work on.

Doing finger stretching exercises.

With my right hand mimicking picking motion in hopes it'll help to free up my wrist and make it more relaxed.

Write down changes for a song from memory on a piece of paper and check if it's correct.

What are some things others might be doing without their instrument?
Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel


  • Franz MoralesFranz Morales Philippines✭✭
    Posts: 85
    I'm in the same boat. Baby at home and I watch over him most of the day since I work from home. What I do is imagine the licks and phrases I know and try to come up with variations in my head. I also practice my right hand picking motion :)

    what else... I try to follow changes in my mind, again with licks and phrases I know and memorize new songs.

    But of course I can only test if all i've imagined works once I get my hands on a guitar :D sometimes it's spot on, most of the time I have to do some tweaking haha.

    I'm interested what others have to say...
  • jonpowljonpowl Santa Cruz, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Cigano GJ-10
    Posts: 576
    @Buco Which app are you using?
  • edited September 2015 Posts: 1,121
    transcribe/ear training : listen to a solo you have not learned until you can sing along with it without anticipation. Use a playa long and sing (out loud or in your head) the solo note for note. Once you have it memorized completely, break it apart phrase by phrase and try to figure out which chord tone each note in the phrase is, note by note. once you've done this for a single phrase, try to visualize how you might play the phrase based on chord shapes you know. I do this sort of thing on the subways
  • IMO the best thing you can do is listen and learn to very quietly hum the solo. Once you have it so you can hum, sing whatever pick up your guitar and see if you can play it as you hear it. If not more scale/technical practice is required. If you can play what you hear you are only a small step from just playing what comes.

    Imitate, integrate, create.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Posts: 2,682
    The app is called Notes de Musique.
    Free app, shows some adds but only prior to entering the play/learn mode then it's all clear of distractions.
    The way I used it is I selected all 4 octaves and then you can limit the notes used so you can learn group by group of notes.
    I memorized them in a couple of weeks, something I couldn't do in years.
    Still it's just a start, there's much more to sheet music than notes themselves.

    Good stuff here, thanks.
    Transcribing is another one of my weak spots.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • What people often do is transcribe by slowing down and writing down bit by hit the tune, solo, etc. what is supposed to happen is to learn it, then write it down from memory as you hear it in your head.
    Jim KaznoskyBuco
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Posts: 2,682
    That's way ahead of me :)
    Jim Kaznosky
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    edited September 2015 Posts: 1,391
    All good ideas above, and here's another one that's so obvious, it falls right on that weird borderline between 'genius' and 'idiocy'.

    Sometimes when 'mamma don't allow no guitar playin' round here', like three am when I can't sleep, I switch to playing fingerstyle real quietly.

    And when I say 'fingerstyle', I mean playing with my fingers and thumb the same lead lines that I'd play with my pick if I were free to pick up my pick.

    Sounds crazy, but try it... hey, it worked for Oscar Aleman!


    PS Buco, congrats on the new arrival! When do we get our cigars?

    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
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