Friday, August 8, 2008

Randy Halberstadt's Sequencer Revisited

If you don't have the book called "Metaphors for the Musician", go buy it.

With that said, Randy explains a method for learning any sequence of things, called "The Sequencer".
I have used that approach over the last year and it's really good. It's just like he says, a no non-sense approach.

I have one issue with it.
If you take Randy's example page 14, by the time you are done with the exercice:
- You practiced C7 6 times.
- You practiced EbMaj7 8 times.

Doesn't seem like a big deal but it is. Because I have never been able to play Step 12 only once, it takes me much practice to add any previous bar to a new one.

Usually, when I learn say 64 bars, using this technique, I know bar 1 through 12 perfectly. But bar 40 to 64 are so so. That's because I practiced them a lot less.

So here's another approach.

Say I have to learn A-B-C-D-E-F
First I learn A perfectly
Then B, then C, D, E then F

Then I'll learn A-B perfectly
Then B-C

Then I'll learn A-B-C
Then B-C-D
you get the picture.

It looks like a lot more than the first method. But I don't think it is after all.
First of all, it obviously gets easier. Once you've learned A-B and B-C perfectly, A-B-C gets easy.
Then, the idea of returning to learning A-B after you've learned C-D-E-F in between is good. It helps to let something sit and come back to it later. You will memorize things in the long term better (something they teach you in school).

Finally, you are spending the same amount of time on each part of the tune. As much on the end as you do on the beginning. How many tunes do you know really well, except for those last 4 bars? It will help with this.

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