Thursday, July 3, 2014

An exercise to stretch the fingers and the ears.

I recently watched a YouTube video about fourths and realized while trying to fall asleep that the exercise described in the video could be applied to the guitar as a way of teaching position shifts, fingerings and the like in a contextual way.  Like a muscle memory formula.  If then...

So the exercise is this.  Pick a note, pick a finger to play that note and pick a note within one octave of that note to be the upper or lower limit of the octave in which you will play the entire cycle of fourths or fifths ascending or descending.  This forces one to concentrate!  Once you've played through the entire cycle the fingerings will become a pattern and you will repeat the cycle with the same optimum fingering.  Now, change one variable in that equation, be it the starting note, the finger you play it with, the octave in which you play the cycle and go again. This exercise forces you to be conscious of your instrument in a particular way that is useful to improvisation and to sight-reading and because the harmonic component is so void you can focus on the technical challenges that every guitarist must overcome in order to play music fluidly (ie. spatial awareness of the fretboard and the mechanics of your left hand.)  There is more to be said but now that the gist is here I'll write more at another time.