Lesson Report – 08/16/2005

Well, I had another lesson with Brian yesterday.  This was the first lesson in four weeks and the first time I even touched my guitar in nearly three weeks.  
 
He started out by asking how my practice had been going and I told him the truth.  He said that was just as well because he was planning on shifting gears a bit this time.  He wrote down a G Major scale in the first five positions and had me walk through them a few times each.  I already knew the first position fingering from previous lessons I had taken years ago, but the others were new to my fingers.
 
Then he started talking about improvised solos and when certain modes are often used in certain musical styles and says, "You’re a rock guy, you’ve soloed before, right?" and I said sure I’ve soloed plenty of times with a pentatonic scale, but I’m pretty limited to one or two patterns for the most part.
 
He said that was fine before, but that he is going to ask more from me and informed me that he was going to play a chord progression and stay in the key of G major and I was to play a solo over it, but I was only allowed to use the notes in the G major scale patterns that he had written down and that I had to use all five patterns, not just the one that I already knew. 
 
We did this for a couple of minutes and, although I hit a lot of sour notes, it could have sounded a lot worse (even if I do say so myself ).  The hardest part was that I’ve never done that finger picking.  I’ve always used a pick, so it was definitely out of my comfort zone.  This was a good thing, though.
 
At the end of the lesson, Brian said he wants me to keep working on the stuff I was working on before, but to add these scale patterns in, too.
 
I didn’t point it out to him, but I cut off my fingernails the day before the lesson.  I was tired of obsessing about fingernail length and letting that get in the way of working on other, more important things.  At the lesson I noticed that my fingers had already gotten more used to the longer fingernails than I thought and I kept unconsciously bringing my nails to the string.  Since they were chopped off, it was a very strange feeling and I’m not so sure I made the right decision yet.  We’ll see what the next two weeks of practice bring about before I pass judgement on myself for that, though.
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