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 Seeking Independence (arghh..) 
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Post Seeking Independence (arghh..)
This is really just a slightly frustrated comment about true independence of the hands. Its one of the things that really excites me about the stick, there are many ways to play it though and not everyone is fluidly independent and thats fine. However.....I'm studying one of Josh Goldbergs vids on applying drum groove ideas to Stick. its cool, I have a groovin left hand thing going on, tight , percussive , in the pocket all that stuff, can noodle about in Dm in the right hand , but its still tied in with the left though it might not always appear that way.
This all comes about by attempting the simple act of playing straight 8th notes on the melody side continuously & the same note , whilst the left hand does its thing. Its really hard for me just to unlock the right from left.

Operating the ship is one thing but this is serious, and I need to break the bond. I hear things in my head I could do on the right hand freely whilst the left chunks along but it just wont do it at the same time.
So thats my project for the week. I've watched a couple of movies of Bruno Ricard who at times pulls this off beautifully and so fluidly, I also saw it live at stickcamp. For me thats exactly where I want to be. Thats all. Rave over. :D

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Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:51 am
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Post Re: Seeking Independence (arghh..)
Try thinking with two separate minds, or faculties of mind. Easy to say, I realize, but tapping your foot is easy enough while playing an instrument. Two different things, and the less physical relationship between them, the better.

Phrasing or improvising a melody line in the RH is different from a LH motor rhythm. Two different reflexes at work (at play). The RH focuses while the LH plays with abandon, albeit with the rhythmic precision of tapping your foot or walking thru the song, a bigger or more generalized body motion.

Some Stickists even bring in a third element, their voice, which somehow unites the performance, paradoxically making it all flow with less effort.

This same principal of separate functions syncing together also applies to Greg's and my "Staff Tab" where you have six "dimensions" of song information. (That is, the standard notation with pitch, duration and expression, plus symbols for fingers, frets and strings.) Bar for bar, that's a tedious task, but by separating each element in the visual presentation (note heads for fingers, numbers for frets and staff lines for strings) it's supposed to make it easier (I hope it does).

Then, with the LH motor reflex of your choice for the song, you can guide it, up and down in register and thru all chord changes, using yet a different cranial module for that job.

Who says you can't walk and chew gum at the same time!


Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:26 am
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Post Re: Seeking Independence (arghh..)
Always great to read Emmett's take on this.

For me it a comes down to the hands. If they are still, and the work is being done by the fingers, then everything becomes "tied together", and you may never find the independence you seek. In order to separate the hands, you have to first unlock the fingers. Try not to think about what the fingers are doing. Try to think about the musical phrases you're making, and how the movement pf the hands makes them happen. This is especially critical where repeated notes are involved.

It also really helps to have an external physical reference for each hand, like tapping the foot, to give each hand something else to relate to besides the other hand. Without it, the hands will always be keying off of each other, a difficult scenario for true independence.

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Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:21 am
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Post Seeking Independence (arghh..)
BSharp wrote:

Some Stickists even bring in a third element, their voice, which somehow unites the performance, paradoxically making it all flow with less effort.


It might seem paradoxal but it is true that singing makes it easier to separate the brain resources for left hand and right hand. You benefit from a third "channel" that gives you an additional anchor point, one more reference to draw the whole picture.


Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:26 am
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Post Re: Seeking Independence (arghh..)
Bruce, so great for me to hear that you're working on what I'm offering! I have a few "cheat codes," if you will, about how to break away from that issue that I'll be posting in the coming months. For now I'll just say this: true independence, a la Steve A, Greg H and Bob C is a long and rewarding road to travel. I'm sure you're well aware of this, but keep at it and you'll get where you want to go.

One cheat code that helped me a lot was to take a scale (let's work with Dm) and play the scale up and down at various note values (8th notes, quarters, 16ths etc) over the groove that I'm holding down in my left hand. The more comfortable you can get with your right hand moving through different subdivision of the beat and in different locations over the left hand groove, the closer you will be to being able to step away from the exercise-esque nature of playing scales and toward the musicality that mixing those subdivisions and notes up requires. Hope that helps! Please, if you get the chance, post a video of your progress!

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Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:59 am
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Post Re: Seeking Independence (arghh..)
I am going to post some probably really subversive thoughts on hand independence... I have some thoughts on the topic, and I was really, really frustrated for my first 2 years with the Stick. I asked about it a lot, and to be quite frank, there are really not a lot of tangible answers to the question. I have all the books, tried lessons, practiced like an m'effer, but ultimately I had to find my own way, taking lots of reads through the free hands book... Emmett has some interesting statements on the topic that kind of hit home after a few dismal failures on the instrument. Big respect to those who have mastered two hand independence. I found a couple of local pianists and accordianists and an organist who had some extremely valuable (and free) advice on the topic.

Self accompaniment... It's been my holy grail since before I got a Stick, and one of the reasons I ended up picking one up. I really agree with what Greg said; moving hands is supremely helpful, once I understood that things started to move into place. Emmet's statement about "diversion of concentration" is something I believe in also; I do not want to just play a motive with one hand and mindlessly let it repeat while the other hand is free to play memorized motifs over top. That seems like a long and arduous path with a slow and painful learning curve from my experience...

I made a dead easy tutorial on a hand independence "thing" for some of my friends (locally) who tap. It's not quite the same thing as what your asking about, but I think it is in the same ballpark...
Basically me trying to imitate what Emmet does/did the best I can, in my own way...



It seems that fundamentally we are doing 4 things when we play.
1) playing notes simultaneously
2) playing notes one after another
3) not playing notes (rests)
4) stitching these 'chunks' together

I found that upon looking at the pieces I tackled, the act of "stitching" chunks of music together was the tough part. Every transition/chord change was a potential for a train-wreck. For me, it was because I was trying to mindlessly play a bass pattern (brain "turned off on" one side of the instrument) and then play a melody over top of it. No problem. That is, until I had to change to the next chord (Brain on bass side needs to turn on again, and then turn off to mindlessly play the rest of it's sequence) Even if you are just playing an easy "10ths" type thing, all 1/4 notes, the act of MOVING to the next chord, wondering to yourself "what chord is that exactly, did I get it right, is some prick gonna hassle me about what finger I'm using, what's for dinner, and geez it would be cool to be one of the Beatles" all puts one in a perfect position to make a mistake.

My point is this; for me, becoming mindful of what was going on in the bass side and practicing in a way that the brain is aware of what is going on (or not going on) was another big revelation, and cut my learning curve and practice time down by 1/10. I am thinking that the diversion of attention should probably be about 50% for each hand, and depending on what you want to say with either hand at any given times, one could really capitalize on the breaks, pauses and anticipations one provides oneself. Of course, I want to be able to improvise freely with both hands and use the instrument in it's entirety. That's my goal, not everyone has the same objectives, or the same experiences/mindset etc so all I can offer is my (ongoing) experience with this, maybe you can have an idea of your own inspired from this? lol Might even be complete disagreement, that's okay too! Whatever works!

Another thing, and this seems stupid, but writing down what I was playing and visually looking at it while I practiced it cut the learning/assimilation time down by quite a bit.

One last thing, becoming extremely aware of where all of the notes are is something that has been extremely helpful to me.

I hope that helps a bit, I also really hope I didn't piss anyone off with these incendiary remarks.
Good luck, you are awesome already Bruce, so don't sweat it!

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Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:59 am
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Post Re: Seeking Independence (arghh..)
Scott, your example reminds me of JS Bach improvising on his keys in the early 1700s. You achieve the clockwork precision of that mechanical age but your hands are still tied together. "Breaking the bonds" is the mission statement so frustrating to Bruce and it leads to music of the electronic age (now expanding into the organic age).

I still think you can do several things at once, just as long as the tasks are not too similar. It's easy enough to alternate root with octave using LH index and pinky, You could consider it like tapping your foot or walking with both feet.

Then maybe, just maybe, you can play that blazing guitar lead right over the top.


Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:02 am
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Post Re: Seeking Independence (arghh..)
I feel your pain....I struggle with the whole independence thing too. It is getting better, but I feel your frustration.

Gonna try more of the singing part as suggested above.

I have found that slowing things down a bit tends to make it a little easier...but I think that's just the brain switching from RH to LH and back instead of the whole LH on autopilot and concentrate on RH.

I'm in the same boat as you (total pun intended there)

TP


Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:50 am
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Post Re: Seeking Independence (arghh..)
Busy night here , but special thanks to Emmett & all for chiming in with experience and thoughtful advice, I'll take some time shortly to digest it all . On the point of singing , I do Layla & Aint no Sunshine live now, and its probably one of the most satisfying things I do at the moment. Appreciate the pun TP. Cheers . B :D

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Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:16 pm
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Post Re: Seeking Independence (arghh..)
There are different levels of independence. When we independently walk and talk, the legs hopefully work automatically. Similar things can happen with your bass lines. With enough repetition you can walk the bass and talk the treble side . Your focus will primarily be on melody improv with independent learnt support from the bass. 50/50 is probably not gonna happen unless you're Ray Milland in that great movie The Man With Two Heads. Rosie Grier is head number 2. YouTube it
Follow the lead of great improvising pianists;
Oscar Peterson
Errol Garner
Keith Jarrett

And guitarists:
Charlie Hunter
Stanley Jordan
Tuck Andreas
Ben Lacy
They all practice this independence and integration for countless hours into years . Multi-tasking is not easy
I gotta go practice

SA


Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:39 pm
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