Organizing my studies
I do think a lot on how to organize myself, maybe I'm just not disciplined enough and need some kind of system while others might be fine. Anyway, here's how I'm splitting topics for study, these are the major topics.
- Music Theory
It is self explained, nevertheless let me write down what I mean by this topic. Anything related to music theory goes here, reading music sheet, writing, harmony, analysis, chords studies and so on. In a short statement these probably would not require having the guitar at hand.
These certainly would require the instrument. Exercises, picking patterns, finger patterns, speed, precision, stamina and so on. I would say that these are not musical but more about a workout for the muscle memory.
Learning to play music composed by others, that is it. The importance of this cannot be understated, is not just about being able to play your favorite piece but also helps to exercise different fingers and picking patterns, other techniques and apply your theory to understand it better. Not to mention being able to play something when people ask, "Can you play something?" (Improvisation doesn't wow non musicians most of the time.)
I do like to improvise a lot, it's free, it's refreshing, sometimes even some new nice patterns and sounds show up. Anyway, improvisation for me is more about applied theory. In a sense, is good to start a backtracking in Lydian and play along memorising the scales, apply arpeggios and things. Also, if you feel like memorising some licks, improvisation study is the moment for it.
This probably would fit on theory but I think about it not only on the theory but how to play, find interesting tone changes and so on. In a sense, when composing I have the guitar at hand, I'm not gifted with perfect pitch nor very good in imagining sounds. Usually if I'm thinking about a melody I need to play it to double check if sounds good. So this topic is basically theory applied but in a more extensive way, in improvisation there's not much worry on a beginning and an end, setting an atmosphere and have the notes and chords precisely sequenced. In composition these all matter.
Transcribing is something that I didn't do much on my music training, but now I see the value of it. Training your ears, practicing your theory and techniques. It's a great topic to exercise different aspects of your music studies at the same time.