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Day 4: Listen & Observe

Here in the fourth day of Perfect Practice, we're addressing an aspect of musicianship that should be simple, yet many players find it the hardest thing to do. Day 4 is all about the great impact listening and observing can have on your practice and playing.

In jams and performances, your playing just isn't worth squat unless it makes harmonic and rhythmic sense within the musical setting. You also can learn a great deal from other instrumentalists in a band as you notice how a piano player phrases a solo line or where a bass player drops the beat. (To that end, you might want to check out our multi-track video jam software, In The Jam.)

No matter how you're working with lessons, watch the instructor take the first pass while you just listen. It's hard not to play with that guitar in your hands, we know, but give yourself a chance to absorb the lesson. Then play along on the next pass or try the part over a jam track.

If you have an easy way to record yourself, see if your version matches the performance on vid. Listening to yourself on playback offers objective perspective, and can make you much more aware of how you want to shape your playing. You don't have to record CD-quality audio — simply an iPhone or handheld voice recorder will help.

At TrueFire we're very proud to be a gathering place for serious musicians from all around the world. This huge community is now laid at your feet. The benefits can't be underestimated, and we hope you will give back as much as you draw from the knowledge of your fellow musicians. Explore the community and become a part of it by leaving comments and interacting with others!

It is our ongoing mission to offer insight and access to professional musicians. We keep the cameras rolling whenever we sit down with a pro, and the content is always available for your viewing.

To name just a few of our friends in the industry: Larry Carlton, Steve Vai, Robben Ford, Tommy Emmanuel, Pat Martino, Dweezil Zappa, Sonny Landreth, Johnny Hiland, Laurence Juber, Andy Timmons, and hundreds more.

Are we bragging? Well, yeah! We're proud of to know these guys and thrilled we can offer you access. You can check out their inspiring performances, revealing interviews, gear demos, and much more via a number of formats here on TrueFire.

Here's another cool thing: whenever possible, we open the lines of communication so that you can submit your own questions and get them answered by pros, as in our Fireside Chats, TrueFire Live, and via our social media and blogs.

So, keep your ears open. And until next time, practice smart and play hard.

What We're Listening To

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