Notter's Learning Log

Great update to the log Mark. It’s good to see the progress being made and what an integral part of the community you’ve become.

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Thanks for the progress update Mark, good to see again some additional songs uploads to your Learning Log and hope to see plenty more soon!

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Good progress Mark and encouraging to see you sounding out “real” live events. Hopefully the virtual OM experience has encouraged you.

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I had a nice reading through your update! I’m happy for you, that your consolidation is going well. I just started Module 14 with a funny feeling about beeing happy to finish Grade 2 soon, but also a little hesitant about going into Grade 2 consolidation. I feel like having learnt to swim and being ready to dive into a whole ocean of skills to improve. Good to see, how others master their consolidation time without getting distracted. Never thought, there would be so many rabbit holes…

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Hi Mark. Good update. You’re almost there with finishing consolidating grade 2. I do not see nothing wrong with replacing the songs that you have chosen to consolidate certain skills. Some songs can work for more than one skill. Good luck on finding the opportunity to play in front of an in person audience.

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Hello again all, right then let’s get this show back on the road…I can’t believe that my LL has laid dormant since March, no wonder the preview window has asked me if I really want to revive this thread. Yes, yes I do! I’ve been away from the community since about November, just after OM 20 where I cracked out Blame It On Me by George Ezra which was a really fun song to learn and perform, enjoyed that a lot, so rather than pick up the LL from March, let’s just skip to since then…

Personal Updates
I’ll keep these brief as this is a guitar community, and why I love it, and I certainly don’t want to go too off topic from it but in a small way sharing is more for my benefit than anything, by all means feel free to skip over this part! Had a number of issues with my work in the run up to Xmas which completely knocked me in a number of ways and exposed a few other challenges, resulting in a period signed off. During that time (between Xmas and New Year) I managed to contract shingles which frankly I would not wish on anyone. That completely laid me up for a month with some risk to my eyesight in one eye which has fortunately now all cleared with no long term problems. But the after-effects of the disease are still with me. On the upside I’m progressing day by day which is all that matters now. So that’s that, but what you may be more interested in is…

:guitar: Stuff!
I ended up getting quite hung up with my list above on G2 consolidation, actually to a point that was quite detrimental I think. Lithium did get recorded and posted which was good fun to learn and play, if you want a solid power chord workout, seriosusly, go for this!! The remainder I ended up putting unnecesary pressure on myself to do and actually wasn’t quite feeling those items as much, so didn’t put effort into them, and subsequently became deflated that I wasn’t “achieving” them. Enter Sandman I am including in practice for bursts and would like to complete. Nothing Else Matters actually is, if not literally unrealistic at this stage, certainly highly ambitious for between G2 and G3.

So what have I learned from that period? What I would say to anyone getting close to finishing G2 and moving through that period is to really take Justin’s comments on board to focus on having fun and that alone. Don’t get too prescriptive with what you want to play and above all, don’t let a list such as mine become the be all and end all before you move on, you will know when you’re ready.

I took the decision to start looking at Grade 3 in early November time and found the more open nature of the practice session and “think for yourself” approach a real challenge, especially in terms of when to move on. In fact in terms of module completion I’ve not moved on from module 15 yet, again because I’ve got hung up on one element which I haven’t looked at yet, transcribing. Only the other day JK made a comment about not putting much time into it which just made me tut and think why did I not take the same conclusion!! So I am planning on moving to Module 16 imminently and just rolling with it. Turns out thinking for yourself in a musical practice sense takes some effort and self-forgiveness in a way!

What I am pleased with however in terms of the recent practice is

  1. My D Chord Explorer study which in itself has ticked real progress boxes with tabbing it and it functions as an original composition (if not song!!).
  2. Finger gym has been a fun exercise and I’m noticing the benefits in finger dexterity when spending time improvising, and in hammer ons for embellishments in song work.
  3. Slowly slowly I’m manipulating my hands to work on thumb muting and wrapping over for the likes of G. Not a crucial skill but I can see the value and as I’ve got quite large paws I think long term it would serve me well.
  4. Just going easier on myself really, with everything above my ability / inclination to regularly practice has gone a bit all over the place which has made me frustrated, the way the mind works eh?!
  5. I spent a bit of time sorting through my songs list etc and properly putting together my songbook, not a mish-mash of songs I’ve learned along the way, but the ones I will want to keep playing and developing. These are all in a dedicated folder which is really encouraging to have to hand. When I put it together I was pleasantly surprised that it was 15 songs (or 16 now with Karma Police ). That’s more than an album! :wink:
  6. And the best bit I can share which felt really good, despite feeling pretty ropey over the holidays, on Boxing Day whilst with family I finally, finally actually stood up and played and sung in front of them, I haven’t even properly played live in front of my partner in the 3 years I’ve been learning (albeit she’s been in the house whilst I’ve been practicing, it’s still a different kettle of fish doing it under a more performance spotlight). I wasn’t really planning on it to be honest, we’d finished lunch, I wasn’t drinking as I was on driving duty so I just picked up the guitar and went for it. I ended up playing 5 or 6 songs myself and then a couple more of me playing as backing for my niece who’s a terrific voocalist. I wish, in retrospect, one of the family would have recorded a bit of it but there you go, it felt like quite an achievement! :slight_smile:

So what’s next and the aspirations ahead for 2024, I think taking a lesson from my G2 consolidation experience I want to be more relaxed with the goals, but I’ll lay out a few as we stand now:

  1. Just progress through G3 if I finish it or not in 2024 doesn’t matter, just move along and develop
  2. I want to start a project with my songbook to put down multiple tracks and record vocals seperately on some of them which is more about focussing on general musicianship than just guitar. I bought a small midi controller last year which I haven’t made much use of so far.
  3. I stated this last year but it didn’t happen, which is fine, but I would like to go properly live at an OM. Couple of options close to me and I recently discovered my brother’s local opposite him have started doing them. I know the pub (funnily enough! :rofl:) so it’d be familiar surroundings, let’s see what happens there!
  4. Music theory, I’ve purchased the theory course now and will just plan to progress at my own pace, but definitely want to progress here.
  5. Lastly, and this one is a little tentative at the moment simply as I haven’t landed on a decision yet, but inspired by a number of other community members’ progress I’d like to begin a study block of one of the songbooks, just not sure which yet.

And that’s me caught up I think, good for me to lay a lot of that out actually. Onwards and upwards, thanks all!!
:guitar: :heart:


Hi Mark,
Well…that’s quite a story :grimacing:…and then someone would say to me that I’m a man of many words :smile:

Very good to read that you are on the mend and still take what happened to you see and approached very seriously… I think it is indeed important to share such things if it gives you even a little bit of relief or whatever also… that makes being here so pleasant…

And as for playing the guitar stuff etc… yes, yes, you will come along too … :grin:

all the best from here :sunglasses: :mending_heart:


Mark @Notter
Quite a lengthy LL and glad things have turned around for you.
Too many items to comment on them all so will just pick up on a couple.
Songbook - I am about at the same stage as you and spent some time over holiday period sorting out the songs I wanted to keep and work on. Do you fall into the trap that I had, that’s a nice song I will add it to the list, had to control myself.
Theory - definitely worth doing, not sure it is making me a better player but much happier knowing why I am doing it, hope you enjoy the course.

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You have found the most important goal.

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Thanks Michael!

Re songbook, yep I’m with you on properly zero-ing in to songs that were worthy. I started with ones I’ve done at OMs as I wouldn’t have out the effort into those otherwise, that took up close to half. The rest needed a bit of a critical evaluation but an overall good experience to go through.

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Welcome back Mark.
Life and all that eh!

Just starting Grade3 myself and your relaxed approach is resonating with me. It allows us to think about a direction and find things in the grade that may be useful.
Onwards and upwards indeed! :guitar:

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Hi Mark, be sure to update us all if you get to do that live play. Would be great to hear about it.


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Love it that you are back Mark!
A cool read about what you have achieved, not bad at all!
Sounds awsome what you did on the family gathering, bet that felt a little pressurized at the start :rofl:
Just go for that OM Mark… youre singing and playing are more than good enough for it. Dobt think about it, just do it. Bet you money that you will not regret :grin:

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Good to see you back Mark.

Sorry to here about your ups and downs but looks like you are putting them behind you. I think your plans for 24 make good sense. I’ve just gone back over Grades 1 and 2 to pick up on the new stuff and working through Grade 3 and I’d agree its a loser framework and as I have said recently, that Justin getting you to think for yourself. So just take your time, you know my mantra.

Good for you on the singing in front of the family, I’ve still not done that after all these years but it sounded like great fun. The songbook reorg makes sense as well. I recently rebuilt mine from the ground up, losing a few songs I’d learnt and even OMed but had no desire to perform again. So its been restructured into a new group of “set lists” 2 performance playlists, practice/refine, memorise and learn. And I now take a least one day off a week to do nothing but songs, normally Songbook Saturday or Sunday. So make sure you take time out from learning.

There seems to have been a lot of 5 point plans around in the last few years :wink: and yours makes far more sense than the ones that get most air time. All the best for the coming year !


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Nice to see you back, Mark. I assume at some time in the future you’ll disappear again and then walk back in the door. I imagine it will be a bit like Kramer enters the room… :rofl:

I enjoy reading people’s personal updates, really if it’s all-guitar-all-the-time the community is not as interesting as getting to know a bit more of the whole person. I think my last LL was half non-guitar updates and half guitar. Bummer about your shingles & work challenges - I hope all is OK now on the health & work front.

I read this:

And then I read this, as #2 on your goals:

Perhaps give yourself the permission to quit such a big task if you stop enjoying it :smiley: Wouldn’t want it to become a chore like a fixed list of difficult graduation songs! I personally have had a few moments where I was working on something too hard and guitar started to feel a bit like too much hard work and I had to go - nope! - and do something else. Some things I went back to and others I haven’t.

lol, transcribing was really hard when I started it. So glad I skipped it, it was one of those things… my ear is much more developed now and transcribing is a lot easier. Still not good at it though.

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Same here, although I probably started looking at 15 in the new year and still on it. Still not sure I like the loose nature of this yet, but time will tell.

Have had a go at this but wont be taking it any further. At this time I can’t see the wood from the trees. It all sounds lice trees to me. I have other things to work on.

I do this at the start of most practice session along with the finger stretching. Found it real beneficial.

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Glad you’re feeling better, Mark. I know what it’s like having a bug that just hangs on and on (and isn’t covid). I like your new plan. when I get a little further into Grade 2, I may just steal a little bit of it. :sweat_smile:

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Fair comments as always JK :slight_smile:

I’m definitely approaching that project I mention as a fun exercise, not a must do, and not with a set number of songs or anything in mind. It’s also a little bit about improving my DAW and video skills as well as guitar / musicianship. Definitely worth the callout though so appreciated for that.

I know you’re jesting with your opening comment with the Kramer reference, but it’s actually quite on point with a little of what I’ve been dealing with. That’s about me realising that I can be an all or nothing kind of character with associated moods that go with it. Knowing it is one thing, not getting frustrated with it is another, and attempting to get a better balance is yet another!! Fun times :wink:

Cheers mate.

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Ok things are going better, I’m pleased to read this!

Thanks for sharing your update, so much going on in only one year!

16 songs!!! I will just say you’re doing great…no I also have to say I do envy you!!

Absolutely. It’s the way I like it, maybe because I come from a not so good background of bad habits and self doubt, my guitar journey re-started with a meaning of self-acceptance and forgiveness…as Justin says it must be fun first of all! Being able to read your needs and move on accordingly is gold Mark so be aware that the effort you put in is going to pay dividends in the long run.

Music Theory…sometimes I think that our own pace is actually the only one available and the most valuable too. Justin’s Course is amazing because it gives you notions but also it leads you to find out things for yourself and …ohh I’m being able to do something special to my heart putting at work what I’m learning with the PMT…I’ll @ you as I think it’ll take the form of a avoyp soon! Again…it’s about you, about your individual needs, about what you love!


Glad to hear you are on the mend, Mark.

Not wanting to make this about me, but too had a dance with shingles earlier this year. Fortunately caught it early, so was really mild.

Health can be such a bummer, first physically and then emotionally. And that second part it seems to me can be more of a challenge to overcome than the physical.

Have fun, progressing and getitng back to full speed.