Serhat's Learning Log

I think this is a good analogy. I’m not one who has learned other languages but I believe one of the recommended strategies is to engage in everyday conversation. I think that would be metaphorically equivalent of jamming the blues with other musicians.

And going back to writing, there are courses that teach you grammar, vocabularly, figures of speech, story structures etc but at the end of the day the only way to become a writer is to write. And if you can get feedback all the better as that will help you to improve as a writer.

I don’t think there is a course that will move you from theory to application. You just have to keep listening and playing. I think true to say that is how the legends learned to play, and they didn’t become legends overnight.


Yes! But you do not start speaking French by going to France and chatting up random people, you go to a course for a year first (sorry, can’t seem to get off the analogy :).

Blues is a very established genre. In my experience (I try go to blues jams to listen whenever I can), people are either really invested in it, or they ignore completely. Of all the jams I went to listen to, I haven’t seen even one player who I could call intermediate. All seem to be great players who know what they are doing very well. So I could not bring myself to bite bullet and go ip there to sign up yet. I feel I’m getting closer but it’ll take another year or two if I can’t find someone or something to teach me to accelerate that - whereas on the bass I could do that already only thanks to the amazing teaching method of my teacher despite having a lot less physical skills than I have on the guitar.

Well done on the jamming session. It is amazing what you can do when everything does not go to plan. It sounds like it it all went well in the end and a great learning experience.

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My July, 12 gig is nearing. Today was the second rehearsal from the last. There have been about 7-8 rehearsals and it is a mixture of good musicians, beginners and intermediates.

I previously heard people saying something that I like a lot:

“You may not be the best musician in the room but you can be the most prepared”

With this in mind, I’d like to note down some observations for future reference:

  • Although I like the above advice a lot, I am not following it myself. I am doing too many music things but not doing any of them as well as I like. But I also do not want to drop any of them as I now know how valuable years are. If I delay learning something by years, that’s a massive disadvantage. I need to come to a piece with a balance that works well for me. Haven’t found that yet.

People who sound great at these rehearsals have some common attributes that I’m aiming to learn from:

  • They are on time. Whenever I am at the studio, they are already there and preparing.
  • They are also the most prepared. They know the songs in and out, they do not use rehearsal time to learn the songs. They rarely make mistakes in song structure, counting measures etc.
  • They only pay attention to things that matter. Beginners may worry about things like “the guitar tone here is not exactly like the record”, “Can you play a little quieter there so I can be heard”, “Actually in the 1972 recording there’s a key change here” etc. whereas the good musicians only talk about getting the song structure right, if something is played in a majorly wrong way (like a major chord that needs to be minor or someone playing in wrong key), singer starting at the correct bar etc.
  • They never criticise or point out to mistakes of others. They listen very carefully when they are given feedback.


After July’s pub gig, I decided to stop with gigs and performances for a while (that’s why I’m not signing up for open mics for now) and focus on improving but Justin’s live stream was too good not to give a shot.

I’m not happy with that performance. I should have prepared much more, the other performers put me to shame, all were well prepared and stepped up their game while my performance was similar to a usual open mic. Not that I could have done differently, I used all of my time left from having a full-time job and a toddler left me but I should’ve foreseen that I would not have enough time to practice for what the occasion asked for and maybe not have signed up.

Now that that’s also over, I’m back to practising with an aim to improve several aspects of my playing - clarity, timing and speed. I identified exercises, created a guitar pro file with them and put the file on my desktop. Every day, I open the file whenever I can and do one of the exercises. I think I’ve already seen some improvement.

Also working on vocals - ear training to become better with pitch, and daily singing to become better with projection and conveying emotions.

I intend to continue doing this for a while. Just focus on improving technically on the instrument until I think that I reach ‘the next level’ of playing where I’m happier with how my playing sounds. This means playing chord changes and single notes with a general clarity - it does not need to be perfect but at least easy sections of my playing should have consistent and clean chord changes, muting, the right strings ringing out etc. And it also means being mostly in good sync with the beat - again it does not need to be perfect but 95% of a song I’m playing should not have ear-grabbing timing issues.

Once I hit these goals (presumably somewhere between 3-12 months), I’ll start signing up for performances again. I do want to continue to keep posting here, perhaps I may post recordings of small sections when I think I hit a small goal or something.

On not-so-bright news, during the last pub gig, I lost movement on my left index finger for a couple of seconds and that scared me quite a bit. I did not have it again since but I now have a new anxiety that it may come back and I have a ‘feeling’ on that finger now that’s not pain or tickling, but a sense that it may lose movement again. I looked up finger stretches and started doing them before practising and using the keyboard now. I am also more consciously taking a break and doing short stretches after every 5-10 minutes of playing to reduce the chances of an injury. If it happens again, I’ll book an appointment to have it checked. Look after your health folks, if you haven’t been doing stretches because you haven’t felt the need, I suggest start doing them before you injure yourself. Hopefully, it’ll never happen to you but you won’t see an injury coming, better to minimise the chances now.

That’s it for now.


Sorry to hear about your finger. As with any stressful exercise and I find playing the guitar is a stressful exercise on my hands, you should always warm up first. I must admit, the opposite was happening to me, I was slowly loosing the dexterity in my hands, but playing the guitar has brought it all back even after just a few months.

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