Internet Muso Search Engines
I've been trying to find some like-minded musicians to get working with locally.
The Newbury Jazz Platform Open Nights (second friday of the month down the RAFA club in Newbury) are great - excellent for a quiet night's playing. They also hold open nights in Hungerford (last friday of the month at the Hungerford Royal British Legion) which I'll be trying to get to in the near future. There's talk of a need for volunteers to organise these events - I think I'll be applying.
Also, I've found a whole host of online communities where you can register yourself as a musician, or as a band looking for musicians:
http://www.musicians-in-your-city.co.uk/ - the site's a little wierd, possibly because it's hosted in Germany by German guys, but there are people registering there all the time (i.e. it's current). You can search by region and then county, which is cool.
http://www.berkshirelive.co.uk/ is a forum-based music community for Berkshire which has plenty of contributors going on. I've had a few leads from there, but no concrete stuff yet.
http://www.formingbands.co.uk/ is a cool site, they'll actually mail you if bands with a profile which matches one you supply are looking for someone who plays what you play.
http://www.gig-guide.co.uk/foRum/index.php?c=3 is the forum of gig-guide.co.uk - another forum-based community where musos can advertise themselves and search for acts looking for their talents. This one's a national community so there's ads for the whole country there.
http://www.findit.co.uk/music/musicians.php - a little difficult to wade through, but there's ads for both wanted and available.
http://www.musofinder.co.uk/ - useful site. You register all the usual stuff, and can browse who's on there. Currently there's nearly 3900 "musos". The search facility works really well, by area and what you're looking for.
http://www.diamondfreeads.co.uk/classhome.php?class_id=59&trader_id=6774 - the bands/musicians area of diamondfreeads, a UK free ads paper. If you open a free account and place ads, they'll appear in print in the freeads paper.
phew I'm knackered now.
The Great Practise Plan Rewrite
Well, I have started it. I've organised the month and put in the warmup exercises, rotated for both 4, 5 and 6 string (depending on what I'm playing on the day). Now I'm trying to map the hammeron-pulloff exercises across the month somehow, and formalise the fret/string location for each day so they're rotated.
Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that more of my practise is musical - less of the mechanical stuff (which is good for ensuring my hands are strong and fast), and more emphasis on taxing my brain with arpeggios and chords, preferably in sequences I can play over. Besides, I figure technical playing of scales, arps and chords can be mechanical if you're moving around a la scale tone chord sequences, so it's just as good for my fingers. Thing is, I won't be able to do it while watching Hollyoaks. Gulp - well, that's one forbidden pleasure you'll know about now then.