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Guitar Practicing or Guitar Playing?
Just because you're holding your guitar doesn't mean that you're playing it, and just because you're playing your guitar doesn't mean that you're practicing. There is a real difference and it needs to be acknowledged if you want to improve your level of playing skill. Some people say they have spent the entire day practicing their guitar when in reality, all they've done was sit in front of the TV all day eating cheesy poofs. The sad thing is that they really do believe it was practicing since they had their guitar on their lap next to their cheesy poofs all day. Most of us know someone who does this and we may even be guilty ourselves.
In order to truly improve your skills you really need to avoid any distractions, no TV, no food, no friends and no phone. Just you, a guitar, an amp and maybe some reference materials. Speaking of amps, keep the distortion turned down. Remember, this is practice, not playing. The distortion will only hide your mistakes. You need to hear your mistakes clearly so you can correct them.
If you're a beginner you might want to practice basic guitar scales or guitar chords. Make sure you have the necessary reference material handy so you don't spend your time doing things wrong. Keep in mind that what you practice is reinforced so if you're practicing your scales wrong, then you've not only wasted your time; you've also reinforced your mistakes.
So what should you practice? Since I've never heard you play I can't tell you what you need to improve on, but I can make suggestions to make your practice more effective.
Don't turn your amp up to 11 and play every solo you know. This is playing the guitar not practicing the guitar. It might be fun and a great way to blow off some steam, but it won't improve your skills.
Don't let practice get stale. You need a variety of things to keep your mind from wondering. Practice your scales for an hour then work on chords or music theory. Mix it up. Just be sure not to over do any one area because you'll get bored and at that point your practice won't be as effective.
Don't just go through the motions. Part of a good practice session is finding problems and figuring out solutions. If you're having trouble fingering a particular chord, then analyze the problem and try to find a solution. You might think that your fingers are to small or weak, when the reality is that you only need to improve your technique. When I first learned to make barre chords I had a rough time making all six strings sound clear. Now I can make them all sound clear with very little effort. I would also add that I don't believe my hand strength has much to do with it at all.
Use a metronome when practicing. This will help you improve your timing and make everything sound better.
Learn the basics first. If your beginning guitar you should know and understand the basic relationship between chords and scales. This will help you to better understand the logic of the chord patterns when you learn songs and what scale you should use to solo over top of that particular chord pattern. Check out my lesson "Guitar Scales and Chord Triads" at "www.guitarmetal.com" for a visual reference that might help.
Pick a time of day to practice when you feel most alert. If you're groggy or unfocused, your practice efforts will be compromised. You might work better if you break up your practice session into several times throughout the day. For example, maybe practice an hour in the morning and a couple hours in the evening. You know when you feel the most alert so take advantage of those times.
Be prepared with things to work on. Don't just sit down and noodle around for a couple of hours. Before you sit down you should already know what you're going to work on. This will help maximize your time.
Building Your Digital Music Collection
The previous two Tech Tips took a look at eight basic features of portable MP3 players worth considering before laying down some serious money on one of these devices. Once you have a nice new MP3 player with plenty of space for music, you need to fill it up! There are several ways to go about building your digital music collection, and we'll take a look at a few ways to do so.
Can You Really Learn To Play a Musical Instrument From an Online Course?
Out of the 250 million people in the United States, about 25 million of them play an instrument of some kind, or used to when they were in school and would like to pick up where they left off. Another 30 million or so sing in a church choir, a barbershop quartet, or at the very least, in the shower.
Les Paul Vintage Gibson Guitars
Les Paul vintage Gibson guitars were first producedin 1952. These guitars were the first solid body electricthat Gibson had made. The 1952 version of the LesPaul vintage guitar has a gold top nitro-celluloselacquer finish, and no serial number. This Gibsonwas designed by Les and included Kluson tuners,a pair of P90 pickups, and retailed for $210.
Micing a Kick Drum
This months tip deals with micing kick drums.
The Joy of Spontaneous Expression
Do you remember finger-painting as a child? How fun it was. How exciting to be able to dip your fingers into a color that called out to you and put it on paper. The excitement of it all came from the feeling that you were an explorer, looking into uncharted territories of your own creative source.
How To Write A Song
Did you ever wish that it was your song playing on the radio? It could be. It is not that hard once you know the formula. With a little creativity, a little knowledge, a little luck and a good formula to follow, your song could be one of the next biggest hits.Songwriting comes easy for some, and is very difficult for others. I have actually written songs in my sleep, and immediately upon awaking, written it as quickly as I could get the words on down on paper.What I want to discuss here is popular songwriting, like the songs you hear on the radio. A good pop song, whether rock, country, middle of the road, is composed of two things: a catchy tune and some good lyrics.There is a formula that most great songwriters use to write great songs. It regards the structure used to write a song. Granted, it is music and it is art, so the rules are not hard and fast. But if you want to increase your chances of getting your song on the radio, it is a good starting point.Here is the formula. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus.Write that down on paper leaving plenty of space between each word and this will be your script.VerseThe verse is the part of the song that tells the story, the part that leads to the chorus. Each verse is usually different, telling a different part of, or adding to, the story. It usually explains how you got to the things you are singing about in the chorus.Chorus.The chorus is the part of the song that is repeated after each verse. The lyrics are usually the same each time the chorus comes around. The verse usually leads to the chorus, and the chorus is usually the pay off for listening to the verse. Does that make sense?Here is a lame example (you did not think I would give you my best work, did you?):(verse)My dog is sick, he's got a tickHe's my best friend, don't let it end(chorus)Oh, woe is me, can't you seeWoe is me, will I ever be free(verse)My car broke down, just out of townIt got towed in, but it's broke again(chorus)Oh, woe is me, can't you seeWoe is me, will I ever be freeNow, if you would kindly stop laughing at my lame song for a minute, I want you to think about whether or not you understand my point. Songwriting is story telling. The verse tells the problems, the chorus expresses the results or the emotions.All right, now that you have that mastered, let's tackle the bridge. Ah, yeah, there is more to the song than the pain and the release. We need the diversion. That is what the bridge is; it is the diversion from the verse and the chorus.The bridge may have a slightly different melody to it, or it could even have a different rhythm or a different tempo (Elvis' "Suspicious Minds" did a great job on this technique).Let's go back to the lame song and add a bridge: (verse)My dog is sick, he's got a tickHe's my best friend, don't let it end(chorus)Oh, woe is me, can't you seeWoe is me, will I ever be free(verse)My car broke down, just out of townIt got towed in, but it's broke again(chorus)Oh, woe is me, can't you seeWoe is me, will I ever be free(bridge)Tomorrow is a better day, I've got a new truck on the wayMy dog just had a flea it seems, so once again I'll live my dreams(chorus)Oh, woe was me, can't you seeWoe was me, but now I'm freeThe bridge offers a solution to the problems I was having. You don't want to leave your listener on the edge of suicide, you want to give them hope.Notice, I also changed up the wording of the chorus. This was done to reflect my new found joy.One more thing on formula. It can be anyway you want, but most verses and chorus come in lines of 4. So, instead of this:(verse)Oh, woe is me, can't you seeWoe is me, will I ever be free(verse)My car broke down, just out of townIt got towed in, but it's broke againit would be:Oh, woe is me, can't you seeWoe is me, will I ever be freeMy car broke down, just out of townIt got towed in, but it's broke againThe same goes for the chorus. Again, if you are creative, do it however you want. But for a new songwriter, this gives you some guidelines to scratch out and start carving out your new creation.One more thing, do not make the notes to the melody so high that your fans cannot sing along. We are certainly all not Stevie Wonder.
Are iPods Changing the Way We Listen to Music
They're everywhere, and not only are they everywhere, they look cool too. Since its launch in 2001, 10 million have sold and 8 million of those were in 2004. So welcome to the next generation. 8 tracks, records, cassettes, CDs, and now the iPod.
The Art Of Practicing - How To See Real Results
I have always believed that success, in practically any subject you can think of, is a direct result of "clear thinking". That is, the ability to understand very clearly what needs to be achieved and the action to set about surmounting very necessary hurdles in order to reach those goals. Less than successful people are either not clear in their goals or for one reason or another give up along the way. It's leveling that rough terrain, along with a clearly defined end result in mind that will get you there in the end. The success roadmap might go something like this:
Music Practice Techniques for Learning Repertory
These practice tips were written for fiddlers. I've used them in classical violin also. You will find they apply to any music learning goal you have set for yourself.
Music and Healing: The Power of Meaningful Words and Music
We All Have a Favorite Piece of Music that Moves Us to a Special Place in Our Hearts. A Conversion About the Music We Love and How It Colors Our Lives.
Reaching For The Soul Zone
Every searching artist wants to get there. It's that magical place where something takes over, you know, when something bigger than you whispers in your ear and says "Relax - I'll take it from here!"
ADIRONDACK versus SITKA SPRUCE
Both of these timbers make great soundboards on flat top acoustic guitars. They have had popularity at different times in history heres the story so far.
Review: Medications - All Your Favorite People In One Place
One of the most intriguing aspects of music is how easily it can transform one's mood. The right notes, at the right tempo, and all of a sudden, BAM! You're in a good mood. This 3 piece from Washington, DC knows exactly how to pull this off. Consisting of members of the now defunct band "Faraquet", Medications oddly enough, sounds a lot like Faraquet. It's peculiar how a band consisting of the same musicians can sound very similar. After the Faraquet breakup 2 of the founding members created Medications and while the sound is very similar, the new third wheel does add some new elements into the mix. A mere 6 months since the release of their Medications EP, they have returned with their first full length Your favorite people all in one place available now on Dischord.
Oh My Aching Head! Can Music Really Make You Feel Better?
We all know, if only instinctively, that music has a profound effect on us. If we didn't believe that music affects us then singing lullabies to calm children and help them sleep wouldn't be universal. In reality melody, harmony, and rhythm probably impacts the human brain in ways that are far more profound than we realize. We all know that an up tempo melody from our favorite performer stirs and energizes us just as a slower melody can help us relax or even prompt sad emotions from the depths of our soul, but did you know that evidence has been found linking the merging of melody, harmony, and rhythm with pain management?
Growing and Keeping Loyal Fan Support
Fan support for musicians is a two way street. You make the music, release the CDs, and play the shows. You need fans to show up at the gigs, buy the CDs, or spread the buzz about you or you don't have an audience. When these two elements are out of balance, your musical endeavors can get sidelined.
Play The Piano Like A Pro
Meet the 12 Major Notes:
Tips for a Great Recording Session
You know your songs are great (and so does your girl/boyfriend, family, pets etc), and you finally decided to record an album in a real studio. That's great! But what actually happens when you get there?
Killer Piano Playing Secrets of a Chord Addict!
I wish you could have seen me play the piano when I was just learning. I was the nearest thing to "hopeless" that you could imagine. I was into baseball, not music ? and my heroes were Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams. (And by the way, I still have a picture of those 3 guys on my wall.) My dream was to hit baseballs like them, not to play the piano.
Try Some New Music!
Stuck in a music rut?
Singing: The Tonic of Life
Most people these days would associate singing with the popular music they see and hear on the radio and tv. This can make you feel like its beyond you, like it's some form of high skill that you need to be born with. A natural talent if you like. In fact singing is much more a part of our everyday lives than you might realize, and it can be a tonic for an improved state of mind and recipe for stress reduction and better health.
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