Sept. 21, 2018
The “Big Secret” Revealed
As you scroll through the thousands of guitar instruction videos in an effort to extract the information you need to play the guitar, you end up spending hours going from one example to another only to find the same information being explained from many points of view.
All claim to have the Secret to doing one thing or another and is accompanied by a system of some kind to accommodate the promise. Some are valid and some are absolutely incorrect. There are no video instruction Police to validate their accuracy.
If you are new to learning about music and how to play the Guitar you have no way of knowing which system is right for you or if you are being misinformed by someone.
Learning is not one-dimensional. There are different kinds of students. Goals will vary from person to person. The only constant through all of this is the actual information.
Whether you are a child, adult or a senior, a C Major scale is a C Major scale. Like wise if you play Country, Rock, Jazz, or Pop music, a G7 chord is still a G7 chord. The notes are identical.
Here is what I am trying to say. The “Big Secret” is………there is no big Secret. You get out of it what you put into it just like anything else. First you learn, then you practice then you get better at it.
The initial awkwardness passes quickly and if you give yourself the chance and a little time, you will learn to enjoy the process of learning.
Accept things like having sore fingers, it means you are practicing, and guess what? When your fingers stop hurting you have reached a plateau and will be playing music painlessly.
Once the process starts it will never end, you will continue to learn forever. How great is that?
Forget about picking up a Guitar the first time and becoming an instant “Guitar God”, it’s an illusion. Don’t base your progress on short cuts, secrets and bad habits.
Instead, learn how to play the Guitar the right way and have fun doing it by finding the right teacher.
Sept. 5th 2018
It’s a world of artificial intelligence, cars with no drivers and audio/video special effects that can do the impossible. Music has become a venue for mathematical combinations outside the limitations of what is humanly possible.
I play one note on my guitar. A computer can multiply it, harmonize it, arpeggiate it, play it backwards or make random combinations by clicking a button or two. Add social media, go viral and millions of listeners are mesmerized by this digital pied piper.
All accomplished with two fingers, one to play the note and one to select the appropriate button for the desired affect.
A new art form has evolved from the human mind’s ability to delegate. Just like any other function that requires time and effort an outlet for creative expression has been assigned to computers, and we have only scratched the surface. The more powerful computers become the deeper music creators can reach into infinity. The process of songwriting in todays’ world will never be the same.
I am a multi instrumentalist. It makes approaching technology a little easier. I’m old school so I can tap into the music world from my analog roots. I basically do what I’ve always done and have a computer record the results with the help of an interpreter, an analog to digital converter. To hear it back the interpreter reverses its’ function and converts back from digital to analog and plays it back through an amplifier and speakers.
Basically it’s not much different from the old days of recording into a tape machine and playing it back but that is where the similarity ends. Once you get into editing and mixing it is a whole new world. Did you ever copy and paste a repeatable phrase on a tape recorder? When you add the option of MIDI another dimension is added.
At the end of the day we end up with a song and it’s the listener who will decide which song they hit the play button on. What determines the impact of the music has little to do with your instrument or your computer. It will never change. One human to another, can you feel what I’m feeling? Does it strike a nerve? Does it resonate? I can only write about who I am and you can only listen as who you are whether it’s smoke signals or a collaboration between man and machine.
Aug 23, 2018
Make A New Friend
I took a few Guitar lessons but my fingers got so sore I couldn’t touch anything for a week…… my friend tried to show me a couple of chords but when I tried to play them they sounded so bad I knew I didn’t have any talent
I thought I was doing pretty good until I heard my 8 year old cousin play 10 times better………. So I put my guitar in the closet and haven’t picked it up since.
These are only a few examples of why so many closets are hiding the abandoned potential of what could be a musical friendship. That’s right, a friendship. Music is therapeutic, it never disagrees and always listens to the you nobody knows.
If it were a piano you couldn’t put it in the closet. You would be reminded every time you walked passed it what motivated you to make the effort in the first place. It might even make you reconsider and try again.
The out of sight out of mind principle becomes the deciding factor as your lonely 6-string friend sits quietly collecting dust
Put it on a guitar stand right next to the TV. Let it stare you down every time you watch your favorite show. It will remind you of a special part of your psyche that needs attention. For every ounce of effort you will receive a pound of nourishment for your soul. The more you learn the more you want to learn and the better you feel.
Don’t let the initial awkwardness of learning something new turn you away from what could be a lifelong relationship filled with endless discoveries and amazing rewards. Make the effort, make a new friend, you won’t be sorry.
Aug. 7th 2018
I Was An Expert
I have a Masters degree in procrastination, fear and letting others decide what I should be doing. I’m an expert. On the side, after the energy of the day was sucked out of me by “doing the right thing” for the wrong reasons I was an Artist. No one knew. I couldn’t figure out why my music was piling up in my computer, on my desk and following me around like a puppy wanting a little attention. My songs were always in my thoughts and yet I wasn’t interacting with anyone or anything about the reason why I was put here on this earth. I followed this tail-chasing pattern for many years.
Here’s the good news. I would love to take credit for this but in all honesty I can’t. Over a period of a few months as I was playing my music to some new acquaintances I got the exact same message from several angles. My songs were great and they wanted to hear more. All my efforts, hours of practicing, studying, going to seminars attending webinars and learning about the technology used in my craft represented the path I was really on. I don’t know why I didn’t see the affect it had on me but others in no uncertain terms gave me the opportunity with their feedback to see I had become who I am in spite of limitations I imposed on myself. The universe by-passed the fear and self doubt and made sure I had what I needed to stay on the course laid out for me in the “Big Plan” of the Gods. It was time.
What is the moral of this story? Understanding one’s purpose is a process. It’s something we can’t do by ourselves because our self-talk is not always the best advice to take. Many times it is the worst. Interaction and feedback will make our lives better. Remember, the team wins the game.
July 25, 2018
When I was a kid, about 4th grade, I picked up my father’s guitar and placed 1 finger on the first fret of the 2nd string, strummed the top 3 strings together and played my first chord. No one showed me what to do it was just a curiosity based action. It wasn’t totally out of nowhere, both parents were musicians and music was always in the air but I took the initiative and owned the experience.
Now years later that one moment in time stands out as the first step of a life long quest for knowledge. In that instant, mind body spirit and guitar were one. My whole being resonated and I was that chord. It was my beginning.
I put the guitar down and went on with my day and for that matter went on with my life as a kid. I didn’t know it then but from that point on there was a pull in the direction of music sometimes subtle sometimes mesmerizing and all roads led back to the “feeling” of that first 3 note chord.
When I teach a child how to do something, or answer a question about music I think of that feeling I had and how important it was to my direction in life. I think to myself “this could evoke their curiosity, this could be their “beginning”. It’s a responsibility I take very seriously.
I have come to realize the experience is not limited to children. Someone at any time in their life can start a new interest in music or reboot an old one. Something in the back of your mind that has always popped up and tantalized your senses. Have you ever said to yourself I’ve always wanted to learn more about music or the Guitar? It could be your beginning!
All you have to do is turn those thoughts into actions. Go for it!