Monthly Archives: January 2008

The Greatness of Music

One of the wonderful things about music is its ability to be enjoyed by people across the world, regardless of any differences of any sort, whether they be cultural, religious, ideological, financial status or age group.  It’s very normal for human beings to disagree on things, even two people that care for each other dearly will often have polar opposite views on things. So when you’re with others that you may not even know it’s easier to disagree or be misunderstood. Many times I’ve thought that maybe if we could just all be quiet for a few moments, forget that we have opinions on anything at all and just listen to and feel the emotions coming from music, we’d all be a little happier and we’d be in greater harmony with each other.  I guess the other art form that has a similar effect is dance, but guess what we dance to. 

In many countries boys often don’t want to sing, or at least they think it’s not so cool to.  This is very unfortunate because we generally feel better after singing, at least I do.  So where this is leading is to remind you to sing more often and just for a moment forget that there are differences on anything, sit back and enjoy music and recognise that somebody somewhere that may not see the world the same as we do, is probably listening to and enjoying the exact same music as we are. Music has incredible power to bring us into harmony within ourselves and others.

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The best time to Play Guitar

I find that different times of day are suited for playing certain things.  Over the years I’ve noticed if I get up early and start playing, it’s a very good time to practice things like slow exercises, reading very simple fingerstyle/classical guitar pieces.  By doing this it sets me up for the rest of the day to play other things musically.   By playing simple material it enables me to play with greater feeling because I don’t have to think so much about technique aand if the material is good and musical sounding it puts me into a calm mood.  When players are relaxed they play their best.  If  I start with complex material it can create a feeling of frustration, I consider very important to feel good about practicing and not feel like I’m a workhorse with a goal that I may never reach.

 Once I’m comfortable I’ll eventually start working through more complex or new material.  Because I have already got some satisfaction  back from the music, I don’t feel so bad if the new material isn’t quite as good as I want it to be or if I’m not feeling as if I can’t play the more complex music to the standard I had hoped for.

As the sun goes down I like to sit outside on the balcony and play ten or so instrumentals and sing for a while, I’ll often do this til the mozzies get to the point where I notice them.  I find it very important to play outside whee there’s trees, and from where I sit I can see hills and small mountains, usually a lot of birds singing.

My favourite time to play is about nine thirty at night, the world is starting to be quiter then , the air seems better acoustically and because my fingers have done some music throughout the  day the music is very alive.  I also find this time of day and later is the most suitable for recording, the world is much more sensitive at these hours and it’s easy to become lost in the music.

 When I used to work more live, I found it difficult to get up early and play because the playing late leaves you in a very different emotional state. 

To sum this up, it’s the ability to create the right mood to do music that is the most important thing. If we get it wrong and not happy and get frustrated, it’s easy to lose interest, this is a very important thing to consider.  It’s not just about picking up an instrument and playing, it’s about creating the necessary environment to get something back for the time we are putting  in.

I’m wondering what other players do.  Why not leave a comment?

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Learn how to read music

Over the past 20 years or so there’s been a tendency for guitar players to move away from reading music.  As a strong reader of music myself, you might find it odd if I were to say that a guitarist doesn’t really need to learn to read music.  Most guitar players read guitar TAB these days, but I don’t really think it’s a substitute for reading music because it’s more of a ‘monkey -see – monkey – do’ approach. Yes it does enable a player to know where to put their fingers but it’s fairly useless past that point because there’s no real underlying development of the understanding how music all fits together.  However it does enable someone to copy-cat guitar, neither good or bad really, just a way of getting your fingers into the positions used by other players. 
I think that it’s easy for players to over-train themselves.  This is a very common guitarist problem where players end up rehearsing a whole lot of finger movements and eventually play it at a ridiculous speed to the point where it sounds not unlike a coffee percolator.  This is the opposite end of the spectrum, players that learn to follow the dots and create ‘music by numbers’.

I think to be a balanced player it is not necessary to learn to read but overall it is useful because it enables the guitarist to play with other players and put together arrangements of songs rather quickly.  Also it allows the guitarist to draw from other musical resources, such as the melodic lines of sax players or the harmony ofn piano players.  But the secret to this is not to get caught in the trap of putting the technical heady side above the end result, which is music. 

Reading music is actually rather easy, I will be developing resources shortly that will simplify the process.  After playing for almost 40 years I can’t understand why so many music teachers complicate the issue and confuse the students.

I am currently developing resources and will be making a lot of the information I have already developed available for free at some point in the near future.  To be eligible to receive the information, please do the guitar survey.

Click HERE to take the GUITAR PLAYER SURVEY

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Filed under acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, learning guitar, MUSIC