Lots of people do it, maybe you do too: avoid learning a song because it demands that you play barre chords. I’m not going to suggest that barre chords aren’t a challenge, for most people they are at least in the beginning. But here are some things you can do to make the learning process […]
Droning or dynamic: be more compelling onstage!
When we refer to someone as a dynamic performer, we mean that person commands attention. They draw an audience in and make a lasting impression. You might see this as pure talent, and sometimes it is. But these dynamic performers all make use of an important musical tool, also called dynamics. “Dynamics” in music refer […]
Strum series 3: wrist, hand, and arm
Strum Secrets 3: wrist, hand, and arm In this series I’ve been exploring some different approaches to strumming, and how to create a variety of sounds and rhythms by varying your technique. Just like all other aspects of playing an instrument, there is an ideal of “perfect” technique balanced by the reality that there are […]
The Perpetual Beginner: confidence, competence, and self-limiting beliefs.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year talking with people about how they see themselves as players and musicians. I work with students with widely different levels of skill and musical goals, so of course everyone has their own story. But one thing I hear from a lot of people is that […]
Strum secrets 2: percussion and tonal quality
Guitars are percussion instruments that you strum. Like drums, we hit them to make a sound. Even a light touch has an “attack”: the way the finger or pick hits the string. The attack is the beginning of what we might call the “envelope” of the sound. If you’ve ever looked at audio waveforms on […]
The simple first step to getting better
Honestly, it’s so simple that you might wonder why it wasn’t obvious, but it’s not. The first step to playing better is to start noticing why you can’t. Everything we do on any instrument has two elements, mental (intentional) and physical (mechanical). On guitar, we direct the hand to the notes we want to play. […]