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Category Archives: Music

Learning Classical Guitar

Surfing the net, you will find quite a few websites devoted to the guitar. Instructional manuals on how to play classical guitar music, various firms advertising free classical guitars, and in-depth classes on how to play like a professional in just one hour, yeah good luck with that. Some vendors charge for course materials, whereas others offer a little bit of information for free on their website. Some free websites will give you short classes on the correct posture, the proper playing position and where to begin.

Reading classical music of any kind can be a challenge. Unlike regular sheet music, there are a lot of special notations and marks around the notes that can be very confusing to the uninitiated. Some free websites will actually list what all these notes and symbols mean and how to play them on your classical guitar.

Your fingernail is an essential part of playing this instrument. Interestingly, in classical guitar music it is suggested that you grow your fingernail out just a little bit in your strumming hand. This may sound silly but you should seek information on proper grooming and care of your fingernail. You want to play classical guitar music well, but don’t want to damage your precious little finger do you? Needless to say, playing classical guitar is part art and part science.

The music has been with us for multiple generations. That’s great news if you’re looking for sheet music. In many cases, after a certain number of years have passed from the original composer’s death, music then becomes public domain and copyright laws no longer apply. That simply means that you can probably find a lot of classical guitar music for free. While many companies will no doubt still try and charge you for complex pieces, keep looking and you will find your favorite classical guitar music theme for quick print or download. Along with sheet music there are also MP3’s and Midi files available to listen to so you can get a real good feel of the music as well as the notes.

Improve Your Rockstar Voice

Get energized before a performance.

You’re about to go on stage and all of sudden, you’re getting nervous. If you feel jumpy and kind of nervous before a performance, you can use it to your advantage!

Do some quick jumping jacks or squats or push-ups backstage. Not only are you working off your stage fright, but your getting more air flowing through your body for a maximum performance with your rockstar voice.

Try to cut back or stop smoking.

Smoking can only hurt your chances of having a rockstar voice. I’ve heard a buddy of mine mention how he screams with so much more rasp since he starting smoking.

I hope he knows he’ll be talking with more rasp for the rest of his life. Smoking will damage your lungs, constrict your air flow, and ruin your vocal chords. Try to quit if you can.

Be aware of how loud you speak before a performance.

If your band is playing next at the rock show, you’re probably walking around mingling with fans and having a good time. Did you know you could be ruining your voice for the night?

Those places are loud! Next time you lean in to talk to someone, lean in and plug one of your ears with your finger. This way you can here the natural reverb in your skull and you won’t feel you need to yell to be heard.

Lay off the vibrato.

There are lots of professionally trained singers that will argue with me on this. I completely understand that.

For Opera and other classically trained vocalists, vibrato is a tasteful addition to their vocal arsenal. If you’re looking to sing rock, pop, metal, country, or any other radio-type genre, vibrato is your enemy.

Did you know that most untrained singers can’t control vibrato? That means that most of the time the judges of American Idol hear someone sing in vibrato in the early auditions, they assume the person can’t control it.

Information of Guitar Music Theory

Let me tell you some of the basics, music theory as it applies to guitar is built up of the following: scales, steps, chords and chord progressions. Each of these contribute to the overall song. It can be thought of as a recipe as if you are making a type of food. Start with a tortilla, add some rice, beans, some chicken, sauce and cheese. These are each parts in the recipe that contribute to the overall delicious burrito. The better each of these ingredients are, the more well defined and unique the taste but each of them contribute, even if they have been tasted before to making it something you can recognize.

To make a song you need to use different things like: a major scale, a chord progression and rhythm . A scale is typically a major or minor scale, it represents the relationship that notes have to each other. The C Major Scale is defined as: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. A G Major Scale is defined as: G A B C D E F# G. Now each of these has a step sequence between them. It helps to use different amounts of steps like a whole or a half step. For C Major it’s: C whole step D whole step E half step F whole step G whole step A whole step B half step C.

The next piece of information to understand with regards to guitar music theory is that there are also chords. A chord is like a scale, you typically only hear two types, major and minor chords. A C Major chords looks like this: (C E G), the intervals that define this are: C 2 steps E 1.5 steps G. A major chord is defined as: 2 steps – second note – 1.5 steps – third note and a minor chord is defined as: 1.5 steps – second note – 2 steps – third note.

Now that you know something about scales and chords you can see that you need to learn about progressions. If you can start to add these variations in to the progression: ACE, DFA, CEG, FAC, GBD, EGB and BEG you will have achieved a song. You alternate what chords you play and then that is the building block of the song. There are plenty of other resources out there to make sure you learn guitar music theory. I hope you have the terminology down now so that in the the future when you see how these relate to styles you will know that you can just play certain chords and scales with progressions and make happy songs.

Guitar Music Notation Tools

* Guitar Pro

While you will probably find Power Tab sufficient for many purposes it does have a few limitations and quirks and being free, doesn’t evolve much. If you want something a little easier to use and more powerful then it is well worth forking out US $60 or so for Guitar Pro (you can try a free trial version before deciding).

Guitar Pro is a very complete tab editor and playback tool that offers all the features of Power Tab plus a few more and is friendlier to use to boot, for example you can enter music with an on screen guitar fretboard or from your instrument via MIDI. Note that Guitar Pro can read and edit all your Power Tab files, but the reverse is not true.

Apart from ease of use the main advantage Guitar Pro offers is better sound quality and easier control of playback. It has a useful looper feature to repeat a selected passage at slowly increasing speed to help you learn it. Guitar Pro is also good at handling multiple tracks and instruments, useful if you want to create rhythm and lead parts or arrange your music with bass, drums or other instruments.

Finally, it’s worth noting that you can find many guitar parts tabbed in Guitar Pro format on the Net.

* Forte

Forte is a music notation tool that provides a neat and simple interface for editing standard music notation. It is not specifically designed for guitarists but the light version (US $60) handles guitar and bass tablature input.

Vocal Warm Up Exercises

Breathing Exercises

As a singer, breathing correctly is imperative. First, take a long deep breath to loosen up the diaphragm. In order to breathe correctly while singing, you need to make use of the lower part of the lungs as well as the diaphragm. An easy and effective exercise to attain this is deep breathing. Breathe in deeply, your rib cage and back should expand and count to 5 before breathing out. Force out every single air in your lungs by breathing out for 4 counts. Deep inhalation and exhalation is imperative to make your singing voice sound pleasant.

Vocal Strength Exercises

This is another good vocal warm up exercise. First, hum to make the vocal chords relax. Gently press in your cheeks with your hands; press in your checks until the inside touches your teeth. After that, press your lips together and begin to hum the sound ‘brrr’. Try to make the sound your produce even for 2 minutes. As you do this, you are going to feel vibration on your lips, however there will be no vibration on your throat and mouth as they will be relaxed.

Lip-Roll Exercise

This exercise helps to relax the larynx and ease vocal tension. This doesn’t only make you sound clear when singing; it as well helps you sing easy. To do this, you just expel air from your lungs past your lips. Your lips must be relaxed. Your lips will be pulsating and slapping together as you send air out and hum, and thus producing a dopey BRBRBRBRB type sound.

Jazz Rock Fusion Guitar

Jazz was constantly around in Steve Khan’s home since his father liked to hear recordings of any and all versions of his own hit songs. Khan remembers when Bob Spickard, The Chantays’ lead guitar player, introduced him to The Jazz Crusaders’ “Tough Talk” and Wes Montgomery’s “Boss Guitar” albums. It was years later, when he purchased Wes Montgomery’s “Movin’ Wes” recording and heard “Caravan” that he knew he would never be a drummer who could play on the level of Grady Tate!

At the age of 17 Steve Khan changed over to guitar and was quickly playing gigs in the Los Angeles area. Through an unexpected set of conditions and his working with the R & B group The Friends Of Distinction he wound up playing and recording with keyboardist Phil Moore, Jr. That led him to playing on Wilton Felder’s solo LP, “Bullitt”. Steve could not believe that he was doing something with one of the members of The Jazz Crusaders whom he so admired.

Steve Khan graduated from U.C.L.A. in 1969 with a B.A. in composition and theory. His father aimed to direct him away from the possible disappointment of artistic mediocrity and toward a life as a lawyer. However of course, Steve didn’t and wouldn’t listen to any of that. After having performed with vibraphonist David Friedman and bassist John Miller while on a gig with Tim Buckley, Khan was invited to come to New York during the summer of 1969 and perform live for a few weeks at The Music Inn. He soon moved there for good.

A member of The Brecker Brothers by 1971, Steve Khan starting performing acoustic guitar duets with Larry Coryell between 1974 – 1975. Bob James and Bobby Colomby signed him to Columbia Records in 1977 which provided Steve the chance to shine as a solo artist when no one else seemed to be interested in hearing him play. On his first recordings as a leader including “Tightrope”, “The Blue Man”, and “Arrows”, Steve was aiming to single-handedly keep alive the sound of the original Brecker Brothers Band.

It is fascinating to keep in mind that at one point in time during the 1970s, in or near the Chelsea region of Manhattan, the following famous guitarists who were all good friends lived within a few blocks of each other: John McLaughlin, Ralph Towner, John Abercrombie, Bill Connors, John Scofield, and Steve Khan. What a wonderful situation that must have been for jazz guitar music lovers living in that area at the time!

Must Learn Basic Guitar

Sign Up For Guitar Classes Online

First up on my list of guitar tips and tricks, I highly encourage you to sign up for guitar classes online. There are a few reasons why I prefer these to offline lessons. Firstly, with guitar classes online, you do not have to travel to a music school to learn basic guitar. This saves you quite a fair amount of money. Secondly, most of these online lessons come in the form of video tutorials. Hence you can pause and the video if you have difficulty keeping up with the lesson. Thirdly, this also means that you can watch the videos over and over again if you still have difficulty understanding the concept, and you can watch the videos again later on if you wish to have some revision.

Follow The Lesson Plan Closely

I know that it may be tempting to skip a few lessons or watch some lessons in advanced, especially if you are really enthusiastic about learning something new. However, this is not something that I recommend. The reason why there is a lesson plan is because if you learn just a few techniques here and there, you may not develop a strong foundation of the basic concepts. This could lead to you not being able to cope with future lessons. I strongly encourage you to follow the lesson plan and not skip a certain topic if you are a complete novice at playing the guitar. You should only skip a lesson if it says you can do so, and only if you are really confident in that technique that is taught.

Practice, practice and more practice

Practice makes perfect. It’s not a cliché. It’s a fact. I hope you remember my other guitar tips and tricks, but this one is what will get you from a complete novice to a maestro. You need to develop your skills consistently, so I recommend that you practice playing your guitar every day. You may not see results immediately, but with practice, and perseverance, I believe you eventually will.

Play Acoustic Guitar Music

To learn anything correctly, you must first begin with the basics. There are a few recommended online lessons that well guide a beginning guitarist on the first few steps to becoming a guitar master. The best guides teach techniques such as how to hold and tune the guitar. After these lessons are covered you will learn other essential methods such as fingering placement and reading notes for acoustic guitar music.

The first lesson you should learn with your online course is how to read chord charts. After you practice this method you will soon discover the numerous of tunes that can be played. Chord charts represent the strings and the frets along the guitar. Once you learn the right finger placement for the chord charts you will then practice strumming techniques. By this point you will be fully convinced that you can become a great guitar player.

There are several people out there wanting to learn how to play the guitar. They key to doing so is practice. Many do not realize that you can not completely teach yourself to play an instrument and a guide is needed. If a teacher does not fit your schedule then an online guitar lesson is your perfect option. These guides allow you to practice when you are ready and have the time to do so. They are designed to teach everything a professional tutor would so do not be afraid that you are not learning the correct methods.

Easy Chords

Remember in your guitar music lessons that your focus is rhythm and tempo to begin. That’s why it’s so important to start with chords that are relatively easy to execute. It’ll help to keep your mind off the insignificant things in the beginning.

So, for this lesson, we’re going to look at some of the simple chords that you should easily learn to nail your favorite songs. When we’re done, don’t stop there! Work on the next level of chords to see what you can accomplish.

The first chord we’ll look at is the ‘A’ chord that contains the notes ‘A’, ‘C#’, and ‘E’:

–0—

–2—

–2—

–2—

–0—

–x—

This is how the chord is intended to be played, but sometimes isn’t taught this way in most guitar music lessons. Remember to keep the low ‘E’ string out of the strumming pattern so the chord rings evenly.

if you wanted to add some variation to the ‘A’ chord, you could play ‘Asus2’. ‘Sus’ stands for suspension. It just gives a little difference to the sound and isn’t all that difficult to play either. Use this formation:

–0—

–0—

–2—

–2—

–0—

–x—

As a quick note, this chord is sometimes written as just ‘A2’ as opposed to ‘Asus2’.

We’re on a roll now, so let’s try the ‘B’ chord. You can master this one easy! The notes in the ‘B’ chord are ‘B’, ‘D#’, and ‘F#’. Don’t get scared by the sharps. They’re just notes like any others.

However, with this chord, we can take a look at two similar ways to play it here:

–2— –x—

–0— –0—

–4— –4—

–4— –4—

–x— –2—

–x— –x—

Neat huh? Now we have another substitute for the ‘B’ chord and it’s ‘Bsus4’. Don’t get nervous from the title. It isn’t any more difficult to execute.

–0—

–0—

–4—

–4—

–2—

–x—

In guitar music lessons, ‘C’ is a common chord that everyone should know. It might appear a bit daunting at first, but you can nail this one by constantly putting your fingers into the formation to really work those hand muscles.

Theory Numbers & Intervals on the Fretboard

The Theory of Major Scale Intervals

The major scale is used to measure the distance between notes. For example, the distance between the first and second notes of the major scale is two frets, one whole-step or a “second” interval. The distance between the first and third notes of the major scale is four frets, two whole-steps or a “third” interval. There are seven notes in the major scale and thus seven intervals. An eighth term, octave, refers to a higher or lower occurrence of the same note.

Harmonizing the Major Scale in Thirds

Guitar players map out interval shapes on the fretboard, then use these note combinations to play musical parts. One way this is accomplished is by playing entirely through a major scale pattern and adding a third interval to each note. In other words, playing through the major scale two notes at a time with the second note always a third a head. In order to do this correctly notes must be confined to the major scale being used. As a result, some third intervals are major while others are minor. Playing in this manner is one way to harmonize the major scale (and is similar to how guitar players learn chord progressions and playing by numbers but that’s another topic).

The famous guitar intro to Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison is a great song example of playing a major scale melody harmonized in thirds. “Walk on the Wild Side” by Lou Reed is a song that uses this same technique on the bass guitar. Many other famous songs have prominent guitar intros, riffs or solos that use third intervals. Some good examples are listed below.

Third Interval Songs

“Blackbird” The Beatles

“Heaven” Los Lonely Boys

“Patience” Guns and Roses

“Your Body is a Wonderland” John Mayer

“Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” Bryan Adams

“Scar Tissue” Red Hot Chili Peppers

“Rhiannon” Fleetwood Mac

“La Bamba” Los Lobos

“Peace Train” Cat Stevens

“Wanted Dead or Alive” Bon Jovi

“Two Step” Dave Matthews Band

“Tripping Billies” Dave Matthews Band

“Lover Lay Down” Dave Matthews Band

“Grey Street” Dave Matthews Band

“Brown Eyed Girl” Van Morrison

“Walk on the Wild Side” Lou Reed

Fifth Intervals & Guitar Power Chords

Playing in fifths is another way to harmonize the major scale using intervals. Fifth intervals are simply power chords and are usually written with a number 5. Full chords consist of a root, third and fifth interval, so power chords are theoretically not chords in the music world. They’re intervals. In fact, they are the most common type of interval played on the guitar. Any time power chords are used it may as well be called playing in fifths. The guitar riff in Iron Man by Black Sabbath is just one example of many that use power chords, or fifth intervals (songs can begin at any major scale degree or mode by the way). Intervals can also be inverted by putting the root above the interval. Inverted fifth intervals can be heard in the intro to Smoke On the Water by Deep Purple. (Some players mistake these shapes for fourths.)