Kamis, 13 September 2012

Fix Your String Skipping Problems On Guitar

String skipping on guitar is the simplest skill to learn. Not even! Virtually every single guitarist will have a number of string skipping problems over the learning process. And yet with just a bit of focused work, the openness to allow a great deal of errors, along with the easy drills you are about to find out about, you will find yourself jumping over strings with wild abandon and sticking those landings just like an Olympic gymnast.

"String skipping" means picking notes on non-adjacent strings. Such as playing a note on your second string, then one on the fourth string. To make it easier to correct your technique let's work with the right-hand using just single notes.

You will see me continuously describe restricting the range of motion in the right-hand. That sounds like a negative thing to do. However, we're going to use it for the forces of good to allow your right hand a finite region to operate in to help you to create the muscle memories for the space in between your strings.

1. Rest stroke. In a "rest stroke" you'll pick the string and let the pick come to a stop against the subsequent string. For instance: Pick your open fourth string and allow the pick to come to rest on the 3rd string.

Here is this finite movement in operation. The guitar pick is going to move the exact same distance each and every time and your muscles should learn this distance easily. When you become comfortable with this rest stroke, your hand will be able to determine the length between several guitar strings readily.

As a bonus, the rest stroke also will improve your tone and right hand accuracy and precision as a whole.

2. Anchor. I am not referring to the 3-ton seafaring equipment. Although that could help keep you in one spot to practice for a longer time! Using a right hand anchor means resting your right hand pinkie finger on the body of the guitar. If you are using the bottom strings you will attach it to the top string. Same point here. It limits the mobility into a smaller space on the guitar.

A few guitar players will disagree with me on the use of an anchor. Many don't use one at all. Having said that, in my 2 decades of teaching guitar I have seen anchors help to tidy up poor right-hand technique numerous times.

3. Those blind dudes had the right idea. Now that you've got a solid rest stroke and pinkie anchor we'll do some actual string skipping, though with your eyes shut. This is also a trust exercise. A bit like that exercise where your partner falls backwards and you are supposed to catch them. However there is no possibility of a head injury here. Instead you are going to learn how to put your trust in your hands. You WILL mess up quite a few times at first, but that is entirely ok. Ignore those mistakes and try once more. Your technique will get better faster if you don't let the mistakes frustrate you.

To keep it simple, we will just use the open strings for this exercise. Close your eyes then start with the sixth string. Always keep your pinkie anchor and rest strokes under consideration. Then pick every other string: 6th, 4th, 2nd. Next start on the first string and pluck every other string coming back down: 1st, 3rd, 5th.

Keep it slow, mess up a lot, then repeat the process.

Then do it in reverse. Go down on strings 2, 4, 6 and go up on strings 5, 3, 1.

When you're able to achieve that comfortably, have a go at skipping a pair of strings: 6th/3rd, 5th/2nd, 4th/1st. Very same thing backwards. And then you can try skipping three strings, and so forth.

Whenever you shut your eyes, your mind shifts gears and places additional concentration on your senses of hearing and touch (and scent, but I really hope you don't need that here). That's why playing guitar with your eyes closed can help you develop this technique more quickly. All those ridiculous "guitar player rocking out/having a bowel movement" faces are optional, yet seem to go with the territory.

When you have it down, have a go with your eyes open, but do not look at your hands. You don't have to anymore. While you're playing, your eyes should be on the written music or the 1000s of screaming admirers in front of the stage.

Just follow these steps and fight through the mistakes. You may see that guitar string skipping is really rather easy after all!

For more guitar brain hacks and effective practice tips visit www.GuitarNotesForBeginnersHQ.com

A Singer's Interview: 5 Performance Tips for Good Results

Preparation for a singer's interview is how a successful performer can play an active part in the promotion program designed by the team they have chosen to represent their interests. During the launch of a singer's recording career there could be a nation-wide tour of 200 or more interview dates. These range from in-store mini-concerts, press and radio interviews, to national television appearances.

Recently there has been an explosion of new talent vying for media attention in an already crowded field. Learning to deliver engaging interviews is one way to guarantee you will stand out from the rest of the pack. So here are some tips for executing successful media events.

1. Be animated, have fun, Everything discussed when singers interview should be in a positive tone of voice, unless, of course, you are speaking of a disaster. Keep the tone upbeat and enthusiastic. This is especially important for drive-time radio interviews when radio hosts are working hard to keep their listeners awake and alive. When you present a positive attitude, even in times of personal difficulty, it is difficult for the interviewer not to respond in kind.

2. You will need to remember that you are there to promote a relationship with the public, but keep in mind that your job is not only to promote your agenda; it's also your job to make the interviewer look good. A singer's interview should always have an intimate feel. Plan on treating your host as if they were your very best friend -- at least for the next three to twenty minutes.

Occasionally refer to your interviewer by name. It is a good idea to match your speaking pace to that of your host. Be sure not to "step on" their lines. Give them plenty of time to finish their thoughts before you speak. Everybody loves a good listener. Besides that, it buys time for you to formulate your own answers. After all, the real translation of the sound "um" is "I'm stalling."

3. If you support your voice with your entire body when you speak, you will give the impression that you stand firmly behind what you say. Short concise bites, with strong consonant sounds at the beginning of words are best. Punch up your responses by ending your words with pauses for additional emphasis.

4. It's also good to remember that Silence is golden. Say what you need to say, then quit talking. Don't continue to ramble. Silence is not nothing; it's simply a real, real quiet sound.

5. You cannot control which questions will be asked of you in a singer's interview, but if you plan your responses in advance and practice them until they become natural, you will not be caught off guard. First and foremost you want to come through the interview with your career intact, so take comfort in the fact that you are bound to know your topic better than the host.

Be yourself; let others see you as a real person; share your life with them; have fun; make your interviewer look good and you can be assured that many more interviews will come your way.

Bonus Tip #1: Try not to leave the studio without firm plans for receiving a print, audio or video copy of your interview. You will want these public records for your growing dossier.

Bonus Tip #2: Always send a thank-you note to the hosts, engineers and producers. These little notes pave the way for future interviews.

Bonus Tip #3: Find a notebook or a place on your computer to keep records of each interview. You will want to remember the people involved, what you wore, and the topic of the interview.

Nashville vocal coach Renee Grant-Williams helped make stars out of many top artists: Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Dixie Chicks, Miley Cyrus, Huey Lewis, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Jason Aldean, Christina Aguilera...

Click Here to receive her free weekly Vocal Video Lessons and PDF of "Answers to Singers' 7 Most Important Questions."

Author of "Voice Power" AMACOM (NY). She offers insider's information via on-line lessons at cybervoicestudio.com.

Teacher Vs Teach Yourself - What's the Best Way to Learn an Instrument?

Playing an instrument is a great talent. We can all admire the skills of expert players, but few of us can actually pick up an instrument and play. If you've always wanted to be a musical maestro, now is a great time to start. But what's the best way to learn an instrument - expert guidance or teaching yourself?

Music Teacher

Getting taught by a professional is the most common way to learn an instrument, but why? Here we look at the pros and cons of taking lessons:


They know exactly how everything works, and will teach you the basics. As you develop, they will be able to teach you the more complicated parts. Music teachers help you get to know all the technicalities inside out.

Find yourself struggling? They are always on hand to make everything a little clearer. You can take lessons as regularly as you need to, and practice in the mean time. Music teachers are the ideal way to help your kids learn an instrument.


Music lessons can be expensive. At a time where everyone is feeling the pinch, is this a luxury you can really afford? Depending on your level of experience and particular instrument, the cost can skyrocket.

You may also struggle to find time to fit lessons into a busy schedule. You have to rely on someone else having the time to see you. If you work full time, it is sometimes impossible to find a mutually beneficial time.

You also have to learn what the teacher wants you to. On some occasions you will have very little freedom over the songs you learn. By learning in this way, some people find it difficult to adapt their skills to play anything else.

Teaching Yourself

What about teaching yourself then? Is this a more viable option? Here are some things to consider:


If you teach yourself, you can do so on your own terms. You can dedicate as much time to learning as possible. This also gives you the freedom to learn in a way that suits you. Musicians can choose to learn note by note, or song by song.

This freedom also transcends into how you teach yourself. You can learn to play the instrument of your choice by following YouTube videos for example. This way you can continue to go over a specific aspect until you have it mastered. Books and DVDs are also easy, affordable ways to learn at home.


However if you're struggling, where can you turn? If you teach yourself you have no real way of getting over a particular hurdle. This is often the point may people who are teaching themselves give up.

Learning from a novice isn't the same as learning from a professional. There's a chance that you'll miss out on something. For example, your tutorials may not cover tuning your instrument. This will then result in lasting damage.

What's the Answer?

There is no real right answer to this conundrum. It is all dependent on your personal preferences. If you have a little background knowledge, why not start with trying to teach yourself and see how it goes? With so many options though, it's worth trying both.

If you're thinking of taking up new musical instrument, you can find some unusual and great fun instruments at the Djembe Drum Shop.

Top 3 Songwriting "How-To" Books

I've been a songwriter for a long time. Going on 20 years, seriously. Before that I was journalling and well, writing out my pre-teen angst.

Over the years, I've done the good old-fashioned trial and error - which is by far THE BEST way to get better writing songs. Yes, I wrote one OK song for every ten bad, then 2 OK songs, then 1 good for ten bad. You get the idea...

But I'd stop for help along the way, pick up some inspiration and generally pick up a few new tricks. So I've narrowed down some of my favourite songwriting books. These are the ones I won't sell, give away or lend without holding someone's driver's license and car keys.

So, in no particular order my top 3 songwriter books are:

1) Writing Better Lyrics - Pat Pattison

I went to his workshops and also book his workbooks on rhyming etc. This guy is good and has excellent exercises for improving skills. Pat even says John Mayer keeps a copy on his toilet tank. Yah!

2) Writing Music for Hit Songs - Jai Josefs

I did all the exercises at the back of each chapter over the course of a summer. It was a lot of work, but well worth it. If filled in a lot of gaps between music lessons over the years and emphasized choosing the write chords and progressions to match the lyrics.

3) How to Make a Good Song a Hit Song - Molly-Ann Leikin

I'm actually re-reading this book and walking around making up rhymes, internal rhymes and generally getting some funny looks from people I walk by on the street.

There are some other books that songwriter friends enjoyed. Frankly I never got as much out of them as the ones above, but you might so here goes:

Anything by Sheila Davis, John Braheny or Jason Blume.

Lastly, you're a bit lost without some help on guitar and found 'Arlen Roth's Complete Acoustic Guitar Guide' was excellent for skill building and Natalie Goldberg's 'Writing Down the Bones', excellent for inspiration and sticking to your calling as a writer.

There was two years in particular that I read most of the book above and it definitely took me forward leaps and bounds. Of course, you have to put it into practise to get the most out of the learning. Write bad songs! Think of it as clearing them out to make way for the good ones!

Good luck!

Lindsay May is a 'classy alt-country songstress' who invites the muse on every occasion. With two albums under her belt and numerous singles, she's been a finalist at Kerrville New Folk Festival and New Mountain Stage Songwriting contest among her many accolades. Get a free song and find more songwriting tips by signing up for her newsletter at:


How to Tune a Harp Without an Electronic Tuner-Tuning by Perfect 5ths and Octaves

In today's high tech world, it is rare when someone does not have an electronic tuner for the acoustic instrument they play. For instance, I play the Celtic Harp, and every harpist I know has an electronic tuner. What if your tuner is out of batteries and so is the junk drawer? My harp has 39 strings that are tuned to the white keys of the piano. (Many harpists tune their harps to the keys of B flat or E flat-I actually tune mine to the key of F). For this particular situation, we will (pretend to) tune to the key of C.

We do have to get a 'reference point' in order to tune to 'A-440'. If you have a piano, you can use the middle C note as a reference point. Maybe you have a tuning fork to use? If you have no reference point at all, maybe finding a tone on your telephone through the Internet? I imagine if you Google 'middle C tone', you would find something out there that would produce a tone for you.

Ok, let's get started. The best way to tune the harp is by 5ths. A perfect 5th has a certain vibration that makes it sound 'perfect'. Review in your mind the 'Do Re Mi' scale. If you can sing in your head the interval of Do to Sol and pay attention to the evenness of vibration that is produced by a perfect 5th, then tuning will become easier.

You begin by bringing the G above middle C into its perfect state. (We are going to tune a full octave and then move on to the rest of the strings by tuning with octaves from that point on.) After the G is in and the vibrations are steady and together (not 'beating against each other') then you will tune from that G to the D above. This is also a perfect 5th and you should be able to bring the vibrations together. What I mean is that when a note is in tune with another (in a perfect 5th or 4th or octave), the two notes will vibrate in harmony (together). If they are not in tune, you will hear an 'out of phase' vibration between the two notes; they beat 'against' each other instead of together. After getting the D above middle G in tune, then you will tune the D that's an octave below. Again you are going to listen very carefully to the beating of the vibrations. Play with it a bit... make it really flat and then bring it up to the note. Try making it sharp (without breaking the string!) and then tuning it back to its proper note. The more carefully you listen, the more aware you will become of the 'perfect tone' and whether a note is sharp or flat-whether a note is beating against another or vibrating in harmony with it.

So no we have tuned Middle C, the G above that, the D above that and the D next to Middle C. From there we tune the A above the Middle D (again a perfect 5th). Each time, you are listening for the beating of the vibrations of each note. Are they beating together or against each other? From that A (when it's in tune) we will tune the E above that (another perfect 5th). Now tune the E an octave below (which will be Middle E). From the Middle E (when it's in tune) you will tune the B above middle C. Once again, it's another perfect 5th. We're almost there! Now, the only things left are the C, an octave above middle C, and we will tune that against the Middle C note. Once you have done that full octave, you will tune the F (just above middle C) from the upper C note (again, another perfect 5th). After you are through with the full octave above Middle C along with the other couple notes above, you will next want to listen very carefully to the entire scale and sing along with it to make sure it sounds like the Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do scale. If you are content with how it sounds, you can move on to tuning the rest of the strings by octaves.

A 'harmonic' is produced by lightly touching the string with your palm halfway between the soundboard and the harmonic curve and then plucking the string with your thumbIn the Middle C range the distance between the 'palm touch' and the 'thumb pluck' is approximately 5 inches. The shorter the string, the closer the distance is between palm and thumb--the longer the string, the wider the distance.

These harmonics help to 'check' the note once you think it's in tune. When you create the first harmonic of a note(exactly half of the length of the string), it sounds an octave higher. This is the "check" that you will do to confirm that your harp is in tune. If an octave is in tune with its unison note (the harmonic), then you are on the right path. Each string also has other harmonics (besides the octave) that you can produce by shortening the distance again between palm and thumb, and moving up the string towards the harmonic curve or down the string towards the soundboard. Some harmonics are perfect 5ths above the octave: for example, if you create the harmonic on Middle C of its upper octave C note, you can also create the G above that with the next harmonic on the Middle C string. This helps you check some notes in a perfect 5th sense.. In a physics sense when playing harmonics, we are actually 'cutting the string in half' with the placement of our palm, and once again with the pluck of the thumb. This mathematical reduction will produce overtones in many different ways. As you further the reduction by that action of moving your hand placement up the string or down towards the sound board it results in those higher overtones (12th's, double octaves, etc.).

This is certainly very detailed information, but none-the-less, a great exercise in ear-training. You will gain confidence in your playing and musicianship with these skills in tuning and harmonic playing.

The Irrational National Anthem

The National Anthem is the song every American singer is most likely to sing at least once in public, as long as there is a sporting event on the horizon. The ubiquitous Happy Birthday may rival it in popularity, but Happy Birthday usually turns up on a singer's menu as a group effort. With the National Anthem you are pretty much left to your own devices -- to sing it a cappella, no less! There are plenty of good reasons why The Star-Spangled Banner terrifies singers.

It's a bear to sing; the range is so wide (an octave and a fifth above that) that a singer of modest capability can barely scan the notes. And it's written in such a way that the phrasing invites the singer to breathe at inappropriate junctures.

The words were written by Francis Scott Keyearly in the morning after witnessing the all-night bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812. His poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith.

I'm going to give you some tips for taming the beast. For now, I'd like to concentrate on the words. You may never have taken a close look at them. Do you realize there are only two sentences in the entire song? And that the first sentence is probably the longest sentence in the history of sentences? Nevertheless it does actually mean something. It's not just a bunch of gibberish -- the words tell a story that makes sense if you phrase it correctly.

"Oh say," Hey you guys over there.

"can you see," What can you see from your vantage point?

"by the dawn's early light," Now that the sun's come up?

"what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming," That flag that we are so proud of was still visible on the fort ramparts as daylight drew to a close.

"whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly gleaming," We could see the flag there waving.


"and the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air," Every time a bomb burst

"gave proof through the night that our flag was still there." We could see that the flag was still flying.


End of first sentence. Now remember, that was ONE sentence. And not written in Albanian. In English (well, English as it was spoken two hundred years ago.)


"Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave," Is our flag still flying over the fort this morning? Were we victorious in the battle?

"o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave." Over our new country?

So, when you phrase the anthem to fit the contours of the meaning of the words you will find that you sing with the commas instead of just anywhere.

Example: Sing "Oh, say, [breath] can you see... "

NOT "Oh, say, can [breath] you see... "

To interrupt 'can' and 'you' is unnatural phrasing

I've heard very few people sing the national anthem like they believed in what was written. If nothing else, if you make it a patriotic song that means something of special value and pride, then you should make a notable impression.

And, you know, It's funny how just thinking about what the words mean makes your voice sound better.

Nashville vocal coach Renee Grant-Williams helped make stars out of many top artists: Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Dixie Chicks, Miley Cyrus, Huey Lewis, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Jason Aldean, Christina Aguilera...

Click Here to receive her free weekly Vocal Video Lessons and PDF of "Answers to Singers' 7 Most Important Questions."

Author of "Voice Power" AMACOM (NY). She offers insider's information via on-line lessons at cybervoicestudio.com.

Organ Improvisation: What Is the Biggest Challenge Every Improviser Should Overcome?

If you want to learn to improvise on the organ, you inevitably have to face certain challenges. Without overcoming them, it will be very difficult to succeed. In this article, I will share with you what is the biggest challenge you should overcome as an improviser.

I believe the thing that many people struggle the most when it comes to improvisation is having to many wishes. Organ music is so wonderful and the repertoire is so vast, spanning almost seven centuries. Therefore, it is only natural that you like certain historical styles, composers, national schools of organ composition, or genres more than others.

If you do, then you might wish to learn to improvise like many various composers have done so in the past. In other words, you might want to imitate many different musical styles or genres. While this is a very positive sign in itself, I believe that at the beginning of your process in becoming a good improviser, having too many wishes can actually slow down your progress. I will explain why it is so in a moment.

Let's pretend you have a limited time during your day for improvisation practice. Let's say, you have 1 hour. You see, if you have only 60 minutes which you should spend on developing your improvisation skills, you should focus and practice in a way that allows you to progress the fastest.

If you love the music of 10 different organ composers and would like to imitate their styles in your improvisations, you only have 6 minutes for each of the composer, style, or genre. What can you achieve as an improviser in 6 minutes? Can you learn many interesting tricks or techniques that way? As a matter of fact, in 6 minutes, you will not be able to master even 1 sequence or a cadence.

By "master" I mean that you should be able to memorize it, and transpose it to 24 different keys at least 3 times in a row without mistakes. You will need much more time to do that. It will take at least 30 minutes or even longer, for most people.

And remember, that you have 9 other techniques, or tricks to learn and master. There is no way, you can do it in 1 hour. So I hope you see the inherent problem here.

In learning organ improvisation, you must learn to focus on the task at hand, finish it, and only then go on to the next task. If you like many different organ composers and genres, it is better to fully focus on only one or two techniques in one practice session.

In order to have the fastest progress in improvisation, the next day when you sit down on the organ bench, I recommend, you repeat the previously mastered material very briefly and only then learn something new.

Perhaps learning this way, you will learn to improvise only 1 piece or genre in a week or so but you will know that you gave your best focus. Even better, I suggest you choose one genre and work on it for a full month. We will call it "a genre of the month". Then the next month you go on to another technique or genre and practice it for a full month.

Use these tips in your practice to have the fastest progress in organ improvisation. This way you will overcome the biggest challenge of having too many wishes when learning to improvise.

By the way, do you want to learn to improvise in the style of Bach? If so, I suggest you check out my 9 day mini course in Keyboard Prelude Improvisation.

Or if you want to learn my special powerful techniques which help me to master any piece of organ music up to 10 times faster? If so, download my video Organ Practice Guide.

Practice Playing Flute - Free Flute Music Helps

Learning to play the flute as well as you'd like to can seem a daunting task. It takes time, effort and sacrifice to start to sound like your favorite flutist. We (or our students) usually begin with lots of enthusiasm which often fades with time as we start to realize that sometimes working at our flute playing does feel a little bit too much like WORK! This article is intended to help you or your students improve at the flute, keep that initial optimism and find long-term enjoyment out of playing the flute.

Practice Makes Perfect

Since we know we have to practice to get good, nailing down a practice time everyday is important. If you know that everyday at 7:00 am, say, right before breakfast, you're going to play your flute for thirty minutes then you can schedule that and make it a habit. It can be wise to have a plan B as well. If you don't make the 7:00 appointment, what time will be your backup time? Sometimes just having it on the calendar makes a big difference. Teachers can enlist parents to help find a time that will work for their young flutists. If the child and parent both know what time flute practice happens, it will be more likely to happen.

Make Every Moment Count

We all seem to be pressed for time so getting the most out of a practice session is vital. Children like to spend time on the music they like and already know--ok, so do adults. It's more of a challenge to play the new, harder pieces but that's how we improve. Working on the hard stuff first gets it out of the way and gives us a sense of accomplishment. If a piece seems especially difficult, taking it one or two measures at a time may be the best plan of attack. Play through the measure or measures three times slowly. Gradually increase your speed and add another measure. This might seem slow but it's very effective, more than playing through an entire piece three times quickly. Muscle memory will develop and those measures will "stick".

Play What You Love

We're all more motivated when we're playing something we think is beautiful, fun or exciting. Maybe we've heard a recording of it or it's a melody we've always loved. While we can't always play the fun stuff, let's make sure that there's always a musical treat at the end of each practice session in the form of a solo or song that we or our students really want to learn. Duets can also be lots of fun and a reward at each week's lesson. Preparing to play that piece we love for a recital, concert or even a friend can also serve as motivation.

How's Your Flute?

There's nothing more frustrating to a student or teacher than a flute that isn't playing properly. Make sure you are playing with a quality instrument that is in top playing condition. An older flute may have leaks, a loose head cork or other unseen problems that prevent you from playing your best. Have your flute checked out by a professional who can tell you if it's fully functional so you can get the most enjoyment and learning from it. As you do progress, upgrading to a higher quality flute can take you to a whole new level, especially in tone.

The more we regularly practice, make our practice sessions count and seriously prepare those pieces of music that we love on a fine instrument, the more long-lasting enjoyment we'll give and receive from playing the flute.

Amy Dampt, flute teacher and advisor. Amy has studied and taught flute for well over 20 years. Her studies include 3 years of study and performance in France near Paris. She enjoys playing, teaching and refurbishing flutes.

Cheap Flutes Online offers brand name, refurbished flutes at affordable prices. Each flute is completely reconditioned and is fully cleaned, oiled and adjusted. All flutes are play tested and come with a money back guarantee.

Buying Your First Bass Guitar On A Good Budget

If you are an aspiring bass guitarist, the first thing you need to do is buy your own bass guitar. If it is your first time to buy this instrument, some bass prices may completely surprise you. Normally, the first shops beginners visit are very expensive, since the person has no experience in buying these instruments. Nevertheless, with a few tips, it is possible to find a quality bass guitar at a reasonable price. The first thing you should do before you go out to buy a bass is to decide the amount you want to spend. Setting a price range will help you to be focused and lead you to the right places.

Shop around

Shop around before settling on where to buy the guitar. A few years ago, some huge stores in US began selling beginner instruments at an extremely low price, compared to those available in a guitar shop. You may also have a good chance of getting a cheap guitar or a good deal by checking pawn shops and guitar shops. Additionally, if you are not in a hurry to buy the bass, you can keep checking the classified ads for potential sellers. Many people will have no idea if they are selling them at the right price, thus you might find an excellent guitar at a good price.

Try out the instrument

Before paying for the bass and taking it home, it is important to try it and get its feel. Many guitar shops will let you to plug-in the guitar right at the store and play it. Play it carefully while analyzing how it feels, sounds or looks in your arms. If you do not like the guitar, you can return it to get another one. You should be cautious when buying the instrument online. Make sure you have seen the guitar and tested it before paying for it. You might also want to look for shops that have a return policy.

Consider going for a used guitar

You might also consider purchasing a used bass. Used instruments are considerably cheaper than new ones, yet they offer the same quality or sometimes even better. Examine the used bass for any damages before obtaining it. If you doubt your judgment, you can bring along an experienced bassist to test the instrument for you before you buy it. Before looking for the instrument online, try to find it in the guitar shops first. It is wise not to buy the guitar through a vendor, since this will cost you more money.

Piano Tutorial for Beginners

An effective piano tutorial for beginners should begin with an overview of what you might expect to learn in the beginning. Many piano beginners have unrealistic expectations which may lead them to frustration and disappointment. Here's how to avoid that.

Most piano methods begin with reading music. This may be a mistake for many people. The reason is that most people can play music far more difficult than what they can read. If you restrict yourself to reading music at first, you may fail to ignite interest due to the inherent drudgery of learning a complex graphic language like musical notation.


Learn to play a few songs without reading music. There are lots of ways to do this: by ear, by eye, by color, by memory, by number to mention but a few. Select a method that allows you to play right away, without reading music.

Use this "starter method" for a while, perhaps playing with only one hand. Don't fall into the trap of expecting to play grand and difficult pieces right away: play simple familiar songs to get your feet wet.

Get the rough idea of playing before you engage your grander ambitions for the piano.


Now divide your efforts into two sections: first, continuing to play music without reading, and second, start to learn to read the first five notes above middle C.

To do this, you need a second starter method, like the Bastien books. They are easy to understand, and are easy enough that anyone can make their way through them.

The advantage of the "two part" or "two method" regimen is that it allows you to play music while you slowly start to gain facility with reading music.

Don't confuse the two, playing music and reading music. Keep them separate.


Eventually, you will ideally merge the two "methods" but this may take years. Do not expect to read music very well quickly. It will not happen. What CAN happen is for you to start playing music using the first starter method well enough that you will want to continue exploring reading music, using the "second" method.

Think of music and learning piano as a tree with two huge limbs. On one limb, you will play music by any means you can, as long as it is enjoyable. On the other limb, you will submit to a painstaking and slow study of the very difficult and ancient graphic language of musical notation. Don't be discouraged or disappointed if reading music seems hard: everyone finds it difficult.

The surest way to defeat yourself at the piano is to expect too much.

There are many other ways to learn the piano besides looking at a page.

Here's a link to a starter method that uses only numbers to help you begin playing simple songs at the piano without reading music: http://www.pianoiseasy2.com

John Aschenbrenner is the author of the Piano By Number system. You can visit http://www.pianoiseasy.com to see the method and play fun songs online.

How to Compose or Improvise a Toccata or Praeludium in the North German Organ Style in 7 Steps?

Are you struggling with composing or improvising an organ piece, similar to the famous D minor Toccata and Fugue, BWV 565 by Johann Sebastian Bach? If you knew how to do it, I can assure you, that you would have much fun in the process. In this article, I will teach you how to compose or improvise such piece in 7 simple steps.

Bach created this composition when he was very young, perhaps 18 years old. At that time he imitated the North German style which composers like Buxtehude, Bruhns, Lubeck and many other were using.

Toccata or Praeludium in North German style is composed in the so-called Stylus Phantasticus - a multi-sectional composition which has alternating free improvisatory and fugal imitative sections.

Very often such composition has 7 sections: Free-Strict-Free-Strict-Free-Strict-Free.

When composing or improvising such piece, use these 7 steps:

1. Choose a key. Open with Passagio in 4/4 meter - a melodic line in 1 voice, 2 voices for manuals or pedals which emphasizes the tonic notes. Then write the free section based on the figure from the Passagio. The first modulation is in the Dominant key. Also use excursions in the relative keys. End this section with a perfect cadence.

A sample chordal plan for this section might look something like this:

I ii42 V65 I V6 ii7-vii6/V V V6 I V65/V V V65/vi I6 IV V7 V46 V7 V46 V43 V7 I.

Duration - 1 page.

2. First fugal section in 4/4 meter. Find or compose a theme and use a basic plan - exposition and counter-exposition. End with a perfect cadence in the tonic key. Duration: 2 pages.

3. A short free section: use more suspensions here, modulations, runs and passages in the hand parts. End with a half cadence. Duration: 8 measures.

4. Second fugal section: convert your fugue theme to another meter (3/2). Create exposition and counter-exposition. End with a perfect cadence. Duration 1-2 pages.

5. Short free section: similar as Step 3. Use different figure this time. Duration 8 measures.

6. Third fugal section: convert you theme to triple meter (6/8, or 9/8 or 12/8), use the same plan as in Step 2. Duration 1-2 pages.

7. Ending short free section. Emphasize the key of Subdominant with extended plagal cadence. Duration 8 measures. If this section is a continuation of the preceding fugal section, keep the same meter and tempo.

Bottom line: for best results, always study first the works of above mentioned composers, especially those of Buxtehude.

Final tip: in order to create free sections, you could analyze his piece of your choice, take his harmonic structure but add your own figures in different keys.

By the way, do you want to learn to improvise in the style of Bach? If so, I suggest you check out my 9 day mini course in Keyboard Prelude Improvisation.

Or if you want to learn my special powerful techniques which help me to master any piece of organ music up to 10 times faster? If so, download my video Organ Practice Guide.

How to Record Bass

Recording Bass
Getting a good bass recording is typically one of the most difficult things to accomplish as an amateur producer. Learning how to record bass the right way can really make a difference when you get to the mixing stage. Bass can be really tough to fit into the mix and blend well with the other instruments. It's unfortunate because I think the bass is often the must overlooked item when it comes to recording a good sounding track. If you are able to lock down a good bass sound then you are on your way to a good mix. Steps to achieving a good bass recording:

  • Preparing the bass for recording - changing strings and tuning
  • Using the right equipment - using a DI box to capture a clean signal, recording a mic'd amp/cabinet, reamping
  • Testing - Checking your signal for distortion, or noise

Preparing the Bass for Recording
So how do we get started? Getting a good sound from your bass guitar starts before you enter the studio. Before pressing the record button it is essential to change the strings on your bass. Using old strings will leave you with a dull lifeless bass tone. Bass strings can be expensive but this is not where you can afford to cut your budget. The next step is tuning. Ideally you will stretch the strings as you string the instrument. This will help you avoid more issues with tuning in the long run. Tuning should take place before recording as well as all stages of the recording process. Having an out of tune instrument really makes the job hard for the person responsible for mixing.

Bass Recording Equipment
The next step in the process is your equipment setup. With bass guitar it is highly recommended that you always record an unprocessed DI. This will give you an unprocessed file you can go to town on later and alter to your needs. Run your bass signal into the instrument input of a DI box and then to your audio interface. In your recording software it is essential that you are capturing a clean sound with out any buzz, noise, or distortion.

Most DI boxes will also allow for a connection to an external source such as an amp. Recording an amp track now is also recommended. When recording bass it is often found that a DI blended with a miced amp cabinet combination sounds the best. Even it turns out not to sound the best having the most options available when mixing is the best option.

If you would like to forgo recording an amp you can also use a technique called reamping with your DI track later. Reamping does require more equipment and time but it is also a good option. Reamping after the fact also leaves you the option to adjust amp settings later on in the process. This process works by running your DI signal out of your recording software through a reamp box to an amplifier. That signal is then recorded back into the recording software via microphone.

Always prepare ahead of time and give yourself the most options later down the road for getting a good bass recording. The DI is essential to getting the best bass tones so don't skip this step as it will really limit what you can do with post processing. Remember that the bass can make or break your mix so don't let yourself down by not properly recording bass. Learning how to record bass the right way will give you a major advantage in the mixing stage.

William Fletcher is the lead writer for http://audioproductionhowto.com/. The source for audio production tutorials, tips, techniques, and much more.

Guitar Modes - Basic Theory and Application

Earlier this month I was encouraged to write something about Guitar Modes and their application. There is so much to say when it comes to Guitar Modes that I could probably write an entire book on the subject. However, I have neither the time, nor the inclination for that right now. Instead, I will just try to cover some basic principles regarding how modes are related to playing the guitar.

Before going any further let me just say that it's important to have a good understanding of guitar scales and the Circle of Fifths if you really want to get a grip on guitar modes. So, I suggest learning as much as you can about these two areas first, especially if you have trouble following the information I provide in this article.


The 7 Guitar Modes of the Major Scale are:

1. Ionian

2. Dorian

3. Phrygian

4. Lydian

5. Mixolydian

6. Aeolian

7. Locrian

Each Guitar Mode is based on the corresponding degree of the Major Scale. For example, the degrees of the C Major are: C D E F G A B C

1st Degree = C = Ioninian Mode

2nd Degree = D = Dorian Mode

3rd Degree = E = Phrygian Mode

4th Degree = F = Lydian Mode

5th Degree = G = Mixolydian Mode

6th Degree = A = Aeolian Mode

7th Degree = B = Locrian Mode


Playing from the 2nd degree of the C Major Scale (which is D) through to the octave (which is also D) creates a D minor scale, referred to in this case as the Dorian Mode.

Tones > D E F G A B C D

The pattern of whole steps and half-steps > W 1/2 W W W 1/2 W

Here is how to play the Dorian Mode in first position on guitar...







The root of this 8 tone scale begins with D on the 4th string and ends with D on the 2nd string. However, the other strings can be played too if they contain any of the same tones.

Soloing over chords is a fun way to practice playing modes and scales. You can use the example above to practice soloing over the Am7 and Em7 chords.

The D Dorian Guitar Mode can be played in various other positions on the fretboard as well. Why not challenge yourself a little and see if you can play it up one octave from the D on the 5th string at the 5th fret to D on the 3rd string at the 7th fret.


To construct the E Phrygian Mode from a C Major Scale you would follow the same process explained above, except the mode would begin and end on the tone E. Simply repeat this process for each consecutive mode.


There are 12 Major Keys. The 7 modes of a given Key are constructed from the 7 degrees of the related Major Scale and share the same Key Signature as well.

I hope that makes sense... At least a little!

Kathy Unruh is the webmaster of AbcLearnGuitar. She has been providing guitar lessons to students of all ages for over 25 years.

Steps in Composing or Improvising an Organ Sonata

Are you struggling with composition or improvisation of the organ piece in the classical sonata form? If you know how to do it, it is not as difficult as it may seem at first. Here are the steps you could take in composing or improvising a sonata on the organ.

The sonata form consists of 3 main parts: Exposition, Development, and Recapitulation.

I. Exposition (in the major key)

1. Choose a key and create the main theme of the energetic character. This will be the so called "question" (4 measures). Tip: end on the Dominant chord.

2. An answer to the question (4 m). Tip: end on the tonic chord.

3. Repeat the question (4 m).

4. A different conclusion (4 m) in the tonic key.

5. A bridge from the main key to the Dominant. End on the Dominant of the new key (8 m).

6. The secondary theme in a lyrical character in the key of the Dominant (4 m)

7. An answer to the secondary theme (4 m).

8. A contrasting episode (question) (Dominant of the Dominant, 4 m)

9. Answer of the contrasting episode (Dominant of the dominant, 4 m)

10. Repeat of the secondary theme (4 m)

11. A different answer to the secondary theme (4 m)

12. Closing theme of a lively character in the Dominant key (4 m)

13. Answer to this theme (4 m)

14. Repeat of the answer (4 m)

15. Repeat of the second half of the answer (2 m)

16. Repeat the cadence only (1 m) in the Dominant.

17. (Optional) Repeat the Exposition from the very beginning until this place.

II. Development

Tips for creating a Development section:

1. You can start with the main theme in the minor dominant key or minor Tonic.

2. When developing a theme, choose a fragment of it (1-2 measures) and use sequences, modulations, and imitations. You can also change melodic intervals in the theme, rhythms, harmony, and texture.

3. Structure you development so that 1) you will develop the main theme in the above ways, 2) develop the secondary theme, and 3) prepare for the recapitulation.

4. The preparation is usually done by using a Dominant pedal point - an episode which increases tension. Here the main emphasis is on the Dominant chord which alternates with the 2nd inversion tonic chord and/or diminished 7th chord built on the 7th scale degree of the Dominant. The reason for a rising tension is this - there is no real resolution to the tonic chord.

III. Recapitulation

1. Repeat steps 1-5 from the Exposition but instead of modulating in the Bridge, stay in the tonic key. Tip: In order to end this Bridge on the Dominant chord of the tonic key, START the bridge in the Subdominant key.

2. Repeat steps 6-16 from the Exposition transposed to the Tonic key.

Variation: you can reverse the order of the main and the secondary themes in the Recapitulation.

Use these tips when composing or improvising a classical sonata on the organ. For best results, don't forget to analyze the works of your favorite composers. If you choose an opening minor key, the first modulation of the Exposition is in the relative major key. In such case, the secondary theme and later parts of the Recapitulation can be in a major tonic.

By the way, do you want to learn to improvise in the style of Bach? If so, I suggest you check out my 9 day mini course in Keyboard Prelude Improvisation.

Or if you want to learn my special powerful techniques which help me to master any piece of organ music up to 10 times faster? If so, download my video Organ Practice Guide.

Best Ways to Learn Piano

You have probably wished to be able to play the piano whenever you see anyone playing or hear good music. You are not alone in this, almost everyone has, even the completely tone-deaf. You probably include it in your list of New Year resolutions and then forget about because of other more pressing concerns. You may be already thinking that it's too late for you to begin learning or that it's for children. You could not be more wrong.

Whether you want to want to become a great concert pianist or you just want to enjoy yourself with your piano, there are various ways of learning and you can choose whichever suits you, depending on the cost, how much you know already and how much time you have. Some of the best ways to learn piano are:

Private instruction: This can be an effective way of learning piano, but it can be expensive and scheduling a convenient time for both teacher and student might be difficult. Still, the individualized instruction means that lessons proceed at the student's pace.

Public instruction: This can take place at music academies, community centers or other institutions. This has similar advantages and disadvantages to private instruction, and there is the added problem of travelling to the location. Also, attention may not be paid to individual students.

Video instruction: This can be done using a DVD or online video learning system. It may be cheaper than hiring a private or public instructor, convenient and the pace of learning is flexible, but multiple DVDs may be needed and the student may not know exactly how much progress is being made due to the absence of an instructor.

Use of books: This has similar merits and demerits as video instruction, and may not be as effective as other methods because the student may find the books difficult to understand and the instructions somewhat hard to practice.

Use of online instruction software: This is by far the best way to learn piano. Online piano instruction combines the best features of most of the methods of learning piano such as individualized training, flexible learning pace, convenience and feedback from the instructor, which lets the student know how well he or she is doing.

You can choose the best way to learn piano from one or even a combination of the above methods. It's up to you which method you choose, to learn to play the piano!

Bored Of Practicing Guitar? 8 Tips To Supercharge Your Playing

Playing the guitar is hard work. That's a bit blunt but it's true and that's the reason why we spend so much time looking on the internet for lessons, tips and videos.

In my opinion we have to learn to enjoy playing as without that progress will grind to a halt. I have come up with 10 tips to help relieve the frustration and boredom that can occur when practicing becomes a bit too boring.

1. Jam with other musicians.

This one is a no brainer as music is meant to be shared with others and performed. We all need band mates and an audience and both can be of great benefit. Band mates create a very enjoyable environment within which to practice and an audience can help us gain confidence with our own playing ability.

2. Record yourself playing.

Sometimes we aren't aware of our mistakes as when we play to ourselves we generally sound better than we are. By recording either using a audio device or a video recorder, we can objectively judge our standard and where we are going wrong. It is a real eye opener.

3. Learn something in a new genre

If you're a metaller like me, often we can become a bit blinkered with regards to other musical genres. Sometimes I get a little bored of playing the same thing and I like to dive into something totally different. Try some Flamenco or some Blues for a change and see if it invigorates your practice sessions.

4. Focus on one thing and ignore everything else.

One of the reasons why I can get frustrated is we live in a world where we have a million different things bombarding us from all angles. How to we know what song to learn or what technique to master if there are so many? Just pick one thing and ignore everything else. Only change when you either master it or you hit a brick wall.

5. Hit a brick wall? Leave it alone

When we reach a plateau with our learning it is sometimes best to just leave it alone and come back to it at a later date. For example, say you are learning a particular sweep picking technique but you just can't seem to improve on it. Well leave it be and learn something else related to it. Learn some more sweep patterns and come back to it in the future. You will probably find that it is now easier to play.

6. Buy or use another guitar.

Us guitar players are a bit fickle at times and we all love the latest designs and shiny guitars that get released every year. Sometimes something as simple as playing on a different guitar can inspire us to practice a lot more intently than before.

7. Leave that lead alone and play some rhythm.

Most guitarists focus too much on lead playing and they tend to neglect their rhythm duties. Maybe it's time to leave the solos behind for a while and embrace the role of the rhythm guitarist. Sometimes that is a much more rewarding way to play.

8. Become an instructor.

By doing this, you kind of force yourself to look through the eyes of the beginner and this can cause you to remember what it was like being that wide eyed and fresh with the instrument. You are also accountable to another person so you need to up your game to keep your skills sharp.

There, I hope I have given you some ideas about how to change things up and kick start your practice sessions. Click through to my website below for more articles and tips.

The Basics of Learning Piano

Learning how to play the piano can look like a daunting task, especially for beginners. However, it is possible for almost anyone to learn to play the piano, and there is no other point to start than at the beginning.

Before you begin to play, you must adopt the proper posture. You should sit up with your back straight, especially at the beginning of your performance. Your elbows should be bent at 90 degrees, not pushed out behind you or reaching forward in front of you. Your wrists should be level with the keyboard.

Now that you have the proper posture, you can begin playing. The starting point on the piano is Middle C. From this key, you can go up the keyboard and play all the notes in the scale (doh, ray, mi, fah, soh, la, tee, doh) using the white keys only). This is a C Major scale. From the notes on this scale, you can build chords known as triads or three-note chords. The chords are built with alternating keys. The first chord is the C chord. It starts with Middle C and consists of C, E, and G (doh, mi, soh). The next chord is F, A, C and the last is G, B, D.

One thing you cannot do without in learning how to play the piano for beginners is finger practice. Play the notes of the scale using all five fingers. Work your way up, and then back down again. Start off slow and give equal volume to all the notes. Do not flick your fingers; move them in steady, downward motions. You can increase your speed only after you can play steadily and with good volume. As you continue to practice, your fingers will develop the proper muscle memory and you will soon be able to play without thinking of the notes. So you should continue practice in order to achieve higher skill.

You also need to train your ear in learning how to play the piano so that you can translate the music you hear (whether with your ears or in your head) onto the keyboard. To do this, you need to have a little understanding of scales, intervals and seeing the keyboard as a visual representation of what you hear.

The most important point to note is that learning how to play the piano for beginners requires constant practice. Practise every day and soon you will become a professional.

How To Make Kids Love Practicing The Piano

There are a few simple steps you can take to help your child develop a passion for the piano. Hopefully, your child hasn't started piano yet and the slate is clean. If they have already started and you are looking for ways to infuse new energy into their playing, most of these ideas will work as well.

Choose the right piano teacher, one that has some horse-sense about kids and a winning way. Forget disciplinarians: the piano is too difficult if you don't love it. Pick a game show host, preferably with a great musical education. If the teacher is to be you, the parent, that in itself is a good choice, for a parent can be nurturing, patient and clever, too.

In the beginning, restrict the repertoire to music that is familiar to the child. You'll have as much luck convincing a child to enjoy an unfamiliar piece of music as you would an unfamiliar food. Feed them what is familiar. You may have to search for the particular song, and grossly simplify it when you find it, but familiar songs are the single best way of capturing a young person's attention.

If you have done the two above things, there should be no need to ever nag your child to practice. If the teacher nags your child, and thus you, it is a misconception on the part of the teacher, who is moving at a pace too fast for the child, and using material that does not interest the child. It's like food: a child may not know exactly why they don't like broccoli, but they don't want any of it.

Leave it up to the child. It is far better to let the child find their own way than impose a regime upon it. Treat the piano as a toy. You don't nag a child to play with a particular toy, do you? Let them develop a relationship with the piano outside of you and the teacher. This is very hard when you are paying for it, but with the right piano teacher and the right songs, you are better off in the long run.

Take an interest to the point where they see you tinkering with the piano. This will motivate them like nothing else. It will take you five minutes a day, in their presence.

Here's a link to a fun piano method that parent and child can easily begin together, using numbers instead of notes: http://www.pianoiseasy2.com

John Aschenbrenner is the author of the PIANO BY NUMBER piano method for kids. http://www.pianoiseasy.com

Getting Prepared to Be Rock Star

People know and want to learn the easy way to learn the guitar. It can be extremely fun and a beautiful experience overall. There are some pitfalls you definitely should leave off when you start.

Online Lessons

It used to be that people had to attend guitar from a guitar instructor locally. Today, anyone can take guitar lessons from guitar teachers online and improve their skills. Everything is much simpler to access these days. Here are some good things that will keep you on the right track when you are ready to start to take your guitar lessons.

Stay Away from Free Lesson Classes- Those classes are actually a waste of time and won't help you get better.

Learning from too many teachers in a spaced out time frame- Get better with a consistent schedule. Get your weekly lessons from guitar teachers and you will perform better in reasonable time.

Having too many courses- Don't overload yourself. Give yourself time to master any step instead of doing too much and not actually learning the lessons.

Focusing on Songs over Guitar Basics

Don't focus on learning songs. Learn the techniques you'll need to execute the moves. Playing the right notes, execution and form is important. This will enable you to play any song you like in due time.

Free Offers

If you are considering learning the guitar seriously and you have spent hundreds to thousands of dollars to get the sleekest guitar, then you should be ready to get an instructor who will help you get the most out of it. Most of the time these free offers are not valid anyway. After the "free" session they have a product that they want you to get from them. Nothing is free so go around this step altogether.

Execution First

There are many people who concentrate more on being able to sound like and play a certain song before knowing how to play really well. Make sure your priorities are in the correct order. Get great at being able to execute the right way. In time you'll be able to play all of your favorites. Do not pass over the beginning steps of playing guitar. Build up real technique and skill.

Way too Many Classes

Don't spread yourself too thin with the classes. It is extremely important that everyone have time to practice the techniques and every course is important on the road to becoming a great guitar player. Ensure you don't skip from class to class. This will lead to you not learning lessons you should will need later.

Enjoy the learning process. Once you get good at the basics you'll be on your way to being a rock star.

If you need more information about guitar lessons look at http://www.guitarlessonscritic.com.

Best Instrumental Maker

If you enjoy listening to rap music then there from time to time you may think "how difficult can it really be to produce your own music with an instrumental maker?", you've probably already thought about this!

Well lots of people get to this stage and start trying to find information on how exactly can they do it, they know they need some kind of music maker, but how? Then they start to find that it can cost quite a lot for all the equipment that the average hip hop producer uses, and on top of that there's a lot more stuff that goes into the sampling and the recording of the music than what most people actually think. In that case, you'll most likely have to do some research on music production too.

Most of us are not in a position financially to afford for a completely functional recording studio, so if this is kind of the place where you are at this time I have good news for you. There are several DAW (digital audio workstation) software packages / instrumental makers that have been released over the years, for example the well known Fruityloops, basically they are like having a full recording studio at home on your computer. Price wise they can range from being very expensive - from over $1000 to being completely free.

As I said there are many products out there but personally I prefer one called Dub Turbo, it is basically an online DAW. I got it for around $40, while not being completely free, it's pretty good value for money when you compare it to the more expensive beat makers. Especially when it has all the features of the $500+ music production tools.

Some things I liked about this instrumental maker is that it has of tons of beats (several thousand) that are already in the system, and contains pretty much everything that a real recording studio has. These are all quality sounds and all recording in a professional recording studio. For example you can use samplers, keyboards, drum kits, sequencers, and many more. Also Dub Turbo has been made and designed for novices / beginners, as I said I had a little knowledge before I started using it which made it really easy to use and within a few hours of practice and going through the tutorial videos I got to grips with the software pretty easily.

Now I like to make CDs which I give to my friends or hook up my mp3 player and listen to the music I made with my awesome instrumental maker while driving.

Oliver Karl Hannaford from Best Instrumental Maker
Visit us today at http://www.bestinstrumentalmaker.com/.

How to Diversify Your Guitar Playing

I get it, you've spent countless hours hunched over your guitar, sweating blood and tears working on those difficult techniques and now you feel very proud of yourself.


The chances are that you are also quite limited to one musical genre. This could be a problem in the long run.

Why is this so? I'll explain.

When we focus on one particular genre, over time we can become very proficient in that area. For years I focused mainly on the metal genre and to be honest i became pretty darn good at down picking, string skipping, fast scalic solos and creating riffs that any metaller should be proud of.

Eventually though I came a little unstuck when I joined a post hardcore band and I realised I felt very awkward playing with these guys. I had to restrict my natural instinct to play metal and when it came to writing songs, well, I felt like a fish out of water.

If you want to have a career in music, whether that is in an original band, covers band, session player, guitarist for hire or a teacher. There will always be occasions where your ability to change your playing styles will arise, and if you're not ready you may not get a second chance.

So how to we do this?

Sharing my experience, I simply picked out songs that I liked from other genres and set about trying to learn them. I can tell you that when you have played a certain way for a length of time, changing can be a struggle. But I kept at it and over time it became easier.

I learnt a few Red Hot Chili Peppers songs which taught me that distortion is not always necessary. I played some Rodrigo Y Gabriela songs which taught me the basics of flamenco style playing. One of the best new techniques to learn is finger picking. This particular skill can be used across most genres and it's amazing how many songs you already like, that were finger picked.

On the flip side, if you play Blues guitar, or Jazz then see how you get on playing something a little heavier. Try learning some 3 note per string scalic solos or learn some Country techniques.

The point is, try to mix it up and to keep your mind and your fingers guessing. Learn new scales and improvise over different backing tracks from genres you are not used to.

The more versatile you are, the better all round musician you will be and you will also find that you will love the guitar even more than ever before.

Visit Jamie Flexman's website guitar lessons bournemouth for more tips and lessons.

Tips to Becoming a Better Guitar Player

1) Never put your guitar away: Always have your guitar out and in plain sight. Never put it in your case and tuck in under your bed where it can not be seen. Buy a guitar stand so it is sitting out in the open saying "play me, play me!" By having it always accessible, you will find yourself picking up the guitar and playing even if it is only for a minute or two at a time.

2) Learn all of your major and minor chords inside and out: By learning all of your chords inside and out you will be able to play almost any song that you want to play. When you start learning how to play songs it makes playing guitar a lot more fun and enjoyable. Learn all of your major chords first, which are A through G. Next Learn your minor chords. Once you have learn those basic chords try and learn how to play them up and down the whole neck of the guitar.

3) Learn how to play scales: There are many different types of scales that you should learn on guitar. The first scale you should learn is the major scale. All other scales that you learn are just parts of the major scale. Scales are important because it's the fundamental building block of play lead guitar.

4) Use your ear as well as your eyes: There are many ways that a person can learn how to play songs on guitar. You can learn how to read music and by looking at the notes you can know what notes to play on guitar. You can learn how to play by ear. Playing by ear is a talent most people aren't born with, but with practice you can become pretty good at it. I'm a big believer of being a well rounded guitar player so the more ways you can learn how to play a song the better.

5) Learn multiple styles of music: By learning different styles of music you will learn many different techniques and fingerings to make you more of a well rounded player. I've played in multiple bands all with different styles of music and every style has made me better at my craft.

6) Try writing some of your own songs: By writing your own songs it will teach you how to incorporate scales, chords, and singing all into one. One of the toughest things for a new guitar player to learn how to do is play chords and sing at the same time. You have to know all of your chords so well that you don't have to think about it so that you can concentrate on singing. Also by singing what you are playing it can make you learn how each chord or note should sound in your mind.

7) Don't be afraid to have help learning: There are many different ways of learning how to play the guitar. You can buy books and read about it or watch instructional videos. If you have the money you can always hire someone to teach you. Try and use all resources available to you to expand your playing ability.

8) Have fun playing and play to have fun: Playing guitar should be fun. It shouldn't be something you dread doing. Learn the basic stuff and then learn what you want to learn to make it fun. When I first started out playing chords I didn't think it was much fun. Then I started realizing that those chords where the ones that I needed to play my favorite songs. Since then playing guitar has been a passion for me and it will be for the rest of my life.

Songwriting Secrets Revealed

For any person who wishes to become a song writer these days, there are good free songwriting software programs to help him out. With the help of this type of program, a newbie writer can improve his skills. These programs will be of great help to tech savvy music lovers. So, if you are interested in knowing more about these programs, read on the content given below.

This type of software programs that are being offered by some of the best companies can be purchased by a newbie writer and he can start recording all his creative sessions in the program. Now, the questions that might arise to a songwriter would be pertaining to why is it so important to record creative sessions? Two reasons can be pointed out for this. First reason is that when he sits down for creating new musical ideas by setting the recorder facility offered by these software programs, the newbie can create more and more new recordings without any form of judgment. Many experienced creators say that one of the worst killers of creativity is the task of trying to judge the creation when the process of creation is actually taking place. Therefore, it is always better to go through the making only after the process is completely over. When there is an all-time recorder, the creator can immediately record the ideas without letting the thought to go away.

Generally, humans enjoy the final output of their invention and with the help of a free songwriting software, the writers can go through the final output once the entire song has been created in such a way that they can make some changes if any actually required in the process of creating their own songs. This will enable them to get a new perspective on their own ideas. This is a great facility offered by these software programs and the users can experience the results only when they begin to use them.

Above all, the best thing about this sort of application is that it is suitable not only for usage in computers, but the producers are offering them in different styles so as to make them suitable for MAC, Windows PC, iPad, iPhone, Android tablets and Android phones in such a way that the users of all these systems can be benefited and if they are interested in song writing, they can become a pro in song writing with this type of application for sure.

Song writerspad is a best songwriting app. We provide a new platform design application software composer of free songwriting software in a exciting way to read music without taking your hands off your instruments like songwriter's pad.

The Benefits of Taking Online Piano Classes

With the help of the latest technology called internet, it has become possible for anyone with a computer to learn anything at their own homes. If you want to learn how to play piano, nothing can stop you from taking online lessons. You really don't have to walk out of your home to attend classes as online classes guide you through each and every step with utmost care and at your own conveniences.

All you have to do is to subscribe a course for learning piano. A simple search in the internet will be quite enough to find a lot of reliable courses that offer various degrees. But you should know that these course are not offered to you at free of cost. This doesn't mean that you have to spend your fortune. There are many benefits in taking online piano classes. Some of the important benefits are briefly described below.

At first, taking online piano classes will greatly help you to organize your time very effectively. For instance, if you are a very busy person, you can take classes whenever you are free and comfortable. Since you don't have to follow any kind of strict rules and regulation, you can attend the online lessons at your own convenient time. But if you consider taking classes from an offline teacher despite your busy schedules, you may miss a number of classes and this is not good for you as well as for your tutor. In fact, it is definitely going to be more difficult for a busy person to take regular piano classes from a tutor.

One of the other greatest benefits of taking online classes against off line courses is that the former is very cheap as compared to the latter. Normally piano teachers charge you $20 to $40 per hour for their classes. On the other hand, online classes will always have the option to download the lessons to your PC. This will help you to learn the lessons at your own pace as well as convenience. The online piano courses approximately cost you around $20 dollars which is much cheaper than going to a teacher who charges you each hour.

Taking online piano classes can be a good idea, but you should remember that it has its own limitations. For instance, you cannot clarify your doubts in this option. However, the choice depends on each and every individual and his schedule.

Get Into the Beat With Pitbull Sheet Music

2011 was the year in which Pitbull made cameo appearances on everything.From songs by Jennifer Lopez to "I Like It" with Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull made his name by rapping with his gravelly voice on multiple tracks by a fairly diverse list of artists. It is therefore unsurprising that his 2011 album, Planet Pit, had an impressive guest list including Marc Anthony, Kelly Rowland and T-pain. You know an artist has made it to the big time when their songs are available as sheet music Pitbull sheet music is surprisingly available at many online stores for anyone who wants to re-create that signature reggaeton/rap sound.

The Pitbull Story

Armando Perez is a Miami-born Cuban rapper who has made a career of catering primarily to one demographic: club-loving, partying dance floor junkies. From his first album to his sixth, Pitbull has shown a knack for churning out the music that club-goers love. Pitbull got his start with Luther Campbell of the notorious 2 Live Crew, and then went on to make contacts with Lil Jon who gave him his first shot at stardom by featuring him on the single, "Pitbull's Cuban Ride Out" on his album.

From his 2004 debut album,M.I.A.M.I to his sixth (Planet Pit), Pitbull has paired himself with some of his genre's superstars. M.I.A.M.I featured collaborations with Lil Jon and that year he showed up on songs by both the Ying Yang Twins and Twista, solidifying his club-cred. His sixth album is notable in that it seems that the singer has a hit with almost every track. From the not-so-subtle innuendo of "Rain Over Me" to the 90s nostalgia of "Took my Love", almost all the songs on Planet Pit are libido-laden and danceable.

Pitbull's sound is reminiscent of a rapper from another era, Jah Rule. His signature thumping bass and catchy choruses makes him the perfect crossover artist, helping hip-hop to venture into the Latino market. His partnership with Sean Combs on the Bad Boy Latino label implies that this is the intention. The fact that his style works just as well with Ne-Yo's on "Give Me Everything" as it does with Shakira on "Get it Started" says a lot for his versatility. How many artists have performed with both Gloria Estefan and Luther Campbell?

"Give me Everything"

This single features Pitbull as lead vocals, and it wound up being Pitbull's first number one song. The song also features vocals by Ne-Yo and Nayer and was produced by superstar DJ and producer, Afrojack. "Give Me Everything" sold over eight million copies making it one of the most popular digital singles in history. It was also Ne-Yo's first number one in five years.

Pitbull Sheet Music

Fans who are interested in playing his music can find Pitbull sheet music at a variety of sheet music stores online. Most sites allow users to search by song title, artist, genre, instrument and ability level, so do some searching and find the best version of your favorite song. Pitbull on the trumpet? Sounds like a blast! However, it may be harder to find Pitbull sheet music for any instrument besides piano, vocal or guitar. The most popular Pitbull songs to download and purchase online include "I Know You Want Me" (Calle Ocho),"I Like it", and "DJ Got Us falling in Love".

Pitbull completed a world tour in promotion of Planet Pit with a performance in Ullan Bator, Mongolia in late July 2012. His seventh album, Global Warming is expected out at some point before the end of summer.

Online Singing / Vocal Lesson - Vocal Health

If you forget to water your house plants for 2 months it's simply foolish to be frustrated that they are not green and thriving! A proper diet and hydration is also vital for all vocalists to thrive. Just like the dying plant, if your diet and hydration is poor, your performance and growth will be poor as well. This article will cover the 5 worst foods, drinks and substances that work against vocalists and what makes them bad as well as some healthy alternatives. This does not mean that you should never have these foods; it just means that for top notch vocal delivery you shouldn't have them right before you sing.

5) Alcohol
Yep! I know many of you didn't want to hear that because often alcohol takes the edge off and helps the nerves go away. But alcohol also dries out the vocal cords worse than just about anything else. A substitute to take some of the anxiety away before you go on stage is doing a 5-10 minute physical workout.

4) Spicy Foods
Believe me; I understand your frustration because I love spicy food as well. But keep in mind spicy foods are acidic and much like alcohol, spicy acidic foods dehydrate your vocal cords. If you still need your spicy food fix make sure it comes after you sing.

3) Cigarettes
I know it's not a food or a drink; however, cigarettes are another terrible substance for your voice. On one end, smoke coming across your vocal cords dehydrates them, on the other end, every time you take a drag off of a cigarette 140 degrees touches your cords, burning them. Cigarettes have a devastating long term effect on the voice. This is the only substance on this list that should completely be discontinued by serious vocalists. Instead of smoking try chewing sugarless gum. Sugarless gum produces more lubrication in your mouth and can help keep a good fluid movement of the vocal cords. Of course I recommend spitting it out before you go on stage!

2) Ice Water
WAIT! Isn't water good? Of course it is; however, ice water is not good if you are singing. I have never seen a professional athlete ice their knee before a race, If they did they would lose flexibility, the same goes for the vocal cords, ice water causes them to lose flexibility slowing down their natural movement. Instead of ice water try room temperature water, this way your cords will not be slowed down.

1) Dairy
Have you ever tried to run in quick sand? Doing so would obviously slow you down. Dairy products slow down the natural flexibility of the vocal cords by causing an excess mucous build up. I know it sounds gross but that is simply the nasty truth about the effect of dairy products. Similar to spicy foods, wait until after your gig to drink your glass of milk!

Tom Bingeman is the President of VOCAL PRO, a non-profit training ground in Denver, Colorado that offers professional vocal and singing lessons for serious artists.

Flute Lessons: How to Get the Most Out of a Music Lesson

If you have made the decision, either for yourself or your child to take flute lessons, you are making a big commitment it takes a fairly long time to master it well, and you want each of your lessons to count. There are ways you can make sure that all the time you spend learning goes to make you better

If you are taking your child for flute lessons, age matters. The earlier the better is a common misconception. A child develops is stages, and some of the neural command and even physical command required to play a flute may not be present at a very early age. The best time for a child to begin flute lessons is 9 years. By this time, their lungs are developed enough to hold air for long periods and they are also able to concentrate for longer.

You should insist of getting private coaching. Music is about putting together singular notes into a tune. The person who is teaching you needs to hear each note that you play so that they can correct you if you need correction. Also, you are able to know improvement areas very fast as you have the full attention of your teacher. This is not to say that classes don't work they will for the very initial stages and also for little children, but mastering the flute will require that you have your own private teacher.

Insist on a professional setting for each lesson. It is easy sometimes to be tempted to relax a bit it will not help you in your flute lessons. Mastering an instrument requires great discipline and this comes from being able to do things the same way time after time. Keep the setting professional always and let your coach know that you prefer it that way. Even when you decide to practice on your own, have a specific room that you use. Master your discipline early.

Create routines. They are part of the discipline and they will help structure practice sessions. Also, come up with ways to make flute lessons easy. If one approach is not working, there is no reason not to look for one that does. Dont allow distractions during the time you practice let those close to you know that at a certain time, you will not be available.

The most important thing that you can do for your flute lessons is make sure that they are fun you will not do much if you are not fully convinced that you are having a great time!

Flute Lessons in Sheffield are provided by Bluenote which is based in Fulwood Sheffield and is the retail arm of Woodwind Works Ltd that has been providing sales, repair and tuition in woodwind musical instruments for over 20 years.

There Are Advantages to Learning to Play Guitar Later in Life

Every day, there are more and more older adults picking up the guitar and taking lessons. It's not unusual to see students in their 60s and 70s picking up an instruction book or hauling their guitar to the local music studio for a lesson -- and getting great results. In fact, there are some real advantages to learning guitar later in life.

More free time. A lot of people in the 55 to 75 age group are retired and want to try something new or continue with the guitar lessons they stopped years ago due to a busy work schedule. Having more time also means they have more time to practice and play guitar. To some, that means that they can finally learn to play that song that's been rolling around in their head for years and years!

A boom of guitar students. The fact that there are more baby boomers than ever means that there are more guitar teachers with experience teaching older students. Plus it also means there are more teachers that are baby boomers themselves. This is not to say that older students should only seek out older teachers, but they do have that option if they are more comfortable learning from their peers.

Community. Across the country, there are a number of groups popping up made up of older musicians who gather to play and share the latest blues lick or a new finger picking style. These "guitar circles" give the students the chance to play with others, share stories, and generally hang out and have a good time. In addition, many music stores and studios offer events throughout the year where guitar students can either participate or sit back and enjoy listening to other students play. There often is a gathering at the end of the event where students can get together to talk and play guitar.

Determination. Many older students that never took up guitar are more determined than ever to play. They simply will not give up until they can play and play well. This determination makes a great student! Many find that the retirement years are often the very best time to add learning guitar to their list of accomplishments.

Physical challenges. Some who want to learn guitar in their later years are concerned the instrument will be too hard to play. But even those who may have a touch of arthritis in the fingers or wrist don't find it to be a hindrance. A good guitar teacher will keep a close eye on proper technique (which is always a way to avoid discomfort) and when needed, give the student options for playing certain kinds of chords and scales.

The ability to learn and play guitar does not depend on the student's age (and that means age 70 and beyond). With a little bit of guidance from an experienced teaching and a focus on all the positives about learning to play guitar later in life, nearly everyone will find that they are never too old!

Dale Schmidt is a guitar teacher in Washington state and the author of Your Private Guitar Teacher. For more information: http://www.yourprivateguitarteacher.com.

3 Things You Absolutely Need to Play The Piano Well

The piano is perhaps one of the most popular musical instruments in the world. It's used in virtually every kind of music imaginable - including but not limited to pop, classical, rock, jazz, country, dance, electronic and more.

There's a good reason for this... it's versatility as an instrument is simply amazing and it can adjust its tone and color to suit the style.

Now, because of its popularity, plenty of people want to learn how to play. And a lot of people do go on to master the instrument. But at the same time, many don't. Why?

The biggest reason is that in order to learn how to play the piano well, you need to have or develop three very important characteristics in your own personality. Here they are:

First, you need to be someone who can be disciplined with themselves. Piano requires practice. A lot of it. And it's the kind of instrument that will only give you as much as you give it. If you're not disciplined about putting in your practice time daily, the piano won't reward you with beautiful music! So you absolutely have to be disciplined about practicing the instrument. In short, this means practicing even on those days when you simply don't "feel" like it. This is what truly separates those that can play beautifully from those who can't really play but wish they could.

Second, you need to have patience. You need to be committed for the long-haul. Becoming a great musician and a great pianist takes time. It doesn't happen overnight, like so many of us wish it would. So you need the patience that will carry you through on those days when you feel frustrated that you aren't improving. And yes, there will be days like that. So you need the patience to get you through and realize that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Love the process of practicing. Detach from the urgent need to want to play like a master by next week, and instead appreciate where you are now, at your current skill level.

Lastly, you need to be able to humble your ego. Sometimes, we think we are better than we truly are. For example, maybe when you're practicing, you think you are good enough to play a certain piece at full speed. So that's how you practice it. But in reality, you aren't really gaining anything from your practice session because you're not taking the time to really play through a piece the way it should be done - slowly. Being able to play a piece slowly, despite you wanting to play it fast and feeling like you already have it, takes a certain humility. Understand and accept that you still can't play a piece as quickly as you'd like, and that's okay. Take the time to slow things down and go as slow as need be so you can play the piece through with no mistakes and as musically as your level of skill and talent will allow.

So there you have it. The three characteristics you need to succeed at playing the piano, and getting good at it as quickly as possible!

Frank is an aspiring musician and a fan of the piano site, www.ticklekeys.com. The site is dedicated to everything piano, so if you're at all interested in learning to play the piano be sure to check it out!

Different Ways To Learn The Piano And Train Your Ears

A piano is very similar to most other instruments. If played with passion the piano can enkindle one's emotions. However, it is still very difficult to master playing the piano because your two hands can often be playing different pieces at the same time. But for people who are really eager to master the piano, there are many different ways to learn. Here are a small sampling.

Personal Tutors

Newbies are often recommended to take private piano classes. In this way, students can learn and develop their skills on their own, while also getting guidance from a teacher. Enhancing the student's confidence and interest in playing the piano is often at the centre of a piano tutors intentions. It's also very easy to get feedback on what students are doing right, and what students are doing wrong. This method does have its limitations, however. For instance, with personal piano tutors, one is beholden to their schedule of classes..

Taking Lessons On The Internet

Choosing online piano lessons gives the students flexibility in time and practice. This is often the best thing for you, if you find yourself with a crazy and unpredictable schedule. Online lessons are also good for students who've got plenty of time to dedicate to their practice, as they can then complete the lessons more thoroughly and without a strict limit to deadlines. Students can also choose their preferred piano music style when taking lessons online. Many do not want to go the classical route and may choose jazz or gospel. With online piano tutorials, students can decide for themselves what they wish to learn. There are a plethora of options available in the online space.

Learning To Play By Ear

Ear training is included in some private and online piano lessons, but its effectiveness is lessened since it's done away from the piano. Playing the piano by ear is not as hard as people think. However, several are still intimidated by the idea. The abilities of the student are often underestimated in this regard. Many are able to differentiate different notes and scales from memory with a consistent amount of practice. Without even looking at piano sheet music, expert piano players can undoubtedly play what they hear. And student pianists can strive to achieve this level of knowledge and practice.

The following are the strategies to improve the ears you have for effective playing of the piano:

Playing with other musicians: This will motivate and inspire students with completely new methods of listening and playing music. It can also help you improve your ability to identify notes and scales by ear.

Playing songs without looking at the keys: This strategy will assist your mind in creating a vision and complete figure of a song. It will also train you to not rely on the sheet music all the time. The capabilities of your ear will drastically improve through time, patience and the implementation of this tactic.

Play along with recorded music, without looking at keys: Your timing and listening skills will improve using this one. Perform this strategy with closed eyes until you gain superior hearing abilities and a much better grasp of the keyboard in front of you, as it relates to the type of song being played.

Have a friend test your ear with different notes: While you're looking somewhere else, let your friend play a scales or a note on the keyboard/piano. Try to then name and play the notes they just played, using only your ear to distinguish what it might be.

What's The Best Way To Learn To Play the Piano?

It's really hard to say as it all depends on the individual student. How you choose to master this beautiful instrument will depend on your individual preferences and limitations. Combine all or choose only one, it's up to you. There's no "best method" to learn, rather only the best strategy for you.

Dat Paki is a music producer and blogger with PBE Music. He is currently learning to play the piano with the use of books and audio. Follow his journey of learning to play the piano at http://piano-tutorial.net