Whether you’re new to the guitar or are stuck in a musical rut, here are some tips to help you become a better musician.
1.Always try to learn something new every day! Learning a new chord or technique will help expand your musical ability and range.
2.Go dancing! Good dancers have excellent rhythm, which is also necessary for musicians.
3.When you hear a song you like, first try to play it before looking it up on a search engine. The more you do this, the better your musical ear will become and eventually you’ll be able to tab a song in no time.
4.Relax! Stress isn’t good for any situation. Try to stay calm and focused when practicing or playing a gig.
5.Experiment with different guitars. Just because you’re still playing the first guitar you ever picked up, doesn’t mean that it’s the best guitar for you. Try a few different guitars and see if a different one calls to you.
6.Toughen up your fingers! This can’t happen in one day; all you’ll do then is injure your fingers. Take some time and work on creating calluses and toughening up your fingers. This will make it possible for you to play longer.
7.Experiment with different types of guitars as well. If you play the acoustic, try an electric. Similarly if you play an electric, try an acoustic. You’ll become a much more versatile guitar player if you can play both.
8.Learn new songs. Pick new songs that have something a little different about them; try to expand your range.
9.Take proper care of your instrument. Change the strings when they are worn out, always ensure your instrument is properly tuned etc.
10.Talk to other guitar players and see if they have any insights. All guitar players have methods that work best for them. Maybe someone you know has a new approach you’ve never thought about. It’s always good to converse with other players and swap stories. You never know what you may learn.
To talk to a guitar instructor from Lesson Match or to enroll in lessons, contact Lesson Match today!
Learn how to practice your instrument when you don’t have it with you! Learning an instrument and becoming a musician is as much mental as it is physical (if not more).
That means you can “practice your instrument” wherever you are.
Concepts and Techniques. In music, there are many concepts and techniques that need to be memorized, and this is possible to master without using your instrument.
• Ear training
Visualize. Whenever you’re bored or have some downtime (and you don’t have your instrument), mentally visualize your instrument and play it. Try to visualize your fingers actually pushing down the notes or plucking the guitar strings. This may sound silly, but it can be an effective technique if you’re serious about it.
Remembering to Practice. Remembering to mentally practice can be difficult, especially at first. Try to pick something you do often throughout the day (taking a drink of water, doing a specific task etc.) and use that to remind yourself to practice. If you pick one simple thing to practice (humming a note, visualizing a chord etc.) every time you hang up your phone for a week, eventually you’ll have mastered it.
Listen. Music surrounds us in our daily lives; it’s everywhere from grocery stores to elevators. Listen to the music playing and study it. Try to listen for a concept you’ve been working on or find the harmony. This will fine tune your musical ear and enhance your playing.
These simple tips get rid of any excuses you might have about how you’re too busy to practice.
There’s a reason many piano students quit before learning the basics of piano; they become bored and uninterested.
Here are a few common mistakes piano students make when practicing.
1. Not actually practicing. This is a common mistake because practicing the piano may not seem high on your or your children’s lists of things to do. If your kids are also involved in sports practices, school clubs and have homework, practicing the piano may not seem feasible. It may be a struggle to find time for your kids to practice at first, but once they begin to really enjoy playing, they will make time to practice.
2. Practicing what you already know. It may be fun to play through songs or chords you are already familiar with, but what are you really learning? This habit is common because students get excited with the result of progress with the piano and continue to play what they just learned. This is often followed by boredom and discouragement. Make it your goal to try something new during each practice session to keep things interesting.
3. Learning parts of a piece well and not the rest. This mistake is common because as students try to play through a piece of music, they will stumble towards the middle and start over. Eventually you have the beginning of the piece down, but are continuing to make the same mistakes in the middle. Instead of always starting at the beginning of a piano piece, work on parts that you’re having trouble with.
4. Practice isn’t fun. When learning something new there is always a certain amount of effort required, this goes for musical instruments as well. Instead of trying to squeeze practice time in, set aside specific time for it. Create a comfortable practice space and use it as relaxation time. Keep in your mind that as the more you practice, the better you will get and the more fun practicing and playing will be.
For some tips and tricks on how to avoid these mistakes, contact Lesson Match to enroll in piano lessons!
Performing in front of an audience can be nerve-wracking, but the rush felt after a performance, during the applause is unbeatable. The key to a great performance is confidence.
If you’re nervous about a performance, here are a few tips to fake confidence.
1. Eye Contact. Maintaining eye contact with the audience helps the performer to appear more confident. In everyday life, when you’re nervous, it’s difficult to maintain eye contact with someone you’re nervous around. There’s also nothing worse for the audience than watching a nervous performer staring at the floor.
2. Enunciate. Do you ever listed to a song at a concert and realize you have no idea what they’re saying. It’s difficult to enunciate every word on stage, especially when you’re nervous, but the audience loves to hear lyrics. If the lyrics are audible, then by the end of the song, the audience might be singing along with you.
3. Convey Emotion. Performing in front of an audience is a lot like acting. Actors wouldn’t smile the whole time if they were acting in drama or tragedy. Similarly, if you’re performing a dark and somber song, try to convey the emotion to the audience. The best performances are the ones the audience can feel and relate to.
4. High Energy. Last summer, I went to two concerts; the first artist stood behind the microphone and sang beautifully, the second had back up dancers and was moving around as much as possible (without being distracting). While I prefer the first artist’s music on the radio, in person the second concert was much more fun. I loved the energy the artist was conveying. You could tell she was enjoying performing and fed off the audience.
Even if you are nervous during the performance, the audience can help you out. Try to appear confident and the audience will respond. Eventually you won’t be pretending to be confident, you actually will be.
All of our vocal instructors at Lesson Match have amazing stage presence and great performance tips.
James Whatton has studied both Guitar and Bass at Music Tech, where he received many accolades for his knowledge in music theory and performance. Continuing his education, he has been studying privately with various renowned teachers over the past 13 years, including the likes of Anthony Cox, Bobby Stanton and Scott Fraser. After Graduating from Music Tech, he moved out to Portland, Oregon and started playing in the rock band Slow Bus. After playing numerous venues and festivals out west and a short stint in San Francisco playing in an acoustic duo, he headed back to the Midwest where he has called home for the past 10 years. Once back in Minneapolis, he played in well-received Minneapolis bands (Boku Maru, Triage, Hallaballoo and Gypsy Rogues) as well as his current band Bitter Roots, in which he plays guitar and sings. Bitter Roots can be seen playing at such places as The Whiskey Junction and The Cabooze. You can also see him playing bass in the band Shirts and Skins at numerous venues in the area.
He has been teaching Guitar and Bass lessons for over a decade and is a creative music teacher with experience in developing a student’s interest and abilities in music through creating a supportive environment in which each individual can learn. His passion is music; he found this out at a young age and you can see it in his playing. It’s his desire to help others with the same passion to find their voice in music.
Elliott Roche was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and started playing drums at the age of 8. When he was around 14, he and his friends were inspired by the music they were listening to and wanted to learn how that music was made. They started taking lessons, saving up for musical equipment, practicing and trying to come up with ideas together to form a band. Eventually, they felt they were ready to play a gig when a friend asked them to play her house party. So they practiced other people’s songs, and a few of their own, and played in front of people for the first time. Some of the band members liked playing in front of other people and some didn’t, but they were all happy to learn how music was made; and most of them continue to learn today. Over the years band members came and went but Elliott wanted to play music whether he had people to play with or not, so the guitar became his instrument of choice. At age 21, Elliott received an offer to play in Mexico, two shows a day, seven days a week for a tourist bar for three months. He get put up in a hotel and paid a little. He did this and learned that he liked the musician life. So he did some networking, found other places to play and ended up staying for the better part of two and a half years. He returned in the spring of 2009 and regularly plays gigs here (sometimes solo, sometime with his band “The Cheap Thrills”) at venues including, the Fine Line, Marquette University, the Uptown Art Fair, the Turf Club and many more.