How do you learn a piece of music? I believe there are five stages: mapping, learning, memorizing, polishing, and performing.
How do you practice vibrato? Start by practicing slowly and rhythmically.
How can you be more creative? The first step is not being afraid to try things.
How do you skyrocket the number of wedding gigs you get? Playing for weddings is a great way for musicians to make some extra money. Not only does it pays well — much better than, say, a restaurant gig — but it’s a lot of fun and takes you to some really interesting and beautiful places.
I’ve been playing for weddings and other special events regularly for seven years. and in the beginning I tried everything under the sun to find gigs. Over the years, I’ve discovered that by far the best way to get wedding gigs is through my website.
How do you tune a guitar by ear? Let me give you a hint: Don’t use the 5th fret method. Oh, and avoid those 7th fret harmonics.
At the end of the year is a natural time to look back and reflect. As each year comes to a close, I think about various areas of life, including what I post online.
When I create a new article or video, I invest time into making something that I believe will be useful and enjoyable to others. When I share each post, I can’t predict which one will be most popular.
But looking back, the numbers don’t lie. Seeing which posts were most widely viewed helps me create future posts that are especially helpful to people. Below is the summary of my most viewed posts of 2016.
One of my students asked how he would know whether his musical performances were successful. As I reflected on his question, I thought about the many ways we can measure performance success.
How Did You Do?
You can evaluate factors such as accuracy of notes and rhythms. Effective use of expressive elements like dynamics and rubato. Appropriate tempo. Engaging stage presence.
How Did Your Group Do?
If you are playing in an ensemble, you can evaluate how well the ensemble performed together as a unit. Cohesiveness of musical execution, both technically and expressively.
How Did the Audience Respond?
You can measure how many people came. How much they clapped. What they said afterward.
I think these are valuable factors to include in evaluating your performance. But there are other types of questions.
We all have built-in guitar picks. Our fingernails. But how do you make sure yours are ready to use? Here are some tips for taking care of your fingernails and making sure the length, shape, and smoothness are the way they need to be.
I recently sat in a roundtable discussion with a group of highly experienced guitar teachers. The question that was repeatedly raised was as follows: How do you know your guitar program is a success?
In the eyes of most musicians, a successful guitar program is one that turns out excellent students. A K-12 program that sends students to Eastman and Juilliard. A college program that puts out competition winners.
In the eyes of most administrators, on the other hand, a successful guitar program is one that has a lot of students. The number of students justifies funding.
As associate dean of a university school of music, I can understand both perspectives. The musician in me loves excellence. The administrator in me understands the need to pay the bills.
But is it possible to have excellence and reach a broad population of students? Is it possible to have quantity and quality? I believe the answer is yes.
Here’s how I define success for a guitar program: