Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Interval Crabwalk PDF and Webinar Recording

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Get a copy of the Interval Crabwalk PDF here.

Interval Crabwalk

Thanks to everyone who attended the webinar! If you missed it it can be seen here. The audio is a little choppy at the beginning, but the rest is fine :-)

To practice intervals on the guitar I suggest the following:

1) Play the interval crab walk as described in the webinar.

2) Play Super Scale Trainer in Quiz mode for intervals.

I would start by concentrating on min 2nds, may 2nds, minor 3rds, and major 3rds. Spend a week just singing, playing, and quizzing on those.

More to come soon!

Music Theory Webinar: Intervals-The Missing Link

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Sign Up!

Wouldn’t it be great if you could hear notes on a recording and find them on your guitar instantly? Intervals are the link between hearing notes and finding them on the guitar. For the past month we have been working on interval ear training, now it’s time to look under the hood and understand how intervals work.

Have you ever wondered what major or minor mean? Or why some intervals are called perfect? Attend our Music Theory Webinar!

Topics include:

  • How learning intervals can make you an awesome guitarist!
  • Where interval names come from
  • Finding intervals on the guitar
  • How to practice intervals
  • How to use Super Scale Trainer to learn theory faster

The webinar will take place on Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 1pm EST. To sign up visit our webinar page. Attendance will be limited to 25. I hope you can make it!

Finish Up Your Intervals!

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Interval Worksheet

Time to finish up all the intervals First make sure you have a copy of the interval worksheet printed out. You can download it here. This week let’s add the remaining intervals: Major 6th, Minor 7th, Major 7th, and the octave. Here’s what to do:

1) Play the interval on your guitar (An example of each interval is shown on the interval worksheet).

2) Describe the interval

  • Poetic: sounds harsh, sad, happy, dreamy, etc.
  • Relate: sounds like the beginning of a song- My Bonnie, Jaws, Star Wars, etc.

3) Share: Feel free to share what you hear in the comments. Last week we had some examples from YouTube which I thought was helpful.

After completing the interval worksheet for Maj 6, min 7, Maj 7, and the
octave (Perfect 8th) play Ear Tester using just these intervals. Can you reach 90% accuracy or above? How about with all the intervals we have covered so far? Listen for distance. Ask yourself if the notes sound close together or far apart. This will help eliminate certain choices.

Next week signups for the Theory webinar will open, I  hope you can make it!

Second Assignment for Ear Training Webinar

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Interval Worksheet

Let’s add some more intervals to the ones we covered in the webinar! First make sure you have a copy of the interval worksheet printed out. You can download it here. This week let’s add the perfect fourth, tritone, perfect fifth, and minor sixth. Here’s what to do:

1) Play the interval on your guitar (An example of each interval is shown on the interval worksheet).

2) Describe the interval

  • Poetic: sounds harsh, sad, happy, dreamy, etc.
  • Relate: sounds like the beginning of a song- happy birthday, jaws, Star Wars, etc.

3) Share: Feel free to share what you hear in the comments. For a bonus see if you can hear the Stars Wars theme and Here comes the Bride in the new intervals (P4, tritone, P5, m6). I use both of those to this day.

After completing the interval worksheet for the Perfect 4th, Tritone, Perfect 5th, and Minor 6th play Ear Tester using just these intervals. Can you reach 90% accuracy or above? How about with all the intervals we have covered so far?

Next week one more assignment, and then I’ll be scheduling the second webinar, probably around Nov. 19th, so we can get it in before Thanksgiving. We’ll cover the theory side of things. I’m looking forward to it, hope you are too!

Webinar Recording and First Assignment

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Excellent webinar everyone! It was good fun and I think we accomplished a lot. If you missed it you can see a recording of it here: InstantPresenter.com/GuitarGames

As promised here is your assignment for this week!

  1. Play Ear Tester using the minor 2nd, major 2nd, minor 3rd, and major 3rd. Keep an eye on your percentage(%) correct. Aim for 90% or above. Try to play a little everyday and watch your % increase.
  2. Play Woody Says. Start with level 1. See how many melodies you can get in a row!

That’s all for now. I’ll have a new assignment next week. Have fun!

Treble Clef: What the heck is it?

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Treble Clef

Whenever a student is struggling with reading music I like to start by explaining the treble clef. If a student understands what the treble clef is and why it’s there the mystery of music notation is solved. If reading music is still a mystery to you or you would just like to find out more on music notation and the treble clef’s background read on…

What is the treble clef?

Quite simply the treble clef is the letter G. Or at least it was originally the letter G and people fancied it up over the years. To understand why we have the letter G at the beginning of guitar music, let’s travel back in time…

You are now entering the 6th century.

Music has been a part of mankind’s existence probably since Adam was kicked out of the garden (I think that might have been the first Blues song, but I digress).

Around the 6th century a really smart guy named Boethius decided to name the notes used in music based on the first 15 letters of the alphabet. At that time they only used 15 notes. So they each had a name.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O (They weren’t really in English)

Notes that sound the same

Check out these notes:
Flash Required.

What do you notice about the notes with the same name? Notice how they sound similar? Well a little while after Boethius, other people noticed the same thing! They decided that 15 notes was way too many and that there really were only seven (Pheww!) since notes that sounded similar should be given the same name. Nowadays we call notes with the same name octaves (oct means 8 and given there are 7 notes they repeat every 8). The musical alphabet was now:

A B C D E F G A B C D E F G

Notes between the Notes

Unfortunately, more smart guys came along and decided they like to use notes between the seven existing notes making reading music harder for the rest of us. But rather than use new letter names they stuck with the original seven and added sharps (#) and flats(b). Sharps raise a note and flats lower them. So A# is a note higher than A, but lower than B, kind of like A and 1/2. And D-flat is lower than D but higher than C. But, and this is a big but, not every note has a sharp and a flat, take a look:

A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#
-or-
A B-flat B C D-flat D E-flat E F G-flat G A-flat

Notice there is no note between B and C, or E and F.

What does this have to do with the treble clef?

Back to our friend the treble clef. Rather than writing the names of notes down for every song, musicians draw a picture of how high or low the notes are on a grid called a staff, this is what we call music notation.

The problem with this is knowing exactly which note is which? You can see which notes are higher than others, but which one is A or B or whatever? Enter the treble clef. People began writing down which letter one line was at the beginning of music. After that the staff follows the musical alphabet. So once the treble clef is added at the beginning of the staff we know that the second line is letter G, since that is where the center of the G lies. Take a look at how the music alphabet now fits on the staff.

This is the first step in reading music notation, naming the notes. To learn more about music notation and the guitar check out our free guitar notes course. It will have you reading music in no time!

Mental Practice – Member Writes In

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

photo by BlatantNews.com

I received some really great feedback on our mental practice lesson. This from a user named Dan McDonald Great stuff!

Ive been mentally practicing things for years. I had read a study which 2 teams of similarly skilled basketball players were asked to practice free throws for 1 hour a day for a month. One group physically did the process, the other just pictured it in their heads. They were told to think about as much as possible about the activity…the feel of the ball, the position of your hands etc. Most importantly envision every ball swishing through the net.

A month later the mental group had progressed substantially while the group that actually carried it out barely gained any improvements. Seems parts of the brain (not all, but many that are involved in the training/learning process) cant tell the difference between picturing it and actually doing it.

It doesnt work well for things you havent learned yet, you cant picture playing the piano and suddenly your BIlly Preston before you’ve even touched a key in your life…its more for things you know how to do, like fret a note on the guitar, but require a bit more dexterity by building a mental connection to how to carry out the process, like playing a solo faster/cleaner than you presently do. You know where to put your fingers, you just need to build that connection in your brain.

I just started playing again after not playing for over 20 years. Man, you forget ALOT and worse your brain and fingers just arent connected like they used to be. Things I could do effortlessly I cant do at all. Dont think it helps that i wasnt that good to begin with. Mental practice helps alot though. I do it alot while driving, laying down to sleep (agreed, it beats sheep!) or wherever im unable to play.

5 Must-Visit Music Websites

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

There are tons of guitar and music websites out there, perhaps too many. It can be hard to separate the good from the bad. The following is a list of sites I find useful, interesting, and/or informative. If I missed any of your favorites feel free comment below. .

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1. Songsterr.com – Now I’m no fan of tabs, so why is this at the top of the list? Because this is what tabs could be like. First of all they actually include the rhythms. Secondly, they are accurate and legible. What’s amazing about Songsterr.com is that you can hear all the tabs and play along with them. It also has great tools for learning the song (e.g. half-speed playback and looping). I’ve been using it with my own student lately and they love it. .

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2. BlankSheetMusic.net – I can never seem to find blank music paper so I visit this site often. It’s fairly simple, but saves you from spending an hour trying to make blank manuscript paper on PhotoShop.

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3. NYPhilKids.org – This a beautiful site with tons of neat stuff to explore. Not just for kids, the composer gallery is a great way to expand your knowledge of classical composers.

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4. JazzBooks.com – If you like Jazz or Blues, you need to get to know Jamey Aebersold and his collection of play-alongs. Many years ago I participated in one of his Jazz camps and learned a ton.

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5. Pandora.com- Listening to great music is an important part of learning an instrument. Tune into Pandora’s free radio and get your fill. Might I suggest my own station, look for “William Wilson”(Shamless Self-promotion!) .

Circle of Fifths

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Discover the circle of fifths an amazing tool for the music theory student. Contained within it you will find key signatures, scales, chord progressions, and more. In other words, most of the fundamentals of music theory. We just released a two part You Tube video explaining the circle. It covers building the circle and putting it to use. Enjoy!

IFRAME Embed for Youtube

And Part 2:

IFRAME Embed for Youtube

Got Trivia?

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Our guitar trivia game, Trivia Race, is in need of some new guitar trivia. As a classical guitarist, I tend to know mostly classical guitar trivia. So, I thought I’d open it up to all members. Anything guitar-related would be great. If you have some trivia you want to share, send it to me via the contact page and I will include it.