Here are some things that I aspire to do when learning / practising specific melodies or solos for guitar. I wish I could remember to do these things all the time. Some of them apply to other instruments (particularly piano) and other activities (like drawing, handwriting). This is not advice for other people because everyone … Continue reading How I learn material for the guitar, or No Pain, Good.
The first four bars of Triste I've been revisiting the first four bars of Triste by AC Jobim. What is going on there? The original (on the album Wave, 1967) is in A, and not Bb as it is usually played by the people I play with. Fair enough, A is an atrocious key for … Continue reading The first four bars of Triste
Here's a post that got lost when I moved my website. Waiting on Maidenhead Station I saw this wall. It made me think about 5-time and how, if you want to split the bar into two, you have to play on 1 and the + of 3. That doesn't seem to be half-way through the bar. … Continue reading Station walls and musical time
There's a quote that's popular at the moment: If you always sound good in the practice room, you’re probably not doing it right. I kind of agree, but the converse is true for sure: If you always sound bad in the practice room, you’re probably not doing it right. The first quote is getting at … Continue reading Play it slow
I once heard Tony Woods practising down a stairwell. He played a major scale in long notes, and it was so beautiful that it almost made me cry. I've written about this before but it's worth repeating. Paul Clarvis said Silence is golden, so if you're going to break it, you better make a good sound. … Continue reading Play it like Coltrane
The benefits of memory When playing music, reading it can really get in the way of freedom of interpretation. And the need to read means you haven’t internalized the structure. How can you possibly get inside it to improvise with meaning if you haven’t internalized it? Also it’s often my experience that players who are … Continue reading How to develop memory for musical structures
Piano players use rootless voicings a lot of the time. Guitarists tend to learn chords with the roots in. Possibly it’s easier for piano players, who can add the bass in the left hand, when there is no bass player. You can get a lot more colour out of four note chords if you leave … Continue reading Rootless Voicings