Thursday, January 22, 2015

Guitarists need to read this

It explains how to get really good and eclipse most other guitarists.

AKA: why "playing by ear" is a bad thing.

Lately, I have had a rash of folks telling me I ought to teach playing by ear. I simply laugh, cause I've seen the results of this. They are:

1. Never even being able to name what you are playing, which makes it really, really hard to tell anyone else, such as a bandmate or a person in a session.

2. Being stuck only playing what is already been written.

3. Being a bit late, except when you already know the answer through playing that song before.

Only one source of info for music? Well, that source will get really, really good. I've worked with guitarists who have better ears than my own. However, I do have a pretty good ear. Plus I've got two other ways of obtaining what to do. They are:

1. Simply knowing chords and their progressions. If you do this you are never late, cause you read ahead and are ready to play at the correct moment in time.

2. My understanding. I can write and improv in most styles. It's cause I know "what goes with what" (chord progressions) so well that I have issued three CDs of my own compositions.

Not trying to brag and for many folks this will not have the appeal of playing the latest tune. However, if you do want to "get good" you will heed my words.

Ask me for help for nothing. I will answer all who comment below (you can do so anonymously) or email me directly at

Sunday, January 11, 2015

What are the BIG problems?

Here's a list!

Fingering: More people have trouble with this than they think. After all, what plays any sort of keyboard other than fingers? If this is your trouble, then use the search engine to the right and insert the term "fingering".

Timing: Another huge problem. If you have timing problems (and what I mean by "timing problems" is that your notes don't have the correct duration,) then email me directly or leave a comment at this site because there are different fixes for this and some are subtle. I will respond with help.

Motivation: I seem to get this often with newer students. Yes, I can serve to motivate you BUT only for awhile. To continue, even after lessons are stopped, you will need some self motivation. I mean who else is around to do it?

That's why exercise coaches tell their people that the best exercise is the one you will do!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Your Keyboard is NOT Merely "A Poor-man's Piano"

Despite the insistence of others.

Who are those "others?"

IT sounds like conspiracy theory with that word!

Well, those others are anyone who insists that this is all it is.

It might be the clerk who sold you the thing or your instructor.

Or even a friend.

Why would they make such a claim?

Well, the piano is 300 years old and up till recently it was the highest tech item out there.

Not anymore, however.

Keyboards have arrived!

Since memory went down in price after 2000 the keyboard has "come into it's own."

Push the cello tab (I use cello a LOT) and play in the lower end.

Most keyboards will sound really, really good.

That's cause the memory of a "real" (read acoustic) cello is what is being played each time you push a key.

It's called "a sample" and you couldn't get one for cheap until memory came down in price.

Now you can.

And that's not all you can do with your keyboard. Please view these videos on for more:

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Why chord knowldege - as much as you can get - is critcial to your success whether pro or hobbyist

It really is important.

Chords are those vertical stack of notes and knowing them can help you tremendously, regardless of what you want from music.


Many folks simply want to have a fine hobby making music.

For such people, the keyboard is the item to go with (and I don't mean that you treat that keyboard as a "poor-man's piano." See my other article on this blog for info on that.)

The use of Fakebooks is key to their enjoyment.

Of course, they have to buy a good keyboard and know all about how to use it, but this is not hard to do.

Then they can purchase whatever Fakebook or Fakebooks they want from amazon.

They must next, visit "youtube" for info on using the Automatic Accompaniment features of their keyboards, plus the various types of sounds that keyboards produce.


Some individuals are drawn to music (as one of them I can speak from personal experience) and will become professional in the field.

Here are the benefits of acquiring as much chord knowledge as possible for such individuals:

Would you rather process only a single symbol rather than many?

Do you want to read faster?

Would you like to memorize much, much faster?

Do you want to write music or even improvise it?

Do you want to not be the victim of poor arrangements.

These are great values for any pro. They all come from having as much chord knowledge as possible.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Fingering - There are many "tricks"

However, the hands can learn almost anything!

Yes, there are many tricks to fingering pieces. Only someone who ACTUALLY LOOKS AT YOUR HANDS and their pluses and minuses (all hands have these, there is no Perfect Hand) can truly guide you to do what is best for your hands and fingers.

As I said above, however, your hands can learn almost anything with enough repetition.

Of course, you'd like to keep this repetition to a minimum. That's the role of the personal teacher.

Now, about those " inked in" finger numbers in your music,...The person doing the inking does NOT know what your hand is like. They can't. I'd say that 80% or more of the "inked in" finger numbers are better for you than anything else, but only that amount. Folks usually try to follow these things cause they a printed in ink.

Remember that people have become generally bigger since the days of the early pianos.