Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Truth About Learning Guitar

Everyone wants to learn to play guitar.

Okay, not everyone, but if someone walked up and said they had a magic button that, when pressed, would magically bestow guitar abilities, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn't push that button. Whether it's the dream of shredding in front of a packed stadium, the idea of strumming tunes by a fire pit with friends on a cool fall evening, or the desire to strengthen one's mind through music, playing the guitar is a skill that's on many people's bucket lists.

Learning guitar isn't as easy as pushing a button, but the ability to play simple songs, something most anyone would like to be able to do, is far more achievable than one might think. Obstacles do exist, and overcoming them is the cornerstone of effective learning approaches. As with most things, there's a right way and a wrong way to do this.

The advertising, marketing and publishing industries and ever-popular YouTube videos collude to promote false ideas that have become commonplace in the guitar industry. While on the surface, these sources ostensibly provide easy, do-it-yourself solutions to someone wanting to learn guitar, they are ultimately designed to do one thing – generate sales.

The outcome is predictable – the vast majority of learners come to the realization that the only realistic way to progress as a guitarist is to have a teacher to guide them. This is where the selection process begins. It is also the point where many students unknowingly determine whether they will or will not achieve their goals as a guitarist.

Poetry review: FLESHED

"Fleshed" is a fabulous little book by what I can only describe as a stunning writer. Twists and turns and fabulous word play...but always in the service of a piece with all the edge and precision of a sharped spear-head striking a bullseye into the emotional heart of the matter.

To wit:

"Therapy"

After I got
a diagnosis
& prescription
the doctor said
You need 
to keep in mind 
          – noncompliance 
is common 
for people 
with your condition. 

No it’s not 
I thought, then left
without paying
my copay

-----

That's the 7th of 15 wonderful poems in this book.

Worth every second. Worth every cent.

I'm looking forward to much more from Leigh Anne Hornfeldt in the future!

Find it here: FLESHED at Argus House Press


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Poem Series: Sea Water Heart

~Sea Water Heart~
Liz Fink-Davenport

Gravity pulls tears down to the heart
that soaks them up like a sea sponge
<because this is where the boat capsized>
sucks it through the chest
gets drunk on it
greedily draws it up
fills it to weightiness
oh it's too hard to carry
ribs breaking cracking open
drops to knees
salt water heavy heart pours out hits against the floor
struggling to even beat
like a fish breathing out of water
watch it
slowing down
to a struggled, please stop this pain, death
but never
fully
released to a peaceful anything
nothing finished
because it's never finished
please count the death heaves, they are brutal
Like drowning on solid ground.
This is what heartbreak feels like.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Alan Robinson - Help! I'm "Tapped" and I Can't Get Out #2 - Fretboard Tapping

Help I'm "Tapped" and I Can't Get Out #2
Alan Robinson
Welcome back!! In the last lesson we looked at combining two different pentatonic scales to create a tapping pattern. This time around we are going to look at the way I tend to practice developing the technique to create these type of lines. The process is really pretty basic and simple overall. So let's get started...
I like to view the guitar in segments of two string groups. I find this approach to be a benefit in simplifying the learning curve. I will give a great example of this at the end of this lesson. For now let's start with the first example. For all of the following examples I will be using the string group 3/4 (3rd string and 4th string). We will be exploring the E minor pentatonic scale for all examples as well.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Alan Robinson - Help! I'm "Tapped" and I Can't Get Out - Fretboard Tapping

Help I'm "Tapped" and I Can't Get Out
Alan Robinson
Hey everyone! It's time for a new lesson series and this time we are exploring some solo techniques for rock guitar. Specifically, two hand tapping technique. Now you may consider this old news, however; two hand tapping can be a great deal of fun, as well as, a great device to move around the fretboard. Now this series isn't going to be just the basic tapping ideas but rather some advanced ways to develop lines and ideas and move across the strings seamlessly. So let's get started...

Friday, September 30, 2016

Taking the Plunge -- So you want to start a band, Part 1

by Thom Suggs

Earlier this month, I was enjoying a beer with long-time SDML instructor Paulie Felice, when he asked if I’d be willing to write periodically about my observations and experiences during the initial stages of forming my new band, Five Minutes Left. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity, so here goes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Poem Series: Why

~Why~
Liz Fink-Davenport


Why? Tell me. Why would your sticky fingers reach into the dark and try to find shapes and pieces to fit when it's not your puzzle to play with? Why do you feel entitled to plunge depths that are dark for a reason? Why would your eyes pry to see in a heart when you are an interloper and have no business there? Why would you be so ego filled to sap into something like love? Why don't you know that you are stealing?


You are a thief. You are not to be trusted. You take what is not yours. If you aren't going to be the man that stakes claim and promises souls entwined as centuries slide away...take your damn hands off someone else's future. She does not belong to you. She is not a mountain to conquer, she is not a feather blown onto your path, she is not a penny found in a parking lot. She is not your boredom or your place filler. Or a shiny thing to brighten your shitty days. She is not to be told rattling tin cans of promises. She is Someone's. Someone's forever. Someone's promises. Someone's keeps. Someone's sleepy kisses and sock feet tickles on Sunday morning. She will go to war with Someone. She is not to be owned...but rather promised. A promise. She will promise too. She will. If he is worthy. Don't damage her.

You play, little boy. And you have no idea of the broken toys you have left behind you. So stop. Just stop. And quit leaving your heart-messes for big boys to clean up. You are flippant with love. Please. Stop. Let them go. Let Someone find them. Don't leave them with sticky fingerprints and crow bar opened heart doors. They never close the same again.

Why? Why don't you wait. Wait. Sit down and wait. Leave her. Leave her alone. Leave her for Someone. Unless you are ready to be Someone. Wait. And wash your hands.
You may be
Someone's too.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Poem Series: Sister, Listen

~Sister, Listen~

Liz Fink-Davenport


Let me say to you this thing. Because I don't believe you have heard it before. Oh, the words have crossed your ears. But you never drank them in. You gently shook your head. So listen now.

You are a poem. You are a symphony. You are honey dripped warm on a tongue tip in the first summer sun. You are the roll of the ocean's deep tide miles below. You are jazz on a rainy Sunday morning. You are a geographical miracle. Your body is mountain peaks and plateaus and the basin of the sea and the tips of the peninsulas and rounded hips and fingertips and eyebrows that set off earthquakes. Your skin is a tapestry of tiny scars that are a timeline and freckles that form constellations and...velvet. Your eyes light the room and the world and my God you don't know their sway. You are who sets wars in motion. Ships to sea. Warriors to battle. You are a mystery wrapped in quiet strength and 2am never seen heartbreak. You have the thoughts that change the universe and send new moons to orbit. Your laugh. Damn. Your laugh is the lighting of the day and every bell ever rung. Walk for me. Because your stride is the length of your priorities and aspirations. Your song is sung in every radio and swaying church piano and cup holding street violinist. You are sunrises. A peek at what's to come. You are not done. You are a start.

My sister. Go now and look in the mirror. If you don't see what I see, smash that mirror and focus on my voice. You are. You. Are.

My love, you are all that could ever be desired. So make the metronome heel click of your day be the drums to which you launch a fleet.