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Automatic Control of Chords
CORRECT PRACTICE IS INDISPENSABLE!
Your success or failure at the keyboard may well hinge on how quickly and accurately you can memorize a new chord. To be really efficient at this you must use your eyes, your ears, and the muscles of your hands. You must learn a chord so that you can recognize and play that chord the next day without hesitation. Let me explain how to practice to gain this three-way control.
VISUAL CONTROL - After playing a chord, take your hands off the keyboard. Then return to the chord remembering visually where the fingers were positioned. Notice particularly the pattern that was formed by the black and white keys and the location of the melody and root notes. (No two chords look exactly alike.)
Repeat this procedure at least four or five times to learn a chord visually. And, as you are playing the chord, say its name OUT LOUD. You must associate the name of the chord with the actual notes you are playing, if the chord symbol is to have any real meaning later on.
TACTILE CONTROL - As you are playing the chord, try to feel it muscularly. Play each note of the chord, one note at a time, so that you use the muscles of the hand. You will develop a muscular memory for chords.
AURAL CONTROL - Listen to the chord. You'll want to know its sound so you can instantly recognize and use it later on ... "by ear"!
Play Piano Like a PRO! Proven Tips, Tools and Strategies (that anyone can learn) to Play Rock, Pop, Blues, R&B and Smooth Jazz Piano.
How To Write A Song
Did you ever wish that it was your song playing on the radio? It could be. It is not that hard once you know the formula. With a little creativity, a little knowledge, a little luck and a good formula to follow, your song could be one of the next biggest hits. Songwriting comes easy for some, and is very difficult for others. I have actually written songs in my sleep, and immediately upon awaking, written it as quickly as I could get the words on down on paper. What I want to discuss here is popular songwriting, like the songs you hear on the radio. A good pop song, whether rock, country, middle of the road, is composed of two things: a catchy tune and some good lyrics. There is a formula that most great songwriters use to write great songs. It regards the structure used to write a song. Granted, it is music and it is art, so the rules are not hard and fast. But if you want to increase your chances of getting your song on the radio, it is a good starting point. Here is the formula. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. Write that down on paper leaving plenty of space between each word and this will be your script. Verse The verse is the part of the song that tells the story, the part that leads to the chorus. Each verse is usually different, telling a different part of, or adding to, the story. It usually explains how you got to the things you are singing about in the chorus. Chorus. The chorus is the part of the song that is repeated after each verse. The lyrics are usually the same each time the chorus comes around. The verse usually leads to the chorus, and the chorus is usually the pay off for listening to the verse. Does that make sense? Here is a lame example (you did not think I would give you my best work, did you?): (verse) My dog is sick, he's got a tick He's my best friend, don't let it end (chorus) Oh, woe is me, can't you see Woe is me, will I ever be free (verse) My car broke down, just out of town It got towed in, but it's broke again (chorus) Oh, woe is me, can't you see Woe is me, will I ever be free Now, if you would kindly stop laughing at my lame song for a minute, I want you to think about whether or not you understand my point. Songwriting is story telling. The verse tells the problems, the chorus expresses the results or the emotions. All right, now that you have that mastered, let's tackle the bridge. Ah, yeah, there is more to the song than the pain and the release. We need the diversion. That is what the bridge is; it is the diversion from the verse and the chorus. The bridge may have a slightly different melody to it, or it could even have a different rhythm or a different tempo (Elvis' "Suspicious Minds" did a great job on this technique). Let's go back to the lame song and add a bridge: (verse) My dog is sick, he's got a tick He's my best friend, don't let it end (chorus) Oh, woe is me, can't you see Woe is me, will I ever be free (verse) My car broke down, just out of town It got towed in, but it's broke again (chorus) Oh, woe is me, can't you see Woe is me, will I ever be free (bridge) Tomorrow is a better day, I've got a new truck on the way My dog just had a flea it seems, so once again I'll live my dreams (chorus) Oh, woe was me, can't you see Woe was me, but now I'm free The bridge offers a solution to the problems I was having. You don't want to leave your listener on the edge of suicide, you want to give them hope. Notice, I also changed up the wording of the chorus. This was done to reflect my new found joy. One more thing on formula. It can be anyway you want, but most verses and chorus come in lines of 4. So, instead of this: (verse) Oh, woe is me, can't you see Woe is me, will I ever be free (verse) My car broke down, just out of town It got towed in, but it's broke again it would be: Oh, woe is me, can't you see Woe is me, will I ever be free My car broke down, just out of town It got towed in, but it's broke again The same goes for the chorus. Again, if you are creative, do it however you want. But for a new songwriter, this gives you some guidelines to scratch out and start carving out your new creation. One more thing, do not make the notes to the melody so high that your fans cannot sing along. We are certainly all not Stevie Wonder.
Guitar Practice (Part 2) - Does Practice Make Perfect?
You've probably heard the saying "practice makes perfect" and it sounds true enough, but is t really? We all know the importance of practicing a new skill in order to become proficient at it. This is especially true when it comes to playing the guitar, or any other musical instrument for that matter. But, practicing incorrectly can actually be a detriment to your progress.
Piano Music, Perfectionism, and Self-Expression
Is your heart in the music? If so, it won't matter what you play so much as what is received through your playing. Do you still think you need to learn 43 chords to sound good or are you concerned with the joy of expressing yourself through this wonderful instrument called the piano? People who sound like they know what they are doing may indeed know what they are doing but does that mean you want to listen to the music?
How Much of Your Potential Will You Release?
Do you ever feel there is an inner voice speaking to you, telling you that you're not very good, or you can't do it, or there's just not enough confidence and repertoire with you? This is the voice that calls itself "I" right? Let's refer to this as Self 1, and Self 2 as the normal you, the real you that has the masses of potential.
The Dark Side of P2P File Sharing
P2P file sharing programs are free. Period. But there are P2P scam sites out there that want you to pay them instead. P2P scam sites are rogue companies that have set up shop to fleece unsuspecting music downloaders looking for file sharing programs by charging a fee for an otherwise free service. No P2P file sharing software costs money. Exceptions would be a site asking members to make a monetary donation to help pay for bandwidth, hosting costs, and other administrative costs. Some P2P file sharing programs offer "pro" versions of their free software. But again, their basic service is free to the public. I want you to fully understand this, because paying a P2P scam site money can not only make your wallet a bit lighter, it can also make your computer vulnerable to dangerous spyware. That's right. These scam sites are only interested in making money off you. As well as actually taking your money by fooling you into paying them, they'll make money off you by installing spyware on your PC, so that they can get paid by sharing your online habits and personal information with others. For music download beginners, all of this can be very confusing. Why? Because these scam sites advertise all over the Internet. Search engines return results chockful of these scams alongside the real P2P file sharing programs; their banner ads riddle the Internet landscape; sites are promoting these scams to get their piece of your money. Most real P2P programs don't advertise much on the Internet. The reason is that they're not money makers. It takes money to advertise, and who has more money-- the free P2P file sharing programs or the scam artists? You guessed it. P2P relies on word of mouth. The scam sites rely primarily on advertising. How Can I Tell a P2P Scam Site? This is the easy part, if you know what you're looking for. P2P scam sites often use phrases like 100% Legal, which is absolutely untrue. This is a trick they use to prey on people interested in P2P file sharing programs, but who are worried (rightly) about Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lawsuits. Keep in mind that sharing and downloading of copyrighted files is, at this moment, an illegal activity. Another tactic is to use fake endorsements and recommendations from legitimate companies. Other cons are to use phrases like Direct Downloads!, Get Access Now!, Download Unlimited Free Music!, and other phrases that are promising you things they absolutely CANNOT deliver. How Does It Work & How are They Doing It? To be honest, I do not know the ins and outs of P2P scam sites. But I know this: all P2P file sharing programs are free. Think about it a moment. It is because music files are being shared free of charge (without artists receiving royalties) that organizations like the RIAA are mad and suing. These P2P scam sites are merely taking your money, downloading a little spyware to your PC, then connecting you to one of the real P2P file sharing programs. This is all convoluted by the nature of P2P, which is a series of servers networking files to one another. Unless you're buying your music MP3 downloads from a legitimate company, either per song/album or through a monthly subscription, you cannot be sure where your music is coming from. The legal status of P2P file sharing programs is confusing. We know that MP3 files themselves are not illegal. For example, it's legal to possess MP3s, to rip your CDs to your hard drive, and to burn CDs for your personal use. But, by sharing and/or downloading these files, you are breaking copyright laws. To my knowledge, P2P scam sites are not actually breaking any laws. But why pay for something you don't have to? One of the most common techniques these scam artists use is to set up sites that are misspellings or derivations of popular P2P file sharing programs. KaZaA is probably the most hijacked name being used these days. Other sites may not actually charge you anything at all, but they'll "give you the software for free" if you give them your email address. This too is a scam. Because once again, they're just sending you along to a proper P2P program, but after collecting your email address, they're selling it to third parties. Don't give these scammers any of your personal information! If you're on a website you trust, even this website, you may see ads by these scam artists, preaching their lies about 100% blah, blah, blah. For your own security, don't click on the links. They're still scams. (Many independent websites rely on ads to pay the bills. We don't always have full control over what advertisements appear on our sites. Keep in mind that most online advertisements are arranged and distributed by third-party companies who pair up advertisements with appropriate keywords. So a page that discusses "music downloads" is likely to have an ad from a scam site singing their own false praises.) On this note, there are sites all over the Internet that actually promote P2P scam sites. Why? I have my opinions. First, these scam sites are paying large sums of money to affiliates who promote their sites. For example, a scam site may be charging you $29.95 for their non-service. Well, they're paying affiliates over half (I've seen the pay-out as high as 75%) of that just for getting you, the visitor, to their scam sites. I Think I've Used One of these Scam Sites. What Do I Do Now? Stop! Right now, stop using that service. If you've got some type of monthly payment with them, stop paying them. Cancel your "membership," contact your bank or credit card company, and stop paying them immediately! Secondly, your computer has probably have been infected by spyware, and you need to remove it right away. I recommend purchasing spyware-removal software like Pest Patrol because they do the best job at clearing out spyware parasites. If you've been pulled into a scam site, just rack it up to experience. Their ad copy is very convincing, and you just wanted to "be legal" while downloading. Take heart in knowing that you're not alone. But you're better off now, with this information at your disposal. In my opinion, this is another reason to consider not using P2P file sharing programs as a means to get your online music. I think that these P2P scam sites will increase in number, and will use more clever tactics to get your money and your information. Until the peer-to-peer communities are regulated in some way, I fear that these types of activities will get worse before they improve.
Review: Audioslave - Out of Exile
Every once in a while a band comes along that really changes the way you perceive music, for me one of these bands was Rage Against the Machine. I'll be the first to admit that I, like most angsty teenagers was lured into Rage's music by their anti-authoritarian songs, and honestly dude, they said "fuck" a whole lot. Not only did the vulgar language lure me in but instead of writing about girls and cars, they took the time to write music about something that actually mattered, politics. Gimmick or not, the music was compelling. Soon after I first heard Bulls on Parade on the radio I started to really question why I was listening to a lot of the other music that interested me at the time. Slowly I began to drift away from happy songs about love and sunshine, and turned to songs that really had a purpose. That being said, I was very excited when I first heard that one of my favorite bands of all time was going to reform, and motherfucking Chris Cornell is going to be their singer. It was like some sort of early-90s rock wet dream. Soundgarden and Rage against the Machine coming together to form a band that would revolutionize rock! Or so they all said.
How Has Eminem Risen to the Top?
How is it that a little white boy from Kansas City has become the most well known rapper in the world? Starting from nothing and eventually moving up to a multi-millionaire, Eminem over the past seven years has been in the eye of the public everywhere you look. He has essentially entered a black man's business and gone to the top over the course of a few years, but how?
Quick and Easy Violin Mute
One of the reasons I picked up the violin was because it was easier to travel with than a guitar (not that I haven't found some nice travel guitars, but that's another story). It fits in an airplane overhead and is easy to carry!
Piano Lessons - Group or Private?
Piano lessons are a great activity for children. They encourage creative thinking, develop math and reading skills, and improve students' overall educational progress, as well as building a fun life-long skill. As a result, over six million children in the United States take piano lessons! One of the choices that parents have when their child is beginning piano lessons is whether to enroll their son or daughter in a private or group lesson. Parents often have misperceptions, or at least several questions, in making this choice.
SOUNDS GOOD TO ME - Eliminate Throat Tension
As a vocal coach, I hear it all the time. I love to sing but when I do, I get hoarse and need to shout to be heard after only a few hours. Some days I just want to give up. What am I doing wrong? What can I do about it?
Micing a Kick Drum
This months tip deals with micing kick drums.
Fiddle Tab Makes Learning Fiddle Fast and Easy
Learning fiddle tab is so intuitive and so easy that a student picks it up in five minutes. This is true even for five-year-olds.
Origin of Erik Saties Gnossiennes
The 'trois Gnossiennes' (1890) is a set of dance-like pieces of similar character, like the earlier composed 'trois Sarabandes' (1887) and 'trois Gymnopédies' (1888). The 'trois Gnossiennes' were first published by Satie as a set through Rouart, Lerolle & Cie. in 1913.
10 Top Reasons You Should Learn to Play Chord Piano
There are roughly umpteen zillion reasons why you should learn enough chords to be able to "chord a song" at the piano. By "chord a song", I mean the ability to play 3 or 4 chords on the piano in some sort of rhythm while you or someone else sings the tune. To do this, you don't need to be a Van Cliburn; all you need to do is learn a few basic chords and be able to more back and forth between them in some organized rhythmic pattern. For example, did you realize that all of these songs (and hundreds more) can be sung or played with just 3 chords?
How to Stop Thinking and Start Playing
Learning how to improvise is confusing for most. The sheer number of choices becomes a burden. Should I play this note? What chord next? Where do I go from here? All valid questions newbies (and oldbies) at improvisation sometimes ask themselves.
Guitar Buying - The Pros and Cons of Vintage vs. Reissue
To most people, owning the "genuine article" is the only thing that will suffice. As a guitar player, and one who appreciates classic "vintage" instruments, I can fully understand this point of view. I can't think of a single guitarist who wouldn't absolutely adore playing a real 50's Les Paul or Stratocaster. However, becoming the proud owner of a true vintage instrument does have its drawbacks.
Independent Music Promotion on the Web: 3 Steps to Success
Let's face it, the wildfire spread of web-based portals designed to introduce independent music to the world has created a bewildering array of opportunities and costs. So where do they all balance out? When does the cost of signing up to yet another music promotion service yield results? What results are we looking for anyway?
Five Secrets to Playing in the New Age Style
1. Learn how to Improvise
Taps; Piping Military Honors: A Ceremonial Guide for Highland Bagpipers
It has become increasingly popular for U.S. military veterans and their families to specifically request a piper to not only pipe for a funeral, but to pipe Taps for the rendering of military honors as well. Funerals for law enforcement and fire personnel in the United States have a long tradition of incorporating pipers and military honors, and most departmental funerary protocols closely follow those of the U.S. military. The following is a brief general outline of what to expect and what will be expected of you as a member of an honor guard when playing Taps.
How to Get Past Creative Blocks
When I first began playing the piano and improvising, there were times when the music just wouldn't flow. No matter what I did, I couldn't make it go any further. Blocked and frustrated, I wondered why this happened. One minute I would be in flow and enjoying the process of playing the piano. The next, I would find myself trying to come up with material
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