How to Sound like your Heroes

Learning guitar can easily become overwhelming. We listen to someone who inspires us and we think “how can I sound like them? What do they have that I don’t?” There’s a slew of subjects that we can study: chord voicings, scales, fretboard memorization, music literacy, rhythmic exercises, etc. But instead of overwhelming ourselves, let’s focus on one passage of one song. If our goal is to play like our favorite musicians, then let’s start by playing what they play.

I use an app called ‘The Amazing Slow Downer’ to isolate a phrase in a song and loop it over and over again. Slowly, the phrase becomes familiar to my ears and I’m able to replicate it on my guitar. This may sound difficult, but it just takes some patience and keen listening - I love teaching this part to students!

Once I become comfortable playing the phrase, I’ll use the ‘Slow Downer’ app again to play along with the recording at a slower speed. This is where the fun starts! My goal is to sound EXACTLY like the recording.

After doing this, I’ll own a new perspective on music and my instrument. I’ll know how a master would treat a certain phrase, and this will provide insight on how I can take their expertise and apply it to my own music.

Play What you Want to Play

I help my students learn the music that excites them. We begin playing right away, rather that means your favorite pop song or the soundtrack to your favorite movie. 

My job is to help you with any song you want to learn. It's a very happy accident that each song will be a little more challenging than the last, and so, you'll learn how music works!

But learning songs and how music works is really only effective if it inspires you to start asking questions: 'how did this musician do that?' or 'what if I put these notes together in this order?' The knowledge you receive from songs just expands your toolkit so that you can create from scratch or play any song.

So, what song do you have on repeat this week? Let's learn how to play it...right now!

5 Ways to Make Practice More Fun

 

No one picks up an instrument because they’re looking for more stress. And yet, effort is stressful. So how do you take the effort out of your practice time?

1. Play softly and slowly

Holding tension in your hands becomes a habit. Neither you nor your listeners want to hear you tensing up. If you’re making any mistakes at all, you’re playing too fast.

2. Close your eyes

No need to strain over your guitar, looking at your fingers. Lean back and feel yourself breathe. Are you holding tension in your neck, your jaw? Notice how you feel.

4. Listen

Listening closely to each note is more helpful than telling yourself to play a certain way. Giving your fingers commands will just form a cloud of judgment between you and your music. This will add to your tension. But if you’re just listening closely, you’ll hear what the guitar wants you to say.

5. Try another technique

If changing from one chord to another keeps producing an accidental note, re-arrange your fingers on that 2nd chord until you get the sound you want. Play that chord in the new position a few times before making the switch again, slowly.