In a bold departure from my usual video-of-the-month, this month’s video features a new product that is hitting the market today. If even a fraction of the hype is true, this should take the guitar playing market by storm.
As always, I have absolutely no affiliation with the product in question.
November’s Video-of-the-Month features a tune that I have just started working on.
I started guitar lessons a month ago (after not having formal lessons for over 30 years) and this is the second tune that my teacher gave me to work on. It’s a tough one! The thing that I like about this piece is that it is forcing me to use voicings that I would not typically use on my own. It also has some very cool counterpoint (bits that complement the melody and harmony).
Here is Stephen Kenyon playing his interpretation of the tune, which differs from the version that I am learning in the way that he approaches the grace notes.
This month’s Video-of-the-Month is one that gives me hope for my future.
Andres Segovia, who pretty much single-handedly brought the modern guitar out of obscurity and put it centre-stage for classical music lovers all over the world, recorded this tune in his native Spain fairly late in his life. (He died in 1987 at the age of 94.)
While he is certainly not at his best in this video, his lifetime of virtuosity is in full view. As I understand it, he suffered from severe arthritis in his hands by this point in his career, and yet he was still able to keep his audiences enthralled.
I just hope that if I live that long, I’ll still be able to play for my own enjoyment – let alone someone else’s!
Okay, so the extra-videos-of -the-month-during-the-summer thing didn’t work out quite like I’d planned. I was away all of July and August on an extended family road trip and I really thought that I would have more access to the internet than I did.
Anyways, here is September’s video-of-the-month, featuring Dylan Ryche playing “Toronto Sky” from his CD “Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar”.
Dylan is an import to Canada from Melbourne, Australia – currently living in Toronto. One of the benefits of being a bit slow with this particular video-of-the-month is that I can now tell you that Dylan won the 2012 Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Competition last month! Congratulations, Dylan!
As is my custom, I will be doubling up on videos-of-the-month for the summer months, when it is a bit harder to sit in front of a screen writing about playing guitar when I could be outside playing guitar. The second video-of-the-month for July features a young duo from Texas…
Fragile Balance consists of two young guitarists who met in high school two years ago, Nick Cooper and Cruz Lujan. So far, they have released two full length CDs and have shared a stage with the likes of Antoine Dufour and Michael Chapdelaine.
Here they are playing “Elements of Emotion”:
Once again, I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for these talented young men…
Summer is here, so in keeping with past tradition I will start presenting two videos each month to try to offset my reluctance to sit at my computer writing new posts during the summer weather.
The first video-of-the-month for July features classical guitarist Maja Radovanlija. Following my post about the lack of female guitarists, Maja wrote me a note suggesting that, at least in the classical world, there are more female guitarists than many of us realize. She suggested that it may be that women just aren’t as aggressive at promoting themselves.
Here Maja plays “Lento from Jazz Sonata” by Dusan Bogdanovic:
Originally from Serbia, Maya is a faculty member at the University of Minnesota School of Music.
Early in May, I led a workshop on “Practicing Without Your Guitar” at the York Region Fingerstyle Guitar Association’s monthly Open Mic. I am now working on getting some of the insights from that workshop written down and posted. In this, the third of four installments, I am going to talk about working on Rhythm and Tempo without your guitar.
A while ago I wrote about attending a guitar workshop led by David Ross MacDonald at the Eaglewood Folk Festival. In that workshop he talked about how he used a sort of two step to embed various rhythms (i.e eighths, triplets, sixteenths, etc.) into his brain. You can also tap out rhythms in time with your metronome, or even use your left hand to tap out a steady beat while tapping out more complex rhythms with the right (or vice versa, if that’s how you’re wired).
One of the biggest challenges for many musicians is starting at the right tempo. As it turns out, our brains have a remarkable capacity for reproducing the tempo of well known songs. For example, according to Daniel Levitin, in his book, “This Is Your Brain On Music”, we can use the following songs to find the following tempos:
“Hotel California”, by The Eagles – 75 beats per minute
“Back in Black”, by AC/DC – 96 bpm
“Walk This Way” by Aerosmith – 112 bpm
“Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson – 116 bpm
This is a technique that I have found to be very helpful.
Hopefully, you can use some of these ideas to improve your musicianship without building callouses.
Stay tuned for Part IV: Listening and Ear Training