Archive for April, 2011

This is Interesting: Context Matters

Posted by Brian on 28th April 2011 in General Music, Mildly Off-Topic, Performing

Here is an interesting article from about four years ago:

The Washington Post decided that it would be fun to get Joshua Bell, an internationally recognized concert violinist, and have him busk in the Washington Subway. He made just over $32 in just under 45 minutes, but that is perhaps the least significant observation arising from the experiment…

Read the article from the Washington Post.

Watch an excerpt from the video on YouTube:

Happy Easter!

Posted by Brian on 21st April 2011 in General Music, Guitar, Guitarists

To help get you in the mood for Good Friday and Easter, here is Chet playing the classic hymn “The Old Rugged Cross”:

How to: Become an Expert Guitar Player

Posted by Brian on 13th April 2011 in General Music, Guitar, How to:..., Practice

They say that it takes ten thousand hours of working on something to become an “expert”. (I’m not sure who “they” are, but I’ve heard it a number of times and have no reason to doubt that number, so we’ll go with it.) The average full time job occupies roughly two thousand hours a year, so I suppose that this is why most job postings are looking for someone with at least five years experience.

Now, lets consider what it takes to become an expert guitar player. Let’s say the budding young guitarist has half an hour a day set aside for practice, and by “practice” I don’t mean playing a favourite riff repeatedly, I mean working on scales, building repertoire, studying theory, ear training, etc. Lets assume that our budding young guitarist manages to practice five days a week on average – so two and a half hours of practice a week, or, assuming two weeks of vacation each year, 125 hours a year. Only seventy-nine years to go before receiving “expert” status. (For the record, its a rare “budding young guitarist” who even practices this much.)

Let’s say that our future expert decides that, yes, music is something that (s)he wants to get serious about. (S)he decides to practice an hour a day, 6 days a week and joins a band that rehearses for 2 hours every Thursday night. We’re now up to 400 hours a year – and a mere twenty-five years away from “expert” status. But take heart, we can get there five years sooner if we can book a 2-hour gig every weekend…

Clearly, this is going to take some time…

Better get started.




Video of the Month: Bobby McFerrin

Posted by Brian on 1st April 2011 in General Music, Music Theory, Video of the Month

Okay, this isn’t my typical video of the month, but it is very cool, nevertheless. In this video Bobby McFerrin (of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” fame) demonstrates to an audience (without speaking a word) how the pentatonic scale is universal and highly intuitive, if not instinctive.

Edit: For those of you who may not know, the pentatonic scale is a five note scale which corresponds to the intervals between the black keys on a piano. It is usually the first (and sometimes only) scale that we guitarists learn.