Practicing One Hour A Day Will Make You An Elite Musician

Practicing your instrument for one hour a day, seven days a week will make you a truly elite musician.

Joe Satriani Is An Elite Musician
Joe Satriani Is An Elite Musician

   I’ve been playing in a live band since I was 14 years old. I’ve met and played with some incredible, elite musicians over the years. I’ve always had the goal of being the absolute best musician I could possibly be. So I’ve asked a lot of musician’s over the years how they got to be so good. The answer is always the same: Practice. 

   I’ve written several posts about the topic of practicing on Live Musician Central because I’m a huge believer in the power of practice to make you a better musician. I know for a fact that people with very little natural talent are some of the best players around. The reason they’re so good is because of their work ethic when it comes to practicing their instrument. Having a talent for music and talent for playing your instrument is a blessing and will help you to become a good player. But to be a truly great player, you need to work and that means practicing.     Continue reading “Practicing One Hour A Day Will Make You An Elite Musician”

Music Theory Explained In The Guitar Grimoire – A Notated Intervallic Study Of Scales

This book is the music notated companion book to “The Guitar Grimoire – Scales & Modes”. Both are a must-have for your music library.

The Guitar Grimoire - A Notated Intervallic Study Of Scales
The Guitar Grimoire - A Notated Intervallic Study Of Scales

The ongoing quest for every live musician is to increase their knowledge and playing skills. When you play in a live band it’s really to your advantage to have a good grasp of general music theory. Every guitarist I know wants to be able to play blazing fast guitar licks but most of them fall short when it comes to knowing what scales or notes to play and when to play them. I’ve played with guys that were lightning fast but their playing wasn’t musical because of their poor note selection.

   The other day I wrote about the excellent book “The Guitar Grimoire – Scales and Modes” which introduces you to the concept of music scales and modes as well as telling you which chords to play them over. The whole point to studying and learning the scales and modes is being able to put them into practice while your band plays the chordal harmony for them. Today I’m going to talk about the Scales and Modes companion book “The Guitar Grimoire – A Notated Intervallic Study Of Scales“.     Continue reading “Music Theory Explained In The Guitar Grimoire – A Notated Intervallic Study Of Scales”

Master Scales And Modes Music Theory With The Guitar Grimoire

The Guitar Grimoire – Scales & Modes is a “must have” book for every guitarist that wants to take their playing to a higher level.

The Guitar Grimoire - Scales & Modes
The Guitar Grimoire - Scales & Modes

I’m always trying to increase my knowledge and skills on the guitar and keyboard so I can get better at playing in my live band. I’ve been playing guitar for about 28 years but it seems like there’s always something more to learn. I’ve got a good background of music theory but I’ve always wanted to be better at applying various scales and modes to different chord structures. Today I want to tell you about an excellent book I just picked up called The Guitar Grimoire – Scales & Modes by Adam Kadmon.

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In A Live Band, Multiple Skills Will Increase Your Value

You can increase your value in your live band by bringing your mutiple skills and talents into the band.

Frank and Kyle Are Both Multi-Instrumentalists
Frank and Kyle Are Both Multi-Instrumentalists

 One thing I’ve noticed in my years of playing in a live band is how important members are that can do multiple things in the band. I was in a band where we had a lead guitar player that was a good lead guitar player, but that’s all he did. He didn’t sing lead or sing backup, he only brought his guitar and his amp and he didn’t book any of the gigs. Yes he would have the songs all learned and he played his parts perfectly but he just didn’t seem to contribute as much as the other members of the band.

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How A Handy Pocket Metronome Can Increase Your Playing Speed And Accuracy

Every musician needs a handy pocket metronome for practicing to increase their accuracy and speed.

Seiko DM70 Pocket Metronome
Seiko DM70 Pocket Metronome

  Playing in a live band can be very challenging rhythmically because the thing that really makes a live band sound great is keeping the rhythm and groove happening. It’s so important to practice to some sort of rhythm when you work on your instrument whether it be keyboards, guitar, bass or drums. I’ve written about practicing to a beat and not a metronome and I still feel that practicing to a beat is the best way to get good at playing rhythmically. Practicing to different types of beats will teach you to play in a musical groove. With that being said, there are times when you want to practice with a plain old metronome.

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Some Tips For Memorizing Song Lyrics

Memorizing song lyrics for your live performance is easy if you follow these simple tips.

Bill says, "What was the next lyric?"
Bill says, "What was the next lyric?"

   One of the most essential skills a live singer must develop is the ability to memorize song lyrics. As a singer in a live band you may be called on to memorize 40 songs or more worth of lyrics. That seems like an overwhelming amount of song lyrics to memorize when you look at that number. The fact is, singers do it all the time and believe it or not it’s not an insurmountable task. As with everything that you’ll do in a band, it begins with the first step. Today I’m going to talk about some tips that will help you in your quest to memorize a setlist worth of song lyrics.

   All big tasks are easier when you break them down into smaller parts. The first thing you need to do is decide what song you want to memorize. It helps if you’re already familiar with the song but even if it’s a new song that you’re not familiar with there is a specific way to approach memorizing every song that you want to learn. The first thing you should do is find a copy of the lyrics. We used to have to sit with a recording of the song and struggle to figure out what the singer was saying. Doing that took a lot of time and led to a lot of lyrical errors. Continue reading “Some Tips For Memorizing Song Lyrics”

Build Finger Strength With Hanon “The Viruoso Pianist In Sixty Exercises”

Playing Hanon-The Virtuoso Pianist will keep your fingers strong and dexterous.

  

Hanon - The Virtuoso Pianist In Sixty Exercises
Hanon - The Virtuoso Pianist In Sixty Exercises

If you’re a live musician that plays guitar, bass or keyboards then you know that having good finger strength and coordination is essential to mastering your instrument. If you ever took piano lessons then you’ve probably run across the piano exercise book by Charles-Louis Hanon titled “The Virtuoso Pianist In Sixty Exercises“. I remember my piano teacher asking me at the beginning of every lesson to play my “Hanon Exercise”. Because the name “Hanon” was the largest word on the cover of the book we all just called it Hanon. I’ll tell you, those exercises were easy to learn, quickly became boring and built my finger strength and coordination in a way that few things have over the years. I owe a lot of my hand strength to good old Hanon.

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Should I Get Guitar Lessons?

Matt Plays Guitar Like A Keyboard

   I get asked this question all the time “Should I get guitar lessons?” and it’s a question that’s quite tricky to answer. As soon as people find out that I’m a performing live musician they ask if I had music lessons. The reason these questions are tricky is because I did take music lessons in general but I’ve only taken about 4 formal guitar lessons in my life and that was because it was required in my college music studies. I’m a self taught guitarist, it’s my best instrument and I play guitar professionally in two bands. So when I tell people, yes they should get guitar lessons, it’s hard to justify formal guitar lessons from my personal experience since I never really had them. I’m going to answer the, should I get guitar lessons, question today on the blog.

   The answer is different for everyone and it depends on what other musical training you’ve had. Let’s start off easy, if you’ve never had any musical training on any other instrument then yes, you should definitely get guitar lessons right now and hang in there taking the lessons until you have a good command of the guitar and a really good grasp of guitar theory and music theory. Continue reading “Should I Get Guitar Lessons?”

Rock Band And Guitar Hero Tab Songbook by Hal Leonard

   My kids and I play Rock Band 1 and Rock Band 2 on our Playstation 3 relentlessly. There has been a really good side effect to playing these video games. My kids have become extremely interested in playing the real instruments that they’re emulating in the game. They’ve also gotten very interested in becoming performing live musicians.  They are learning to play the songs that we play along with in Rock Band on the actual instruments because they are familiar with the arrangements that they focus on during gameplay. It’s really great how they’re going from gameplay to working on their musicianship.

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How To Learn A Cover Song To Play In A Live Band

Should I Stay Or Should I Go - The Clash

   One of the greatest challenges I’ve had as a live musician is learning new songs to play live with my band. I don’t know why I’ve struggled with it because I’ve been playing other people’s songs for as long as I’ve been playing music. Think about it, when you began learning your instrument you most likely learned how to play music that other people have written. If you took piano, I’m sure you learned out of basic piano books that had some classic folk songs or some great classical music. You probably learned how to play some pop music on the piano to keep things interesting as well. Well it’s a whole lot different when you’re learning music to play in a live band. To do it right, you need to learn to pick out and play parts by ear. That’s a real challenge for those of us that learned how to play instruments by reading music. It took me a long time to develop my ear to the point where I could play my parts exactly like the record. Here are some suggestions on how to learn a cover song to play in your live band. Continue reading “How To Learn A Cover Song To Play In A Live Band”