The Rewards of Playing an Acoustic Electric Guitar

I’ve been playing acoustic guitar for several years now, but it was just recently that I finally purchased an acoustic electric guitar. At the beginning of my guitar-playing days, I was just playing for fun, and so I didn’t really need an acoustic electric guitar. Essentially, a normal acoustic and an electric acoustic guitar are almost exactly the same, except for one very significant difference: the electric one contains a built-in pickup. This means that you do not need to insert an additional pickup to the guitar to amplify it. You merely plug it in, and you’re ready to play.

When you are just playing by yourself, you have no need for an acoustic electric guitar. Because unless you’re playing with a band, amplifying is probably not your biggest need. Normal acoustic guitars generate enough volume on their own, and don’t require the amplification level an acoustic electric guitar amplification produces.

An acoustic electric guitar does have several advantages over a normal acoustic with an added pickup. To start with, when playing the electric guitar the pickup is always with you. There is no need to drag it around, and no concern about the pickup falling out. In addition, acoustic electric guitars are likely to include superior quality pickups, and these pickups will be well mounted. Pickups added for a non-electric acoustic guitar are difficult to position to get a great quality of sound.

One of the best features of a new acoustic electric guitar, though, is the built-in controls included with it. There is really no easy way to control the volume of a normal acoustic guitar that’s been amplified. But an acoustic electric guitar has volume controls built into the guitar itself. This is such a great feature. If your guitar volume level doesn’t sound the best to you, then rather than going over to the amp and tinkering with it, you can instead adjust the volume on the side of your guitar. If you are playing a gig, this can be a big timesaver (not to mention it looks more professional to the audience).

An acoustic electric guitar can help evoke the confidence and desire one needs to play the guitar with other people. Although it takes more than a great guitar to play well, having an acoustic electric guitar represents a big step in that direction.

How To Play Jazz Piano

In order to play jazz piano, you must first have the fundamentals of piano theory on which to build. Jazz piano goes beyond the boundary of classical piano to embrace the sounds and rhythms that result from creative expression. Jazz music developed from the blues and swing music of the early 1900s. While it does have a sound of its own, it uses the art of improvisation to create a unique somewhat whimsical sound. this type of piano music requires that you learn particular chords, progressions and bass, but, you will also need to understand the tones and patterns to develop the complete sound.

It is in the creative freedom of expression, that blues piano playing diverges from classical piano playing. Beyond the chords, notes and melody is the dependence on improvisation to capture a distinctive sound. If you are only familiar with the classics and feel a little intimidated by the prospect of jazz piano, don’t worry, you can learn how to improvise. It involves building on your interpretation of the chords and melodies. The music should tell a story and convey a message to the listeners.

You will need to invest in some good ragtime piano books. These will help to increase your appreciation for blues chords, harmony, improvisation techniques, jazz scales chords and harmony. All of these are important fundamentals to master this genre. You can also benefit by learning about the history of jazz and great musicians that played it. This knowledge will assist in the intuitive learning process of blues piano.

Jazz piano requires the mastery of scales and chords. Learn all the major and minor scales. Then, progress to chord symbols and chord progressions. There are also online lessons available. Perhaps the greatest benefit of this method of learning is the visual help that it gives. Being able to look at professionals playing the music makes it easier to play correctly.

You must also learn the rhythm of jazz. The essence of the music is the ability to keep the beat. Learn to play by ear so you can get a feel for the rhythm. This will add vibrancy to your music. Once you have these skills, you can play jazz piano with the interplay of the melody and the bass. It is also helpful if you listen to different type of jazz. That way you will get a feel for for the diverse melodies played by great jazz pianists.

Improvisation is a key ingredient in playing jazz piano. It calls for emotions and creativity in playing, more so than classical piano. Players sometimes interpret as they play and this opens up a new dimension to the music. Jazz piano is not traditional. It gives you the freedom to explore musical expression and rhythm, so you get the chance to indulge. Set aside some time each day to practice the styles, patterns and technique. Learn the theory, but be inventive, using that knowledge alongside the chords of jazz piano, to create great music.

The Language of Music: Simplified and Clarified

After teaching one-on-one for more than twenty-five years I have a good understanding of the successes and difficulties people have with learning to play music. Every thing I have ever played, studied or taught boils down to some simple facts, and the most basic one is that music is a language. This is not a new idea to mankind, but it’s something I want to point out as its relevancy is often missed.

As you communicate with spoken words, you communicate with notes and sounds. There are only so many symbols, sounds and words to understand, and when you learn them you can speak, read and understand what it’s all about. Then, one either develops a small yet functional vocabulary or a large and involved one. And as people learn to speak before learning to read, learning to play music before learning to read music is an efficient first step. (And did you know there are only six little shapes that make up most of written music?)

You can break down the musical language into three categories: melody, harmony and rhythm. Melody is a series of single notes (note: a specific musical sound), Harmony is combinations of notes and Rhythm is the placement of sounds and notes. Besides physical technique and lyrics – that’s all there is to the mechanical fundamentals. The mechanics of music are finite. The creative application is unlimited.

To get more out of your playing, or get re-started if you’ve stopped, you can address your understanding of these elements, increase your vocabulary and clear up any confusions you’ve had. Start by looking up these words in a SIMPLE dictionary, as music dictionaries can get extremely involved. Also look up any related words you think of, then take your new understanding and listen to lot’s of music. Within that music find some melody, find some harmony and tap out some rhythms you hear; get some “ears-on” application.

Speaking of ears, you’ve heard of “playing by ear”? This means to hear or conceive sounds and duplicate what they are on your instrument. Some people do this naturally to a certain degree, whereas most people have to work at it. But all this entails is gaining some understanding of the language-the relationships of the sounds to each other.

As the intention behind the words you speak are actually the true communication, when the sounds you play parallel the sounds in your “inner ear” the music is truly alive and meaningful. This is easier to learn then one might think.

Two additional things you can do to increase your musical vocabulary are to 1) play single notes on an instrument and match them with your voice, and 2) create some simple sounds in your head and sing them: try to match what you create in your inner ear with your voice.

These are some main entrance points to learning the language of music.

An interesting part of teaching has been getting the idea across to students that you can’t experience something until you actually experience it; and you can’t experience it until you can actually do it. As you don’t know what it’s like to sit on a horse until you sit on a horse, you don’t really know what it’s like to play something well until you actually play something well! And until you actually hear something, recognize it and play on it on your instrument the first time you try, you haven’t experienced “playing by ear.” To learn these things, calm, relaxed and efficient practicing is necessary. There’s no way around this.

On a physical level, the purpose of practicing is to work out the kinks and hesitations to develop control over what you’re playing. To play with a tense body is like driving a car with the emergency brake on. Practicing too fast is like speeding through the mountains and screeching around the corners-you will most likely end up in a tree. You need to develop relaxed control before going fast-even with playing one note. Learn to relax when you play!

For ear training, practicing achieves a familiarity with sounds and what they are called. It’s similar to knowing what words mean versus being able to say them without understanding their definitions. An infant most likely doesn’t know what “green” is until someone points to something green and says “This is green”. It’s the same thing with ear training. You take some sounds, learn what they’re called and how to play them, then drill listening to and identifying them. Then as you can know and recognize a few different colors, or many of them, you learn to recognize a few musical sounds, or hundreds of them: small vocabulary-large vocabulary.

A major part of learning the language of music is practicing at the right speed; the speed at which you can actually DO whatever it is, then through repetition gaining control and certainty.(And some things need to be repeated hundreds of times before you get it-so be patient!) Then once you can do whatever it is, you can get it faster and more fluid. Practicing too fast is probably the number one boo-boo students make.

There are many elements to the language, and until the pieces are put together the puzzle remains unfinished. When I teach I spend a great deal of time simply filling in the holes that people have in their puzzles, and creating sequences of things to do to complete the picture: small picture or big picture.

Whether you are learning your first songs, learning to read or filling in the holes, find something you want to improve and create a realistic practice routine. Put your puzzle together piece by piece and eventually the picture will appear and you’ll speak more of the language of music.

Play on!

Easy Piano Music – How to Start Playing Easy Piano

Learning any musical instrument is an easy task, if the learner has a lot of determination and commitment. Piano learning is no exception and learning it is easy, if one is passionate about learning. Learning to play piano is an asset and creating your own music with chords and structures is an achievement. Today more and more people prefer to learn easy piano music that allows them to experience the pleasure of playing piano, without any glitches.

Getting started

Easy piano lessons and music make the entire process of learning piano, very simple. Easy piano music lessons offer one the luxury of beginning to learn piano, using three or four chords. For beginners, repetitive songs make them accustomed to the keys, chords and the pleasant melody involved in the tunes. ‘Chop sticks’, an easy piano classic is ideal for beginners and this acts as a template, on which complicated compositions can be built.

Easy piano songs

To learn easy piano music, a person has to select songs that are easy to play on a piano. The easiest song that is preferred by young and old alike, is the song, ‘Mary had a little Lamb’. The song’s tune is a three-note tune and this allows the learners to be familiar with the keys and use their hands dexterously. Songs like these are building blocks, in the process of learning. Songs like ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Row Row, Row your boat’ and ‘Ode to Joy’ are ideal for beginners. Choosing songs like these help one to master easy piano music, without any complication.

Easy piano classics

It is not true that when a person learns easy piano music, he learns songs that are simple and mundane. He/she can also experience playing classics, which are easy to play. The simple and classic compositions of the renowned musicians like Bach, Chopin and Beethoven offer the joy of playing classics on a piano, in a simple and lucid manner!

Easy piano classics are available online and one can download it from a particular site. They are also found in the form of CDs and even as musical scores. One can choose any form, depending upon his/her convenience. Learning the uncomplicated classical composition of the great masters is the first step towards learning more complicated songs.

Contemporary songs

Learning Easy piano music is inclusive of learning to play easy songs, easy piano classics and also contemporary songs, that are easy. Beginners consider learning contemporary songs, a pleasure. A gamut of songs are available that are timeless and simple, in the music galleries, across the globe. Songs like ‘My heart will go on’, ‘somewhere out there’, ‘Unchained melody’, etc are great songs that are also uncomplicated compositions.

Easy piano music can now be learnt online or using tutorials. A wide variety of websites offer classes on piano music and also teaches the learners easy ways to learn piano music. A person learning piano online or preferring self study must put in a lot of effort, unlike somebody, who learns piano, under the tutelage of a reputed teacher. He/she must work hard and concentrate their complete energy towards mastering their piano playing skill.

Only a person with total devotion, extreme passion and the urge to learn every nuance of playing piano becomes a great musician. Mastering the chords is the first step and the rest follows. Learning a few easy songs and classics can make a person restrict his talents. One has to learn, explore and experiment with music. A true musician masters basics practices consistently and finally focuses all his/her efforts in creating charming tunes that entertain and elevate!