Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including the movie Almost Famous, training, and more.
Here we go…
#1 – My teeth and guitar playing
For years, I’ve noticed one of my upper front teeth is getting more and more crooked.
It got so bad that I felt I could no longer smile in photos.
It’s annoying because I’ve never had a filling or any dental work needed ever, but my teeth in photos look horrible (at least to me).
So, back in the summer, I decided to get my teeth straightened.
I’ve just got to the halfway mark and this crooked tooth in particular is looking so much better.
It’s not easy though.
Throughout the day, I have to insert and remove the invisible aligners every time I eat.
I then have to brush my teeth, floss, and put them back in.
Honestly, it’s a bit of pain but by now, I’m used to it.
It’s a lesson in patience and perseverance which reminds me of what it’s like learning guitar.
That’s because getting good on the guitar requires these attributes.
For instance, day to day, I don’t see any difference in my teeth, but when I look back at photos from 6 months ago, there’s a significant difference.
That’s what happens on the guitar too.
The results are not obvious day to day, but look in the rear-view mirror occasionally and you’ll see progress is there.
That’s why it’s good to keep some sort of record to track your progress.
Video or audio recordings of you playing are great for this.
Just like with my (now much less) wonky tooth, the guitar-playing journey continues!
#2 – Almost Famous
Last week I re-watched a movie called Almost Famous.
It’s a great film about a 15-year-old teenage rock music journalist in the 1970s called William Miller.
He goes on an epic journey with a band called Stillwater, where he discovers many life lessons.
There are plenty of iconic scenes and one that really stands out.
It’s the day after a heavy night.
William, the band, and the entourage are all on the tour bus feeling worse for wear.
Someone starts singing Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”.
Gradually, each person on the bus joins in singing and the tension in the air starts to dissipate.
Everyone goes from feeling low, hungover, and depressed, to all smiles and joy.
…All through the beauty of music and a great song.
That’s just one scene out of many that make it a classic movie.
It’s not just a movie about great music, but it’s about life, relationships, growing up, exploring the world, and much more.
It totally reminds me of being 15 and getting into rock music myself, where I discovered a whole new world around me for the first time.
For us guitarists, those of us who love 70s rock music, or any of you who’ve also felt music is part of your life journey, I’d say this is a must-watch.
I couldn’t help but pause the movie at various points and pick up my guitar to jam some tunes.
You know it’s a good movie when it inspires you to do that.
#3 – A sneaky way to improve
I’ve recently upped my gym training to a new level.
What I’ve been doing is going into my garage, lifting weights, and cranking up some music as I do so.
Training used to be quite boring for me, but now it’s more exciting.
Mainly because when I’m training, I listen to BBC Radio 6.
This is a music lover’s radio station full of great songs.
In between sets, I’ve got 3 minutes of recovery time.
Instead of sitting there bored as I recover…
I tend to hum along to each tune, or tap along to the beats on my legs, or listen deeply and train my ear to pick out the different instruments.
Sometimes, if it’s a song I’ve never heard before, I’ll try to remember the lyrics from the first chorus so I can sing along with the second chorus.
All of these things are fun for me to do and it’s something I do on autopilot most of the time.
…And even though it’s not the reason I do it, these things help to maintain and improve my core musical skills such as ear training, rhythm, memory, etc.
So, if you ever train or do anything where you get “downtime” (even just for a few minutes here and there)…
It can be worth doing this sort of stuff.
It immerses you in the music and has the potential to improve your musical skills.
Then over time, you’ll start noticing little improvements when you play guitar.
I hope you enjoyed those three random thoughts (which were very random this week I think!)
Anyway, I hope you’re off to a good start to 2023 with your playing.
If you want help with the 7 key areas of your guitar playing, you might want to check this out below…
I hope you have a great week!
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.