Welcome to a new Monday email with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including ear training fun, cassettes, and more…
I hope you had a great Easter. It is not exactly an Easter special, but in the spirit of the holiday, it is slightly retrospective.
Here it goes…
#1 – Jimi live at the Beeb
I was watching a BBC show called Guitar Heroes at the BBC the other day.
Up first was The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
I had seen this performance many years ago back when I was first learning to play guitar.
The band sounded great, but it all started off a bit of a mess.
The bass cut out, you could tell they could barely hear each other, and the sound just wasn’t right. (A lot of bands complain about playing on TV for these reasons).
Instead of panicking, the band all kept their cool.
They stormed through their mini set of “Hey Joe” and their cover of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love”.
When something goes wrong in the middle of a song, it is easy to lose your cool but…
As you get more confident and competent with songs, you not only play them better, but you start to develop a “sixth sense” with the song.
This is where you can play it almost effortlessly and mistakes just don’t phase you.
There are no secrets to getting to this point.
It takes patient, dedicated practice and a focus on getting really good at a small number of songs…
Rather than a trillion.
I wish someone had told me that back in the year 2000.
#2 – Cassettes
I heard something surprising the other day.
Cassettes have made a bit of a comeback.
Back when I was growing up, we had loads of cassettes and I was always recording music off the radio on my Walkman.
There was a rock show on Radio 1 in the UK.
It was on from midnight to 2 am on a Wednesday with a DJ called Mary Anne Hobbs.
I loved it.
Each week I would wait up till midnight, hit record and then fall asleep.
Sometimes the click of the end of the tape would wake me up and I would flip the cassette and record some more.
Then I would fall straight back to sleep so I could get up for school the next day!
It is funny the lengths I went to so as to hear new music.
You no doubt did similar things too, I am sure.
This was just before the internet changed everything.
All this reminds me of how lucky we are these days where we can listen to pretty much any song in seconds.
#3 – Ear training can be fun!
Here is something I have seen a lot.
In my many years of teaching, I have noticed there are some players who can play some really good stuff but…
They have weak aural skills.
Out there in the land of guitar, students are not encouraged to use and develop their ears that much.
A few minutes a day or a couple of 20-minute sessions a week of ear training can go a long way.
Those players who are already decent but have untrained ears would be better players if they did train their ears.
No doubt about it.
Guitarists with good ears pick up melodies faster, work out songs easier, and are more able to hear when things don’t quite sound right.
Training your ears won’t give you instant results or make you play like Clapton overnight, but the long-term benefits are well worth it.
If you want some specific advice on ear training, I have a series of simple lessons and quizzes.
Each is short, fun, and very applicable to the guitar.
To check them out, you can find them inside of my membership programme at the link below:
I hope you found those three random thoughts interesting.
Enjoy your Monday and I hope you had a great Easter weekend!
P.S. This is what a new member recently said about the Ear Training Quizzes in the comment section…
“This is ridiculously helpful! I commute two hours daily, and I spend a lot of time trying to key out songs. This is a great exercise for many reasons. I think the “sandwich chords” are the most helpful, but they are all great exercises for developing your ear. This is something that I really need to work on. I’d love to be able to key out the songs I love without having to look up the key and chord progressions. Looking forward to more!”
P.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.