Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts. This is where we talk about all things guitar, music, and life, including inspiration found at a soft play, a key reminder about tension, and more.
Here we go…
#1 – A key reminder to shake off tension
Tension is the enemy of progress.
That’s something I’ve said a fair few times in the past.
Well, the other week I released a barre chord lesson for members of the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy.
The lesson has proven really popular so far.
It gave me a chance to remind students of this key lesson (which I’ll remind you of here).
Do your best to not let tension creep in.
With barre chords (and most other things for that matter), you really need to keep an eye on this.
Don’t sit there “holding” the shape of a chord with your fretting hand for too long (about 10 seconds is often enough).
Yes, it can be annoying taking your fingers off to shake off tension and then replacing them…
But this will give them a much-needed break.
And each time you place your fingers back on, you will build up a little more muscle memory.
Which can help make changing in and out of the chord that little bit smoother going forward.
Anyway, keep that in mind.
Always look out for tension.
I hope you found this useful.
#2 – A soft play
Yesterday I took Archie to his friend’s birthday party.
It was his mate Arthur’s 6th birthday, and it was at…
Please help me…
It was at a soft play!
It was a roasting hot day and there we were inside with hundreds of sweaty kids.
Really though, it wasn’t all that bad.
I got chatting away to some parents who I usually only see briefly on the school run.
One of the dads was quite inspiring.
He was super passionate about music and by the end of the conversation, I was thinking I’ve got to get back to playing live music again or at least writing more music.
His passion rubbed off.
It’s not like I needed inspiration for these things, but life gets in the way sometimes.
But that just goes to show the power of being around people who are passionate.
And as I always say, it’s a good idea to have people around you who also play music.
That can be for jamming, sharing tips, and motivating each other.
And just plain old inspiring each other.
It’s useful, as we all know passion can be contagious.
And thankfully, most of the time, we don’t have to go to a soft play to find such people!
#3 – James Taylor
I’ve been a big James Taylor fan for a long time.
My dad used to play his stuff a lot.
His music reminds me of going ‘round to visit my dad, stepmom, and brother (who’s 16 years younger than me) when he was a baby.
Anyway, I was reading a little bit about James Taylor today.
He’s a pretty inspiring chap.
Not just from a guitar point of view.
I mean, he’s always had this super classy way of playing…
And has a cool ability to smoothly weave basslines and mini little melodies into the music, especially in between vocal lines.
I love that.
But what’s as cool is how he kicked his big drug habit just after releasing his debut album.
The album was not a big success.
A lot of folks may have gone deeper into drug use and depression here, but he kicked it and then recorded his smash hit second album…
The timeless Sweet Baby James.
He’s one inspiring musician.
And one worth closely listening to.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed those three random thoughts.
If you did, and you want more help with your playing, you might want to check this out.
There’s a whole host of timesaving, and problem-solving lessons inside to make guitar playing more fun.
Have a great Monday…
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.