Friday, December 26, 2008

Child Guitar Lesson

Children that get involved with learning to play the guitar at a young age will typically stick with the hobby for long into their adult years. When learned at a young age, most child guitarists will also be placed in a position to be an extremely talented musician when they mature. As such, child guitar lessons are a great way to not only give kids a healthy habit, but to also give them more options after they grow up if they hold desires to become a musician, a guitar instructor, or if they just enjoy playing music in general.

A child guitar lesson is handled much like an adult lesson, only more structured and certainly less exposure to ‘inappropriate’ guitar songs! For children, the best way to retain information is to present lesson in a deliberate structured way, and with guitar lessons this is no different. Initial child guitar lessons will focus on getting to know the guitar and all of its parts, and showing the child how to tune the instrument. When ready, child guitar instructors will show the students how to perform daily drills: playing major and minor scales on the guitar, playing the chromatic scale, reading simple sheet music and practicing a new song for each lesson, and fingering basic guitar chords from memory. This structured method is a great way to not only show parents a demonstrated improvement in their child’s playing, but to also mimic the learning the child has already been exposed to in their school education which also increases retention.

Like foreign language learning, children who are exposed to musical instruction at an early age have been shown to adapt at an increased rate as compared to adult students. Much like riding a bike is never forgotten, kids who learn the guitar will have no problems tackling the advanced techniques that many adult student guitarists struggle with for years as the children have got a strong foundation of the basics from an early age. Many of the more famous guitar players were actively taking child guitar lessons since the age of 8 and up. While natural talent of course plays a role in a guitar player’s overall success, there certainly exists an advantage to a younger student that has the ultimate goal of becoming a famous guitarist versus an adult student with the same goal.

Child guitar lessons are not only a good idea for those with rock star aspirations, but literally any child who doesn’t currently have a hobby would benefit from child guitar lessons. Many studies have proven that kids with exposure to a musical instrument education will perform better in standardized tests, the workplace, and social settings in general. By instilling values in children that ‘practice makes perfect’ early one with child guitar lessons, they recognize the benefits of studying for tests, being prompt and efficient at work, and of course everyone will be impressed when they whip out an acoustic guitar at a party and cover the latest pop song!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Electric Guitar Lessons

The differences between electric guitars and acoustic are significant, yet in terms of instruction a player that wishes to eventually master the electric guitar can safely learn the basics through acoustic guitar lessons. However, there are many nuances and unique aspects to the electric guitar that are not present in acoustic versions, and the advanced electric guitarist should be well aware of reverb, distortion, pickup type/positioning, 12- and 8-string variations, amplifier distinctions, and most importantly the type of electric guitar in order to produce an ideal sound while performing.

As the most effective electronic guitar lessons encompass many advanced techniques, it’s recommended that beginners avoid undertaking the electric guitar before they’ve exhausted lessons on an acoustic version; if not for the sake of one’s pride than for the sake of the neighbors who might not appreciate amateur electric guitar sound blasts at odd hours of the night! When ready for something more advanced than simple chord progression and basic sheet music reading, it is actually very important for an electric guitar player hopeful to get as much experience playing the instrument as possible, as the sound, weight, functionality, and techniques will all be significantly altered from what has been learnt so far in acoustic guitar lessons.

Contrary to the way an acoustic guitar works, the electric guitar makes use of an amplifier and pickups to produce sound. As taking electric guitar lessons will teach, there are different types of pickups to be used, all producing a unique sound—it is ultimately up to the player to determine what kind of tone they seek for their music (this also depends on the genre, i.e. jazz versus heavy metal). Pickups, as the link between the plucking of strings and the sound produced from the amp, can carry electronic distortion in the sound from other sources. While much of this can be intended, it takes practice to manipulate the output of an electric guitar when accounting for the distortion on-the-fly. This is the difference between an amateur electric guitarist and a professional one—while all the notes may be hit when an amateur plays, the sound will be many times more distinct and deliberate with a professional player.

Yet another difference when learning the electric guitar is in the use of guitar picks and steel-strings. While all 6-stringed guitars will carry the same notes when plucked, the addition of pickups and amps for electric guitars make the force of plucking strings that much more important when producing sound. Using a pick gives more control over the immediate vibration of a guitar string (and saves players from cut fingers when using steel strings), and while this can be learned with acoustic guitar lessons as well the effect is significantly more pronounced when using an electric guitar. Some electric guitars are also equipped with a tremolo arm (“whammy bar”) which produces a distinctive vibrato by temporarily tightening/slackening the steel strings to change pitch on-the-fly; this is often used for adding ‘color’ to sustained notes in guitar solos.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Learn to Play the Electric Guitar

The electric guitar has many similarities with its acoustic cousin. Both are shaped similarly, despite the lack of a wooden or hollow body. Using six-strings each (typically) the electric guitar formulates sounds using vibration from plucking in essentially the same manner as an acoustic guitar. Both use tuners located at the headstock (top end of the neck) to tighten/loosen strings for tuning. So saying, it’s quite common to be interested in playing the electric guitar, yet learn the basics with an acoustic guitar first.

However, the differences in both forms of guitar make it essential for those interested to learn to play using the electric guitar instead on the acoustic. While at a conceptual level, the two forms of guitar are nearly identical, the electric guitar uses an amplifier and pickups to produce sound, without which plucking the strings would hardly be heard (due to the lack of a hollow, wooden soundboard and soundhole). Electric guitars use the pickups (located just about the bridge) to ‘pickup’ vibrations in the strings when plucked. These pickups then transmit the vibrations to the amplifier in order to play the desired note or chord. Some electric guitars even have what is called a trembolo, or a ‘whammy bar’, that functions the same as a quick-tuner of sorts. The trembolo will instantly slacken or tighten the strings, giving sustained notes a distinct vibrato while being played. This is only possible to do successfully with a non-acoustic guitar that uses steel strings and an amplifier, as otherwise a whammy bar would create unsustainable wear-and-tear on the nylon strings used in an acoustic guitar (as well as the sound not being nearly as distinct with a hollow soundboard versus an amplified electric guitar).

Learning to play the electric guitar is also learning to play the various musical genres associated with electric guitars. Typically jazz, rock, and heavy metal songs are intrinsically linked with the electric guitar; after all, it’s hardly appealing to attempt playing a bluegrass folk piece using an electric guitar! Chords and notes are treated different with electric guitars than with acoustic guitars, and this a key lesson to learn when first learning how to play. Electric guitar players more often will use single note melody, forgoing the harmony and constant chord strumming mostly seen in songs that feature acoustic guitars. This makes sense, considering the risk of distortion and unwanted reverb that is possible when striking a chord on an electric guitar, but it also speaks to the way an electric guitar is used as opposed to the acoustic. Typically, acoustic guitars play more chords and harmonize the melody line that is played due to having no musical accompaniment (save a non-amplified voice); this makes sense considering most other instruments would drown out the lower-decibel sound of an acoustic guitar. Electric guitars, on the other hand, are played in conjunction with the drums, an electric bass, the vocals (with a microphone), and any number of other instruments (often an electric piano/keyboard) that will serve to harmonize with the main single-note melody of the electric guitar.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Online Electric Guitar Lessons

Let’s face it, there are a lot of shady electric guitar teachers out there. Some people ‘claim’ to be a professional guitar player when offering to teach you the electric guitar, but you’ll be surprised to hear that they’ve never actually performed once and have only been playing for a year! Some ‘teachers’ have never really trained other guitar players at all, and have no effective means of communicating how to learn guitar techniques other than saying, “Here, watch this,” forgetting that a beginner has no idea what “this” is! Is there any alternative to this often disappointing traditional learning method? Yes! Online electric guitar lessons provide new players with a wealth of options for learning, and improving their electric guitar playing skills, without any of the risk involved with trying to find a decent instructor.

Instead of dealing with shady instructors, why not let the polish and impressive online websites for electric guitar lessons be your guide? You can tell just by looking and a few sites that the lessons they offer are legit, and of course these sites are free to browse from any computer, so you’ll be able to know if the lessons offered are exactly what you need, or a waste of your time right from the start. There’s also the huge benefit of being able to train whenever you want to train, and not needing to shift around your schedule to fit into the tutoring hours of an impossibly inflexible instructor. Train when you have the free time, wherever you have access to a computer, on your own terms using online electric guitar lessons!

If you had difficulty in the past picking up lessons from the “Here, watch this,”-teaching method, fear not. Most reputable online electric guitar lessons will actually bother to explain the science behind the techniques, and show you step-by-step how to learn the fundamentals of guitar playing. Instead of having to devise your own way of mimicking new techniques, you’ll be shown exactly which hand goes where, and what fingers need to go on which string. You’re also sure to get a real curriculum using an online guitar lesson source, instead of relying in the dubious instructor to cover all the concepts that you need to begin playing. Starting with the basic fundamentals, and working up to the advanced techniques, any online electric guitar lesson source would quickly be aware of any gaps in their curriculum (thanks to the nature of the internet and users who are quick to ‘help’ by pointing out flaws as soon as they notice them).

So why even bother rolling the dice with a traditional instructor if you’re a beginning electric guitar player? Online electric guitar lessons offer such a better deal all around for the novice guitarist that it’s hard to ever recommend sending them to a traditional trainer over it. In fact, compared to a traditional method of learning the guitar, many people feel like online electric guitar lessons actually spoil them with all the benefits you get!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Guitar Beginning Lessons

Beginning lessons for learning to play the guitar will encompass a basic overview of everything on needs in order to eventually master the musical instrument. When learning to play the guitar for the first time, a student will typically begin the introductory lessons by getting familiar with the parts of the guitar, then moving onto basic techniques, before finally learning scales and basic guitar chords in order to begin reading sheet music.

A guitar has many different parts, and depending on if a student uses an acoustic or electric guitar, these parts may vary wildly from one guitar to the next. Beginning lessons will first introduce the iconic shape of the guitar, the “double-curved” body. For acoustic guitars, this shape is a deliberate way for the vibration of the guitar’s strings to resonate in the most effective way, and takes advantage of the hollow soundboard and the circular sound hole (located above the bridge) to create sound. For electric guitars, there is no hollow body or sound hole, yet vibration is still the main source of the sound as pickups located near the bridge transmit the vibrato from plucked strings through a cable to the amplifier, producing a note/chord when played. Beginning guitar lessons will cover how to tune the instrument using the tuner knobs located on the headstock, and teach new players the proper seated position for playing their guitar before moving on to basic techniques.

After learning the parts of a guitar, a beginning lesson might cover the use of the fretboard (aka ‘fingerboard’) along the neck of the guitar. This is the main vehicle for manipulating the tone of the guitar, and along with strumming/plucking/picking the strings of the instrument will produce a various note or chord. A basic exercise is to learn a few music scales, while practicing proper finger placement on the fretboard and proper string plucking movements. Once the basics are down, other techniques can be tackled, such as playing basic chords by plucking several (or all) strings simultaneously; this will require a little practice to get the hang of for beginning guitar lesson students.

At this point, most of the work for beginning guitar students is focused on practicing daily drills, such as playing the chromatic scale until all the notes can be fingered from memory. This aids in making the memorization of guitar chords easier, since a chord is basically a set of notes played at the same time. After learning the chromatic scale and a few chords, the beginning guitarist will have the tools required to start playing songs by reading simple sheet music. Using sheet music as a guide for how to play, new guitarists will be able to find their skill steadily improve by practicing increasingly difficult sheet music, and learning new chords as needed. A common marker for ‘graduating’ past the beginner’s stage is the ability to play scales and chords from memory, and being able to sight read simple songs (while following the sheet music) without error.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Learn How to Play Guitar Online

Learning how to play the guitar online isn’t as crazy as it may initially sound! Sure, it might present an odd image for a beginner to be sitting in front of their computer monitor with their guitar in hand, ready to learn how to play the guitar via the internet! But truth be told, learning to play the guitar online is fast becoming a favorite method for guitar students around the world that are seeking a better alternative than the traditional method of taking guitar lessons.

So what’s so bad about taking lessons the old-fashioned way? In short nothing, unless a beginner is fine with paying an instructor for learning the basics when they are entirely capable of learning how to play the guitar online with the exact same results for free! While it’s true that online methods cannot replace a flesh-and-blood instructor in terms of learning advanced guitar techniques, or getting direct feedback with learning problems, for the beginner it’s arguably better to learn online! Learning how to play the guitar online gives student guitarists an edge in being able to either skip ahead to future lessons at a faster pace, or for repeated a previous lesson that they may need extra work on. This flexibility extends to their personal schedule—while a traditional instructor is a creature of habit, and will expect practice assignments to be completed by their next rehearsal date (a date that typically is unchangeable under most circumstances), your online guitar lesson is okay with you missing a day or two in between sessions!

When learning to play the guitar online from the comfort of your own home, you eliminate the need to travel to a music school or external place of instruction. Learning at home can be a strong motivational tool for a new guitar student to help them feel more comfortable when they make mistakes (and they’ll make plenty!) The prying eyes of a professional instructor can more often than not be entirely too intimidating for a new player to put their entire focus on the goal of learning to play the guitar. But if direct feedback is important, there are certainly many options available via the internet to research guitar technique questions, and a lot of message board forums are in existence with the sole purpose of connecting beginning guitarists with experienced professionals. Yep, that’s also free, too!

Essentially what you get when you decide to learn how to play the guitar online is a full-featured music education where guitar students get out as much as they want from the method. If they wish to download software that aids in home learning, options are there for finding rhythm-tracking programs (to help in practicing barre chords), downloadable sheet music and guitar solo transcriptions are freely available with a simple internet search, and chances are if the student guitarist has a question that isn’t answered in the online lessons it has already been asked and answered elsewhere on the internet. New guitarist hopefuls are encouraged to give online lessons a try!

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Internet Guitar Lessons

A growing trend for the internet is the field of online instruction. Learning how to dance, how to program in various computer languages, and even foreign language instruction are all offered in this post-internet age. Many people are surprised to find out that they have the option nowadays to take internet guitar lessons, and receive as good, if not better, of an experience as with a traditional guitar instructor! Having many benefits over the old, traditional way of learning to play a guitar, the internet as a source for taking guitar lessons could be the opportunity many potential rock stars have been waiting for!

With everything the internet is used for, the last thing anyone would expect is to find great sources for internet guitar lessons on the web. But when you stop to think about the benefits the internet has over other methods of instruction, it starts to make a lot of sense. Using video hosting websites like YouTube or MySpace is a great way for students and teachers alike to take webcam recordings of demonstrations or practice sessions. Instead of requiring the physical presence of an instructor, why not just watch a video lesson of a qualified guitarist as they explain some techniques to not one, but an entire world wide web full of them?

Websites geared specifically for internet guitar lessons are also rapidly becoming popular with new guitar players. The basics of instruction are quick and easy to learn using streaming video demonstrations, and easy-to-navigate fingering charts and diagrams thanks to the ability of Web 2.0’s integration with pictures, video, and digital audio. It’s hard to be the simplicity of pulling up an internet guitar lesson via your favorite browser, then sitting in front of your monitor (with guitar in hand) while you follow the instructional videos and memorize fingering charts at your own pace!

A huge benefit of internet guitar lessons comes in the price—or lack thereof. For the beginner, it’s easy to find multiple sources of free guitar lessons online, many of them providing a great alternative towards a pricey traditional instructor that will only show the beginner guitarist the same basics that every player goes through. As much of the beginning aspects of learning a guitar boils down to the new player practicing fingerings, guitar chords, and reading sheet music on their own time, it’s certainly not a necessity to have a live instructor overseeing beginning lessons.

While great for the beginner, advanced techniques will generally either cost more via internet sources (well, anything would cost more than free of course) or won’t provide as faithful of an alternative compared to a traditional instructing environment. New guitar players should be aware that even with internet guitar lessons, they are ultimately self-teaching the art of the guitar; while this is fine for learning the basics it is arguably impossible to master the guitar entirely by one’s self. While streaming videos will certainly go a long way, the most effective form of instruction should include the option of getting direct feedback from an established professional.

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