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Why You Should Take Online Guitar Lessons


online-guitar-lessonsMany people want to learn to play the guitar but never get to actually commit to doing it. It’s a real shame because the guitar is one of the most popular musical instruments. It has a great sound and it can be used to play almost any type of song or melody, plus it’s relatively easy to carry around. With all these features a guitar has, it’s certainly not the lack of desire that keeps most people from learning how to play the guitar.

In fact, in most cases it has to do with time and money. Most of us simply don’t have the time to commute to guitar classes or afford to pay for a personal guitar instructor. Moreover, some schools are just not aimed at the average person who just wants to learn to play a few tunes, but rather focus on more advanced guitar courses.

The solution to all this would be teaching yourself how to play the guitar. But it does seem nearly impossible doesn’t it? Well, it used to be. I mean, how is it possible to learn to play music from a book or something, right? It’s not! But we’re not talking about books in the first place!

We’re talking about computer-based multimedia guitar courses that you can buy on the Internet. Think about it, a multimedia course will not only let you know how a tune is meant to be played, but will also allow you to record and compare your performance to the correct one. And as far as practice is concerned, you can see video instruction of basic guitar exercises and play it back as many times as necessary until you “get it”.

Furthermore, a PC-based guitar course will allow you to go at your own pace which may even be faster that the pace many schools or many instructors teach their students. Add to that the fact that you’ll be saving a huge amount of time and money and you have every reason in the world to try an online guitar course at a fraction of the cost.

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Bring Out The Songwriter In You


OSD-VOL2When I first got my guitar on my eleventh birthday, all i wanted to do was play the songs by my favourite rock bands. I brought books that taught you the tabs and chords to play for all their songs. This was a great learning curve for me, and I never had a guitar lesson. Through learning songs by my favourite bands I had ‘installed’ the ingredients of a good song in my brain. I had the instrument, I had the knowledge. It was time to start writing some songs of my own.

Do you need an instrument to write a song? Well, I think it helps. You can predict how the song will sound with the music, a lot better than maybe, humming it in your head. One of the reasons I brought a guitar was so that I could play the songs I was humming in my head. As well as guitar, a piano is a great instrument to use when writing a song. You can map out melodies better with the keys, as well as playing the chordal patterns.

Should you write the lyrics first, or the music? This is often something I contradict myself with, and it all depends on the songwriter. When bands write songs together they usually split the music and the lyrics between them. My concern is that sometimes, when you have written the music and lyrics separately, you can tell. The words sound very broken and sometimes rushed, because the singer is trying to fit the lyrics and syllables into the music.

I find the best songs I write come from jamming on a guitar or playing on a piano and singing along. Singing anything that sounds good to it. Even gibberish. Once I have the structure of the song, I then start putting meaningful lyrics in place of the gibberish. Sometimes I even keep some of the gibberish. Take the band Sigur Ros. If you have never heard of them, I suggest you legally download some of their music now. They believe the vocals are an instrument, and they treat it that way. The singer sings utter gibberish, but it sounds good. It sounds totally improvised and natural.

Another good way to get ideas for a song is to start jamming with others. Think of a little riff. It could be something at random. Get the other band members to join in with something that fits in.

Lyrics wise, I think you should do what I said. Use gibberish at first to work out the melody and syllables, then when you have finished the structure of the song, write around the gibberish!

There’s a lot of software available that aids in writing songs like Garage Band for the Mac, and Cubase for Windows.

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Tools For Learning Guitar


learning-guitarGuitarists are insatiable learners and the world is full of great guitar learning material. First of all, there are countless tablature books which show you in the easy-to-learn guitar tablature format how to play all your favorite songs even if you can’t read sheet music. If you can read sheet music, then there is sheet music available for every popular artist and thousands of classical and lesser-known composers. There are also “method books” that teach how to play a particular style, and there are instructional guitar DVDs that show you and tell you everything a single guitarist knows how to do. There are books with CDs full of audio examples, there are DVDs that come with tablature books; the list of available guitar learning resources is endless.

Guitar lessons are still the number one way that guitarists pick up new information. In-person guitar lessons with a local guitar teacher are probably the most effective way to learn new things about the guitar. The world is full of part-time and full-time guitar teachers, who put their heart and soul into teaching their students how to be an ever-improving guitar learning machine. Guitar teachers are expensive, however, and not everyone has the money or the time to commit to in-person lessons. So while this is a truly effective method, it is not for everyone.

Over the last 5 years, online guitar lessons have become an outstanding resource for guitarists wanting to learn guitar at a convenient pace and at very low cost. In my opinion, online guitar lessons have come of age, and are now the best tool for learning guitar available to anyone anywhere. I don’t propose that online guitar lessons should supplant books, sheet music, DVDs, and in-person guitar lessons. What I would like to suggest is that online guitar lessons are more convenient, cheaper, more useable, and provide more breadth of information than any other method available.

Convenience: Tablature books are OK, as long as they come with some audio examples. DVDs are OK, as long as they come with a book. The problem is that keeping your place in the book and your place on the CD/DVD in synch is difficult. Every time you take a break (every day basically) you lose your place and have to synch up all over again. Online guitar lessons, on the other hand, solve the problem of synching the tab, explanation, and audio/video samples. A web page is the ultimate guitar lesson format: audio, video, and text all together in one document.

Price: Books and DVDs have to be manufacturer, shipped, and inventoried. If you have ever burned a CD or made some copies at a copy shop, you know that manufacturing a product costs real money. Imagine if you had to turn around and sell your product at a profit? Shipping a book or DVD to the retailer is another expense in traditional publishing that occurs before the product is even ready to be sold. Inventory, the hidden expense, can be the largest: every month the book sits in the store, it costs the owner a percent of the price to pay for it to be kept out of the rain, and if the inventory is bought on credit, there is interest on the loan as well. All told, it is no wonder there are few places that sell guitar lesson products even in a large city.

Breadth: Guitar books generally can only have a few hundred pages; DVDs can only hold a couple of hours of video. A web site can expand to the size of a whole library full of books and DVDs. This is one aspect of the size advantage of online guitar lessons, but the more important aspect is this: getting a book published is so difficult, that many great guitarists simply never try it. Publishing a web site is so easy that many fantastic guitarists who would never previously have published their knowledge can now publish their guitar lessons online where you can find them.

As you can see, online guitar lessons have significant advantages that should make them an important part of any guitarist’s learning strategy. As the internet continues to grow, and the use of video on the internet spreads, look for online guitar lessons to one day be the recognized leader in helping guitarists improve their skills in a convenient, inexpensive way.

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Home Audio Recording For Everyone

Home audio

Home audioI’m not really sure how old I was when I got the gift for Christmas, but I remember thinking it was a pretty impressive piece of electronic hardware. It was really cool looking (technologically speaking), and I was awfully proud to own it. It certainly made for lots of fun times.

What was this high-tech gift, you ask? Why, it was a tape recorder! It was a monographic, reel to reel tape deck that came with it’s own plug-in microphone. I could hold that mic up to my transistor radio’s speaker and record songs onto tape. I could also play the guitar and sing and record every second of it. I could even hide and record conversations from unsuspecting family members. I was in recording heaven!

Years later I owned an 8 track stereo recording deck (ok, that was a mistake). At another point in time I had a stereo cassette recording deck that would physically flip the tape over when one side was finished recording or playing. Now I own a more conventional stereo dual cassette deck, but I no longer use it for recording or much of anything else for that matter.

All my recording is now done on my computer. The audio and midi software available today for computer recording is quite amazing. You can record multiple tracks, edit the recordings and add special effects as desired. Many of the audio recording programs come with their own native special effects such as reverb, compression, flanger, and chorus, to name a few. Some of the recording software can also accept third party effects such as vocal removers, tube amp effects and many more.

Multitrack recording software allows for recording various live instruments, vocals, etc, onto individual tracks. After recording one track, you can play it back while recording another. Once finished, you can mix all the individual tracks down into one stereo track. Some recording software will import and record both audio and MIDI, some audio only. If you have a MIDI keyboard or other MIDI instrument, be sure to pick software that handles both formats.

Creating a simple home audio recording studio is easy. In addition to software, an audio and/or midi interface will allow you to plug all kinds of audio components, microphones and instruments into your computer for live recording, recording from tape or even from your old vinyl lp’s. You can also use a home stereo system as an interface for audio components by running cables to it from your computer’s sound card. A laptop with recording software and a USB interface can serve as a totally portable recording studio. And again, if you have MIDI instruments, be sure to get an interface that will allow connecting them in additon to audio components and instruments.

The digital revolution has made music recording easily available to anyone with a computer. If you enjoy music and want to do more than just download mp3’s from the Internet, get some multitrack recording software and start your own home sound studio.

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Use Sheet Music To Play Your Instrument


casta_diva_norma_elementary_piano_sheet_music_by_vincenzo_bellini_1312007710If you look all over the internet you will find that many sites offer free sheet music for just about every instrument. When looking for sheet music especially piano sheet music there are many different genres to choose from and this makes finding the music much easier. As the turn of the century arrived piano sheet music became very popular among young adults, many people were playing the piano and parlor music became the new trend to sweep the country, this made sheet music very popular. So much so, that every home had a piano and more often than not at least one member of the family could play it.

Sometimes it is hard to read sheet music, this is not because it is hard in general it just takes practice, the more you practice reading the sheet music the better you will becomes at it. When learning any instrument and you want to learn like a pro you need to learn the sheet music, understand it and process it.

Music directors and other musicians use sheet music for different songs and it covers many different vocal ranges and instruments. It will only teach you how to play songs and compositions by rote. Nonetheless, not everyone is blessed with the ability to play songs by ear. Musicians back then publish their songs in these unbound sheets of paper. Going back to the 19th century most of the songs in the USA became popular by sheet music. In the past not all songs were written down so most of the popular might have been lost.

If you are looking to improve your musical talents a create resource is the internet, you can download free sheet music and this will benefit you in many ways because it allows you to play other pieces of music. Musicians that are struggling musicians find it much easier to find sheet music, most of the time they can download it from the internet for free. Today, sheet music is found on many music sites on the Internet with some giving an option of free downloads.

The Internet has brought forth many resources for musicians, from one-click access to research of songs, pieces and bands, to easy access to catalogues full of thousands of instruments and other products that can be ordered and shipped directly to them with a few simple clicks. As pieces of music get complicated for the person playing it the notation of the music becomes more complicated and the difficulty to the compose the music becomes harder, because of all this you will learn how to write the music as you go along. There are literally thousands, if not millions of musical pieces for violinists to play.

To have a good grasp of the notes for a guitar a good suggestion is that you learn them slowly and with concentration. Most violin music is written in the middle C so when producing notes they are written on the treble clef. When you learn a piece of music with traditional sheet music you are not just learning the notes you are also learning another language.

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Home Recording Basics


home-recording-studio-furniture-cxkro9v0Home recording can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it can also turn into a lucrative business, if that’s what you want! Just a few years ago, studio quality recordings were only done in sound-proof studios with thousands of dollars worth of equipment. But now, common hobbyists like you and I can produce studio-quality recordings for personal or professional use. There are some basics to be learned, though. This article will cover some of those basics.

First off, what do you need? You can spend a lot of money on equipment, but it isn’t necessary. But if you don’t want to spend the money, then the cheapest and best way to get studio-quality recordings is with a computer, preferably a fairly new and powerful computer with CD burning capabilities. Sound files can take up a lot of space, and the programs that create and edit sound files can take up a lot of RAM, or temporary memory. Since you’re reading this article, I have to assume you already have a computer! If it’s an older model, you may want to look into upgrades, such as more RAM, a bigger hard drive, and a faster processor. You may be able to manage without upgrades, but if you can afford them I promise you won’t regret it!

Then you need to look at software. You’ll need a good multitrack recorder, a sound editor, and something to burn your recordings to audio CD format. We’ll assume you already have something that plays sound files and audio CDs, since nearly everyone does. There are several programs you can buy for this purpose, and the prices range from cheap to ridiculous. But again, if money is an issue to consider, you should do a search for “freeware” or “open source.” Quite often, you can find software for free that compares well in quality with the big and expensive brand names.

Once you have your software, make sure it all works together to produce a good quality recording. Sometimes the programs that are the easiest to work are also the worst in the final product. Do some recording, save it to mp3 or wav format, then put your headphones on and turn the volume up. Listen for hisses and clicks in the final version, and notice how far you have to turn it up to get it loud. If there are lots of hisses and clicks, this is known as a “dirty” or “noisy” recording. Many programs will edit out the noise, but when they do they will also reduce the total volume and negatively affect the over-all quality. Why? Because in editing out the noise, it also filters out the high-level sounds that needed to be there. Your recording will come out sounding muffled, bassey, and too quiet. That’s why it’s so important to get a recorder that gives you a clean recording the first time around!

One thing you’re going to need that doesn’t get mentioned often is a good quality microphone. You simply cannot afford to cut corners in this area! A cheap mic will result in poor quality recordings no matter how good everything else is. That doesn’t mean you need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on microphones, but I do recommend you spend at least $100 per mic. That will give you a good, mid-quality microphone that will work in nearly any situation. If you’re involved with a church or other group that uses sound equipment, maybe you can borrow one rather than buying one. Be sure and buy or borrow a stand, too! The worst thing for a good mic is to be thrown around and dropped because there was nothing to rest it on. Besides that, when you get ready to record vocals, you do NOT want to be holding it! Every movement of your hand, every brush against your clothing, will be recorded.

One thing you DON’T need – an outside amplifier. Musicians like their amps, and tend to insist on using them even for recording. What I discovered was that the quality and effects I gained by using my amp were far outweighed by the loud hiss that also came from my amp. And once again, the cleaner your original recording, the better quality your final outcome.

Spend some quality time recording and experimenting with effects and arrangements. I learned a great deal in a relatively short time, but I also went through about 100 blank CDs, because every time I thought “This is great!” and burned it to CD, I learned something soon afterward that made the old recording useless and made re-recording necessary! So listen to it with the headphones, listen to it without the headphones, listen to it saved in wav and mp3 format, and when you think you’ve improved it as much as you can, then burn it to audio CD and take it to a large system and listen to it again. Every SINGLE time you do this, you will hear something you could have improved. Get used to it! It’s all about continual improvement, and being willing to learn from every single mistake without ever, ever giving up and quitting.

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