Or If You Don’t Have The Time To Be World-Class, Why Not Settle For Being Merely Awesome (In Guitar Or Life) We have all heard that it is counterproductive to compare yourself with others. But…sometimes we do. So even though I love to quote John “don’t compare yourself to others, just do your best” Wooden, in this blog series I’m giving in to the dark side–our motivation to compare ourselves to others. The series is called “So You Wanna Be Better Than Other People? Here’s how.” In the first post about the power of showing up, I pointed out that statistically, merely getting started is enough to put you into the ranks of “the few who do, not the many who want to.” In this blog I’m not going to show you how to be world-class. But I am going to show how sticking with something is enough to vault you into the ranks of the “few who are good, not the many who suck”. I’m calling it: News Flash: Being Pretty Darn Good Is Pretty Darn Awesome! While the
My approach to learning and teaching guitar is deeply informed by the many years in which I studied martial arts. I often think of this quote from Bruce Lee: As a beginner in any discipline, we are unconscious of technique. A musical novice doesn’t know what key or time signature a song is in–or even that keys and time signatures exist. They may enjoy hearing an expert play music, but are unaware of the nuances of finger angle, pick attack, voicings or dynamics. A beginner guitarist remains mostly unconscious of technique and theory. They may learn their first chords without considering the effect of wrist and arm position on posture and comfort, or that finger angles affect tone and string clarity, or that holding a pick tighter or looser or at a different angle affects tone and dynamics. And that is OK! When we are beginners, making music is just making music, and playing guitar is just playing guitar! But not for long. We learn to identi
Here’s How I Kicked Discouragement in The Teeth, And How You Can, Too Many people tell me “I’ve always wanted to play guitar.” While I’ve played guitar for decades, I know how they feel, because I’ve always wanted to speak another language fluently. Over the past decades I’ve intermittently tried to brush up on my high school Spanish skills–but like many people who want to “get back into” guitar, I never got over the hump of making a definite plan and sticking with it. Which is pretty funny when you consider that I write blog posts on how to effectively learn musical skills with plans and habits! There is a gap between theory and practice! But in this blog post I’m going to tell the story of how I’m closing that gap, and how you and I can both maximize our chances of success in any endeavor by understanding the cycle of planning and action, encountering and overcoming resistance which is necessary to reach your goals. Desire Is Ignition My desire to
“Don’t Prepare The Path For The Child, Prepare The Child For The Path.” Yes, Our Children Are Growing Up In A Crazy Environment–And We Naturally Want To Protect Them Last month I wrote about how our society’s norms for our young are completely wack! The average US 8–year old spends 6 hours per day on entertainment media and US children rank #1 in the world–for sugar consumption–just to give two egregious examples. Sometimes I find myself wanting to react to these norms by saying “Stop! No more! Let’s bury the devices in deep hole in a vacant lot, never allow sugar in the house, and live in a cave!” But there is a problem with that approach. The problem is that our children need to eventually live and thrive on their own in this very same nutty, wacked out world. Putting our heads in the sand, or in a cave, will simply not prepare them for reality. Plus, caves can be quite unpleasant, especially if you don’t like to get bats in y
Sometimes It Pays To Stop Smelling The Roses How a simple two-minute exercise imagining future challenges dramatically increases guitar student success–and how it can dramatically improve outcomes in any endeavor. Resistance Is An Inevitable Part Of Any Worthwhile Endeavor I learned the concept of “Resistance” from reading The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield. He describes it as a universal force which sustains inertia and entropy and which opposes creative activity and growth though: rationalizing, fear and anxiety, distractions, inner criticism, etc. It turns out that research shows that people who expect to meet resistance and challenges in pursuing their goals are actually significantly more likely to reach their goals than people who expect their initial motivation to stay strong. I personally have found embracing the concept that there will always be inner and outer obstacles in the way of my best self to be really empowering–and this con
1.Pick a Part 2.Sign Up 3.Show Up Download your parts, play along to the tracks and join us for a run through before performing this world premier guitar piece written specifically for the beginning guitar players of NYC Guitar School! Guitar No. 1 Chart Guitar No. 1 Audio Guitar No. 2 Chart Guitar No. 2 Audio Guitar No. 3 Chart Guitar No. 3 Audio Guitar No. 4 Chart Guitar No. 4 Audio Full Score All Parts Audio Fill out my online form. Here’s how to interpret the notation And here’s a guy talking about how to play harmonics for 7 minutes.
The Reality Based Parent Saves The Planet Do you want to “save the planet”? Do your kids come home from school and tell you how important recycling is? I do! And…mine do! Like many other families, we strive to reduce our environmental impact (and to feel better about ourselves) by throwing stuff in the recycling bin. But as someone who strives to be a rational, fact-based parent, I’ve recently learned two new assumption-shaking perspectives: 1. Recycling isn’t helping as much as I thought. 2. One of our family’s biggest opportunities to impact the environment is wilting in the vegetable crisper. Recycling isn’t helping as much as I thought. Recycling is awesome–but the reality is that it isn’t working well right now. Lots of us are “aspirational recyclers”–that means that we throw stuff in the recycling that we think should be recyclable (like paper coffee cups with liners, greasy pizza boxes, and messy t
New Study Shows Practicing Music Improves Attention Span Do you ever feel overwhelmed and unfocused? I do. Between work, an ever expanding list of hobbies, and keeping engaged with our communities, most of us have trouble finding enough time in the day to get everything done. And then when we sit down to work, we find it difficult to focus, our attention spans worn thin by constant overstimulation in the real and digital world. But imagine my thrill when I found out that by practicing music for years, I’ve already been helping increase my focus! A new study claims that learning to play music may improve our abilities to focus and tune out distractions. We already knew that practicing music is linked to improved language skills and increased motivation, but researchers now find that “musicians are able to more quickly and accurately respond to and focus on what is important to perform a task, and more effectively filter out incongruent and irrelevant stimuli than n