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Every instrument gives us a chance to make unique music, and it’s in the hands of the aspiring musician to sort of lean towards a personality or identity behind it. In this case we’ll be going over some tips and thoughts surrounding the guitar.

As any other instrument, frst you have to learn the basics, this means getting used to pressing down the strings correctly, then parcticing scales, a few easy tunes, chords and then for many people there is a diverging point.

An aspiring guitarrist who chose the guitar because he had to choose an instrument in the classes their parents chose for him is very different than someone that begged their parents to buy a guitar. Of course the end result can vary but this usually matter in the end.

After this step, the aspiring guitarrist has an idea of what he or she wants to sound like when becoming a good guitarrist. This will slightly push the person towards a learning method.

Classical Way

For starters, this means using an acoustic or spanish guitar, and using mainly your fingers to play instead of a pick like most electric guitar players.

This path is also a good idea if the sound you are looking for is all about classical complex structures and compositions that require a good amount of practice to read music and play it

In an interview with Brad DeRoche, classical gutarrist Raphaella Smits talks about some aspects of classical guitar playing.

It’s like an orchestra, it’s like a whole story, an entire world. So, it depends on the piece. What controls your thoughts, apart from everything technical, is the piece. That’s what makes each piece so special. And I think you feel more about the music than you think about it. I’ll give an extreme example: If you feel like it’s heaven, you are not thinking about the sky and the clouds and the sun and the stars. That would be nonsense of course. If you think about heaven, that’s something very spiritual. If you think about something earthy, it could be a very primitive feeling. So, it’s never very clear. Somehow music is not very human. How you move your fingers, how you sit, how your memory works; that’s the physical part. It’s like building a house, you know?

Self-Taught or Non Academic Teaching

While it’s not a necessary rule, self taught guitarrists tend to lean towards rock, blues or even some forms of jazz. This is mainly because of the nature of these types of music which have an emphasis on feeling, and strong imposing sounds rather than highly trained technique.

There are many good examples of this. Brian May from Queen was self taught, and while his first guitar was a classical acoustic guitar he then built his own first electric guitar because it had more sense with the type of music he wanted to play.

Kurt Ballou from the Metal band touches the subject of self taught musicians saying:

“I never had guitar lessons (…) My dad played a little bit of guitar, he never really taught me anything, but he did give me a chord book. I had played saxophone and piano prior to it, so I sort of transferred my musical knowledge over to guitar. We’re all just students of the artists we like who we spent listening to while we were younger and attempting to mimic what we heard on these records.”

He says that being self-taught made him appreciate some things a bit more than musicians who take lots of lessons and tend to be more technical. “Lessons seem to focus more on the dexterity of playing, whereas people who are self-taught have to use their ears more to decipher what they’re hearing,” he continued. “I think you become a more observant player that way and you also start to learn how an ensemble interacts with each other.”

Both ways are good, they are just different approaches to learning how to play guitar but the best idea would be to experiment wth both ways to some extent, and think that the first one grants you better tools, and the second one helps you express yourself in a more open and welcoming way.

In the end there are no laws or rules, but the experience will be different and this will ultimately affect your identity as a musician.

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It goes without saying that children often need to be encouraged to discover the world and learn new things, this sometimes means that parents and teachers may feel in the need of forcing them to do things they don’t want to do in order for them to learn valuable lessons, but when is this the right thing to do odo

So why are so many children taking ballet, violin, piano? Lately, I have been asking my fellow middle-class urbanite parents that question. About dance, they say things like, “Ballet teaches them poise,” or, “Ballet helps them be graceful.” And about violin or piano they say, “It will give them a lifelong skill,” or, “They’ll always enjoy listening to music more.”

New Republic

It’s often something that parents do with good will and no harm in any way to their children, but when it comes to art, forcing anything will only create frustration.

Passion for Music

As mentors, parents and teachers, their jobs are to encourage and show children the possibilites the world has to offer, however there is a fine line between forcing them to do something they don’t want to do out of lazyness and something they really don’t like.

A good idea could be to let them begin at home, these days there are so many ways to get started in music without having to go to a music school, this way a young aspiring musician will begin testing the grounds of what it is to play an instrument and if there is enough interest then classes could be a good idea.

However there is a problem, some young musicians just don’t

Self Taught Culture

History and tradition also has a big part in this in the sense that knowing how to play an instrument or learn how to dance was something a good family would do.

By the 1880s, when the United States began filling up with unwashed immigrants, a whole class of do-gooder, piano-taught ladies believed that one way to acculturate the new immigrants was to offer them, especially the children, musical instruction. The institutions of the settlement-house movement, as it became known, offered much more than music classes; they provided instruction in English, the trades, home economics, and many arts. But music was everywhere seen as one important key to the cabinet of proper, middle-class ways.

The New Republilc

While this is still a reason for some people it has obviously changed a lot since the 1880s, not only because of how music has changed and new genres came to be, but education and technology has also influenced in this aspect.

When knowledge was made as public as the internet can be, education took a turn, while still very much needed in its traditional form in order to maintain a rich and well structured society, a new wave of self taught culture rose through the internet, and with music, this new way of teaching yourself and creating your own methods, worked perfectly.

This sometimes makes it harder for music schools and teachers because there is an alternative, and many children prefer to go with that alternative, and if they are really passionate about it they will learn to play. The difference is there is no one to guide the person learning, and that person will probably skip some reading and all the “boring” parts of it. That is where the benefits of pushing someone into classes come in.

In Conclusion

Children sometimes don’t have the necessary discipline and determination needed when learning about music, and sometimes a little push is in order, however forcing someone into learning it’s a very different thing which can even cause dislike for something a young musician used to like so in the end, they have to give the first step, otherwise it may come as abad experience and nothing more than a chore

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A question so simple that could be answered with “just look for it” may be a bit more complicated. While there is too much music out there, probably only half of it or even less is easily available to everyone, due to all the complicated business, marketing and recording side of things.

Today, music distribution has changed quite a bit from the traditional radio and TV experience. Nowadays the main way to go about it is through the internet, but the difference is that we choose what we want to listen to, or do we?

Algorithm

Youtube, Spotify, Deezer and other music platforms provide some sort of algorithm that allows for recommendations to be made based on the history of music played.

Writer and Musician Sasha Frere-Jones says:

Discovering music does not frustrate me or cause me to have takes. (I don’t listen to Pandora, which might make that happen.) I like it when SoundCloud drops into autoplay mode and delivers a sequence of songs tagged as related. I like it when YouTube does the same thing. I’m happy to learn what Spotify Discover thinks I want to hear. I learn names; I hear songs.

gq.com

While there is still control about what is being played and what is being ignored, it’s hard not to pay attention to so many recommendations, in a way the hook is curiosity, the same as it always has been. When you used to tune in to MTV and began watching a video, you could just change the channel, but you stayed to see what happened, this “control” aspect makes things even easier, since you can skip the songs you don’t like and have everything at your disposal.

Best Of… Lists

Another way to discover new music from any time period is just to search for tops, either genre based, time based or any other category. The internet is filled with these, and while music is not something you can easily it’s good or bad, it may be a good starting point to begin a music research.

It’s all about doing a little research, depending on what you would like to listen to, either good guitars, drummers, good jazz, or electronic, there are top 10s about pretty much everything. One tab with a list, another with YouTube, and you might just find some interesting music.

Soundcloud/ Bandcamp

If you are really craving for something new outside from all the mainstream famous artists, it may be a .good idea to spend some time in Soundcloud and Bandcamp, since it’s now the starting point of new artists.

Bear in mind, many of the artist may not have the best production there, since they are free and easy to use, they’ve gained popularity as a safe haven for independent artists wanting to share their music even if their production quality is nothing beyond a home studio.

Nevertheless, there are some amazing projects floating around those platforms so it may feel as a breath of fresh air.

Old School

Maybe you don’t spend too much time on the computer or cellphone, well, there is a world outside the internet, and it is still very much alive. There is nothing like the magic of going to a bar or a club and seeing a new artist perform live, sometimes to fall in love, others just to enjoy the moment without getting too attached to the music.

The radio still has some interesting ways to show some new music to people, but sometimes, you can’t seem to remember the artist, the song or they just don’t say it. In this case there are very useful alternatives like “Shazam” which is an app that can recognize a song through the phones mic.

Or maybe just the oldest way of them all, just talk to other people.

Teenager Vicky Sko was asked about how she discovered new music, and aside from apps she said:

I’m fortunate to have lots of classes with friends so we listen a lot during class by sharing our headphones with one another. We also love to listen to music at lunch and have gone to a couple concerts together. Spotify also has a great feature that allows you to stalk what your friends are listening to, and I use this to my advantage a lot.

gq.com

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