Guitar lessons in Edinburgh

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Welcome to the guitar lessons in Edinburgh blog! Here we've got some lesson material mixed in with some musings on learning music in general. Feel free to join in!

 

By Guitar lessons in Edinburgh, May 13 2019 11:26AM

Sounds like stern advice and a guiding tool to take all the fun out of Edinburgh guitar lessons! That's not the intention here. As guitarists and musicians, most of us want to get better, most of the time, even if our aspirations are fairly humble. Idle guitar playing can be dangerous; if you're enjoying yourself and it's an alternative to watching t.v, then why not? But many players will record in their own head that they've done their hour or so guitar playing for the day, after having just noodled around the same riff they learnt years ago. It's not for any Edinburgh guitar teachers to say that spending your time this way is 'wrong' in any way, but it can be detrimental to your improvement on guitar. We're discussing the intermediate and advanced player here, when you're at a level where you need to put in a bit more time to see any real improvements. And the reality is that a lot of people might not feel they can allocate a great deal of their day to practicing, so out of the hour or 1/2 hour or however long they've set aside, they're using almost none of it to actually improve. You can't flip a switch and suddenly become more dedicated to guitar, or less tired after work, but it's possible to just re-adjust your approach to practice. So much of learning an instrument is repetition, so if you really want to just zone out in front of the T.V, try doing that with the guitar in your hand, practicing that new thing you've learnt, or melodic exercises (scales, licks) slowly and with as little pride or shame as possible in regards to the outcome. That sounds a little strange, but it's very important to not beat yourself up about the idea that you 'should' be learning quicker. This is unbelievably common among people learning an instrument, and it's usually detrimental to success. However quickly you learn is irrelevant, the most efficient way of practice is the most efficient way (slowly, accurately and in time!), so as long as you're practicing efficiently (not playing too fast, like everyone does!) then you needn't heed any self-critical thoughts about how quickly you're improving, as it's thoughts like that that put many people off practicing in the first place! As always, for any help with playing, check out www.guitarlessonsinedinburgh.com

By Guitar lessons in Edinburgh, Mar 11 2019 10:43PM

Well if you're reading a blog on the Guitar lessons Edinburgh website, you've probably already decided on the guitar as your instrument. But just to reassure you on why you were right, here's some thoughts on why guitar is one of the best. Firstly, it's small! (ish). The piano is a great instrument, but if they don't have one wherever you're going, you're not going to be playing one when you get there. You'll never see a piano teacher carrying their instrument around Edinburgh, guitar teachers have it different. The electric keyboard has made this a little easier, but one would hardly say it was easy. The same is true for the drums, and for the many orchestral instruments (cello, double bass, harp to name a few). Then let's think about daily practice. For anyone who's lived in a flat with thin walls/ceilings and/or grumpy neighbors, then practicing one's instrument can feel less like a solitary pursuit and more like an impromptu and unwelcome performance. Even if acoustic guitar is your preferred style, you can always play an un-amplified electric guitar (unless you're a classical guitarist) and volume is no issue at all. The same is not true for the drum kit, or the saxophone, or the violin or many other instruments that many amateur players feel reluctant to practice because, by virtue of the volume of the instrument, they are denied privacy in their practice time. So we've got nothing to complain about with the practicalities of the physical instrument, but we're also spoiled in terms of the application of it. The guitar can be used for blues, country, jazz, rock, metal, pop, reggae, funk, classical, pretty much ANY style of music you can think of. It can also be used as a rhythm or lead, not to mention the vast sonic and tonal possibilites through effects and amplification, and the different tricks and techniques that guitarists have come up with over the years (tapping, pinch harmonics, artificial harmonics, whammy bar dives etc.). So well done! For choosing the most versatile and functional instrument there is! Check out more at www.guitarlessonsinedinburgh.com

By Guitar lessons in Edinburgh, Oct 19 2017 02:00AM

John Scofield played the festival theatre on the 14th July, and it should have been a mandatory attendance for every guitar teacher in Edinburgh. Aside from his incredible knowledge of harmony and sense of melody, it was a real lesson in tone and phrasing. Scofield studied at Berklee college of Music, where learning scales and arpeggios were seen as a means to an end and a lot of work was on ear training and phrasing, definitely an aspect of teaching that most Edinburgh guitar lessons could benefit from. It's a trap that most teachers/lessons end up in: teaching scales and technical material because it's easy to teach, easy to learn and comes with a more immediate sense of achievement. You can't avoid learning this stuff of course, but it's important not to play any of it like a robot, and that's one thing that really hits you when watching Scofield play; from the first couple of notes you can tell it's him and it couldn't have been anyone else. If you really listen to his playing, key aspects about his phrasing are his use of dynamics and accents; it's rare that he'll play more than a few notes without subtly varying the volume of each one. Combine that with giving every note it's full value and you've got the makings of some hip guitar playing, and that's before you've had to worry about reaching his near perfect level of groove. His individual sound and tone isn't reliant on amp settings either, when you here him play acoustic it's the same sound that comes out. Being able to develop that level of distinction in one's own sound is rare, but it's something we should all be striving for. Compare John Scofield with Pat Martino; their sound is heavily linked to their technique. Scofield uses lots of slurs and picks when he wants to accent, Martino picks almost every note and uses crescendos and diminuendos (as well as accents) to create movement in his lines. So, when you're practice technique, remember you're practising your feel as well!

By Guitar lessons in Edinburgh, Mar 1 2017 03:00AM

We've all heard someone say it (teacher, friend, guitar shop employee) but as annoying as it may have been, there's certainly some truth to it. One of the main goals of seeking Edinburgh guitar lessons should be improving your tone, which is more to do with technique than amp settings. Technique can be a tricky subject too though. For some people focusing on technique means playing fast, which is a divisive topic among guitarists (I once heard of one Edinburgh guitar teacher who thought that playing faster was the only way to get better!). However, whether you have shred guitar aspirations or not, technique really means everything about the physical aspects of playing the guitar. Giving every note it's full value and playing slow enough that you make sure to achieve this. Getting every note to sound the same, with equal volume, then practicing varying the dynamics (volume) and using accents creatively. This can be pretty difficult for your picking hand to begin with, so you'll need to practice slowly. Try this: play a technical exercise (scale, arpeggio etc.) in semi quavers and try accenting on the 1, then 2, then 3 then the 4. Then try writing out 2 beats worth of semi quavers (so 8 notes) and circling a few randomly. Then try and accent these notes in your exercise. Using volume in your practice routine is important and it isn't limited to accents, using dynamics and feel within your technique practice (as if you're playing mozart or your most heartfelt solo) is the best way to get the most out of your practice routine. It's tempting to just let your fingers run through stuff and sometimes that's fine, but most of the time try and make everything you play sound as musical as possible, even if it's just a scale. As always, to get into any of this stuff in a bit more detail, please don't hesitate to get in touch to book a lesson at www.guitarlessonsinedinburgh.com/contact. Happy playing!

By Guitar lessons in Edinburgh, Jan 31 2017 03:00AM

Where is your guitar right now? In your hands?? No-one practices as much as they think they should and it's easy to get frustrated if you feel you don't have the time to spare. Finding a guitar teacher in Edinburgh is a good start as it means you've at least got an incentive to learn the material before the next lesson. At Guitar lessons in Edinburgh emphasis is given to the importance of practicing the right way. Play things slowly and don't get frustrated; if you practice slowly and carefully for 15 minutes, even if you can't hear any difference then you will still have gotten 15 minutes better at guitar. Do that everyday and over time you are gauranteed to improve, the only way to fasttrack it is to spend more time practicing. This sounds obvious, but what 99% of guitar players do is try and play everything they learn perfectly at full speed the first time they try it, which always has either 2 results: A. you can play it perfectly at full speed first time, which means it wasn't challenging enough for you to begin with, or B: you play it badly and then continually get frustrated that you can't play it and you're not improving, which results in a rut that many of us have found ourselves in. A great principle to practice by is: everything you play, you have to play perfectly every time. Now that sounds like a tall order, but if you allow yourself to slow it down and slow it down until that's achievable (and there is NO limit on how slow it might have to be) then it's really not hard at all, and it never should. Practice should NEVER be hard, though it might take a lot of time. Remember that every time you make a mistake, whether it's playing out of time, playing the wrong note, not giving each note it's full value, whatever, then you are learning that mistake, and all that achieves is making that whole process much longer and more frustrating. So try it, whatever tune you're working on, be honest with yourself and slow it down till it's perfect, practice it for a while and I gauruntee when you speed it back up you will have made serious progress from where you were before. Unless you're doing this already in which case, congratulations! You're probably already great, keep up the good work!


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