Finding the In Door to Music

I’m going through a phase. It began about a year ago. An eager young face looked up at me, cradling a too-big guitar on her lap; written all over the face was “teach me.”

Finding the In Door to Music | Jay Albert

I live for this: helping others in to the world of music, sharing what I have learned. We had gone over a few sounds you can make, exploring the box and the strings to see what they do. We had seen and felt how to hold it without it trying to fall off. Then I opened the method book, the one that purports to show a beginner how to play the guitar, how to read music, how to make music. For my student’s first portentous and exciting try at making a song she was given something like this:

Now, if you don’t read music, this sequence of notes falls just barely short of incredibly, mind-numbingly boring. No melodic shape, no rhythmic interest, no lyrics, no sense of key for your ear to hold onto. Nothing. It is a very standard way for one of these books to begin and it is, to my mind, non-music. Read more..

How To Practice

How do You Get to Carnegie Hall….or the Rock Hall??


I think students & parents tend to understand that practice is important, but beyond that basic understanding there is a large gray area: Sure practice, right. Practice what? practice how? when, where, how long, why? Perhaps I can help. The main elements of practice are these:

1. Just Do It

2. Do the right things

3. Set mini goals

Here’s a bit more detail on each element of practice:

1. Just Do It. I’m not big on corporate-made catch phrases but I love this one. Regular, daily practice is by far the most important thing you can do to become good at playing guitar (or any instrument). Music is a set of skills, just like soccer or baseball, or math, and the more you often you do it the better your body and mind remember how to do it. Don’t count minutes, that won’t help, just play music. See below. Read more..