Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm in Too Many Bands to Blog!
Hey You! Learn to Read!

A lot of exciting news since the party in December. I've been busy, so I've been away from the blog. The Mid-Life-Crisis-Center is soon to be a reality, and the two bands I was in exploded into four. Lots of stuff going on. And I'm playing lots of music. On lots of different instruments.

I was in two bands, and now I'm in four bands: One cover band and three different original music projects.

The latest two bands are so new, they are as yet un-named: Band X is a kids music project. Band Y is an Black Keys/White Stripes/Jon Spencer Blues Explosion type duo that I started with a student. I play bass in the kids band. Drums in the duo.

The Seminal Whirlies are my Jam Class cover band, and they are about to get a makeover, including, I believe, a name change, as one of our members moves on to do greater things in the Peace Corps.

My main band, The Grand Candy, is mostly what's been keeping me from the computer:

'The Candy' is an original rock music power trio featuring Jon Babu, a fantastic drummer I've known since our days at NEC. We reconnected through our favorite local classic-rocking lead guitarist, Matt Wise.

To keep to the rule of three, I'm attempting to conjure both bass and rhythm guitar parts simultaneously. I'm playing slide guitar on a Jerry Jones electric through an Electro Harmonix POG split into a Mesa-Boogie 5/50 for guitar sounds and a rented 8 x 10 bass rig for bass. Let me tell you, that is some booty shakin' subsonic slide guitar. I'm having a ball.

The Candy has been Jamming for a year or so now, trying on different tunes and finding the sounds we want to use. We're ready to do some house parties. Email if you'd like us to rock your house.

I promise to have some audio of these bands up here just as soon as I can figure out how to do that. Or whenever my intern can figure that out. That is, when I get an intern. Need guitar lessons? Good with computers? Have more time than money? Email me. Soon you'll be in two or three bands yourself.

Oh yeah, guitar advice:
Learn to Read Music

I promise to be back soon with some more detailed and fun guitar advice.

In the meantime, don't forget to work on your music reading. 10% of your practice time should be spent learning how to read notes and rhythms.

You absolutely do not have to do this. It is not mandatory. I don't force my students to do this. It is certainly possible to become conversationally fluent in guitar by being around it all the time. Immersion and practice, practice, practice. The ears are still the best tools with which to learn music.

However, 10% is not a big practice time commitment. We're talking 5 minutes if you practice 45 minutes a day. Not a big deal, and you don't have to practice sight reading, unless you are planning on a career like Steve Lukather's.

However, think of all of the fantastic books you won't be able to read if you don't learn the written form of the language. Think about all the fantastic books you've read in your life, and how they've enriched your life and the language you use every day.

Learning to read music enriches your experience of music in this way. It's not necessary. But it sure is sweet.
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
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