July 15, 2011

Free For All Friday: July 15, 2011

by jim — Categories: Free For All Friday — Tags: , , 2 Comments

Food Fight!

Hey, kids! Welcome to Free For All Friday, where we throw a bunch of stuff at the wall to see what sticks!

Today’s agenda includes:

1 – Zen Guitar
2 – The 30 Day Challenge from Matt Cutts
3 – Rush in 2011

Guaranteed to make you stronger, wiser, and better looking. Enjoy!

Zen Guitar

“Zen guitar is nothing more than playing the song we’re all born with inside – the one that makes us human.”

Zen Guitar 2

A modern classic by the late Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar is my go-to idea when I’m looking for a gift for a guitarist! I found this book purely by chance years ago, but Sudo’s writing has been incredibly inspirational to me and has really brought home the point that the journey – not the end goal – is where the joy resides.

Broken down into easily digestible chapters, Zen Guitar is all about the spirit of playing; no scales, chords, or any other content or technique required. It’s about discovering your unique attributes and bringing them out. It’s a book for contemplation and inspiration, and the ideas have become foundational elements in my approach to teaching the instrument. Beautiful stuff.

IMHO, Zen Guitar belongs on the bookshelf of every serious guitarist. Get your copy today – you’ll thank me later.

Zen Guitar by Philip Toshio Sudo

The 30 Day Challenge

Want to spice things up? Want to reinvigorate yourself? Want to finally do that thing you’ve been wanting to do? Commit to doing it for 30 days. It’s just long enough to create a habit or break a habit.

Exercise. Cut out sweets. Learn to juggle. Practice your guitar

All the World’s a Setlist

Here it is, 2011, and the greatest power trio of all time – Rush – is still kickin’ butt and takin’ names all over the globe. Guitar Player’s Matt Blackett has a nice blog post about the band’s June 26 show in Concord and offers his thoughts on the setlist. I found this interesting because I have often wondered what other folks think when bands have a long history – and therefore a lot of hits and well-loved fan faves – and choose to play a lot of new (read: unknown to the audience, for the most part) songs instead. Are you jazzed to hear the new tunes or is it just a buzzkill?

Moving Pictures

And I don’t know about you, but I think the fact that they’re playing Moving Pictures in its entirety in the second set is just as awesome as it gets! I literally grew up as a musician on this album. Songs like “Red Barchetta”, “Limelight”, and “YYZ” taught me how to play. Good times…

RANT ALERT! Ask folks about “greatest bassists” and you’ll hear Geddy Lee’s name. Ask about drummers and there’s always Neil Peart. But absolutely NOBODY will say Alex Lifeson’s name when discussing the great guitarists of all time. A crime, if you ask me, because Alex is the total package of groovy rhythm chops, wicked lead playing, technical precision, great use of effects, etc. Try playing “Spirit of the Radio” at tempo and tell me this guy isn’t a beast. Rant over.

Matt Blackett’s Musings: “All the World’s a Setlist – Rush in Concord, 6/26/11”

See you next Friday, kids!


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Jim Bowley is a professional guitarist, teacher and blogger. A native of Baltimore, he has over 30 years of playing experience and an advanced degree in Music Education from Towson University. Jim lives in Bel Air, MD where he maintains a thriving private lesson studio and performs with his band, Remains of Radio.

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