August 5, 2011

Free For All Friday, August 5, 2011

Food Fight!

Hey, kids! Welcome to Free For All Friday, where we throw random stuff at the wall to see what sticks. It’s like a musical food fight! What’s on the menu today, you ask?

Today’s selections include:

1 – A cool gift for your fave guitarist
2 – A modern classic on how the human brain interprets music
3 – The guitar store Golden Rule

Eat up, rock stars!




Get Ready to Geek Out!

guitar pick punch

When I first saw the DIY Guitar Pick Punch, I thought, “Really? Can’t you just go to the music store and buy a dozen picks, Slash?” But after checking it out in more depth, I’ve decided, “I’m getting one of these bad boys for myself!”

Make your own guitar pick out of virtually any sturdy plastic – credit cards, milk jugs, whatever! Lost your pick? Just make a new one!

Truly for the guitarist who has everything, or for making an absolutely unique gift for your fave guitarist. And the video is a must see!

DIY Guitar Pick Punch



So That’s What Neurons Sound Like

This Is Your Brain On Music

Daniel Levitin’s fascinating book, This Is Your Brain On Music, has been around for a few years now, so it’s not exactly new. But I find myself quoting from it all the time and I’m always eager to share it with anybody who might be interested. Maybe that’s you.

I read some Amazon reviews and some folks are bent out of shape because they think Levitin has made some technical errors in referencing certain pieces of music (like Haydn’s “Surprise” Symphony). Personally, I don’t care all that much and I don’t think it really affects the book’s overall message or impact: Our brain is virtually wired to absorb and interpret music from infancy.

This Is Your Brain On Music has obviously had a pretty significant impact, as no less than two documentaries have been based on it (the 2009 films, The Musical Brain and The Music Instinct), dozens of colleges have adopted it for course use in science and literature classes, and Harvard University has made it required reading for its Freshman General Education program. Highly recommended.





Call It The Guitar Store Golden Rule

no stairway

If you’ve ever worked in a music store, you can probably relate to the following link.

Guitar Store Golden Rule

Apparently this sign (not this >>>> sign, but the one in the link) is famously found in a music store window on Denmark Street in London, England, forbidding customers of the shop from playing certain cliche songs while trying out guitars. Can you guess the songs?

If life were fair, piano stores would be required to have an equivalent sign for “Fur Elise” and “Heart and Soul”!

Personally, I think more people should be playing “Stairway to Heaven”, but that’s just me…


Until 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.

© 2012 Jim Bowley All rights reserved.
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