Archives: September 2011 - Jim Bowley

September 30, 2011

Talkin’ ‘Bout Practice

iverson Practice

“I mean, listen, we’re talking about practice. Not a game, not a game, not a game – we talking about practice. Not a game. Not the game, but we’re talking about practice, man. I mean, how silly is that?”

Any basketball fans out there will surely recognize the above quote from one-time Philadelphia 76er icon, Allen Iverson. Tough as nails on the court and gifted with terrific skills, The Answer (as he was known) was a two-time MVP winner, an 11-time All Star, and kind of a knucklehead off-court.

AI had no use for practice, not only for himself, but apparently also where it concerned working with teammates (check out the complete transcription of his famous press conference rant here).

We can learn something from Allen, however. We can learn a few things about the concept of practice and what is “useful” versus what is “useless”.

But wait – is any practice really useless? (more…)

September 23, 2011

Free For All Friday, September 23, 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 – The “formula” behind today’s pop hits
2 – Tools for the budding guitar tech
3 – The search for the best teen band in the USA

Rock and roll! (more…)

September 19, 2011

Songs from the Guitar Studio, Vol. 1

guitar student

Welcome to the inaugural post of Songs from the Guitar Studio!

I often tell my students that there are really two ways we can learn stuff on guitar:

1 – We can pick a new technique or concept and find a song with which to apply it.
2 – We can pick a song and see what we can learn from it.

The first method – pick the technique/concept – is a cleaner, neater way to handle things. And in the early stages of playing, this is usually the smarter way to move a student along. After all, they need fundamental things. So you pick a fundamental and run with it.

But I find that it can be a lot of fun, especially with students that have been playing at least a few months, to go with method two: find a song and see what it can teach you!

The is definitely a messier approach, and you may find that you run into some parts that the student isn’t ready to handle. But my tactic is usually to just acknowledge that and concentrate on the stuff they CAN handle. If you use a little foresight in picking the song, there shouldn’t be any real surprises.

In the Songs from the Guitar Studio series, I’ll talk briefly through the songs featured in my lessons during the past week or two. We’ll see what they can teach us and maybe inspire you to check some of them out! (more…)

September 16, 2011

Free For All Friday, September 16, 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 Custom Shop 9/11 tribute by Fender
2 – Led Zep trivia for musical geeks
3 – The infamous music reading dilemma

Let’s get it on! (more…)

September 9, 2011

Status Update, Part Deux: The Intermediate Student

Guitar black and white

Greetings, current and future rock stars!

In our last installment, we covered JB’s criteria – the Beginner Fundamentals – for passing from guitar newbie to advanced beginner status.

Guitar playing is based on physical skills AND musicianship, so we included in our criteria some basic theory (understanding simple rhythms, the musical alphabet, common symbols) to go along with foundation technique (good posture, basic chords, making a good sound).

I would also suggest that these fundamentals include miscellaneous-type stuff, such as knowing the parts of the guitar, effective use of a tuner, and even simple use of a capo. For the full list, check out Status Update: Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced?

In order to consider yourself a late beginner, you should demonstrate clear mastery of this material. Someone of late beginner status should also be able to play in a way that “sounds like music” to the average person. (more…)

September 6, 2011

Status Update: Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced?

FB status update

Let’s play a quick game of make-believe, young rock and rollers!

It’s time to update your Facebook status, but that darn Mark Zuckerberg and his evil minions have “improved” your FB experience with yet another change.

Now they will only allow you to enter one word – beginner, intermediate or advanced – to describe yourself…as a guitarist.

No song lyrics. No complaining about what a bad day you’re having. No pics of your dinner or your vacation. Just straight-up, honest guitar assessment.

So what level guitarist are you? Are you a beginner or intermediate? Have you graduated to advanced status?

Good questions. (more…)

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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