8 Reasons to Memorize Scales

Memorize those scales. How many times have beginning musicians heard this advice, no matter what instrument or genre they are playing? Drilling scales may seem boring when you are anxious to learn new songs, but this discipline has its worth. Here are a few reasons to consider memorizing some scales: Improve your coordination. As a…

Scrivener

If you enjoy research and writing, you are probably always on the lookout for a better way to keep track of information. Scrivener is an outstanding program that can help. As for telling you what Scrivener can do, it’s hard for us to know where to start, since it can do so much. First off,…

Sharpen Your Skills—Record Your Music

Looking for an effective way to improve your musical ability in a relatively short period of time? There is a simple tool that can work these wonders for you. This tool is a microphone. There is nothing quite like recording and playback to evaluate your progress. As we run through our songs, we get used…

Tony Trischka’s Essential Practice Techniques for Bluegrass Banjo

Lessons from a pro! Tony Trischka’s Essential Practice Techniques for Bluegrass Banjo is a great way for a beginning banjo player to pick up important tips on best practices, but it can also be useful for the intermediate player seeking to brush up on key skills. Either way, foundational technique is the focus. Topics covered…

Understanding Musical Keys: Identifying and Using

Identifying Keys There are two ways to identify a key: Look at the key signature. Analyze the chords of the song. If you happen to be playing from music written in standard notation, such as a songbook or hymnal, the easiest way to identify the key is to look at the key signature—the number of…

Understanding Musical Keys: Characteristics

Early on in your musical practice, you will be introduced to the concept of musical keys. Keys are important to understand because every key has a distinct sound created by a hallmark set of notes. Every key is based on a scale. If you play a C major scale on any instrument, you have just…

Introducing Cowboy Poetry

The early cowboys seem to have been artists at heart.  Every aspect of their daily lives seems to have made it into verse, from their love of nature to their battles with wild horses to their prosaic bacon-and-beans diet. Many of the first cowboy poems were song lyrics.  Thus, this poetic style shares the same…

Music Practice

Don’t be fooled by the price.  Music Practice: The Musician’s Guide to Practicing and Mastering Your Instrument Like a Professional by David Dumais is not a cheesy little booklet full of half-baked ideas with no meat on their bones.  It’s a concise but thorough look at how to make the most of your practice time,…

Benefits of Making Music

Those of us who play music typically do it for the love of it, not necessarily for any benefits it might bring us. However, research indicates that playing an instrument goes a long way toward making us healthy, well-balanced individuals. Here’s how: Enhanced brain function. About 90% of the brain is stimulated during music practice….

The Roots of Western Music

One of the most interesting aspects of traditional American music is its lineage.  Traditional songs morph over time, perhaps getting their start in foreign countries and adapting themselves to fit the American experience.  As that experience changes and travels to new places, so does the music. Such was the case with cowboy music, also called…