Wednesday, 23 March 2016

How To Learn To Play Guitar

Playing The Guitar

Learning how to play guitar has been the goal for many up-and-coming musicians. 

Many of us have gazed into the music store window or have even watched others playing, only wishing we could effortlessly wow the audience alongside them.

How many of us when hearing our favorite song on the radio, breakout 'air guitar' and begin "shredding" along note for note?

Wouldn't it be nice to know where to start when first learning to play guitar?

The guitar is a very popular due to its versatility and ease of  transport. It's one of those standalone instruments, that anyone can play another instrument or sing along with almost anywhere.

Guitars are great accompanying instruments for singers and they provide the rhythm and provide enough background sound to fill the space quite nicely to carry the tune.

There are so many styles of music when learning to play the guitar such as country, rock, jazz, classical, and much more.

So, what does it take to learn guitar and how long will it require to play proficiently?

What should you look for when buying a guitar? How do you choose the right one for you?

Choosing A Guitar

Selecting the right guitar will depend much on your musical needs and whether you choose to play indoors or outdoors.

The most versatile of all guitars are acoustic guitars, which means they do not require electricity or an amplifier in order to be heard.

Getting that heavy-loud rock sound will require more juice, in which case you want an electric guitar with all its effects.

Types of guitars include:

  • Spanish guitars also are known as classical guitars. Generally, come with nylon strings and tend to lack of bright and powerful sound of music genres like pop-rock.

  • Flattop guitars are  strong with steel strings and are great for vigorous strumming with a pick or intricate solo. The preferred choice of country, folk, indie, or rock depending on how is played. 

  • Electric guitars come with metal strings and are fitted with electromagnetic pickups in order to amplify it sound. The signal from the pickups to the air can be fed through effects circuitry which creates an endless variety of sounds. Better for playing Blues, Metal, and Classic Rock.

Acoustic vs Electric Guitar

When selecting between an acoustic guitar as opposed to an electric guitar you might consider such  factors as your musical preferences and practical requirements.

One advantage a flattop guitar has over an electric is that there is no real time setting up other than taking the guitar out of the case and maybe tuning it. Good to go.

Standard flattops are larger, however, ranging from a parlor style model to the broad-shouldered dreadnoughts and jumbos mostly played by country and folk type singers and musicians.

Acoustic guitars can easily fill a room with a vibrant rich sound all on their own. In some cases, you can also purchase acoustic electric in which there are pickups built into the acoustic giving you both options to choose from.

Compared to electric guitars, a couple of disadvantages would be that the strings and action can be a
little higher and tougher in some cases depending on the gauge of the strings.

Electric guitars offer a large spectrum of sounds depending on the guitar, amplification, and effects pedals that are being used.

Built in whammy bar and lower action for easier soloing. 

The overdrive pedal or switch can give you that heavy and squealing rock sound so many enjoy.

Checklist when purchasing a guitar:
  1.  Cheap isn't always better. There are many places person to buy a guitar. it seems that going to the music store is no longer necessary.  You can even buy a guitar at Best Buy these days. But, let's face it, going to a music store and speaking to a staff member who will very likely be a guitar player themselves is a good first option. From there it's entirely up to you to either purchase something new or doing a little research, then get looking into the "previously enjoyed" category called second-hand like on Kijiji or Craigslist. 
  2. Go to a music store. Even if you decide to purchase a second and guitar or order one online, it pays to go to a music store  ahead of time. You'll want to gain as much knowledge as you can from someone who is experienced. Take the time to listen carefully but also, listen to your gut instinct at the same time.
  3.  Ask the salesperson to demonstrate by playing single-dose off chords at various pitches and finger positions. Do you like the sound of it? What don't you like about it?
  4. Try it out for yourself. If you're not sure how to hold our someone for help. from the strings from top to bottom and listens all six notes only. Take note of any rattles or buzzes.
  5. Look over the body. Check for cracks bad scratches or other damage. Make sure to play it through it an amp when testing of electric guitar and try the various settings.
  6. How does it feel? Holding you guitar is very important when playing. You must feel comfortable and not feel like you are laboring as you are trying to get into the zone. so make sure you find a good fit. I just the strap to make sure that the guitar is easy to strum and play chords.

Mechanics of Playing Guitar

  • Holding the guitar. Sit down in a comfortable chair. One that does not allow you to slouch or that is so narrow that the body of the guitar in your own body would not fit comfortably.
  •  Next, assuming that you are a right-handed player, place the body of the guitar on your right thigh.  which your left hand on his neck and assess it for comfort and balance. 
  • Strum the strings from top to bottom with your right index finger and listen to each individual note. start by holding the pick between your right-hand thumb and index finger.
  •  This area over the strings and sweet across them moving downward from the heaviest rain to the lightest thing.
  •  Make sure the text is three only allowing it may contact with the strength allowing the notes to rain freely.
  • Now try playing the strings one by one, stopping your pick after each note prevented from making accidental contact with the  adjacent strings.
  • From here you should be ready to the guitar. there are many electronic guitar tuners to select from. They range from 20 dollars any wares up to 500 dollars depending on your needs and budget.
  •  Assuming you have a tuner, a single note on a string and I just the note by turning the two key on the guitar for greater or lesser tension to adjust the tuning

Parts of The Guitar

For the sake of this discussion will we look at 5 main parts of the guitar: 

  1. The body is the part of the guitar where your volume is projected. Acoustic guitars have wide bodies, whereas electric cars generally have narrower bodies. the size of the body can definitely have an effect on your playing, depending on its size
  2. The neck runs the length of the guitar from the body to the headstock.the neck is where the frets are located.
  3. The fretboard and frets are the locators on the guitar in which to place your fingers on the strings. when we apply pressure to the strings in between the frets we create notes.
  4. The sound hole, of course, being part of the body allows the air to escape in order to create the sound from an acoustic guitar. note that electric guitars have a plethora plug-in jack for a court to plug into an amplifier.
  5. The headstock is the area at the very top of the neck where your tuning keys are located. This is where you tighten the tension or loosen the tension on your strings depending on your tuning.

 Guitar Chords & Strum Patterns

Once your guitar is tuned and you've had a chance to play around with strings a little bit you're probably ready to play your first chord. 

A chord is a group of notes that make musical sense when there played simultaneously. Basically, it is three different notes played in harmony.

Stay relaxed and comfortable to ensure balance while holding the guitar. wrap your left hand around the neck back of the guitar. Slide up and down to get a feel of the neck.

Pressing your fingers in various shapes throughout the fretboard is the key. When you first start out you will probably have your fingers rub against other strings when you're trying to shape the chords.

 That's perfectly okay, the idea is to shape the chord and play through each individual string until each sounding note is clear and then finally playing them all together it perfect and they have a chord.

From here it is a matter of learning to use your other hand while holding a pick to strum the strings to the rhythm of the song.

You will probably begin strumming down. but the idea is to learn how to build good rhythm and strum up and down  in an even flow to the music.

Eventually, you may even learn how to sing. and play guitar at the same time with some practice.

Now go get a guitar and start playing!

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Thursday, 10 March 2016

7 Vocal Health Tips For A Better Singing Voice

You only get one voice in this lifetime, so keeping your voice in tip top shape requires us to do few things and avoid others in order to maintain good vocal health.

Especially if you spend alot of time singing, whether professionally or for leisure you want to take care of your singing voice.

The type of music we sing can also play can be a factor in the "life" of our voice. If you are engaged in the type of singing that requires a level of strain, it's only a matter of time before long term damage occurs, unless you take steps to preserve your voice.

Below are 5 things to avoid in preserving your vocal health:

  1. Smoking. There are many reasons why smoking is detrimental to your singing voice. It's bad for your lungs which can restrict your breath support. Smoking can also cause inflammation of the tissues inside your throat which is a no-no for singers.
  2. Constant coughing or throat clearing. Some of us having a never ending Post nasal drip in the back of our throat. It can be feel restricting, so the natural thing to do would be to cough in order to clear her throat. The constant strain from coughing is not healthy for your vocal cords. 
  3.  Medications. many cold medicines and antihistamines contain the active ingredients to dry out nasal cavities. This can also cause other areas including our throat to be dry. Particularly when you are singing do you want to avoid such medications if possible.
  4. Desist from yelling and screaming. Excessively loud, prolonged, and/or inefficient voice use such as yelling can lead to vocal fatigue, hoarseness, and in some cases vocal hemorrhage. So the next time you are attempting to yell at your 14-year-old for not putting the dishes away, Think about your vocal health  before you do.
  5.  Alcohol. It doesn't mean you have to completely abstain from it, and particularly on performance and practice days do you want to avoid drinking. Alcohol will actually in your blood in your vocal cords which can lead to vocal damage.
Remember that your vocal cords are made up of very tiny and delicate muscles and tendons. Just like elastic band is stretched or strained may eventually break.

 We not only want to avoid bad habits, but develop a few good ones to prolong our singing voice. Below are few tips to improve your vocal health:
  • Take good care of your speaking voice. Your speaking voiceis also your singing voice. Therefore it is vital to apply the same care when speaking as you do when singing. For instance whenever speaking to someone pay attention to your posture and breathing and see if your body language and breathing are the same as when you sing.
  • Drink plenty of water. Hydration cannot be over emphasized when it comes to taking care of our singing voice. we want  to make sure that whenever we are some practicing or performing we have plenty of water nearby.
  •  Proper rest. just as a bodybuilder needs sufficient rest after a workout,we also need to allow for proper rest and quiet time following a performance. Also getting enough sleep is also key.
  •  Gently warm up. If you've ever been to a yoga class you know what we're talking about.we're talking low impact, light breathing, and in which you remove all tension. Never enter a performance cold.
  • Use a humidifier in your home. Especially in the drier months of the year, it may be worth considering having a humidifier in the house. It is not necessary though.
  • Practice proper techniques. Learning proper vocal warm up exercises as well as studying and applying basic singing techniques will aid you in improving tone and in learning how to sing high notes without causing local strain or damage.
  • Do stretches. take a few minutes before even a warm-up to stretch your body out.  Stretch the larger muscles like your chest and your back your legs. Finally, stretch of the neck and shoulders. it keeps you flexible and eliminates tension, which is a singers worst enemy.
Well, there you have it!  Hopefully by thinking about and practicing these singing tips on how to improve your vocal health and thus your singing voice, you will be able to achieve all of your singing goals.

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Friday, 26 February 2016

How To Teach Yourself To Play an Instrument

Learning to Play An Instrument On Your Own

Have you ever wanted to learn to play an instrument? If so, which instrument would you choose? Would it be guitar, drums, the violin, the piano, the harmonica, or perhaps a classical instrument?

Before learning a new instrument it is important to remember 9 key things:

1. Your choice of music. It is more likely that you are going to want to play the kind of music you enjoy listening to when learning a new instrument. Of course any instrument can add flavor to any sound so don't limit yourself.

2. Time. When acquiring any new skill practice, persistence, and of course sufficient time is necessary. How much time can you devote each day or week to practicing and mastering the mechanics involved in playing the instrument?

3. Cost. Depending on your skill and comfort level, you can spend a whole lot or a whole little and the quality will reflect. There are however many entry-level instruments that are quite reasonably priced for someone with a new ear to music. At any rate you will be required to spend anywhere from $100 for a decent guitar and around $300 for a basic drum kit.

4. Patience. There is no question that patience is required when developing a new skill. It seems many of us while in the presence of another playing an instrument, we wish we could just pick up the instrument and play along as smoothly. In the beginning this may not be our reality. In fact through many painstaking hours of repetition and sore fingers, do we receive the satisfaction of playing automatically.

5. Instruction. There are many self-taught singers and guitar players. Many have learned to sing or play by ear alone. It is argued that natural talent plays a role in the ease and success of mastering. But, at some point even the best of the best have recognized the importance of learning and developing skills by means of various learning materials or home video lessons.

6. Try it out. By all means spend some time at a music store. Try out and ask as many questions as you want to the store staff. Let them know you are musical needs and goals and you will find this very helpful. Choose what feels right.

7. Commit. Taking the time and explore your options before selecting a musical outlet is key. However, once you have decided on an instrument it's time to get down to business. That means setting aside time for practice and or video lessons as well as setting small achievable goals.

8. Play in Public. If there's an open mic or jam in your area, get out play in front of others. The more reasons you have to play, the more effort and commitment you put into getting better.

9. Have Fun. It does take work to learn a new instrument, and tedious practice will play a large part. That being said, make the journey fun. Play along with music or back tracks in order to get your rhthym and timing down.

If you enjoyed this short discussion and would also recommend you read "How To Play Guitar"

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Monday, 1 February 2016

Eleven Cool Down Exercises for Singing

Singing Cool Down: 11 Exercises 

Most if not all singers will spend an appropriate amount of time doing warm-up exercises before performance. Whether that means stretching or vocal warm-up exercises, it is time well spent before along singing session

What we sometimes forget to do is a proper cooldown session to allow your vocal cords to relax and remain in good health. If you don't take the time to do cooldown exercises, you may even cause injury to yourself in your vocal cords.

That being the case, make sure to apply the following singing cooldown exercises that may not only protect your voice but also may extend the life of it.

Ready To Cool Down?

  1. You should devote at least 5 to 10 minutes to cool off your voice after you been singing for a while. Keep in mind that your vocal cords tire. This means that if you don't allow for sufficient time, your vocal cords may strain and not fully recover.
  2. Always start seeing the highest note first while making a "zzz" sound as you move down the scale to the lowest note possible. Be gentle but avoid using a breathy type voice. Sing like you always do but just try to be a little more soft.
  3. Try some humming. If you're going to spend a long time singing you need to loosen up those vocal cords and humming is one of the best ways to do that. It doesn't have to be complicated just some simple exercises to lose new up and help you relax.
  4. Perform scale the descending. Do as many scales as you can and while you are performing the notes make an "ooo sound as softly as you can.
  5. Do voice slides. Using bowel sounds work your way up and down within a five note range. Think of it similar to a siren when making the vowel sounds perform this several times moving slightly higher and then slightly lower each time you perform.
  6. Perform stretching exercises. Especially after you have finished singing that you stretch out your entire body. Singing is very physically demanding. You are using a variety of muscles and many times these are working together simultaneously.
  7. Therefore it is vital that we take the amount of time proper to stretch out our bodies as we all know tension is one of the greatest enemies of the singer.
  8. Drink a lot of water. Begin drinking water even before you warm-up. Keeping the body hydrated is the key. So especially after your singing practice do you need to replenish the water system. Room temperature water is said to lubricate your vocal cords and help them relax.
  9. Perform yawning exercises. What these little exercises do is stretch your throat and so that your vocal folds will get back to normal after being stretched. Some singers will even stand up to 15 minutes perform this exercise due to its importance.
  10. Health and rest. Do not overlook the value of getting plenty of rest after you spent a lot of time singing. Believe it or not this is actually a big part of the cooldown process. Some of us are so anxious to get better that we practice constantly.But just as a weightlifter needs proper rest after weight training, likewise a singing performer needs rest to allow those muscles to recover and become stronger.
  11. Speak softer after a performance. Speaking in a quiet voice will begin lessening the tension and strain that was caused while you are singing. The idea is simply to relax. Maybe for an hour or two.

In conclusion

Think of your voice as a magnificent instrument. As in fact it surely is. It is your responsibility to take good care of this instrument otherwise it may crack and break to form the notes that you need and want to perform.

So whatever you do, make sure that you set aside time to cool down each and every time he Sing for any extended period of time.

Regardless of whether you are performing on stage or practicing, make cooling down part of that routine. You will find that your voice will be able to recover much faster and reach those high notes much quicker.

Sure enough you will be ready seeing the next time he hit the stage or the practice room with ease and confidence.

For more free singing tips or singing techniques please follow the links provided.

Happy singing!