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With so many hundreds of guitar method books being pushed on the beginning musician, it can be difficult to figure out which ones to use. Over the years, I myself have worked through a number of different theory books with my students—and I have found that they are not all created equally. Most method books are pretty good in terms of content, but even though they may contain a lot of the same information, they all offer something different. While it is important to consider a student’s individual goals, age, and experience when selecting a book, I have found that these are some of my all-time favorite method books for guitar: 1) The Hal Leonard Guitar Method is a classic...
  • February 2, 2021
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What, exactly, is arranging? How is it different from composing and production? And why should songwriters care about it? In short, it is your secret weapon for making songs more powerful. You don’t have to be a veteran songwriter with a library of original material under your belt to write your own arrangements, either—you just need the motivation to get creative with your music. Want to get started? Well, SMT teacher and composer Ethan Foote will be teaching a weekly “Arranging for Songwriters” workshop on Wednesdays from February 17th to March 10th. In the upcoming workshop, Ethan will give you the tools you need to enhance your music and songwriting through the process of arranging. In addition to exploring your...
  • February 1, 2021
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It doesn’t matter if you just started taking lessons or if you are a longtime instrumentalist—it can be difficult to sit down in front of your instrument for practice on a regular basis. Believe it or not, music teachers experience the same problem. That’s why we reached out to our SMT teachers and asked them to give us their top tips on how you can use your time efficiently, how to stay motivated, and how to get yourself to practice regularly. Let’s Start Small: Here Are Three Short and Simple Practice Tips From Carol Anne Bosco (cello and piano) When in doubt, sing it out. No matter what instrument you play, singing the rep helps your ability to listen and...
  • January 21, 2021
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Learning all the notes on the guitar fretboard is a daunting task; six strings against a fret-studded ebony fingerboard can seem like an abyss of chaos and mystery. Just kidding! It’s not actually as difficult as you might think—all you need is the CAGED system. The CAGED system refers to the geometric shapes that 5 basic chords/scales make (C, A, G, E, and D) and how they connect to the next shape up the neck. I was first introduced to the CAGED system through a series of YouTube videos—and once I got the hang of it, everything clicked into place. Here’s an example of the CAGED system in action: if you move from the C major chord in open position...
  • January 20, 2021
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Which is best: phone, tablet, or computer? Ultimately, use what you have—but you might also want to take these ideas into consideration: Zoom’s computer interface allows any participant to record part or all of the meeting. Do you want to be able to record your teacher demonstrating something for you to reference while you are practicing? If so, use a computer if you can. This feature is not available on tablets and phones. Some devices are better at connecting to Wifi than others. If you have multiple devices, you might experiment to see which offers the best connection. Audio Original Sound On. Video conferencing platforms use technology to isolate the human voice and filter out other sounds. This often includes...
  • January 20, 2021
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