Student Question: What does it mean for a song to be in a particular ‘key’?

PhD of Rock says…

When a song is said to be in a particular key (e.g. C major or E minor or a myriad of other possibilities), what is being offered is a ‘key’ to the information that reveals how a song is constructed.  To say a song is in the key of C major, for example, is also to say that the pieces that make up the melody and instrumentation of that song all come from the C ...

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Student Question: How should I position myself at the piano?

PhD of Rock says

A great way to know if you’re sitting the appropriate distance from the piano is to extend your arms out in front of you and touch, with lightly curled fists, the wood of the piano (or other material if a keyboard or digital piano) located just behind the back of the keys.  If the arms are straight but the elbows are unlocked, you have positioned yourself well to play the piano.  Now, when you pull ...

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Student Question: What is the right way to use my walking fingers when playing the bass?

PhD of Rock says

Walking on the bass is a skill that is unique to the instrument.  It is not akin to finger style guitar and plucking the strings in this way will hamper your ability to play the bass with smooth speed and rhythm.  First, your index and middle fingers ideally alternate in a walking rhythm when fingering the strings of the bass guitar.  The walking motion pushes the string toward the body of the bass (not toward ...

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Student Question: Why is the D major chord so difficult for some beginners and how can I make it stronger?

PhD of Rock says…

The D major chord tends to be more challenging for two main reasons.  The first is that the fingers, compared to an A or E chord for example, are required to fret the strings in a way that asks the ring or 3rd finger to independently move out to the 3rd fret of the B (2nd) string.  The ring finger is the least independent of our fingers (here come the wedding/marriage jokes) and requires more ...

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5 Secrets to a Healthy Singing and Speaking Voice

Learn the keys that are vitally important to your best voice

How healthy is your voice on a day to day basis?  Do you find your speaking or singing voice tires easily?  Do you feel dry or scratchy in your throat and voice before you even begin singing?  There are a number of key guidelines for maintaining a healthy voice that are vitally important for putting your best voice forward.  Regardless of the strength and coordination of your ...

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Tab Notation for Guitar and Bass

Reading Tab Notation

Tab notation is an alternative music notation often used for guitar and bass to indicate where on the fretboard of either instrument fingers are to be placed in order to play specific notes or chords.  The key advantage of tab notation (compared to standard staff notation) lies in the fact that, since the fretboard matrix of notes can include multiple versions of enharmonic notes (a note equivalent to itself), tab notation allows us to easily see ...

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Secrets of Stage Presence-Part 1

How to create a powerful and moving performance on stage

Do you feel awkward and uncomfortable singing on stage?  Are you wanting to cure your ‘potted plant on stage’ syndrome?  Or are you comfortable in front of an audience but don’t feel that you are fully connecting?

Moving an audience can be an elusive goal.  How do we feed the audience the experience, the message, and the emotion of what we’re feeling on stage?  The first key is to be ...

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KidGuitars

Kid Guitars: How to buy a Guitar for your child

Children can begin studying guitar at varying ages depending on attention span, maturity, and physical size and ability. Usually, some point in elementary school (ages 6-10) is a potentially appropriate age to start. But what kind of guitar should you buy for your child? How much should you spend? What if they try the guitar for a year or so and then never pick it up again? And what size ...

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