Playing By Ear (Excerpt)

The following is an excerpt from my ebook “Choosing Notes”. (See links in blog header). The words and phrases we use to describe the ability to learn music by listening are clumsy: “playing by ear”, “ear training”, “learning by ear”, “ear learning”… Ugh. None of these phrases seem to work. We could really use new […]

Myth, Music and Monsters

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek. ” Joseph Campbell In the basement of my childhood home there was a big, dusty, menacing piece of furniture that nobody ever went near. My first memory of it was being warned to stay away from the “monster” because it would crush my […]

Adagio: At the Speed of Nature

  “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson The musical instruction “adagio” comes from the Italian phrase “a dagio” which means “at ease”. It’s a good word, and it got me thinking. The question always comes up: “How long will it take me to learn to play guitar?” as […]

A Music Fan in the Age of Overload

We can thank the Internet; it is now possible to listen to nearly every piece of music ever recorded. This is staggering to think about, but it is true. Today, there are millions if not billions of recordings available for download or streaming over the Internet. I haven’t done the math, but it’s a fair […]

Music and Memory: Raising the Bar

“The true art of memory is the art of attention.” — Samuel Johnson A good memory is the single most important skill a musician can have. If you haven’t been blessed with a great memory, don’t worry, it is something that can be improved and enhanced. Memories are like muscles and they can be developed […]

Music, Across Time and Space

“When you learn something from people, or from a culture, you accept it as a gift, and it is your lifelong commitment to preserve it and build on it.” – Yo Yo Ma A few years ago I attended a cello concerto by Yo Yo Ma at Powell Hall in Saint Louis, Missouri. At the […]

Why Classical Guitar?

“The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” – Albert Einstein [/caption] Mention “classical guitar” to many beginning guitarists and you will get a whole host of reactions, from “what’s that?” to “do you mean classic rock?” to “why would you want to play that on guitar?”. Despite a […]