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The Chuck Anderson Trio in Concert
The Firehouse Cafe
We had a great show on February 23rd at the Firehouse Cafe. Great sound, ambience, food, service. It’s worth the trip!
Date: Saturday, April 27th, 2013
Time: 2 sets 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM
20 Washington Street
Mount Holly, New Jersey 08060
Mount Holley is 30 minutes from Philadelphia.
Venue Website: http://www.thefirehousecafe.net
The Firehouse Cafe is a great restaurant as well as a concert venue!
Telephone: 609 261 4502
Concert Tickets: $20
Ticket Link: http://www.thefirehousecafe.net/SPECIALEVENT4.html
This marks our second appearance here and we would love to have you join us for an evening of guitar jazz!
Let me know if you can make the show. It continues to be important that we support these venues that support live jazz!
If you’re not in this area, pass this info on to friends in Philly, Jersey and Delaware.
Thanks for your interest and continued support.
Regardless of the resources you use to learn to play the guitar, it’s important to know what there is to learn and how that affects what you want to do. Whether it’s playing in a band, singing and playing or being a singer – songwriter, there are specific things to learn and specific skills to develop. Here’s an overview of the ten most fundamental things to learn.
The first thing that almost all guitar players learn is chords. A chord is played by holding down multiple notes simultaneously on the fingering hand. The opposite hand makes a chord sound by strumming it or finger picking it. There is nothing more fundamental than playing basic chords. The first 14 chords are E, A, D, G ,C, Em, Am, Dm, E7, A7, D7, G7, B7. C7. Typically, barre chords are learned next. Barres have an advantage because they can be moved to different keys. Their disadvantage is that they’re harder to play, at least initially. The ability to play chords and switch them smoothly is the first requirement for playing alone or with a group. It immediately qualifies you for a band in the role of rhythm guitar. This job is an accompaniment job and does not have the attention given to the Lead guitar player but it is your quickest route to playing in a band!
Technique is the ability to control your hands individually and in combination. It is primarily a physical skill not a musical skill. The training and development of your hands is a prerequisite and necessary to develop musical skills. Sports offers a good parallel. Football has physical skills and football skills. Passing, receiving, blocking, running and tackling are football skills. Running through tires, road work, weight lifting, wind sprints and stretching are physical skills. You need both to be successful. There are many exercises designed to get your hands in shape. Finger independence drills, barres and stretches are just three good ways to develop your hands.
http://guitar.about.com/library/weekly/aa121301a.htm http://www.guitarprinciples.com/Guitar_Technique/GuitarTechnique.htm http://www.guitarplayerworld.com/Guitar_Techniques.html
3) Notes on the Neck
It’s unbelievable how weak guitar players are on knowing the notes on their own instrument! No other instrument suffers from this same fate. Imagine a piano player not knowing the note names of the keys…or a trumpet player not knowing what notes come out if they push specific valve combinations. Yet, an amazingly high percentage of guitar players don’t know the notes on the neck. This problem has certainly been created by the guitar world’s penchant for tablature and chord picture diagrams. Despite this, there is no excuse for the failure on the part of guitar players to learn what is absolutely rudimentary on any other instrument. The notes on the neck must be not only learned but mastered!
http://www.totalguitar.net/guitar-resources/notes-on-guitar-neck/ http://guitarroom144.wordpress.com/learn-the-notes-on-the-neck/ http://www.chuckandersonjazzguitar.com/institute/
This skill is part of the rhythm guitar role. All songs, besides having chords, have a strum that is responsible for the “feel” of the song. If you play the wrong strum with a song, something will sound off. The strum helps keep the tempo steady and propels the music forward. Strumming captures the most primitive element of music – rhythm. That tendency to tap our feet when we hear music can often be traced to the strumming pattern of the guitar.
5) Finger Picking
Finger picking is an alternative to strumming. Like strumming, finger picking uses the non-fingering hand and produces sound from chords. Fingerpicking was most common in Folk music but it has certainly made its way into main stream contemporary music through singer – songwriters and country artists. James Taylor is an outstanding finger pick artist who has fused Folk, Country, Rock and Pop music into a seamless original form. His influence has been significant ever since the beginning of the Folk – Rock movement.
Scales are organized streams of notes that can be used to generate melody or improvisation. There are many kinds of scales to learn depending on the musical style you choose. The two most common contemporary scales are the Blues Scale and the Pentatonic Scale. The Blues Scale is used in the darker forms of Blues and in heavier Rock Music. The Pentatonic Scale is used in all things Southern: Southern Rock, brighter Blues, Country music and even Motown. Beyond these scales, there are many more to learn if the music you play needs them. Santana used the Dorian Scale to great effect while Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits made a living from the Aeolian Scale.
http://www.chordbook.com/guitarscales.php http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Guitar/Scales http://www.guitarists.net/scales/
7) Lead Guitar Techniques
The lead guitar embellishments are physical moves that impact the sound of the guitar in a very significant way. Bends, slides, glisses, vibrato and harmonics are just some of the techniques employed. These are “guitaristic” effects, not external effects such as reverb, chorus and distortion. As in all cases, the style of music dictates which embellishments are applicable. Traditional Jazz guitar uses few bends while Blues music lives on bends as well as the other embellishments.
Rhythm is one of the three primary components of music, It encompasses several aspects. On the one hand, rhythm is the duration of a note or a chord. It also includes tempo ie beats per second as measured by a metronome and the stability of the beat. Rhythm, as in tempo, can vary during a song. Some songs maintain a steady tempo from beginning to end. Other songs vary the tempo. Slowing down is called Ritardando and speeding up is called Acclerando. These are intentional musical effects and not the result of a guitar player not being able to keep steady time or rhythm. The ability to “keep time” is one of the most important skills a guitar player can develop.
The development of the ear brings your musical insides – out. Music is the only hearing art. As such, the ear acts as the intermediary between your musical ideas and the execution of these ideas. Solfeggio, the Italian art of sight singing has been used for centuries to develop musicianship. Ear training contributes to the ability to play what you hear. There are virtually unlimited applications of ear training from working songs out by ear to improvising to writing. The European tradition of ear training has been far more stringent than that of the United States.
This area is your song list, your repertoire, what you can play from beginning to end. Without a repertoire, you have nothing to play. An audience is certainly not interested in listening to scales, arpeggios or exercises of any kind. They respond to songs no matter what style of music you play. It could original or cover but one way or another, you need to learn songs. What does it mean to learn a song? The singer songwriter’s version of learning a song would be to memorize the chords, the strum or finger pick, the melody, the form, the chords and the lyrics. The jazz guitarist version is to learn the single note melody, the chord changes, the form, the melody and chord version (combining single note melody and chords) and the improvisational structure. Unless you use the lyrics as inspiration for the mood and feel of a song, lyrics are not part of the instrumental process.
Now that you have a sense of what there is to learn, you can focus on how you’re going to learn it. Whether it’s formal lessons with a good teacher, self teaching, books, DVDs or on line resources, get started! The rewards will far outweigh the effort.
Normally, we think of fingering as a technical subject. Using a good and efficient fingering makes sense. It should make anything that you play easier and more dependable.
It has value to the reading guitarist because the guitar fingerboard is a treacherous trap of options. The same notes are in too many places. The same C note is on string two, fret one and string three, fret five and string four, fret ten and string five, fret fifteen. Unlike the piano which has one location for each note, the guitar compounds the problem with too many options and then throws in open strings to further confuse the issue. When reading is positional and stays within a four fret region, it’s much easier to read. However, writers and arrangers don’t attempt to stay within a four fret region of the guitar. They typically do not know or care about the guitar’s fingering option issues.
Fingering is organized by a series of motion principles that allow you to connect notes all over the instrument. These principles are: Basic – a four fret span with one finger per fret. Slide – the same finger used twice in a row on the same string at different frets. Pass – a reset of four fret span generally along the same string. It’s possible to use the reset principle as you change strings as well. Stretch – the lengthening of the four fret span resulting in a shift into a new four fret span. The stretch can also remain in the original four fret span. Contraction – the opposite of stretch. A contraction shortens the four fret span resulting in a new four fret span. Leap – the repositioning of the four fret span after using an open string. The leap can also be a non connected shift of position.
With an awareness of these principles, you can “work out” a good fingering for any reading situation. This is particularly helpful in reading Bebop heads which were not written with guitar fingering in mind. Although it’s a tedious process in the beginning, it does gradually become reflexive.
All these comments and principles apply to improvisation as well. A good guitarist moves smoothly all over the neck. The sound is connective and flowing. Without the application of the six fingering principles, solos are often limited because they suffer from the “box” restriction.
Learn the notes on the neck and don’t rely on tablature to get you through the maze.
If you consistently use the same fingerings for your scales, arpeggios or phrases of any kind, you’ll find yourself playing the same things over and over. One of the most effective ways of breaking into new creativity ground is to change your fingering. Don’t play in the same position or use the same fingering. The reason that this is so effective is that within a fingering, certain note combinations or riffs present themselves. Sooner or later, they become repetitious. When you explore new fingerings, the same old riffs are no longer available. You are forced to play something new!
Remember that fingering affects note distribution and that affects tone color. Just playing the same notes on different strings changes the timbre and therefore the color of what you play. Thicker strings are “warmer” and darker. Thinner strings are “thinner” sounding and brighter. The fingered note has a different color and sound than the open note which has a characteristic ringing tone. Open strings are more common in some styles. They are often characteristic of particular idioms. Bluegrass and Classical guitar styles rely heavily on open strings. Jazz guitar relies less on open strings. That being said, any style can use open strings but it’s more common in some style than in others.
Beyond tone color and resonance, you have new access to new note combinations.
So remember that fingering is not just a technical principle for practicing. It’s not just a tool for reading. It’s a dynamic and ever changing source for creative inspiration!
This is a blog that I originally wrote for a very fine site called MusiciansWages.com out of New York. Their mission is to help prepare musicians for careers in music. They asked me to show one day in my life in this industry.
Music is an intensely entrepreneurial business. It takes discipline and a certain type of self starting attitude. After all, you have no boss to tell you what to do and when to do it. It’s all on you. This can be good or bad. On the negative side, you could respond to this by doing nothing, by being lazy. This approach will guarantee your failure. Or, you could be organized, energized and enthusiastic. If you’re disciplined and focused on your direction and your goals, you maximize the opportunity to succeed.
Throughout my career, different musical directions have changed what any given day looked like. Early in my career, music store teaching and playing small pickup jobs were my life. Later, I owned my own music school and played larger, more prestigious dates. Then, staff jobs at theaters and recording studios took up more and more time. There was a period where I owned a music production company that focused on media music. Jingles, documentary scores, TV themes and tracks for singers took up time in this phase. Then, my career turned in the direction of what was called the “Neo Classical” guitar. This involved transcriptions, original composition and improvisations on a theme. This work led me into concerts and three CDs.
As you can imagine, my day looked very different in each of these directions. I thought I would concentrate for the purpose of today’s blog on my current direction.
I made the decision within the last year or two to concentrate exclusively on two and only two musical directions. One is the concert jazz guitar and the other is music education.
So here’s what a day looks like these days.
In my performance work, I have to continue to develop new repertoire for my concerts. This material can be original or not but it has to function at a high concert level. I no longer write for major companies – I write exclusively for my own performance and recordings.
After material is written, it has to be arranged and notated. From there, it goes to the band for rehearsal and then is scheduled for performance or recording. A new CD of mine called “Freefall” has twelve original tracks conceived either for my trio or for solo guitar.
I usually begin new pieces with a title and then write that mood into the song. Current titles are “Tribute to Wes”,”Synergy” and “Dragonfly”. “Tribute to Wes” is complete and waiting for the arrangement. Synergy is started and “Dragonfly” has four bars written. Each day will produce a little more of each piece until they’re all complete and ready to move into the next phase.
In the meantime, there is a shocking amount of time spent on the business of this business. Booking, press, internet exposure, social networking, promotion – the list goes on and on.
I work in the private music teaching side of the business. I work exclusively out of my own private studio, maintaining a large and demanding private practice. In response to demand and changing technology, I now Skype all over the world. I have also recently signed with a company called Truefire.com. This company is an on line video guitar education company. My program with them will launch at the end of January. There is a huge amount of preparation for this new endeavor. I’m slowly getting up to speed with all the technology changes.
Another phase of my education work is research, writing books and giving master classes. I’ve just finished a new book called “Jazz Guitar Chords – Without Memorizing a 1000 Shapes”. Books require time in the organization, the writing, the editing and the promotion.
Now, let’s take a day. Of course, days differ according to the needs and demands of that day. This variety of day to day activity keeps everything fresh and avoids the boredom that plagues many people with “straight” jobs.
Last Friday, I gave private lessons from 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM. At 4:30, I joined jazz guitarist Jimmy Bruno for a session about our upcoming CD and our next four concerts together. By 8:00 PM, I was working on the final revisions of a new book, putting finishing touches on the arrangement of “Tribute to Wes” and arranging a photo shoot for some promotion on the internet. By now, it was 10:00 PM. I reviewed some new video footage from a recent concert. My decision was to use the material just for promotion and Youtube or to turn it into a DVD product. By 11:00 PM, I was sending out invitations to an upcoming concert with my trio and sending files to a printer for the posters to be used to promote several upcoming concerts.
Since I write for the magazines “Just Jazz Guitar”, “Jazz Inside” and for the website “All About Jazz”, it was time to write my columns. This took a couple of hours up until 1:00 AM. The last 30 minutes were devoted to research and setting up the next days activities. I try to stop at 1:30. The next day starts again at 8:00 AM.
Every day is different but that’s the length of most of my days. Only the balance of activities change. Some days, I’ll devote up to sixteen hours to teaching and then fill in the rest of the day as needed.
This, as you can see, is a business that you must love. It is my choice to work at this pace but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
(Via Chuck Anderson Jazz Guitar.)