6/6/12

ProProach - Piano Voicings

Dave Longo
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of piano courses that promise me, not only to play fluently with perfect hand coordination in weeks, so that I will amaze family, friends and even talent scouts, but also that I will be able to write award winning songs within a few months.

Nah, let's face it: it takes a lot of practice to play the piano well. And even if your only goal is to be able to play songs, either by ear or from lead sheets, there is more to it than just knowing which notes go into a certain chord.

It's called voicings, how you arrange or distribute the notes in a chord. And that is what Dave Longo's ProProach course is about. It has a motto: "To play like a pro, think like a pro", and that's what he wants to teach in 25 weekly video lessons, accompanied by ebook pdfs with the stuff explained in text and a graphical keyboard with colored keys for the chords.

Here below I have put a little excerpt from Dave Longo's first, free video lesson, so you can watch his teaching style. He is very engaged, maybe even a little high-strung, but you'll get used to that, I'm sure. There's a graphical keyboard on top of his real keyboard, so you can see his hands playing, and at the same time see the blue keys play by themselves on the graphical keyboard. That's a great thing, 'cause it's very good to see how the hands and fingers move on the keyboard, but sometimes it can be a little difficult to see which keys are actually pressed. The no-hands keyboard takes care of that obstacle!



But the course is not only about voicings of individual chords, it deals with chord progressions, and how fine pianists like Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans would do it. Dave shows how to incorporate them into popular songs, like Burt Bacharach's Alfie, Hoagy Carmichael's Georgia On My Mind, Errol Garner's Misty and Over The Rainbow from The Wizard Of Oz. A lot of it is about extended chords (9, 11, 13) in that kind of context.

The 25 lessons in the ProProach piano course come once a week, 'cause Dave would like you to play around with the stuff from each lesson. Transposing to other keys is one thing, but also to encourage the creative aspect, developing your own style as you get into it.

As Dave Longo says: "The doors are opening and the wheels are turning!"
$99 and You're In!

5/25/12

Guitar Scale Mastery

Craig Bassett has a method for developing mastery of scales on the guitar that has some obvious advantages - but I haven't seen it before, and never thought about guitar scales that way.

Guitar Scale Mastery is a 3-year membership online guitar course about scales and soloing. Craig's "scale weapon #1" is single string scales! And odd as it might seem, this will really make you aware of the note positions all over the guitar's fretboard.

The course progresses with two string scales and then, not three string scales, but three notes per string exercises. This basic concept is promising; It will teach your way around the fretboard in a very structured way.

Other elements in the guitar course are ear training and application of the scales into focused lick creation and improvisation.


Emusicware: Guitar Scale Mastery
The Guitar Scale Activators are special backing tracks to make practicing scales and licks enjoyable and to give you practical experience of chord/scale relationships.

Guitar Scale Mastery is improving and growing, and so there are bonus updates throughout the membership period.

One thing I like about Craig Bassett's guitar course is that he doesn't try to lure anybody into it with promises of stardom and magical tricks that will change your abilities in weeks.

He clearly states that this guitar course is for the intermediate guitarist with a basic knowledge of tablature notation and scales, one that enjoys practicing and would like to develop soloing skills.

Seems worth the price: $47 - Pick It Here!

5/2/12

Make A Marimba

Emusicware: Marimba
Mallet instruments appeal to a lot of people. Maybe because the sound is a refined, tuned version of everyday experiences: from knocks on a table or a wooden chair to the pings from metal pipes in a railing or a signpost.

But if you decide to buy a marimba, glockenspiel, vibraphone or xylophone, chances are high that you don't go through with it, after seeing the prices in a music store!  But why not build it yourself? It's not that hard.

Jim McCarthy, an experienced drum and percussion clinician, went ahead with it, and he is now offering building instructions for glockenspiel, xylophone, vibraphone, two, three and 4-5 octave marimbas. You can build a three octave marimba for less than 500 bucks!

Your marimba will probably not look as fancy as a Musser or Yamaha - but you will save a lot and take pride in having made it!

Jim McCarthy knows what he is talking about, and he describes the building process very well in advance.
In this video Jim builds a marimba.
Background music is played on the very same.

4/15/12

Lilypond - free music notation software

Emusicware.info: Lilypond lead sheet
Lilypond lead sheet
Lilypond is a free music notation program with high quality output, running on GNU/Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

Lilypond is an Open Source program, a "compiler" that formats simple text files into music notation of the finest sort. It was the initial concern of the programmers to produce music pages that would match the beauty of hand engraved scores.
This is how it works:
You write:
Emusicware.info: Lilypond letter entry
You get:
Emusicware.info: Lilypond note output
Read more about the text input system here.
So you will have to learn the language of the program, step by step, much as you would learn HTML codes for web pages and forums. But this is not a "here's the code, do whatever you can with it" type of application. The tutorials are great, and there is a substantial and idealistic support for Lilypond.

Here is an example of the more advanced things Lilypond will do:
Emusicware.info: Lilypond engraved music example, Goyescas by Enrique Granados
Goyescas by Enrique Granados
It's free, so there's nothing to loose! Try It Out!

1/25/12

Stick technique

Emusicware: Jim McCarthy
Jim McCarthy
There's no way around it: a drummer needs to work on stick technique to sound good - and to play fast!

Drumming clinician Jim McCarthy is serious about it.
His 106 page Stick Technique ebook is not page after page with written exercises, of which there are plenty already. It has detailed information about how to work it out, and lots of photographs to show the grips and movement of hands and fingers.

Along with that you get 3 tutorial videos and a free subscription to new videos coming out.
At $37 drummers should not miss out on this. Hit It!

12/11/11

Riff Master Pro slow down software

Riff Master Pro is a very convenient practice tool for the guitarist or any other instrumentalist.
It's a software application that slows down any audio file - without changing the pitch - to make you able to study and learn a riff or solo at a comfortable speed. This is of course completely adjustable.

It has easy navigation for putting audio files of any kind into Riff Master Pro, and you can easily make and adjust a loop of any length to repeat a certain passage.
Emusicware: Riff Master Pro main GUI
Riff Master Pro has EQ settings to bring out the part you want, and a quick function for suppressing the vocals on a track.

Works with both Windows and Mac.

Riff Master Pro is promoted as being for guitarists, but this tool is great for any instrument. There is a bonus pack for guitarists with TAB sheets, chords, advice on buying the right guitar, and more. A neat little program for just $49!

11/24/11

The Ultimate Drums And Cymbals Guide

Emusicware.info: Danny Brown
Danny Brown
Danny Brown's Ultimate Guide to Choosing Drums & Cymbals wants to help drummers avoid mistakes when buying drums and cymbals.

It all comes down to the purpose of the setup: is it for rock, jazz, practicing or what? You don't want huge drums and loud cymbals for a lounge band!
And small and high-tuned drums won't make it in a rock band.

But there is more to it than that! Danny Brown explains how the shell construction (diameter, depth and different types of wood) affects the sound, and the importance of the type of drumhead too.

The snare drum is probably the most important and personal drum. Professional drummers often play snare drums that are not part of the original set. A separate chapter explains the factors involved in the snare drum's tone, pitch and clarity.

Cymbals are also a very personal matter. What sounds good with one drummer doesn't work at all with another. The ebook tells about the difference between cast and hand hammered cymbals, about the sound characteristics of different effect cymbals (splash, crash, china cymbals etc.), and what to look for to get the right hi-hat sound.

Finally you get some history and background of the most important drum and cymbal manufacturers and two bonuses: 
  • Playing Drums: The Ultimate Super Tips Handbook which is mostly about the attitude of the drummer - towards the role in the band, towards practicing and more.  
  • Drummer Essentials: basic notation for drums, how to count the different note values, and lessons on rock, jazz, latin, funk, fills, double bass drum, and how to apply rudiments.
Price: $4.97 Click Here!

10/22/11

Jamorama guitar course

Emusicware_Jamorama: learn guitar online
The folks behind the Jamorama guitar course package keep announcing that the price will double at a nearby date, and then they postpone it. So let's assume that the real price is $49.95.

If you have difficulties turning the chords and scales you've learned into actual music, this guitar training course might be the one you need.
The guitar course is in 41 multi-media modules, devoted to making the learning process fun and easy.

The Jamorama guitar course is based on TAB notation (showing finger positions on the strings), and it's made up of building blocks, that you get to try out by playing along to the JamTracks that's part of the package. And maybe the most important one, because it makes the student participate in real music right from the start.

The Jamorama package includes two courses and five bonus packs (as of today):
Beginners e-book with 54 videos and 16 jamtracks: learn some chords and strumming patterns and you will be jamming to the JamTrack by the end of your second lesson. It covers all of the essentials to build a solid foundation.

Advanced e-book, 94 videos and 10 JamTracks: introducing minor chords and 12 bar blues, barré chords and more advanced rhythm techniques - and JamTracks with 10 unique styles to play along with.

The bonus packs include
  • an interactive ear training game, progressing in difficulty as you get all the answers right.
  • a guide to tuning your guitar - tuning software comes with it.
  • Jayde Musica - also a sort of game to learn to read music..
  • the Jamorama Metronome with traditional metronome sound and
  • the Jamorama Chord Kit with chords from a variety of styles and suggested chord progressions, each shown in diagram and photo. 

2/26/11

Bozos On Display

Why is it that American advertising has bozos on display, one after another? Telling the same thing at least three times while revealing more "truth" and testimonies usually designate bozos on display - one of them being you, for reading all through!

Bozos on display are also people showing images of their bank account statements, coming from certain business concepts that remain unexplained throughout the ad.

A special case of bozos on display is the "clock counting down" for this very special offer that must be acted upon before leaving the page! As if you couldn't go there again!

More harmless examples of bozos on display are seen in ads for emusic products, promoting common knowledge as "secrets". Duane here makes basic chord theory into a matter of mind reading and being a "prophet" foreseeing the future of a song.

musical mind reader
Note the crystal ball on the cover of his ebook.

He’s in with the bozos on display!

You must have noticed that all ebooks are shown with a hardcover, and every piece of downloadable software is shown with a box and/or a cd disk!

You can buy scripts for Photoshop to make these, but this 3D Cover Creator is a standalone software package that does it all for only $27, and - note this - has a bonus package of graphics with all the Bozos On Display catch phrases ready to use!

Guitar On The Spot reveals a big secret: The Key Concept -
the majority of songs that you hear are in certain "keys"
And thus there are three easy steps in creating a song:
1. Pick a key
2. Roll a die to select chords from that key
3. Play your song.

Is that a bozo or what?

But the top bozos on display here are the people giving the testimonials (and they are real persons): "I didn't know there was a system for making songs" or "I didn't realize you could play the same chord in many different places". The best bozo phrase displayed is from Robyn in LA, and it deserves to be presented in full:

“My dad got me a guitar book and it told me to put my fingers here and strum. But then I was like, "how does this all go together? I just don’t get it." I don’t want to read a giant textbook, cause that’s like homework. I just want to automatically know how to make up songs and that’s what Jesse showed me how to do.”
Alright, maybe a little harsh to call them bozos on display, when they are just kids, but with this Special Report on how to buy your first guitar, we have one of the real bozos on display:

ATTENTION!

As you can imagine everybody wants to get their hands on this information. Unfortunately I only have a set number of copies that I can sell every month, and they don't last long!
Please fill out the quick form below to find out if any copies are still available this month!

A limited edition ebook?
Doesn't even mention the price! Bozo on display - but clever enough to not display his name.

2/19/11

Secrets of Exciting Piano Chords

Emusicware: Secrets of Exciting Piano Chords dim7 chord
Secrets of Exciting Chords & Chord Progressions by Duane Shinn is 39 lessons in 104 pages covering all the different chords and all common types of chord progressions, including chord substitutions.

The chords are shown in music notation, but also on photos with their name, the notes involved and a hand pressing the appropriate keys.

Furthermore, each chapter has a link to an internet version of the lesson, where you can hear the author explain the content and hear examples of the chords and progressions.

The teaching method is practical and down to earth.

Secrets of Exciting Piano Chords is a comprehensive study, and especially the chapters on chord substitutions can bring your understanding of chord progressions a lot further.
One dollar per lesson, $39 total: Click Here!

2/14/11

How to put the “special sauce” into bass playing

Decoding The Bass Guitar is a two hour video instruction byJonathan  Boettcher.
Emusicware: Decoding The Bass Guitar
It's about a simple way to look at the fretboard, 2 simple scale patterns to learn, and how and why the basic chords work together.

Decoding The Bass Guitar is aimed at bass players who are not fully aware of what they are playing, and who would like to get some more ground under their feet.

It has close-ups of everything. And three bonuses: a pack of cheat
sheets, an acoustic guitar jam track looped over and over to play along with, and Free Lifetime Updates to the lesson.

It's only $29.95 - Decode Here!

2/13/11

Guitar E-nstructor

Emusicware: Guitar E-nstructor
Luis Medrano has created a new system for visualizing the guitar fretboard with the use of different colors for each finger in chord diagrams: Guitar E-nstructor.

The same color principle is applied to scales. These are broken down to "boxes" that represents smaller portions of the fretboard.

The course is in three ebook modules packed in a single download. It's divided into Guitar Basics, Easy Blues and Easy Rock.

Simplicity is the key element of Guitar E-nstructor! And the price is no big deal either: only $5.99. Click Here!

2/11/11

Art Of Beats

Emusicware: Art Of Beats
If you are working with Beats
 and Audioscapes look into the Art Of Beats collection of 4 x 30 well-produced audio clips for $99.95!
Less than a dollar each, and free to use for any purpose.

And you can hear them all before buying.
Check them out!