Can Music Theory Improve Practical Skill?
Thursday, February 18, 2021 by George Miller | Uncategorized
Let's be honest, most of us picked up an instrument because it seemed fun, and any phrase with the word theory in it was definitely not a part of the plan.
Music theory sounds boring, rather dry, and looks almost mathematical, which makes us question its point altogether—why does music theory even exist? But turns out it's all sort of essential.
The Link Between Theory and Music
The simplest way to understand the connection between theory and music is by comparing it to language and speech. We can all mimic a word or a sentence from a foreign language, but you can only put in the expressions and enunciate on the right syllables if you understand the words being said. That way, you're not just speaking; you're also communicating.
It’s exactly the same with music. If you play an instrument without understanding how each note works, it’s basically just a well-memorized, mimicked practice. Knowing music theory will help you feel the music from beneath the surface, enhancing your performance's overall tone and delivery.
Can Music Theory Help You Become A Better Musician?
Most people don’t prefer studying music theory because, initially, practicing an instrument is pretty overwhelming. Adding nerdy music theory to the mix doesn't sound like a great idea. But once you’ve mastered the basics, studying music theory can do you good; it’ll help you make sense of the music you’re playing.
But it also does come down to your long-term goals. If you just want to play a few of your favorite songs for fun, you don't really need to understand music theory. But if you want to play like a pro and want to compose your own music, knowing music theory can change your entire experience with an instrument and help you get the best out of it.
Music Theory Allows You to Be Versatile
If you're hanging out with other players, it's not always easy to just see their hand movements and follow-through. It may be simple if you're using the same instrument, but it won't help you with the vast range of instruments across a band.
For instance, if you play the guitar and watch a bassist, you can probably mimic the simple chords by just watching, but you'll get lost pretty quickly if they're a bit more advanced.
Similarly, you could be around a pianist or a harmonica player, and none of them will tell you where to place your fingers on a fretboard; they don't know your instrument, so the only way to communicate is through musical terms, i.e., chords, progression, and so on.
So, knowing music theory will definitely help you be more competent in a band setting.
Want to sound like you really know what you’re doing? Sign up for music lessons at Miller School of Music in Rochester, NY. We offer bass and guitar lessons to teach technique, theory, chords, rhythms, and more.
Check out our instructional videos to learn about our guitar ensemble course. Give us a call today!
Why Learning The Guitar Is Good For Brain Development
Tuesday, February 16, 2021 by George Miller | Uncategorized
Have you ever considered picking up the guitar? Well, now we have scientific evidence to motivate you. Most people start learning the guitar early on, sometimes as a hobby, and sometimes just because it makes you look pretty cool.
But there’s more to it than just adding to your personal appeal. It can help you feel more positive, can be a major stress buster, and boost your confidence. For many, it also becomes an outlet for emotions that could otherwise become overwhelming.
Additionally, in a study, about 85% of parents of children aged between 7-17 years reported that music lessons improved their children's problem solving, time management, and prioritization skills. Here’s how learning the guitar can aid your brain development:
Boost Your Brain’s Grey and White Matter
A study conducted at Harvard in 2003 by Dr. Schlaug discovered larger grey matter in professional adult musicians' brains compared to regular people. The study deduced that musical training early on can seriously impact the brain's structure, improving auditory and motor skills. All the extra grey matter is what helps people stay sane in their old age.
Other studies also show an increase in the white matter within the brain. This helps to improve the inner functions of the brain by strengthening and building connections inside. These improved connections then help you adapt to changes throughout your life.
Every Guitar Lesson Is A Party Inside Your Brain
If you've ever picked up the guitar, you know it requires focus and a whole lot of concentration. Even the softest tunes require optimal attention.
This is because when you play the guitar, your entire brain is stimulated; different regions of the brain and various cognitive functions come into action, activating the visual, auditory, and motor regions.
Moreover, the increased activity in the corpus callosum—bridge between the creative right and rational left side of your brain—reboots your brain in such a way over time that you get quick access to the genius area on the left. This leads to improved memory and better problem-solving skills.
Should You Start Taking Guitar Lessons?
Practicing the guitar is cool, fun and it's an easy workout for your brain. And when it comes to brain development, the sooner you start, the better results you’re likely to get.
So, don’t wait! Get in touch with us at Miller School of Music. We offer music lessons in Rochester, NY. You can take live or remote lessons to learn bass or guitar.
Check out our instructional videos to learn more about our guitar ensemble course.
Learning How to Play the Guitar: 3 Tips for Beginners
Thursday, January 28, 2021 by George Miller | Uncategorized
The humble acoustic guitar is nothing less than an iconic musical instrument. It’s used in almost every music style and is an extremely versatile instrument to fiddle around with. However, learning how to play it can be a little challenging.
Here are a few tips for beginners on how to play the guitar.
Focus on Both the Theoretical and Practical Aspects
Analyzing chord diagrams and reading music theory may seem especially boring if you’re new to learning guitar and can’t wait to try out different tunes, but they’re just as important as practicing playing on your instrument. You need to incorporate both techniques as well as theoretical knowledge when playing the guitar, which means you can’t neglect either of them.
If you’re just starting out, it’s best to first focus on these two aspects separately instead of immediately trying to incorporate theory into practice. This will help you grasp different concepts much better. Gradually, incorporate the theory and core mechanics of guitar playing into your practice. As you learn the basics of guitar playing, mixing the two together will come more naturally to you.
Take It Slow
When you’re a beginner, there’s no need for speed. Yes, that video you saw of a guitar player strumming really fast and switching chords in a blink of an eye can serve as inspiration, but don’t immediately aim for this level of speed when you’re still learning your way around the instrument.
Don’t make playing really fast your biggest priority. It’s going to take you a while to figure out how to hit the right notes using the right fingering technique, especially when you’re attempting tricky bar chords. The last thing you want to do is try to rush it and move your fingers hastily. This will result in you hitting the wrong string or missing notes.
Instead, concentrate on the precise fingering techniques you’re using. Play slowly to make sure you’re getting the notes right, even if this means playing the song at 50% of its tempo. Once your fingers adapt to the movements, you’ll find it easier to practice the motions and will automatically pick up the pace. You’ll learn how to speed up your playing tactics in due time; take it easy!
Be Disciplined With Your Practice
Finally, be regular with your guitar practice. If you learn two chords one day and then don’t practice them for a few days, you’re not really going to retain what you learned. For beginners, it’s especially important to practice regularly and in a disciplined manner to retain all that new information they’re taking in.
Even if you can only take out twenty minutes on weekdays to practice playing the guitar, do it. This will help your fingers remember how they’re supposed to move
across the fretboard and help you develop good playing habits early on.
The best way to kick-start your journey as a guitar beginner is to get private guitar lessons from an experienced instructor. Miller School of Music
in Rochester, NY is the perfect place for this. We offer both live as well as remote guitar lessons
for all age levels and skillsets.
Sign up for our guitar classes today!