Renaissance Man MusicSummer School Intensive Course Lead Guitar:Play it Your Way Technique, Scales, ImprovisationFor the Contemporary Guitarist
Introduction Looking back over the last twenty odd years of listening to and playing music I have found that the musicians that I enjoyed most have a common denominator: • A great sound • Their lead guitar seems to reflect something very personal I love listening to people like Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eddie van Halen, Steve Lukather and more recently Steve Vai, Joe Satriani. They may play a song over and over again but every time you hear it they play it differently. All these legendary players are able to “improvise” or play what you feel in the moment. So why should you learn to improvise? • It is rewarding to be able to play what you feel freely • It will assist you in being able to write your own songs or improve your songwriting • It is the best way to be creative and share your emotions while playing.
Three Key Components There are essentially three key components to being able to play like these guitar heroes: • Technique • Scales and Scales Theory • Ear-Hand Coordination
Technique In its bare essence technique is nothing more or less than being able to play notes on a guitar. If you have been playing guitar for some time now you are able to play notes on your guitar to a greater or lesser extent. Ironically technique (the chops or licks) is both an overemphasized and an underemphasized part of guitar playing. Some players are overly focused on technique can play fast through scales, runs, have a big back of fast past chops. But being able to play fast does not necessarily mean you are able to play a better solo. The purpose of technique the way I see it is to be able to play more freely and express yourself. On the other side of the spectrum there are the many guitar players that never get to play fast simply because they did not develop enough technique to do so. They will rationalize it away claiming that it is not important, it makes you sound like everyone else, is boring and mindless repetition, or say they don’t like to play fast anyway. Sure enough if you want to strum a few chords only then do not bother but if you want to develop into at minimum a solid guitar player, practicing technique is a requirement.
Scales and Scale Theory Scales and scale theory are the bridge between your technique and your freedom to play what you hear. They will improve your chops and will help you find the right notes to play in any given circumstance. I have seen many books around now that teach you how to play hundreds of different scales and modes. FORGET IT. In fact it is counterproductive to learn too many scales and modes. With a relatively limited set of major, minor harmonic, minor melodic and pentatonic scales you will very likely be able to play 99.5% of all the music you will ever play. So would it not be more effective to learn a lesser amount of scales really well? The second component is getting a basic understanding of how and when to use the different scales and modes and this is covered in scale theory.
Ear-Hand Coordination: Improvisation The final stage is bringing all you have learned together in what I would call ear-hand coordination. This is where you learn how to play what you hear and find the right notes on your fret board immediately. This all, has to do with being able to instantly apply scale theory to get a grasp of where you could position your fingers logically on the fret board, together with ands ability to play the notes you hear in your head/sing while you play. Being able to play freely is all about: are your fingers directed by your ideas as opposed to are your ideas lead by your fingers. The great players have this ability to express themselves instantly by letting their fingers go where their ideas tell them to go. Sadly enough however many guitar players, sometimes as a result of overemphasizing technique and scales, never get beyond having their ideas be directed by their fingers. I guess this is most eloquently explained in the third video of this blog post >>>> in which Steve Vai explains his creative process.
Who, What, Where, When • WHO: guitarists that already have some knowledge and technique that are looking for a way to set themselves up for a independent or assisted breakthrough development of their playing. • WHAT: Two weeks of intensive training (3 sessions of for hours per week in two consecutive weeks) techniques and scales, as well as the practical application of those scales and techniques both in the way of exercises and by means of collaborative playing ands improvising. Groups will consist of maximum four players. All training materials will be provided as well as refreshments. • WHERE: Russley, weather permitted the sessions may take place in the open air. • WHEN: this intensive course is set out to be planned for two consecutive weeks in January 2011 (dates to be announced).
Who is John? • More about me here http://www.johndierckx.wordpress.com and http://johnmusicnz.wordpress.com. • Cosmic Explosion with John Castellain Australia (2004) • In Time collaboration with Robbi Spencer USA (2004) • Orangotang jam in studio (2000) • The Guitarman is coming to get you Linda’s Day Off (late 1990’s) • Bulletrain by Booby Trap (late 1980’s)
More Information Renaissance Man Music: John Dierckx Russley Christchurch T 03 342 4232 M 027 480 3371 W http://johndierckx.wordpress.com and http://johnmusicnz.wordpress.com E email@example.com