Sunlight over clouds

Harness the Power of Your Mistakes

When I’m practicing something on the guitar, I often like to think of myself as a scientist doing lab work. I experiment with things, observe what happens, modify the experiment, and eventually zero in on what needs to be done. Mistakes are one of the main forms of feedback I receive during this practicing process. […]

A metronome on a desk

6 Reasons Why You Should Practice with a Metronome

One thing I emphasize with all of my guitar students is the importance of using a metronome when practicing. Most of my students are initially resistant to the idea of using one. Some remain resistant to it, while others eventually embrace the metronome as a practice tool. I can usually see a clear distinction in […]

A guitar on a bed with sheet music

How to Develop an Organized Practice Routine

Back in 2006 and 2007 I went through a period of intense practicing and musical growth on the guitar. Most serious musicians go through a similar ‘wood-shedding’ period like this at some point, where they hole up and put in consistent days with numerous hours of practicing. During my wood-shedding years, I managed to sustain […]

Thoughts on the Creative Process

I’ve always found the act of composing to be one of the most difficult and complex activities in music. When composing, I feel that I’m calling upon everything that I am–not only as a musician, but as a person. There was a time when I felt I just wasn’t good at composing, or that I […]

Correct hand positions for bar chords on the guitar

How to Position Your Hands for Bar Chords

Bar (or barre) chords often present a huge difficulty to beginner guitarists. Almost every student I have struggles to some extent when they are first learning to use bar chords in the songs they play. Even though it can be tough to get a grip on these types of chords, they are incredibly important to […]

The Murphy’s Law of Gigging

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. This statement is otherwise known as Murphy’s Law. Any experienced musician with more than a few gigs under his or her belt would probably agree that Murphy’s Law applies to the world of playing gigs. For some reason, things have a greater tendency to go wrong when […]

sheet music

Should You Learn to Read Music?

There are a lot of different opinions out there regarding the value of learning to read standard music notation for a guitarist. I’ve briefly talked about my opinion of this topic elsewhere on my website, but I thought it deserves a more thorough treatment since it’s a somewhat complex issue. At this point, I’ve done […]

Yamaha f335 guitar

Recommended Guitars for Beginners

I’m occasionally asked by students who are getting ready to start lessons what kind of guitar I would recommend for them to get. These are my recommendations for various kinds of guitars: electric, acoustic (both steel and nylon stringed) and kid sized guitars. Since they don’t know how well they will take to the instrument, […]