Preparation, preparation, preparation. This is an old retort, a throwback to meetings in the past. However, in the world of music it seems to be Preparation, Perspiration and Practice. No matter what age you are or how long you have been playing an instrument, there are always new playing techniques or performance variations to find and try. The techniques in this article are accompanied by a YouTube video with an example of how to do them. You can find these by following the links.
Like most hobbies, learning and playing an instrument can be both time-consuming and rewarding. The progression from a basic single note melody to a full accompaniment can take some time. But once you’ve mastered the basic techniques, you’ll find it gets easier with each new skill you acquire.
With stringed instruments, there are not only different positions to play and finger the notes and chords on the fret board, but many different strum and pluck styles. Nate Savage shows five of the basic strumming and palm muting tips with a play along guide at http://bitly.ws/bJIP.
As guitarists get further advanced, techniques such as Hammer On and Pull Off are good ways to add interest and fills to basic chords and melodies. Matthias Young gives a basic guide to both at http://bitly.ws/bJIy.
There are similar enhancements and variations for keyboard instruments. With a basic instrument having between 66 and 88 keys and a standard repeating 12-note scale, chords and melodies can be played across the full instrument. However, some parts may sound much better in the range or pitch for they were intended or written. Once you’ve mastered notes and fingering, you can use the foot pedals on an acoustic piano (or electronic instrument where available and plugged in) and incorporate them into a song.
For piano chords from the very beginning, Creative Piano Academy have an online course with fingering and keyboard layout at http://bitly.ws/bJKt
Another basic chord progression tutorial with a few example songs is from PianoPig at http://bitly.ws/bJKi
There are numerous other videos and guides available. Additionally, local guitar and piano teachers will be happy to give you lessons face to face after lockdown. Search for tutors at www.musicteachers.co.uk
When it is safe to resume, local event listings can be found at www.outa-stock.co.uk/OM.htm
WORDS Dave Bailey