Learning How To Play Guitar Has Changed Completely

Music is a mysterious art form. With drawing, painting, making ceramic pots, writing and other forms of artistic expression you have a tangible result. You have something concrete to show for your effort and talent in most artistic endeavors, with music you have elapsed time, and sounds. Of course with recording it is possible to produce a record, or CD, a tape or other medium, but the music itself is an intangible production.

To make music you need to develop physical skills, to know how music works and to master the nature of different instruments. You have different categories of musical instrument: Wind, Percussion, Strings. Then you have electronic music, usually produced via a keyboard, or in the case of the ‘Theremin’ hand movements.

With the guitar, being a string instrument, you have to learn chord shapes to begin with, and the relationship of musical theory as it applies to the conventional tuning of the six strings. With the piano for instance, you have a keyboard laid out with the chromatic scale in sequence, not so with the guitar, it is much more difficult to decipher the scale shapes up and down the neck, across the six strings and the fingers have to work harder to achieve the notes. But just like the piano, the guitar is relatively easy to play at a rudimentary level; a lot of people master a couple of simple chords just like they master ‘Chopsticks’. But to play with skill, the guitar can be a very difficult instrument.

It is said that to master any difficult skill, or subject it takes 10,000 hours of sustained practice; I don’t think you can be prescriptive about it. I have seen students blossom into fabulous players within a few months, and people who still stumble changing from C to F after years of playing.

I remember working out the guitar parts to songs by playing vinyl records, lifting the needle on tricky bits over again. These days it is all so much easier! A video lesson allows you to replay difficult sections, and go through a lesson as many times as you need or want.

Being able to access video guitar lessons has completely revolutionized guitar education. There are quite a few providers of online guitar lessons these days, from large almost corporate platforms, to individual guitar players offering their expertise from their home-based businesses. You have the choice of specialists, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, blues, rock, metal, pop, slide, shredding, classic solos; the list goes on.

Another significant aspect of online video-based guitar lessons is their affordability, private lessons with a local teacher can wind up costing you a lot, most video programs can be accessed for a very reasonable monthly membership and while you may miss out on that individual attention, and opportunity for remedial design in your lessons, for the average player it represents top value.

Being able to have unlimited access to a wide range of lesson types, to repeat what you don’t completely understand first time round is just fantastic. I often wonder how much faster I would have made progress had I commenced learning guitar in these times, rather than struggling alone with vinyl records, books and jamming with friends in the 1970’s – but then again, I also have that distinction of learning in the ‘classic era’ of guitar playing!

Girls Can Code And in Fact Do Anything They Set Their Minds To

There has been for some time hype bordering on hysteria with regards to the uneven balance of women working in tech.

The call for women, especially girls to look to careers in the tech industry is loud and clear, this is all well and good and should be championed but when in search of equality, inequality seems to be the standard and acceptable procedure.

Setting up Organisations, meet-ups and groups to address this imbalance may well seem like the best thing to do but what is the real message that is being broadcast?

Girls can code, implies that the general consensus is that girls can’t code and the fact must be proved. Girls Coding Club excludes boys. Until very recently, until coding became fashionable, people who were interested in coding sought out the knowledge, found ways to learn, broke down barriers to quell their curiosity and find the place where they belonged.

By separating the genders or races or in fact any minority, we are perpetuating the ideas of separation and creating a whole new generation of inequality. Equality surely calls for equal opportunity for all?

The tech industry is taking the world by storm and it is only now that there is a calling for equality but to suggest that those who have a desire for this knowledge, should carve their own path is deemed somehow politically incorrect.

There’s a shortage of programmers across the board in the UK and the US in particular and as the tech industry creates more jobs in areas that ten to twenty years ago were unheard of, the search for experienced talent is extremely tough. The call for talent should then surely be equal.

The call for equality is not new, as we all know, women had to fight for the right to vote and the right to work. The right to equal pay goes on still. The fact that these simple human rights had to be fought for is a travesty but the world makes progress every single day, it is all around us and it suggests that there are those who complain and talk about change and those who make a change.

If a male child shows interest in tech and he is determined there is nothing that will stop that child from seeking out the who, what and where of how to go about that career path, the same can be said for a female child. The idea that there are not enough females in the industry begs the question how much is enough? An equal 50/50 balance?

That would be nice in an ideal world but the reality is that most people are drawn into a career due to one of two factors.

1. Need
2. Desire

People need to pay their bills and unfortunately more often than not, take a job which will pay the bills rather than having a desire or calling for their ‘dream job’.

Many people when asked the question, “What would you do for a living if money were no object?” have no idea, they’ve actually never thought about it.

There are those who have thought about their dream job and believe it is way too arduous a task to retrain and even take steps to seek information on that particular career.

Then, there are those who will stop at nothing to achieve their dream job. If they find that the university fees are £30k per year, they work two jobs, move away from their families, they do whatever it takes.

Is it that the gender imbalance is due to ones self belief rather than an industry that is dismissive of females?

What’s most interesting is the gender imbalance is not just found in tech, it can be found everywhere, the finance sector, film industry and the music industry to name but a few.

More and more organisations are set up on the premise that there is a need to highlight equality with the use of inequality to promote its ideals. Not enough attention is being paid to where equality starts and surely this starts firstly at home and secondly, in schools.

Opening young peoples minds to the idea that they can be and do whatever they chose is something that needs to be instilled in them at school, by their families and peer groups also. There are so many factors that build ones perception of what is possible.

There are children who code both boys and girls, their parents know nothing about coding or tech, their schools are limited in what they teach but the child has found a way to quench their thirst for knowledge, they find groups, they read books and carry out research on the internet. What is this anomaly? What drives this child? Drive, desire, hard work, ambition and a dream and if these attributes are not built into an individual, if an individual does not have this staying power, then there is no amount of funding or opening of doors that will change their minds.

Minds need to be opened and opportunities should be transparent but the bottom line is that people will do what they want, moreover what they believe is achievable.

Gender equality needs to be explored from birth and this is not the responsibility of tech companies or any other industry.

As a child grows and looks around at the world, there are a myriad of different messages upon which they build their ideals and beliefs and a group or organisation that’s based upon the idea of separation is only confirming their idea of what and who they are, what is expected of them and what is possible.

“Anything is Possible” that’s nothing new in fact it is a very old idea, many people have heard it and understand it but very few believe it and do anything about it.

Organizing Tips for Speaking and Writing

My dear friend and co-presenter Gail attended a class on organizational skills this summer and she shared some of the tips with me. Because these tips are simple, great, and applicable in many arenas, I am excited to reveal a few of these in this article. You will need a large, blank sketchbook, sticky notes, and markers plus your many brilliant ideas and some scratch paper. For a presentation begin by jotting down on the scratch paper, things like Introduction, Ice Breaker, Objectives, Key Points, Practice and Application, Bug-a-boos/What Ifs, Tying It All Together, and Closure. These fairly well cover just about any topic and allow for audience engagement. These will be the headings for your presentation plus they activate thinking for items to place under each section. I also add a page for needed supplies, hand-outs etc. with a checklist noting complete/incomplete. It is a gentle reminder for preparedness.

I purchased two sketchbooks, one for each of my primary presentation categories: Education/Teaching/Mentoring and Alzheimer’s/Facts and Figures/Symptoms/Music and Memory. After labeling the front of each notebook I began on the Education sketchbook. I left the first 5 pages blank so that I could insert articles and new information and have them at the ready and then I started my first project: New Teacher Orientation. Using my markers I wrote headings at the top of each page as mentioned in paragraph one. Feel free to adjust these as needed to suit your situation. So page 1 of “New Teacher Orientation” was Introduction. I then grabbed several sticky notes and jotted down important points, using markers so that each is easy to read, putting one central idea on each note. I like to include items about my background and experience, plus a joke or funny story to engage my audience at the outset. In potential order, I then place the sticky notes around that page.

I moved then to my Ice Breaker, better known as the get-to-know you piece, putting the audience at ease as I evaluate how much they already know about my topic so that I am sharing the right information with the right group. For example, I might be discussing routines and procedures in the classroom and while there are commonalities regardless of grade or subject level (entry, seating, gathering supplies), there are also differences. Elementary students are most often in self-contained classrooms so books, paper, and pencils are readily available while high school students spill in from the outside with some students ready, some late, and some with minimal or no supplies. Again I jot down each action step on a sticky and then sort them around the page.

This continues through each phase of the presentation and can be built upon with each practice and review. That is one of the terrific aspects of the sticky notes. When it comes time to present I can put the entire book on display so that teachers can watch as I gather, remove, rearrange, and reference each sticky or I can keep it on the podium for my sole use or I can pull the stickys in reverse order and then glance at each as I move around the stage and through the audience. Being leashed to one spot does not work for me. At the termination of the program I can review what worked, what didn’t work, where I need to add, adjust, or throw out (which actually translates to a storage area at the back of the sketchbook in a just-in-case position). And I have everything ready for a repeat performance.

A new tab indicates a different presentation, same subject but a new category. By keeping everything under one roof, so to speak, all is easily transportable and when I need to check a fact or review a concept, there it is, carefully stowed within my presentation folder.

This procedure works well as a tool for organizing writing, too. For this I jot the topic at the top of a blank page and then I brainstorm everything I think might fit into this piece, one idea per sticky note. I race like the wind in the jotting process, knowing that organization comes later as I place each note on the page. Then as I zipzap away at the keyboard I can reference my notes and place a checkmark on each as it is incorporated into the article. Leftover notes, hurray!, are moved to the back of the book for another writing foray. Ideas run aplenty – or amuck! And if today is not the day for writing on this subject, there is no worry because everything is stored and ready for another day.

Try this procedure for your next project and I bet you will have some great results. I have found this to be a useful tool that is simple to implement and also to manipulate to meet my needs. I think you will find this to be true as well.