Slowing Down Audio

In order to transcribe a complicated arrangement it is necessary to be able to slow down the audio of the recording. Slowing down music also allows the listener to really interpret a piece. If you’re working thru a musical passage, it is important to spend some time performing the piece with the original audio track in order to understand the rhythms and phrasing. Slowing down an arrangement also gives the musician a gauge to base his/her progress on.

There are many software applications that can slow down the audio of a track, but this article will explain how to do it on Windows Media Player (WMP). Just in case you are wondering, there is currently no way to slow down audio on Itunes. If you have a Mac, VLC Media Player will allow you to adjust the play speed of your audio tracks.


First open WMP by going to “Start” and “All Programs” then select “Windows Media Player” by clicking this icon.
Media Player Icon



Media player will open. Next right click a blank section of the upper toolbar. You will see this screen.
Media Player 1





Select “View” and these options will show up.
Media Player 2





Select “Enhancements” and then “Play Speed Settings” from these options.
Media Player 3





This slider window will appear at the bottom of the player. Move the slider to the left to slow the music down and move it to the right to speed it up.
Media Player 4

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Rock Band and Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero Graphics

What kind of benefits does the youth of America gain from playing countless hours of Rock Band/Guitar Hero?

  • The game improves their rhythmic accuracy, especially when they use the drum module.
  • It can prepare a potential guitarist for the awkward position of the “guitar stance”.
  • Pressing the buttons on the guitar builds a vague amount of left hand coordination.
  • The vocal challenge does a good job assessing people’s ability to hit the correct pitches at the right time.
  • Young people get turned on to classic rock tracks/artists who they otherwise would have never listened to.
  • The biographies and informational pages within the game provide great insight regarding the featured artists and their equipment.

I’ve been providing students with guitar lessons in Exeter, NH for about ten years and I find the most common thought that an experienced Rock Band/Guitar Hero player expresses to me during our first lesson is that it’s a lot harder to play real guitar than the video game.

www.guitarstyles.org

21st Century Guitar Teachers

Student with Guitar Teacher

Guitar instruction has taken on a new form in recent years. The Internet has provided us with a vast resource of transcriptions, videos, and interactive forums for learning to play guitar. This in turn has forced publishers to provide buyers with a better product. Instructional books now almost always include audio samples/CD of the material at hand. Gone are the days of publishers avoiding copyright violations by producing books that teach songs like “Here Comes the Son” a similar yet not exact replica of the Beatles song “Here Comes The Sun”. They now get official permission from the person who owns the licensing of the song and they publish accurate versions of the song. This competitive environment has forced everyone, including teachers who provide students with private guitar lessons, to offer a better educational product for the person who wishes to learn to play guitar.

The routine for teaching private guitar lessons has also changed for the benefit of the student. A large percentage of guitar teachers in the 1960’s-1970’s used poorly written method books as the foundation of their curriculum. The students were forced to read standard notation, which takes an extra step of translation, as opposed to guitar tablature. The songs they learned were often hokey traditional arrangements that sound more like children’s music than anything else.

As the old guard of teachers dispersed (or died off), the instructors of the 1980’s-1990’s had their students purchase notebooks of blank guitar tablature, and they filled the notebooks up with hand-written lessons and transcriptions. This is before the day of home copy machines, so the method makes sense, although writing things out by hand wastes much of the student’s time during the lessons. Nowadays, the Internet provides willing and able students with plenty of well written lessons, so why pay $25 a half-hour to watch a guy scribble a few notes on a piece of paper when you can easily download and print the same information within a couple minutes online? Don’t get me wrong, many guitar teachers have always reviewed important material with their students such as scales and improvisation or music theory, but the teachers of the 20th century simply did not have the resources available to provide their students with a superior curriculum for learning guitar as is available today.

Here are some ways I have used inexpensive technology to enhance my lessons program:

  • I don’t waste time writing out lesson plans during our lessons, instead I use a home copy machine to pre-print scale charts, chord charts, rhythm exercises, transcriptions of popular songs, etc.
  • I teach my students how to use Fruity Loops and other music creation/recording software.
  • I budget hundreds of dollars a year to purchase, review, and eventually recommend recently published method books, because I know the standard method books eventually become outdated.
  • I record audio/video of my students during our lessons, and we review the recordings to find places where improvements can be made.
  • I own a Fretlight Guitar, and I use it to help my students learn and understand how to harmonize with scales and chords.
  • I provide my students with online access to all of my lesson plans/handouts thru the Virtual Drive page of my website.
  • I post my teaching schedule online, so students can easily make appointments with me.

The main thing to keep in mind is the fact that our approach to teaching should always be adjusted as we learn new methods and as new technology becomes available. No matter how much we hate (or love) to admit it, the younger generation of performers will always display a higher level of talent than the prior generation because their teachers will provide them with a better education as new resources become available.

www.guitarstyles.org

How to Read Guitar Tabalture

Each line represents a string on the guitar.



e|------------------------|(Skinny) B|------------------------| G|------------------------| D|------------------------| A|------------------------| E|------------------------|(Fat)




The numbers on the chart tell the guitar player what fret to press on.  The lowest number fret (the 1st) is closest to the head or nut of the guitar and the highest number fret (usually between 20-23) is closest to the body or soundhole/pickups of the guitar.

If you press on the first fret of the skinny string of the guitar and play the same note four times it would look like this:



e|--1---1---1---1--| B|-----------------| G|-----------------| D|-----------------| A|-----------------| E|-----------------|

Free Guitar Lesson Plans

After years of preparation, hard work, and exhilaration, I have finally published the absolute motherload of accurately edited free lesson plans for guitar teachers and students.

The PDF files are hosted by an outside source (4shared).  The folders are password protected, so if you are interested in accessing them, please use the contact from on the “About the Author” and explain your intentions for accessing the files.  A limited preview is available upon choosing a file that you may potentially download, and then a short wait time is required before you can access the file.

My intention is to review specific lessons one at a time, but for now I’ll present the entire virtual drive for those of you who have the courage to sort their way thru it.

Click the Image Below to Access the Virtual Drive

www.guitarstyles.org

Rules and Regulations

The content of this blog is not filled with universal facts. Instead everything is arguable and can be held to it’s own interpretation.  If you have your own opinions regarding a subject at hand, then feel free to post a comment.  If you can contribute a thoughtful remark, then mention it.  Even limited amounts of graffiti will be tolerated and possibly encouraged on this site.

Please Note
The information on this website is available at no cost to the reader.  The intent of the content is to provide others with an educational resource produced in a non-profit environment.  The non-profit nature of the web-pages and their educational facility is said to allow all media here within to be placed in the category of fair use laws, as they are written under permissible statutes.  Any content that does not qualify itself as educational will be categorize itself as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.  The transformative nature of the media provided forthright also allows it to be available under common copyright laws.  If you think material that you hold as true to be unavailable for these uses has been sacrificed on these pages, then please contact the administrator(s) of the said pages, and all actions to alleviate the disagreement will be taken.

In the Beginning

I (Nils Crusberg) have been teaching guitar, bass, saxophone, and clarinet in Exeter, New Hampshire (NH) for about ten years.  Over the years I have networked online and in person with other musicians and instructors.  I have learned a great many things about different performance and teaching methods.  This forum is a venue I have created to express discoveries I have made about anything regarding music.  Considering that I am currently located in NH, the blog will reflect music and teaching in this region.

My website www.guitarstyles.org is devoted to helping others understand many of the static concepts that can help a person improve their musical skills.  This blog is designed to give me a forum to display a more dynamic set of ideas.





Please Note
The information on this website is available at no cost to the reader.  The intent of the content is to provide others with an educational resource produced in a non-profit environment.  The non-profit nature of the web-pages and their educational facility is said to allow all media here within to be placed in the category of fair use laws, as they are written under permissible statutes.  Any content that does not qualify itself as educational will be categorize itself as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.  The transformative nature of the media provided forthright also allows it to be available under common copyright laws.  If you think material that you hold as true to be unavailable for these uses has been sacrificed on these pages, then please contact the administrator(s) of the said pages, and all actions to alleviate the disagreement will be taken.