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Elite Vocal Academy
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Singing Guitar Piano Musicianship and music experts - Central Coast
Singing Guitar Piano Musicianship and music experts - Central Coast

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This is great. Take a look at why musicians do it better :)
When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.
http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-playing-an-instrument-benefits-your-brain-anita-collins
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Do you teach songs in your lessons?
Do you teach songs in guitar lessons?
I have been teaching Guitar, music theory and composition for 25 years and through that time have seen some fantastic changes. One of the things I have decided to do is not teach songs to my students.
There was once a day where where you had to sit with a record or a tape player going back and forth working out sections of a song and eventually putting them all together to form a song. Then as more and more popular music started to be released in song books you could read and learn much faster. Now days we can watch a video for free in our bedrooms with a great break down of exactly how to do it.
This is where as teachers our value has changed. I don't see how we can charge to just instruct someone on how to play a song when they can get it so easily and free.
So these days I do not teach songs in lessons. I teach technique, theory applied to the guitar and take a critical eye and mentor their playing each week. I say "if you want to learn a particular song, look it up" They can spend the hours working out the forms, shapes, chords and positioning needed at home for hours on end. Then when they have it or if they are stuck on a section we can review it in our lessons. I have found this style of teaching has seriously increased the progress of a students learning. In some ways they are now forced to take initiative and seek out what they want to work on rather than just assume I can do it all for them. I also love the diversity of material they bring in. They discover new artists each week and bring players and styles into my awareness I never knew about.
Not teaching songs in lessons any more allows us to focus on technique in a new way, they go and work on what they want or guided by me, they come back to our lessons with enthusiasm as they discover new things they never new existed.
Do you teach songs in your lessons?
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Do you teach songs in guitar lessons?
I have been teaching Guitar, music theory and composition for 25 years and through that time have seen some fantastic changes. One of the things I have decided to do is not teach songs to my students.
There was once a day where where you had to sit with a record or a tape player going back and forth working out sections of a song and eventually putting them all together to form a song. Then as more and more popular music started to be released in song books you could read and learn much faster. Now days we can watch a video for free in our bedrooms with a great break down of exactly how to do it.
This is where as teachers our value has changed. I don't see how we can charge to just instruct someone on how to play a song when they can get it so easily and free.
So these days I do not teach songs in lessons. I teach technique, theory applied to the guitar and take a critical eye and mentor their playing each week. I say "if you want to learn a particular song, look it up" They can spend the hours working out the forms, shapes, chords and positioning needed at home for hours on end. Then when they have it or if they are stuck on a section we can review it in our lessons. I have found this style of teaching has seriously increased the progress of a students learning. In some ways they are now forced to take initiative and seek out what they want to work on rather than just assume I can do it all for them. I also love the diversity of material they bring in. They discover new artists each week and bring players and styles into my awareness I never knew about.
Not teaching songs in lessons any more allows us to focus on technique in a new way, they go and work on what they want or guided by me, they come back to our lessons with enthusiasm as they discover new things they never new existed.
Do you teach songs in your lessons?
Add a comment...

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I was recently talking with one of our guitar students who was trying to grasp the difference between minor and major chords. Our conversation went something like this.

Well you know that when you build intervals off the root it forces a chord type blah blah blah, yes we all know what the difference is of course. But I want to get down to the emotional value of a chord. All the literal speak aside... For me... I see the third of the chord as the emotional part. Its the third that gives the feeling to the chord. We started playing the guitar just with an open A maj chord and then started moving the third around. Its amazing the difference you feel in the chord when you move the third.
Try this yourself and feel the emotion of the chord change. Hold the A maj chord and move it up one fret to the third fret on the B string and you feel the intensity change. The chord is a suspended 4th but the emotion is excited and overly happy. Then move it back and feel the energy move up and down. Then flatten the third back to the 2nd fret as an A min chord and you feel it sadden off. Then back up to an A maj again. Now move the third as you play between these positions, sus 4, A maj, A min, you can feel the emotion rising and falling.
Now take it a step either side of this. Take the A Sus 4 chord up one more fret and feel it get crazy excited. It almost feels manic. Then back to the Sus 4 then down to the A maj then to the A min and then down again so the B string is in an open position. like a Sus 2. So you are playing the A note on the G string, the E note on the D string and the B is just left open. It sounds depressed in relation to the other chords. Play around with these different versions and moods of the chord and find a solid relationship with them. Name them and give them emotions that you feel. The more intimate you can become with these chords the better you will understand their value and use when writing and playing.

Of course you can take this as far as you want. Try when you are playing a song using the A maj chord to just take off your third and put it back on. This is a really simple technique and used all the time, but I really feel don't think about the emotional change that happens to the chord as they do it. They seem to think it just sounds cool and thats it. Try understanding that by releasing the third and then putting it back on you are actually releasing the emotion of the chord and then quickly picking it up again. Its like dropping someone and catching them and then bringing them straight back up again. The more you can connect with the things you are doing with your chords and rhythm playing the better it sounds. You are not just playing a cool sounding technique you are doing it for a reason. This is the difference between good and great playing. Its the point that connects you to your playing. Its the thing stops you doing it to much or to little. If you understand why it is you are doing something its all ways perfect and always right, because its intentional. Its being done with purpose and a solid reason.

Try it yourself and me know how it works for you. If you have ideas and thoughts, let me know here or find us on our Guitar page on our website. There is a heap of great content and ideas beyond just where and how to put your fingers down. http://www.elitevocal.com/guitar-lessons-central-coast/
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I wanted to share a great blog one of our vocal teachers wrote recently on a great technique. Its called "Jaw Dropping Fun' and goes through a great way, and the importance of how and why you should relax your jaw. I have copied and pasted it below. The full link and many other great lessons are available in the links section.
If you are interested on personal one on one lessons you can enquire and book at the link attached.
Here is the Blog post......
Welcome to Elite Vocal Academy 2017. Where should we start? At the beginning of course! Before we even start singing or making phonation it is important for us to free our muscles of any tension & build good habits so that our voices can take flight in a stress-free environment. NOTE – Once you are comfortable with The Jaw exercises, you can then move to the Tongue & then the Palate. Please read & perform the three Blogs in the above order for best results.
For starters, you’re probably thinking, “Why don’t we start with breathing?”. Don’t worry, we will get there, but first we must help relax the biggest cause of tension in the body, a tense Jaw. When our Jaw tenses, a horrible domino effect happens throughout the body. Unfortunately, the Larynx is part of that domino path and trying to separate the two actions is sadly impossible.
Give this a try…
Try swallowing…. Now swallow again & take notice of how the Jaw tightens as the vocal tract moves up & forward to let fluid & food pass without entering the airway. This is a primal physical reaction so we don’t choke. Now try & swallow without tensing the Jaw…It’s impossible!! With a tense Jaw it is also hard to truly relax any other muscle in the body. So, by tensing the jaw we have now sent a message to the brain that we are in the “ready to swallow/closed” position instead of the “ready to sing/open” position.
A few tips
Firstly, the cartilages & surrounding muscles of the jaw are the main culprits of tension in that area. They hold it all together & provide free movement….when the muscles aren’t tightened by us that is.
1). Clench your teeth together & make the jaw as tense as you can! Hold for 3 seconds. Release. Do not repeat! This is just to show you the extremes between this & the next exercise.
2). Let your jaw fall slack so that your teeth are about a fingertips width apart. Place the base of your palms together & put them palm to chin. Your fingers should now be on either side of your neck, just under the ears. Now, gently push your chin back into your neck. It won’t go far and a little to start is good. When you feel it resist against your palm, remind yourself to relax & give in to the stretch. Hold for 5 seconds & release. Repeat x 2.
3). Place the base of your right palm on your temple & the base of your left palm on the side of your jaw. Now gently push inwards. Hold for 5 seconds and swap sides. Repeat x 3.
Note – be gentle with yourself. These exercises are meant to be slow & smooth so to gently manipulate & stretch the muscles & cartilage around the jaw.
Result
Now that you recognise the difference between a relaxed Jaw & a tense jaw, you will be more aware when you subconsciously tense up & how to once again, relax. Doing these exercises will stretch & release the muscle, preventing them from setting or locking. This will also set you up for the next set of exercises.
Confused? Understandable. Intrigued? Of course you are! Want to learn more? Book a lesson at www.elitevocal.com & enrol online today!
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