Best Advice Ever for Guitar Students

Posted: April 4, 2014 in Music
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by Chaz Bufe, author of An Understandable Guide to Music Theory: The Most Useful Aspects of Theory for Rock, Jazz, and Blues Musicians

Several years ago I was talking with another guitarist–Larry Hauer, as I recall–about the best musical advice we’d ever received. I mentioned a suggestion from a piano instructor decades before: “Always count, and always subdivide.” (If you’re not familiar with counting and subdividing, here, for example, is how to do it in 3/4 time: If you’re just counting eighth notes, count “One and Two and Three and”; if you’re counting sixteenth notes, count “One e and a Two e and a Three e and a” — the point being that counting helps you develop a good sense of time, and the more you subdivide the better your time will be.)

This is excellent advice, but Larry topped it. He told me that when he was thirteen his first guitar teacher told him something that saved him decades of musical aggravation: “Learn to sing. If you don’t, you’ll be at the mercy of some asshole vocalist for the rest of your life.”

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