Tag Archives: Practice

Week #21: Crab Drill

The Crab Drill is the idea of making your hands walk up and down the guitar similar to how a crab would do it. This purpose is to fool your brain into doing patterns that its not used to performing. The result is that you will tackle new techniques and playing patterns much easier. Because the only way you get better is by doin things that your not used to doing.

Both Hands Piano

A lot of my students have trouble playing piano with both of their hands.

The trick is to slow down the music to the point that your hands are playing together – even if its EXTREMELY slow and boring. Too many people try to play the song up to tempo, and then complain that they can’t have both their hands play together.

You have to learn to walk before you run. It could take months to get the syncopation down, but when you do then you’re building a foundation. Then simply build on top of that foundation. Turn your metronome off, and just get used to sightreading and, then slowly build yourself up. After you get the comfort zone, turn the metronome on at a slow speed, and over time increase the speeds.

Once you learn it though, you’re good forever – so do it correct the first time :)

After School

What should I do ‘After School’?

  • Listen. People tend to talk too much. Pay attention to others, learn from them, and grow.
  • Take risks. The best time to take a risk is After School. When you’re young, you can afford to fall flat on your face.
  • Hustle. Do it every day. If you went to school for Dance Choreography, then start realizing how you can make a career.
  • Alot of times your career isn’t so direct. You may think that your career should be to compose dances for music, artists, etc. But start thinking outside the box. Maybe make a blog or podcast about dance. In turn, you can sell merchandise, consult others on your work, release DVD’s, etc. Or maybe there are dance magazine’s, Cirque De Soleil, or even TV Shows who can use your services.

    The market is HUGE – so understand that there is something for everybody – including your career. You just have to go out and find it.

    Start thinking outside of the box. Life isn’t linear – so pay attention!

    How Long Til I Get Good At Guitar?

    The short answer is that if you want to learn your introductory chords on guitar then it’ll take about 3 months, and that’s if you do it every day. There are only 7 chords – so imagine learning one chord a week, and then giving yourself another month to master the chord changes.

    You have to be patient. You will get out of it what you put into it. These things take time. Whether its learning how to walk, play basketball, read music, or in this case – playing an instrument. You’re body and brain learn things over time. Do it every single day. But

    The trick is: Don’t give up. Ever.

    I Don't Have Patience

    Be patient. You’re going to need it – because success isn’t overnight, it takes time. Building friendships, relationships, and talents is a day-to-day operation. There was a time when you couldn’t walk, talk, write, or even eat. But over time your body and brain learned to do these things. You were young, so you may not remember, but understand that it took years to learn to do these simple tasks, and just because your conscious about them now, doesn’t mean you should find short cuts. Patience and passion is the shortcut :)

    Preparation And Execution

    Do whatever you do Every. Single. Day.

    How to Prepare and Execute?

  • Be Well Rested. Eat well, sleep well. Your body is a machine that needs to be in top shape.
  • Warm Up. You’re no different than Lance Armstrong or Machiavelli. Prepare for battle!
  • Do it Everyday. Turn it into a habit, and your good performance will be a natural habit. “Those move easiest who have learned to dance”.

    They say you have to be “good to be lucky and lucky to be good.” Well, work hard, and be well prepared, because those increase your chances of success! It goes back to what I was mentioning about being prepared in the recording studio. A musician like Pat Metheny prepares for his gig hours before his performance, football players prepare before their Sunday Football Games, runners stretch before their race.

    Good preparation creates good execution.

  • Class 18: Double Stops

    What are Double Stops?

    Double Stops are playing two notes together in harmony to the song. Steve Vai, Al Di Meola, and even Slash of Guns and Roses frequently use double stops in their solos, and song writing. John Petrucci even uses Double Stops when practicing his alternate picking. It helps to know How to Harmonize a Song.

    Being Well Rested

    Some say “Work Smart. Not Hard.”. But I say to “Work Smart AND Hard”. you’re body needs to be prepared for long days, and quick decisions. So, you HAVE to eat correctly, sleep well, and be merry.

    The way one lives their life creates the work they do. So LOVE your career, LOVE your friends, LOVE your family, and think smart. Because in the end, the one’s who have complete lives – and live in balance – are the one’s who win. My old guitar teacher used to always say to me “Take out what you put in.” He was referring to taking a one hour break for every one hour that I practiced guitar – great advice! He also said to stay hydrated and drink water while practicing.

    So next time you skip sleep because you want to get done MORE work, in the long run you’re actually doing less. Your body needs rest – or it will break down.

    Palm Mute Electric Guitar

    Palm Mutes are created with your pick hand by placing it on the bridge of your guitar. It is used to create tension and release. The cool thing is that you do not need to have an electric guitar in order for it to work – it actually sounds pretty cool on acoustic guitar, too. Some songs that famously use palm muting on guitar are blink 182’s “All The Small Things” Dream Theater’s “Erotomania“, and many bands including Metallica, AFI, A New Found Glory, and more. Use your ear to find out which one of YOUR favorite bands do palm mutes!

    Here’s a full tutorial in order to learn to Palm Mute faster

    Make Up Your Own Drills

    How to make up your own Guitar Drill

    First, find what’s bothering you. If its alternate picking, then simply focus and center in on the EXACT difficulty you’re having. This is because there are alot of things that could be holding you back.

    For example, if you are having trouble on changing between chords then find out if it’s because the chords are too difficult, or if your strumming pattern is off, or if you’re having trouble stretching your fingers, etc. Also, if the chord progression goes A D E, and you’re only having trouble with the chord change from D to E, then simply make up a guitar drill going ONLY between those two chords!

    If you’re having a difficult time with a technique that is holding you up, the best thing to do it to Make up your own drill!

    Metronomes help alot too! These things will allow you to grow progressively and steadily over time. So pin-point your problem, master it, and then move onto something else, and at a higher tempo.

    Once you get good at making up your own drills, you’ll begin to see the guitar differently, and become more independent.

    This is a common thing that guitar players like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Paul Gilbert, and more do! In fact, bands like Dream Theater and more also have been known to make up difficult songs in order to force themselves to master techniques. Pretty smart.

    So don’t be afraid or intimidated if you can’t do something – the way to mastering something is to keep on doing it… every day!

    Advice: Do It Every Day

    Wanna know the only difference between the best basketball players, football players, bloggers, musicians, and more?

    They do it EVERY DAY!

    I do my best to blog, write music, do my Revision 3 show, Ustream show, teach courses, and more.

    So when you want to master that guitar part, or play a fantastic show, or get really great at writing songs – the trick is to never give up, and do it every. single. day.



    Rejection is the best thing that can ever happen to you. Stand tall, and be strong. Work hard, and never give up :)

    Be happy when things don’t work out, because that means you’ve learned something new. And success is about building off of a number of failures.

    Don’t forget to join the Mailing List for all the newest awesome stuff! And also the Forum!

    Whats A Metronome?

    Metronomes are important so that you can keep time within your practices and continually increase speed. Think of it as a drummer. I recommend alot of metronomes. It something that you can manually change as your technical skills grow. Drummers don’t stay on perfect time (because they’re human, except for Mike Portnoy) AND they’re not portable.

    Here’s one that I personally like:

    This metronome is by Boss, and is pretty good. you can tune your guitar to it, as well as use it as a standard metronome, plus its small in size!