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What are the best ways to sight read music? Expected and unexpected solutions. Part 1

What are the best ways to sight read music? Expected and unexpected solutions.

Steve Newbrough


6/2/22

Here's the traditional advice on sight reading first. Read on for unexpected methods to improve this skill.

Take a moment to scan the music score before you begin playing and ask these questions: 

1) Figure out the key. Remember that it may not be in a major key!

2) Notice the time signature. Prepare to "count in" in the appropriate meter. Not everything is in 4/4 time.

3) Scan the piece for accidentals. How common are accidentals throughout the piece? Do you see sharps and flats?

4) Scan the piece for unexpected chords. For instruments that play chords, like the guitar or piano, notice if there are any stacks of notes that you don't recognize. Take a moment to calmly decipher the chord.

5) Notice the rhythms. Are they consistent throughout, ie. straight eighths, Bossa Nova, the Charleston, or some other repeating pattern. Take a moment to calmly find...

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How Can I Increase My Income as a Professional Musician?

How Can I Increase My Income as a Professional Musician?

Charles Carpenter and Steve Newbrough


7/28/21

1) Strengthen your music skills.

2) Launch your music business. 

3) Teach music lessons.

4) Seek out opportunities to make passive income.

5) Utilize Patreon.

6) Develop your own unique brand.

7) Stick with it! 

 

Earning a living as a musician isn’t as impossible as many people make it out to be. The reason it’s so hard for musicians to make good money is that many rely on a single revenue stream, whether it’s playing live gigs, selling albums, or releasing music on popular streaming platforms. Putting all your eggs in one basket severely limits your earning potential—and leaves you vulnerable to major unexpected events like a global pandemic. If you want to make more money, diversification is essential!

Try to treat your musical career like a business rather than a side gig. Look for ways to build multiple streams of income and balance...

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What are Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs, and other Slurs on the Guitar?

What are Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs, and other Slurs on the Guitar?


3/4/2021
 
Hammer-ons and pull-offs are performed by hitting or pulling the string with the left hand so that right hand does not need to pick. When played well, slurs add a smoothness or legato to the sound. From Vivaldi's Concerto For Lute in D or Pearl Jam's Yellow Ledbetter, slurs are integral to the sound of some of the greatest music written.
 
Even while writing this article, I know that I'm going to be correcting this common mistake for as long as I teach lessons. Most guitar students have no idea how to play slurs. Among guitarists, slurs are more commonly labeled as one of the following: hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides.   
 
So many guitarists struggle with slurs! So many things can go wrong until you know what to do. Let's tackle this beast.
 
1) They're called "hammer-ons" for a reason. 
 
Let's do a hammer-on together to get...
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