So…where did rock come from?

One thing's for sure, it didn't just arrive with Bill Haley and the Comets 'Rock around the Clock'.

The roots of rock can be found in the Mississippi delta region of America with the birth of the blues. It's really worth understanding how this music evolved and the key players as you work to develop your own playing. As Confucius says 'Study the past if you would define the future'.

I've recently been reading the book, 'Delta Blues' by Ted Gioia and recommend it as a well written history of the blues bringing to life the deep passion of the men and women who made the music. From the plantations, prisons and juke joints of the south and the music of Charlie Patton, Son House and Robert Johnson through to the migration north and the electric blues of Chicago featuring expats Muddy Waters and BB King among many others. It's a great story well told and helps us understand the music we love to listen to.

While on this subject "The History of Jazz" is another great title by the same author written with the same insight and passion.

If you really love music and love to play then you should have a good understanding of what went before, all the great songwriters and players who stand the test of time do.

Just get out and play…

No matter what level you are at as a guitar player there is enormous value to be gained in sitting down and playing with others.

A few of the crew I teach are not confident they know enough and would be embarrassed to play with someone else but the truth is a lot of learning happens in these situations and the learning goes both ways.

When I was a kid learning the guitar I would get together with some mates to listen to records play a bit of guitar and swap ideas. Someone might have a new chord I didn't know, I might have a new song, something to pick, strum; it all added to the learning experience.

The same goes to playing in a band situation, if you want to play in a band or jam then get out and do it. Last weekend was our yearly "Off the Cuff" gig in memory of our old mate Warren Hall. It's pretty much the only blues gig of the year for me this year and really opened up some problems with my playing, sound and equipment preparation that I need to deal with. Of course I could sit at home, do nothing and pretend that everything was ok but that's hardly progress.

If you want to play in a band get out and get moving, the learning experience will really help to fast track your development that playing in the bedroom alone won't do.

Coming Soon

It's been a long time in the making but we should have some video up as part of the newsletter in the next couple of months. Look forward to some interesting interviews and a few good tips along the way.

Re:Generation Music Project (2012)

It's always good to keep an open mind as a musician and the Re:Generation Music Project gives an intriguing insight into the vision of 5 DJ's each given a style of music to work with, Rock, Jazz, Classical, Country and R&B.

Premier, Mark Ronson, Skrillex, Pretty Lights and The Crystal Method remix, recreate and re-imagine music. From the classical perfection of the Berklee Symphony Orchestra to the bayou jams of New Orleans jazz,  five distinctive DJs collaborate with some of today's biggest musicians to discover how our musical past is influencing the future.


It’s so easy…

I had a call during the week from a girl wanting me to teach her how to play a song. She didn't want to go through all the "other stuff" as she called it and had a month to get the chords and changes together for a special event.

Now as you all know, it's just not that easy. Some people don't show enough respect for the work it takes to play guitar, they see a friend strumming or someone up on stage, I mean it looks easy. What they don't see is the work that goes into getting to even a basic stage, and that "other stuff" you need to do.

Ask Rod, Greg, Al or many of the crew I've taught from scratch how long it has taken for them to strum a simple song. If you want to remember what it felt like when you first started, turn you guitar upside down and try forming some chords with your picking hand. Not so easy?

Anyway... better get back to some practice, I've got a bit of "other stuff" that needs working on.