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RGS Podcast 6 – Facts and Myths About Learning Music

RGS Podcast 6 – Facts and Myths About Learning Music with Nate Richards and Colin Ainsworth

Episode #6: Facts and Myths about Learning Music with Nate Richards and Colin Ainsworth. Recorded at Nate’s place old-school pass-the-mic style. 0:00 – Disclaimer on who is the target audience is for this episode (every age group and everyone who isn’t a once-in-a-generation genius, and doesn’t have synesthesia), matching goals and expectations, the deference between knowledge and skill, and introduction to the episode’s topics – choosing an instrument, technique, music reading, playing by ear, and learning songs 5:47 – Colin’s background on choosing an instrument when growing up in a major music region 8:59 – Nate breaks down the pros and cons of classical, steel string acoustic or guitar for students starting out 15:07 – Colin introduces the technique topic (and attributes the “right way, wrong way, Yngwie” phrase to Ben Eller, who was one in a long line of people to use it), Nate gives examples of why everyone needs to develop a clean technique regardless of musical style, and Colin compares the RGS Rock Mastery Program with the Philadelphia guitar style of Dennis Sandole 25:50 – The need to tailor technique to students based on their hand size and shape, and a brief comment on avoiding the dreaded problem of pulling barre chords out of tune 29:30 – Nate clarifies the question of music of music reading – it’s not if but when – and lists the benefits of learning to read for those who won’t need to use it regularly 33:50 – Nate transitions music reading into learning songs by ear – being able to hear patterns when figuring out songs by ear due to music reading experience, Colin compares the roots of “education” and “erudition” and how to it applies to approaching guitar, Nate talks about overcoming his own frustrations of returning to reading music in high school 42:49 – Colin and Nate discuss what you see on a page and what you hear and use Randy Rhoads as an example 45:40 – Nate breaks down the pitfalls of playing solely by ear, including the “mysterious extra half of a beat” in the bridge of “Stairway to Heaven,” Colin extols the virtues of figuring out simple pop tunes to build your ear and Nate talks about predictability of current pop country songs 54:13 – Nate compares learning songs note-for-note versus coming up with a new arrangement, how learning a song note-for-note is like taking a master class from the guitar player on the record 1:01:30 – Colin talks about how the memory builds on itself and taking skills away from music by playing as much material as possible, and how you always think your band’s arrangement of a song is better than the original – whether out of familiarity or ego, and the dangers of picking up bad habits from your favorite guitar players

RGS Podcast Relaunch!!!

RGS Podcast Relaunch

We’re excited to announce the RGS Podcast relaunch! Subscribe to Richards Guitar Studio on iTunes, Podomatic, CastBox, or wherever you listen!  Below is a time-stamped breakdown of what we cover in Episode 3: Discussion with Nate Richards and Colin Ainsworth.


 On Episode 3 of the Richards Guitar Studio podcast, the show is back after a 4-year hiatus as owner Nate Richards and guitar instructor Colin Ainsworth discuss the history of the studio and touch on other topics that the series will dive into in upcoming episodes:

1:20 Nate outlines freelance teaching to build up students, finding the RGS’ location in the middle of the 2008 market crash, and interviewing teachers in Borders Books

11:10 Nate talks about his teachers while learning to play and band experiences in high school

19:15 Playing in bands in the ‘90s meant hand-building stages and dealing with the perils of minimum tape/CD orders from recording studios and recording scooped-mids guitar sounds

27:26 Nate and Colin discuss the benefits of buying physical media at record stores and the work that went into taping copies of albums

39:12 Thank your parents for the investment they make in your future; remember to “respect the business” when it comes to music, that joy in music comes from hard work, and that no music is above or below you

47:24 The importance of learning how to read music and basic theory/composition to learn rock music efficiently, the skillsets students tend to miss if they only learn by ear

57:55 How the studio’s music curriculum and business model have developed and finding the “junction of art and commerce,” the importance of keeping all students “speaking the same language” to make band rehearsals smooth

RGS Podcast

Nate Richards Colin Ainsworth – RGS Podcast

Music Theory Lesson – What Makes a Song in a Mode

New YouTube Music Theory Lesson – What Makes a Song in a Mode

Nate Richards talks about what makes a song in a mode in this music theory lesson. 

So, what exactly is a mode? Let’s start with the Major Scale – which is the overarching parent scale in all Western music. To be brief, the Major scale has 7 notes that climb up the alphabet one letter at a time (a-b-c-d-e-f-g-a-b-c-d-e-f-g-a-etc), and we number them 1-2-3-4-5-6-7. The G Major scale is the key I used in the video, and the notes are G-A-B-C-D-E-F#, numbered G-1, A-2, B-3, etc.

A mode is a variation of the scale note order, and each variation comes with really fancy Greek name (these scales are very old, dating back well over 1000 years used in Gregorian Chant sung by monks – they thought the Greeks invented music so they gave all of the notes and scales Greek names). Take a look at the scale variations below and see that the idea is simply a circling around the same notes – the only difference is the starting note.

(BTW – modal theory goes way, way beyond this initial stage. But, this is a start at the general concept. Each mode eventually will become it’s own little world within the solar system of the Major Scale, with each mode having it’s own idiosyncrasies, chord progressions, emotions, colors, and applications).

I – G Ionian: G-A-B-C-D-E-F# (a.k.a. G Major. “Ionian” is just the Greek term referring to the Major Scale)

ii – A Dorian: A-B-C-D-E-F#-G

iii – B Phrygian: B-C-D-E-F#-G-A

IV – C Lydian: C-D-E-F#-G-A-B

V – D Mixolydian: D-E-F#-G-A-B-C

vi – E Aeolian: E-F#-G-A-B-C-D (a.k.a. E Natural Minor, or the “Relative” minor)

viio – F# Locrian: F#-G-A-B-C-D-E

This is just a start, and you are not expected to be an expert on modes at this point – that takes a long time of lessons, study, practice, and experience.

If you’ve made it this far, you might be confused and wondering what this all means. Here is a good follow-up video to this one to try applying the modes, and hopefully you will start to see how they work. Below that is yet another video from another angle:

 

Richards Guitar Studio teacher Pete Napper warm up before work with Intervals Siren Sound Guitar Cover.

Pete Napper is an incredible guitarist and teacher here at RGS, and shows his skills with his warm-up before work with Intervals Siren Sound guitar cover. Don’t miss your chance to take guitar lessons with Pete either in-studio or via Skype!

Student Covers ALL Periphery Juggernaut Solos!

I’m proud to present to you Richards Guitar Studio student Jake O’Malley (15, high school sophomore) who covers all solos from the monumental double-disc concept album Juggernaut: Alpha and Omega by Periphery. Jake studies electric guitar, classical guitar, and music theory with Nate Richards. In addition, he is currently working on an original music recording project with our guitar teacher and Rock Academy director Eric Matelyan and our drum teacher Josh Soltroff . Periphery’s guitarists are Misha Mansoor, Mark Holcomb, and Jake Bowen.

In his own words, Jack gives us a description of his experience working on the Periphery Juggernaut solos:

So this is what I have been working on for the past 2 months. I believe I got pretty much every solo somewhat dead on, but I do have a few places to note. First off, for whatever reason, iMovie cropped some of vids strangely, so the top part is a bit cut off in some. There are some spots where I add a bit too much vibrato in places that don’t need it, and places where I didn’t add enough. My amp and camera is kind of shite right now, so the tone may be a bit off. The ones with the question marks next to the composer are not listed as solos in the official tab book, so I made assumptions based off of their style (Alpha doesn’t even really have a solo I just needed an even number). Finally, there is a part in The Bad Thing which I believe is 5 septuplets followed by 12 sextuplets at 133 bpm, which is extraordinarily fast, so I don’t think I got that spot on at all. I’m in the process of recording some demos so those should be out in a few weeks/months, and I have a cover of Siren Sound by Intervals in the works. Also all music belongs to Periphery and Sumerian Records.

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