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
Episode #5: RRA Adult Band – Hornets in the Greenhouse. Guitar/Vocals Nate Ferro and Drums/Vocals Chris John (also an RGS/RRA parent of 2 amazing young musicians) join Colin Ainsworth to talk music. 3:03 – Introductions from Chris John and Nate Ferro, their paths from childhood housecall piano lessons and elementary school bands to RGS 6:15 – Hornets in the Greenhouse lineups and the best venues they’ve played at, bars changing names more than the band, and how to arrive at a set list 9:21 – Influences for Nate and Chris, the need for RGS to issue an official position on Dave vs. Sammy for Van Halen (no, Gary Cherone is not an option); the downfall of diverse sounds in Top 40 radio; and no love for disco or Barry Manilow 18:30 – Not letting rock become a dead language, feeling emotion from performers, how no true rock band “sounds better in the studio,” and Hornets in the Greenhouse doing their part to helping rock continue – though not inspiring Greta Van Fleet, and private lessons holding you accountable and showing that in the band 28:11 – RRA bands pushing themselves, playing music bringing people down to earth, having a creative outlet away from work and other outlets at RGS, remembering to “respect the business” in music performance and education, and playing music becomes a weekly therapy session 36:14 – Bonus content starts with volume drop, returns at 37:20, the challenges of making a standalone Hulk movie, “it was a typical CBS drama with a giant green guy in it,” 10-year-olds watching Bette Davis movies and NASCAR and the end of attention spans, the inconsistency of the recent Batman franchise and the high quality of ‘60s Batman villains (Frank Gorshin appearance on “The Dean Martin Show” featuring the Riddler novelty song at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-YX4d2s0xs )
Make 2018 the year that you take your music to the next level!
Nate is planning a 4-class music theory course at RGS for the month of February. Space is limited to 10 seats.
Students will receive a printed guide for notes and exercises during class. Nate will also create a private blog post on the RGS site to post practice assignments, study resources, notes, discussion points, and enable commenting for students to ask questions and interact with one another.
The class will be on Mondays from 6-7pm starting February 5th. Age range is high school / college / adult.
It is a great opportunity for all students who want to further their knowledge of music and improve their overall musicianship, as well as apply music theory principles to their instrument of choice, improvising/songwriting, and general understanding of how music really works.
This is also a great opportunity for college-bound students or students who are considering music as a college major in the next year or two, and want to get a solid start on music theory required to prepare for entrance exams and auditions.
The course may continue beyond the 4 weeks, if members are interested in continuing their theory studies at RGS.
Background – Nate Richards has an undergraduate dual degree in Music Theory & Composition and Music Education, and a master’s degree in Music Performance, where he also studied master’s-level music theory. He also periodically teaches Music Theory and AP Music Theory courses at Garnet Valley High School.
In this lesson, I’ll teach you how to play Running Down a Dream by Tom Petty – rhythm guitar parts. I’ve made a combination of lead and rhythm guitar parts so you can play smoothly through the recording and get the most out of your performance, which is also a great way to make a song happen if you are the sole guitarist in a band.
Tom Petty actually does some pretty impressive soloing at the end of this song – he totally shreds a few E minor pentatonic licks. He really is an underrated guitar player, and an amazing songwriter.
To play this song on guitar effectively, you’ll need to follow these tips:
Follow the picking – as always. In the main riff, the upstrokes play the open E string and the downstrokes play the fretted notes. This way, you feel the beat where it should be, keep time with the band, and make nice heavy accents on the downbeats. The scale is a descending E Blues scale, and is a straight-forward rock guitar riff.
The chorus catches you off guard. When you reach the chorus (Section C), you might get caught off guard. The verse (Section B) really doesn’t have much movement, and is comprised of mostly tied whole notes. So, the chord changes in the chorus really feel fast. Practice this section the most. You might even want to start there during your practice session so you get the feeling and are prepared mentally and physically for when that section arrives.
watch out for the transitions into the interlude (Section D) and Outro (Section E). You are going to need to jump off of the main riff and into the 3rd fret C5 chord mid-riff. So, you won’t actually complete the main riff – you’ll move into the interlude and outro 2 notes early. Use your ears on this one.
– Nate Richards, Owner Richards Guitar Studio and Richards Rock Academy