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 )
1:47 – Band member introductions, how the band got together 3:00 – Highlights for concerts and song accomplishments, how to put a “songs to learn” list together, and how to work in band members’ different tastes in music and appeal to a wide audience 6:41 – Getting an album together, the tribulations of trying to get studio time, and how the band ended up with the part of a classical Mass setting for its name 10:32 – The musical and personal benefits of playing in a band, the strange feeling of getting your tunes stuck in your head, and the audience getting into songs you’ve played a thousand times 13:57 – Getting merch out to the fans, putting on a performance, and what the future holds for the band 17:58 – Where to find the band online, when to look for an EP, and will “This is Solemnis” be the next “This is Spinal Tap?” 22:00 – The five-part vocal stylings of Solemnis in action to say goodbye to listeners
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
Richards Guitar Studio Podcast Episode 2 – Interview with Pete Napper. I had the pleasure of talking with Pete for a half hour on all things learning guitar. I couldn’t be happier with the material that came out of this interview! WOW – Pete really knocked it out of the park with some great advice for guitarists of all ages, levels, and styles. Interview included advice on improving and developing guitar playing, the Troy Stetina method, classical guitar, theory, and much more.
Pete was a top student at RGS and is now an advanced guitarist currently working on ambitious projects in his own playing, including a full album cover of “Colors” by Between the Buried and Me. Watch his cover of “White Walls” below – excuse the rough audio due to an incredibly loud amp.