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Taller Dog: Music Tips Blog

The Three Most Dangerous Words

Posted on August 28, 2010

The three most dangerous words in the English language are: I know that! Those three words stop people in their tracks faster than a speeding train. As soon as we say, "I know that!" then we shut down to new growth.

Tools For Learning Something New

Posted on August 25, 2010

Music books without question are great. Many musicians who know how to read music use a book to make learning a new melody a faster process. And some who can read - will choose to learn the new melody by ear, whether it's by using a recording, or having a friend show them. Many people learn faster by ear. I'm one of them. It depends on your reason for wanting to play music in the first place. What inspires you inside? Small children needed to be guided in different ways than an adult beginner. Then there's everybody in between. Tom is learning the guitar. Tablature works well for him. I used tablature myself when I wanted to learn certain bluegrass licks on the guitar. There's no timing documented involved, you have to know how the song feels. And how many beats there are to the measure... you have to have heard the song. Tablature is a tool. For me, an ear musician, when I want to learn a new song, I might get a book with words and guitar or piano chords, or I could get a book that had [...]
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As a musician, or any kind of artist, at some point in our lives we will come up against the question: Where is the line between the artist and the tools? When I broke my favorite expensive violin bow about two years ago, I was heartbroken. After trying to find another to take it's place, it became clear that that bow was an individual. There was not going to be a replacement. I was going to have to work with other bows. As hard as that was to handle for me, that was my first real introduction to my new way of thinking. My bow is a tool I use. I am the artist, or musician. When I broke my left wrist and damaged some ligaments in that hand and arm, I could not play. This gave me a lot of time to think. I've concluded that even parts of the body we use to produce our particular art form are ALSO TOOLS. When you listen to the radio, or a CD, or even some kind of muzak in the store, listen more carefully. What is the first thing you hear? What do your ears (or tapping feet, or brain, or heart), [...]
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Nine Great Words to Live By

Posted on May 10, 2010

You're only as good as the risks you take. This applies to every choice you make in your life. Yes, sometimes the risk doesn't work out. The decision can set you back. But the amount you learn about your mistake is equal to to how much you grow in another way. There is nothing different about your experience playing music. Except, maybe, one thing. It can be more fun. Especially (but not limited to) when you are improvising. The worst that can happen is you make a clam. What's a clam? It's the best word I know for a note you play that is so wrong EVERYONE hears it, and it makes you cringe from embarrassment. And as HUGE as that feeling is, when you go for it, when you TAKE that risk and GET that note or phrase, there is no better feeling in your heart! Because of the music that popped out of your fingers, it can surprise you, even. You know you sounded good, and the next time you have a chance to repeat that phrase, DO IT! Because that's a big learning that you will then be able to remember. [...]
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Issues With Families Playing Music

Posted on March 17, 2010
Are you a kid who plays an instrument, and your parents want you play or "perform" for them? Do you hate that? Are you a parent who doesn't understand why, or what the big deal is about it? 

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