A Comprehensive Guide to the Different Types of Guitar

Buying a new or used guitar is a major purchase, whether you’re a total beginner or have been playing for a while and want to explore other options. The guitar is unique in the string instrument world in that there are so many varieties, shapes and types that are used in a multitude of styles. I often sense that a person’s choice of guitar has more to do with iconography than with what may be the best for those individuals’ goals. This is why I’ll also be discussing which type is best suited for certain musical goals. Read More

3 Vocal Exercises to Free Your Voice

Have you ever had that feeling that your voice was stuck in your throat or that you just couldn’t get the words out that you needed to say? The exercises below will increase your oxygen levels, release endorphins, improve your overall well-being, and have you sounding your very best when you sing. Read More

How to Nail Your First Artist Interview

One of the biggest moments in a singer's career is his or her first professional interview. Whether it’s an article, a radio show, or a podcast, it’s a really big deal. However, sometimes it’s hard to know how to prepare, especially if it’s an in-person interview. In this article, I’ll give you the most effective approaches to selling yourself as an artist and making sure that your interview leads to more fans. Read More

A Singer’s Guide to Playing Piano

Maybe you’ve always loved to sing and occasionally goof off at the piano, or maybe you’ve never touched a piano in your life. I was 17 the year I started taking singing lessons and 19 when I had my first piano lesson. A decade later, and I’m honored to be a professional musician performing internationally. It can be done! If you’re not interested in becoming a master pianist, but would rather focus on playing piano as a means of accompanying yourself vocally, this article is for you. Here are some tips and tricks to get you started. Read More

Getting Started on Ukulele

Ukulele is one of the best instruments to play if you’re just starting to play music. It’s also a great alternative to those great big guitars we see everywhere. It’s small, light, and doesn’t make ears bleed with wrong notes. If you got one as a present or bought one recently, you might be wondering what to do with it. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Below are the first steps which will lead to a long and happy life of ukulele strumming. Read More

How to Listen to Music Like a Professional Musician

There are a few ways to approach listening: As a performer, as a composer, and as a producer. While music production has certain similarities to composition, there are some concepts a producer is familiar with that may escape the composer. Our focus today is on live performance and music composition. Read More

A Guitar Player's Guide to Ear Training

Having played guitar for more than 15 years, I've learned that certain skills have no substitutes. One such skill is the ability to use my ears to figure out how to play something on the spot. To the beginner or intermediate-level guitarist, the term “ear training” might simply mean the ability to hear a song and replicate it on their instrument. But as a young musician, it took about ten minutes alone with a guitar and cassette deck to learn that it's much more. Read More

Mastering the Space Between Notes

The great French composer Claude Debussy has been attributed in saying: “Music is the space between the notes.” What? You mean we spend all this time learning our craft and developing our expression only to have some old French guy tell us to stop playing? Not exactly. Let’s unpack this phrase and explore the concept of space within music. Pretty soon you’ll see how utilizing space can actually allow the notes we do play to speak all the more. Read More

Why Singers Should Avoid Procrastination

So you have a really big audition or performance coming up and need a vocal coach to work with you ASAP? What’s that? You've never had voice lessons and thought this was a good time to start? The idea that you can assimilate years of knowledge in sixty minutes or less sounds foolish, and yet so many people incorrectly assume that discipline isn’t necessary to becoming a great singer. Instead, let’s understand why procrastinating might be getting in the way of your singing career and come up with a game plan so it doesn’t happen again. Read More

What to Expect When Your Child Starts Singing Lessons

Although it seems obvious, students should always keep in mind that voice lessons are just like any other music lesson. Many people seem to forget that when they study voice, they are studying an instrument just like any other and that the study of their instrument entails a development of technique and musicianship. However, unlike piano or violin, what makes studying voice particularly challenging is that the instrument is the human body itself and, unlike any other instrument, it will dramatically change over time. This can make approaching voice lessons with a young student particularly challenging, as certain technical approaches to singing will only become relevant once their instrument is ready. This means that young singers will have to set different goals and expectations with their teacher. Read More

How to Sing With Your Head Voice

I'm fabulous at playing the guitar... but only the bottom three strings. WHAT? That makes no sense! If I walked into a room and proudly said that, you would think I was batty. Let's apply that idea to your voice. I'm thrilled that you're belting. I'm excited your chest voice feels great to you. Way to go! That's not the whole instrument though. You have a top register that needs attention and deserves care. Read More

The Basics of Playing Bass

Your job as a bass player is to reinforce the chords played by the other band members and to be a mysterious driving force in your band. You will use the root, fifth and octave to build a solid foundation for the other melodic instruments. Guitar and keys tend to play a lot of chords, and you are reinforcing the tones of those chords by playing the notes that make up those chords in a rhythmic way (Arpeggios). The root, fifth and octave are part of one of the most commonly played bass patterns. Undoubtedly, you have already been working out this pattern whether you knew it or not. The R5O happens A LOT. How do you know which notes to play to fulfill your role as a beat-loving, note-thumping bassist? Well, a good place to start is the root. Read More

5 Myths About Playing Piano

What are some of the first things that cross your mind when you picture a typical pianist? Perhaps you imagine someone with long fingers playing something ridiculously fast. Maybe it’s someone who started at a young age too. When you consider these things, you may begin to wonder if piano is for you at all. If these thoughts are turning you away from learning an instrument that can make your life so much more colorful, I’ve busted 5 myths to help you reconsider. Read More

How to Sing Falsetto

Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke do it all the time: falsetto is a super helpful tool in your vocal toolbox, but it’s important to know how to use it. Read More

Keyboard vs. Piano: Which is right for you?

If you’re considering taking piano lessons, you’ll need to have either a keyboard or a piano at home, even if the lessons take place at your teacher’s studio. Daily practice is important for your progress, and the convenience of always having your instrument available is priceless. Let’s spend some time exploring the pros and cons of buying either a keyboard or a piano. Read More

How to Change Your Guitar Strings

If you’ve never changed the strings on your guitar before, it might seem a little intimidating. However, with practice, it can become second nature and take as little as 5-10 minutes. Depending on how often you play, changing your strings might be something you end up doing once a week or once every other month. In fact, many professional players change them every night before a show. A new set of strings will often result in a brighter and crisper sound, so if your guitar isn’t producing as rich of a tone anymore, old strings are probably the culprit. Read More

Easily Learn Any Drum Pattern

As a young and stubborn musician, I frequently attempted to play loud and complicated grooves that were beyond my ability. It took me years to realize that properly executing these grooves required slow and focused practice. I will take you through an effective routine that focuses on how to thoroughly develop any technique, pattern or groove. Read More

Choosing the Right Vocal Repertoire for a Beginner

When beginning voice lessons, you will be faced with the question of which song to work on. Often, students have a particular idea of what they would like to sing and, just as often, their chosen song is far beyond their technical capabilities. Of course, there is no way that a beginning student would know this. This is why a good teacher will guide you towards songs that offer a solid foundation while simultaneously strengthening vocal technique. Read More

How to Improve Your Vocal Range

While there’s no step-by-step guide to improving your vocal range, there are some general concepts that will help extend your singing voice. Keeping this in mind, I have good news, and I have ‘bad’ news. Read More

How to Solo Over Chord Changes

There are countless comparisons that can be drawn between writing/speaking and improvising melodies on a musical instrument. When we speak, unless we are reading a prepared speech, we are essentially improvising. Once we convey one idea, we must pause and think of the next idea. Then, we communicate that idea, and the cycle continues. Improvising a solo is no different. Consequently, all of the rules applying to speaking and writing that we all learned way back in grammar school also apply to playing melodic phrases. Read More

3 Essential Singing Techniques to Master

For many vocalists, singing is what fills our souls. It helps us channel our emotional energy into an art form that we can share with others. So what if you could take what you already do well and kick it up a notch? Let’s talk about three important vocal techniques and how mastering them will take your performance to the next level. Read More

How to Create an Emotional Connection While Singing

We’ve all seen it - the “good” performance. The artist is dressed in the latest and greatest. Their hair and makeup is flawless. Amazing set, effects, lighting, dancers, etc. It’s all very professional. Still… something is missing. It was good, but not GREAT. More often than not, it’s that the singer had little or no emotional connection to the lyrics, therefore the performance fell flat. Read More

Why Bach is Essential to Your Piano Repertoire

Choosing your new repertoire, or the list of pieces you’ll learn to play, is an important decision. Traditionally, it is recommended to include at least one piece per musical period (i.e. Baroque, Classical, Romantic, 20th-Century, or Contemporary). Each of these eras represents a distinct musical style, and having a diverse repertoire will show your range and fluency as a pianist. While it’s important for you to be exposed to as many genres as possible, one of them is essential to the artistry of classical piano performance: Baroque (especially the works by Johann Sebastian Bach). Read More

Introduction to Vibrato Singing

Vibrato in singing is an interesting creature. Unlike other instruments that ‘learn’ how to create vibrato (e.g., wind, brass, and strings), in singing, vibrato is the natural byproduct of a healthy voice. It can certainly be aesthetically pleasing or off-putting, but in general, it shouldn’t be your goal. If you find yourself forcing or manufacturing vibrato, there are likely deeper problems at work. Read More

The Secret to Better Solos: Dynamics

There are many different elements that can make a solo shine or a guitar phrase stand out. Among all of them, dynamics are probably the most underrated. First, let's take a second to understand what dynamics are and what they can do for your music. The word dynamics relates to the amount of volume applied to a certain note or group of notes while you play them. In other words, how loud or soft you play. At this point you may be wondering, what is the big deal? Can't we simply raise or low the volume on our amp and call it a day? Sure... we certainly could, but the 'magic' of using dynamics to enhance our playing comes from combining loud tones with soft ones. Read More

How to Revamp Your Practice Routine

In order to track our musical progress, it is essential to create check-in points for each of the goals we set for ourselves. This can be made an easier task by keeping these goals clear, concise, and realistic. It will be helpful to write down these signposts and assign “due dates” for each one. Try creating what I call a “building block list.” Then, keep that list visible in your practice folder or on your desk. Read More

How to Maximize Your Vocal Range

Ask any vocal coach, and they will tell you expanding one’s singing range often tops their voice students’ wish list. It makes sense. As singers, we want to hit all the high notes with ease, power and confidence. We don’t want any barriers coming between those high notes and us. However, being a singer is not about how many notes we can belt out. Rather, it is how we maximize the notes we can sing. Not to say we can’t strengthen or develop certain parts of our range over time. But, a great singer knows how to maximize what they do have, whether they have a wide vocal range or limited one. They know how to capture their listener’s attention and ignite emotion by mastering their sound. This article will provide a roadmap on how you can start maximizing your own sound. Read More

Master Your Guitar Tone, Pt. 3: Amps

In Part 1 of this article series on guitar gear, we explored how picks and strings influence your sound. In Part 2, we checked out the ways that electric guitar pickups shape your tone. If you play electric guitar, your amplifier is the other half of your instrument, so let's look at how amps shape your sound. We'll go over the three most common amplifier types; explore what the knobs on the front panel do, and explain what distortion and reverb are. Read More

Piano Basics: Learning the Keys

Learning the piano is fun, and when approached methodically, is not as difficult as you might think. When you first start learning, put a good amount of time into memorizing the names and location of the keys, and you’ll give yourself a huge advantage! Here is a quick guide to help you get started. Read More

The Benefits of Learning a Second Instrument

Does the idea of playing another instrument intrigue you? Looking back on all the work you put into your first instrument might make learning a second one seem intimidating, but I’d like to encourage you to try it out! I started piano at age 6 and violin at age 9, and while my practice schedule could get a little crazy, I’m very happy I did it. Read More

The Music Theory Behind Major and Minor Chords

If you’re a musician who’s curious about the music theory behind chords (just what makes a G Major or a C# minor anyway?) this article is for you. We’ll deconstruct chords and discuss the theory behind them, revealing how the idea of chords came about in the first place and how we put them together to stay in key. Read More

How to Self-Promote Your Music

Are you a singer-songwriter or band looking to start promoting yourself? My husband and I are in a band called The Last City, and over the last few years we’ve learned some great ways to self-promote as well as some things you may want to avoid. Read More

How to Start a Band

Playing an instrument by yourself is great, but there’s something about collaborating with other musicians that really makes playing music a special experience. So how do you get started? Read More

Am I Too Old to Start Learning an Instrument?

Simply put, no – but if you're a 45-year-old accountant with three kids, you will have to work harder than any eighth grader. Kids' brains are like sponges. Ours ... not so much. But taking lessons as an adult can be a rewarding challenge with many benefits. It keeps the mind sharp and can provide an outlet for stress relief – and it's fun! Read More

Choosing the Best String Instrument for You

You go to the symphony and see an overwhelming number of string players. Their instruments all sound beautiful, but look very similar. They are all made of panels of wood, and when a bow made of horsehair is drawn across the strings, very similar sounds are produced. Read More

5 Unexpected Benefits of Learning an Instrument

One great thing about playing music is that it doesn’t take being amazing at it to reap the benefits it has on our brains. Over and over, it’s been shown that playing music has a number of incredible effects on us (especially on children since their brains are still developing). Here are just a few of the ways that music helps our brains! Read More

A Simple Technique for Writing Song Lyrics

Many of the great verse-refrain songs that come to mind are powerful and potent. Think for a moment. Which songs come to mind? For me, it’s Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” or “Shelter from the Storm”. Without asking Dylan, it would be impossible to know exactly how these songs were written. So how can we do it ourselves? One of the best ways to write a verse-refrain song is to build it backwards—start with a solid refrain line and build the verses around it. Read More

Conquering Barre Chords

With barre chords, you lay your left index finger across five or six strings, and then shape the rest of the chord with your other left-hand fingers. They're ideal for very rhythmic strums. Also, many chord progressions are easier to play with barre chords; you use the same shapes and move these up and down the frets. The index finger will act like a capo. The main thing with barre chords is even finger pressure. You want to apply even pressure to all the strings involved in the chord to get a clean, full sound. Lefties: if you play a left-handed guitar, use the bony left side of your right index finger for barring. Read More

Playing Piano with Proper Finger Placement

There is no right way to choose finger numbers, but there are definitely techniques that make playing easier. Learning to naturally follow certain patterns will also set you up for success as you learn to sight read or play by ear. This is a skill that needs practice and dedication, but it definitely gets easier with time. Read More

Mastering the Guitar Fretboard Notes

One of the big challenges that guitar players face at some point in their career is learning the notes on the fretboard. Since there are between 21 and 24 frets per string on most guitars, the total amount of notes can range from 126 to 144. This may seem overwhelming for many players, but don't panic! There are ways to learn them all much faster than you may expect. Read More

Musicmaps: A Visual Encyclopedia for Music

Have you ever wondered how a genre is defined? How are different musical styles interconnected, and at what point do they fuse to become something else entirely? These are questions that have intrigued Belgian architect, Kwinten Crauwels, who has spent the last 8 years developing the site Musicmap. Read More

The Reverb Lessons Team - Reverb Lessons
The Reverb Lessons Team

Posture and Position: The Foundations of Piano

When playing piano, it helps to keep your body ready for anything a piece might throw at you. Keep your posture and position in mind when you play, and soon they will be second nature! Like any good habits, they take repetition to become natural. Find what works well for your body, stick with it, and most importantly, stay relaxed! Read More

How to Hold Your Guitar Pick

One of the very first things you learn on the guitar is how to hold a pick properly. Sometimes it comes naturally, and other times you will have to develop a habit. Use these general tips as a guideline to master consistent pick-holding technique. Read More

How to Get Your Child Excited about Practicing

As a parent, there’s a fine line between encouraging your child to practice regularly and pressuring them to the point where they lose interest. Although there isn’t one magical solution to this all-too-common problem, we have some great suggestions that have proven to be successful. Read More

6 Tips for Fitting Music into a Busy School Schedule

For those of us in school, finding time to practice our instrument can be a challenge. I’ve been a musician for nearly two decades, during which time I managed middle school, high school, college, graduate studies, and various jobs. I’d like to share several effective tips I’ve learned that will help you create a healthy balance between your musical studies, academics, and extracurricular activities. Read More

How to Construct a Blues Song

A song structure (aka song form) serves a purpose — to support the storytelling quality of the lyrics and melody. It's fun to experiment with different structures as a songwriter. It's also great for your craft. If you feel stuck with a song, changing the structure often inspires new ideas. Read More

The Secret to Memorable Licks

Some of the greatest instrumentalists have revealed that at one time or another, they made serious efforts to study the lines and phrases of talented singers. While this might seem like an obvious option for some of us, I know quite a few instrumentalists that rarely study the performance of musicians outside of their own primary instrument family. Read More

Using Natural Harmonics to Spice Up Your Guitar Playing

Natural harmonics are very under-utilized on the guitar in popular music. It’s not strange to hear them with screaming distortion or in a Jeff Beck song, but in your standard folk, country, or singer-songwriter music it’s a rare surprise. Because of that, it’s a fun way to turn some heads and spice up an arrangement as well. Read More

Jazz Guitar Basics: The 7th Chords

If you’re anything like me, when I first started learning how to play jazz, I had no idea what I was getting into. Having played guitar for several years, mostly rock and roll, the thought of studying jazz improvisation seemed more than a little bit daunting. My purpose for writing this article is to share my experiences and how I transitioned from a rock player to being comfortable with the language of jazz improvisation. Hopefully you will find this introduction article to be helpful to getting started with Jazz improv. Read More

5 Ways to Make Practice More Fun

We all know that practice makes perfect. However, anyone who’s spent a lifetime practicing a musical instrument can tell you that practice also makes people crazy. Here are five ways to keep your practice fun! Read More

3 Beginner Guitar Songs in 10 Minutes

If you’re new to guitar and want to get a few famous rock songs under your belt, our latest video will have you playing riffs by Nirvana, Bob Dylan, and Green Day in no time. Steve will take you step by step through the process, starting with just one finger at a time, so that you can follow along at your own pace. From there, he’ll build up to an easy version of the power chord, to help you get a fuller sound out of your guitar. The best part is that, once you’ve learned this technique, you can apply it to many of your other favorite songs. Read More

Songwriting Tips: The Basics of Song Structure

Every song needs a structure. That is a certain order by which its different sections follow one another. Because we, the listeners, are already familiar with most well-known standard song structures (even if not consciously aware), we develop certain expectations of what a song’s organization should be like. If those expectations are not met, then we may perceive a song as being too long, too short, awkwardly unexpected or uninteresting. Read More

How to Hold Your Drum Sticks

With 2016 being an election year, we will see many debates take place. So, instead of a debate of political “mudslinging”, why not a subject that seems to hit home with so many of the drumming community? Of course, I am talking about the ongoing debate between traditional grip vs. matched grip! Before you tally up a list of pros and cons for either side, let’s take a look at the history behind each grip, so that we can have a better understanding of why we hold the sticks and/or mallets the way we do. Read More

Singing Techniques: How to Sing from Your Diaphragm

In our latest video, Ayo highlights the many differences between breathing from your chest and your diaphragm. Breath control is possibly the most important skill for singers to learn, which is why this lesson will serve as a great refresher for intermediate singers and an essential introduction for those of you just starting out. Tune in and follow along for three simple exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine. Read More

The Secret to Learning a Song Faster

There are thousands of three-chord songs in almost every style of popular music. Often, these three chords form a progression that musicians refer to as I-IV-V (pronounced "one-four-five"). When you learn to recognize I-IV-V chord changes in songs, you'll be able to figure out lots of songs easily and memorize them faster. Read More

Pharrell, Taylor Swift, and U2 sign DMCA petition

Some of the biggest recording artists in the world have come together to sign a petition, calling on congress to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Paul McCartney, Pharrell, Jack White, Trent Reznor, and many more have expressed concern that a new generation of creators won’t be able to earn a living with outdated laws like the DMCA in place. Read More

The Reverb Lessons Team - Reverb Lessons
The Reverb Lessons Team

How to Ace an Audition

Auditions are probably the most nerve-wracking situations in a performer’s career. However, there are ways to make them a lot less scary for yourself! Here are some tips on how to prepare for and present yourself in an audition. Read More

Effective Practice: The Say and Play Method

Many of us are short on spare time these days. Finding the time to practice our instruments can be difficult. How do we maximize the quality of practice time that we do have? By employing disciplined and focused practice methods, we can make the most out of those precious minutes throughout the day. Read More

How to Use Rhyme Schemes in Your Songwriting

Many of us grew up listening to songs written centuries ago from many countries around the globe. These songs travelled an amazing distance, often by word of mouth and memory, and have had a significant impact on the way we compose and listen to music today. Read More

5 Amazing Benefits of Playing Piano

In case you haven’t already heard, learning an instrument is one of the best choices you can make for both your brain and quality of life. I may be biased because I’ve been playing and teaching piano for a very long time, but I believe that piano is the best instrument to start with. It provides instant gratification as well as a strong foundation for learning other instruments. If these aren’t reason enough, read on and see if I can’t convince you! Read More

Twitter Invests $70 Million into Soundcloud

Earlier this year, Soundcloud released an official report indicating that their revenues did not match the amount being spent on the site, despite drawing 175 million monthly users. This led to speculation that the popular streaming service was heading towards bankruptcy. Since 2007, Soundcloud has been a powerful tool for independent artists to promote their music, and so this news came as a surprise to many in the music community. Read More

The Reverb Lessons Team - Reverb Lessons
The Reverb Lessons Team

3 Effective Breathing Exercises for Singing

You’ve gotten tickets to see your absolute favorite pop star in concert! But when she opens her mouth, her voice is … not quite what you’re used to hearing on your headphones. It may sound weaker and off-key, and not the strong clear sound you’ve come to associate with her. Read More

Google’s Latest Project: Teaching Your Computer to Write Songs

Google recently announced the launch of “Magenta”, a new research project that aims to have coders and musicians pioneering new technologies through open-source code. Although Google doesn’t yet know what role it will play in music-creation, they are excited about the possibilities it opens up, as well as the democratic nature of the project. Read More

The Reverb Lessons Team - Reverb Lessons
The Reverb Lessons Team

How to Get the Most Out of Your First Guitar Lessons

Everyone who plays an instrument can benefit from formalized study. The best of the best still spend every day trying to get better. Every legendary athlete you’ve ever heard of had a coach. Every genius who made the world a better place had at least one teacher. Your journey on the guitar can always use a new guide! Read More

The Best Way to Learn a Song on Guitar by Ear

The feeling of accomplishment you get when you've figured out a tune by ear is amazing! It helps you play more efficiently with other musicians and saves rehearsal time because you won't need to depend on your band mates to show you every chord. Plus the drummer won't get bored. Read More

5 Simple Steps to Begin Reading Music

Do you find yourself looking at sheet music and wondering what in the world all the little dots mean? Has your music learning mostly consisted of listening carefully then trying to repeat what you’ve heard? Are you just starting an instrument and wanting to get a head start on reading music? Read More

One of the Most Overlooked Techniques of Bass Guitar: Playing Chords

One technique we bass players sometimes overlook is playing chords. Of course, we play arpeggiated chords all the time, playing through the notes of a chord one after another, but we tend to think of simultaneous notes, called “block chords,” as being the guitar player or keyboard player's business. A quick look around shows that's actually a misconception, and it's possible — and fun — for the bass player to get a little more chordal every once in a while. Read More

The Many Benefits of Learning to Read Music

In my drumming career of almost 20 years, I've come across a number of discussions regarding whether or not it’s necessary to learn how to read music. Perhaps this comes up so often with me because so many drummers opt to learn the instrument without making a legitimate effort to tackle the often-dry subject of music theory. I’m not saying you need to read music to learn the drums – in fact, there are many exceptional drummers out there who can’t read a note, but have advanced to where they are because they have other qualities and skills that make up for what they lack. I’ll also add that while I am talking about drummers, this subject applies to virtually any musician or vocalist for that matter. Let me illustrate. Read More

Essential Country Techniques for Rock Guitarists

Country guitar styles and techniques have a long and storied relationship with rock. From the early rockabilly of the 1950s, to the twang influenced sounds on The Byrds and The Band records of the ‘60s, ‘70s Southern rock and alt-country of the ‘90s, the connections have always been there. But what if you’re a hardcore rocker and this country stuff is all new to you? Where do you begin? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this lesson, we’ll discuss the essential elements that define country music and cite their influence on rock. Read More

5 Easy Tech Tips for Better Practice

Consumer technology has contributed to a faster pace of living, making it increasingly difficult to fit in longer practices. Luckily, musicians can use smartphones, APPS, computers and the internet to make the most of their limited time. Read More

3 Easy Steps To Mastering Chord Changes

Oh the frustration! How do I switch chords faster? What's the secret? This is the one thing that frustrates most students in the early stages and discourages them from playing and practicing. As a full time teacher, I hear this question all the time and specialize in helping people strum within the first 2-4 lessons. Below, I’ll introduce concepts for developing muscle memory and making chord connections that I use with my students. Read More

Vocal Legato: How to Sing with a Smooth Well-Balanced Sound

Many instrumentalists are familiar with the word “legato,” but if you aren’t, it’s an important concept to familiarize yourself with. Legato is a musical term, meaning a connection or a continuous flow of tone without any breaks between the notes. The result of legato singing is a smooth, well-balanced sound and all singers strive for this effortless sound, no matter the style of music. Legato singing is healthy singing, and to achieve this we have to take a look at our diction and use of vowels. Read More

The Healthy Singer

As a singer, have you ever thought how nice it is that we don't have to worry about buying an expensive instrument, having it stolen, losing it or transporting it from gig to gig? Ok, so we are lucky in that regard, however, as singers we have a number of obstacles to overcome. Daily ailments such as heat, congestion, illness, cocktail parties, digestion, headaches, toothaches, fatigue, can all be debilitating for our instrument. The singing instrument is dependent on the condition of our physical bodies on that particular day. For that reason, singers, more so than any other musician, have to take particularly good care of their bodies. We have to be “smart” singers in that we know when our body has had enough, and how to prevent common vocal issues. Read More

How to Memorize New Chords

Students, and even band members, frequently ask me how I manage to memorize new music so easily. While I have to admit that memorizing is one of the few things I have a natural inclination for (everything else came from long hours of practice and tenacity), that so-called “natural ability” has been serviced and greatly enhanced by a few techniques I have learned, developed with students, and modified to my own personal tastes, over a period of many years. Read More

How To Capture Your Audience With More Than A Great Vocal

Make no mistake. A great sounding vocal definitely earns you points in this business. No one can deny raw talent, and I’d beg to say most music lovers would prefer to hear someone who can genuinely sing, to someone who uses voice-enhancing software. But, being a successful performing artist in today’s competitive climate takes more than just a rock’n vocal. It takes the coupling of several factors. In this article, we will unpack some useful tools that will help you achieve a lasting impression on stage while maximizing the impact of your performance. Read More

Practice with Metronomes and Backing Tracks

This entry will focus on your best friend and worst enemy in your musical life: the metronome. Practicing with a metronome will make you a much better musician, but it will break you down along the way. Some pieces of music you feel like you know perfectly will get torn to shreds with the metronome, because melody doesn't mean a thing without the rhythm. So if you are new to practicing with a metronome, get ready to have your ego bruised a bit. Don't worry, though; your ego is the main obstacle holding you back from becoming an even better musician, so it'll be good to get bruised a bit. Read More

Fingerstyle Guitar Basics 101

Next time you discover that your pick has sprouted legs and walked away, don't fret, no pun intended. We have built-in plectrums: our fingers! Classical and jazz guitar, rock ballads, flamenco and country music all utilize the fingers of the right hand (opposite for lefties) to create rich, melodic and harmonic textures. If you've never tried to play fingerstyle guitar, here are a few tips and exercises. Read More

Blues Guitar and the Major Pentatonic Scale

In my last blues guitar article, I explained how the minor pentatonic scale is used to play one of the most commonly heard guitar riffs in the blues genre. In comparison to the minor version, just as many guitar riffs in the blues genre, if not more, are derived from the major version of the pentatonic scale. Similar to the last article, we’ll first explore the major pentatonic scale from a music theory perspective. Then we’ll learn how to play the scale and apply it to a common blues riff. Read More

5 Steps to a More Effective Vocal Practice

Practicing singing is a bit trickier than other instruments. Many students find that they make the most progress during one-on-one time with their voice teacher, and when practicing on their own, they get frustrated that they are not able to recreate all the progress that they made at the lesson. Read More

Learn to Play: Seventh Chord Arpeggios

In the second installment of our Learn to Play arpeggiation lesson, Joe teaches us the difference between major, minor, and dominant seventh chords, and shows us how to practice these arpeggios. Then we check out some examples of seventh chord arpeggiation in popular music, like in “Pretty Woman” and Chet Atkins’ “Mr. Sandman.” Read More

The Reverb Lessons Team - Reverb Lessons
The Reverb Lessons Team

How to Read Guitar Tabs

Learning to read guitar tablature is a great way to learn your favorite songs without having to spend hours learning to read music. Don’t get me wrong, learning to read sheet music is a valuable skill, but it can take years to master. With tabs, you can start learning your favorite songs within minutes. Read More

Jazz Piano Basics: An Introduction to Improvisation

When comparing classical and jazz forms, many people consider classical music to be composed and recreated, and jazz to be improvised and spontaneous music. However, it may be more helpful to think of "composition" as step-time improvisation and "improvisation" as real-time composition. Read More

Blending Lyrics and Song

We’ve often heard that music is the universal language, and I think that’s true. Music can tell stories without a single spoken word. Think of the sweeping film scores that have left you on the edge of your seat, songs on the radio that just beg for a sing-along from you and your friends, lyrics that hit you in just the right way at just the right time; this is the power of music. Read More

Learn to Play: Major and Minor Arpeggios on Guitar

You may have heard of “arpeggios" before, but do you know how much they can improve your playing ability and understanding of your instrument? Here's why it's worth incorporating arpeggios into your practice routine. Read More

The Reverb Lessons Team - Reverb Lessons
The Reverb Lessons Team

6 Steps to Create an Ideal Practice Environment

Your practice space and time are important, so minimizing setup time and eliminating distractions are both crucial parts of keeping you at your most productive. And to make it even more challenging, it seems someone will call, the doorbell will ring, or that deadline you have to make will demand your attention just as you're getting ready to sit down and hammer out that solo you've been wanting to nail. Read More

The Reverb Lessons Team - Reverb Lessons
The Reverb Lessons Team

Taking Proper Care of Your Instrument

Whether you play drums, guitar, keyboards, or anything else, proper care and treatment of your instrument are important. Modern instruments are designed and built to last for years upon years, but there are a few things you can do to help maximize their lifespan and playability. Read More

The Reverb Lessons Team - Reverb Lessons
The Reverb Lessons Team

Songwriting Tips, Tricks and Techniques

How to write a great song is one of music's greatest mysteries. Even with the greatest technical and theoretical abilities, you never can tell which melodies and hooks are going to stick in other people's heads. However, that's no reason not to try. Read More

3 Misconceptions that Affect Your Singing

Whether it's at a campfire or a holiday sing-a-long, nearly everyone wants to sing better. This nearly universal desire has led to a lot of misinformation about the basic mechanics of singing and some less-than-stellar results for many of us. Read More

Dos and Don’ts of Taking Care of Your Vocal Chords

You spend hours a day practicing those screaming guitar licks, making sure every bend, slide, and pinch harmonic is just right. You rehearse with your bassist and drummer, making sure that everything lines up perfectly. Then you decide to add the vocals. You start screaming at the top of your lungs, rocking out, having a great time, only to realize that 15 minutes into your rehearsal, your voice feels tired. Read More

The Reverb Lessons Team - Reverb Lessons
The Reverb Lessons Team

Setting Up Your Practice Routine

Looking to ace an audition or head into the studio? Or maybe you're feeling frustrated and stuck on a plateau. In any case, one of the best ways to improve your musical game is to create and commit to a more structured practice routine. Read More

The Reverb Lessons Team - Reverb Lessons
The Reverb Lessons Team

Blues Guitar and the Minor Pentatonic Scale

The minor pentatonic scale is one of the easiest scales for beginners to learn and memorize on the guitar. It's also one of the most commonly used scales in almost all musical styles, and this is especially true of blues music. The vast majority of blues riffs and melodic content in the blues style are derived from the minor and major pentatonic scales. For these reasons, it's important to learn and memorize the minor pentatonic scale as soon as possible. Once the scale is memorized, a beginning guitarist will then be able to begin mastering some of the most frequently used riffs and melodic ideas played in the blues style. Read More

A Guide to Teaching a Killer First Lesson

For many musicians, teaching lessons is the key to financial stability while composing super double vinyl masterpieces and taking breaks between multiple world tours (or local coffee shop gigs). We take as much pride in our students as we do our shows, honing our craft because we remember how much our musical mentors shaped our lives. Read More

How To Stay Musically Inspired

I got my first guitar in September of 1984 for my thirteenth birthday. I wanted to be Angus Young of AC/DC. In fact, for the first ten months of guitar ownership all I did was jump around my room pretending to play songs from Let There Be Rock and Powerage. I didn't know a C chord from a seashell. But finally, during the summer before ninth grade, a friend of mine showed me the chords for “Rock You Like a Hurricane" by Scorpions and that was all it took. Here I am 30 years later…and I still want to be Angus Young. Read More