Rehearsal Schedule for Performance Showcase

Please refer to the spreadsheet below to find your rehearsal time/s.

(Navigate dates using the tabs at the bottom)

Unfortunately with the number of people involved, it is not realistic to arrange rehearsal times to suit everybody.  If you absolutely cannot make it, it isn’t the end of the world, you have your backing track to prepare with.

All rehearsal sessions held at The Guitar Gym Indooroopilly studio, 4/100 Coonan St.  

Undercover parking is available, enter heading southbound on Coonan St (Bunnings complex).

Session List, 2022 Winter Performance Showcase

Please refer to this list to ensure your performance details are correct and you know which session to purchase tickets for. (Reminder: performers also need a ticket)

There is one session Friday evening August 5th.

There are 4 sessions on Saturday August 6th, as indicated by Session 1 (Yellow), 2 (Blue), 3 (Red), 4 (Green).

If you are performing in more than 1 Saturday session, please purchase your tickets for the earlier session only, and we will provide you with a ticket for the second session you are in.

FRIDAY SESSION 7pm (tickets here)

To Her Door (Paul Kelly). Kahni Burrows,  Julia Harvey,  Bill Harper, Michael Sticklen,  Chris Dalgleish, Michael Doherty, Glenn Steele, Renzo Cinello.

Born To Be Wild (Steppenwolf). Patrick Mcdermott, Keith Rowell, Grant Sloggett, Callan Jones, Anthony Simmers, Alistair Maloy, Brent Knack.

Don’t Stop Me Now (Queen). Suzanne Warner, Nora Gao, Dominic Vandersee, Zeke Aleman, Joseph Noble, Russell Griffiths, Nicola Pease, Tim Andrew.

Watch Over You (Alter Bridge). Tom Hurwood, Grant Sloggett, Thomas Conroy, Jake Turner, Liam Constable, Stuart Wright.

Dani California (Red Hot Chili Peppers). Ewan Jerrard, Tyler Brinkhoff, Sabrina Wu, Zeke Aleman, Tom Hurwood, Peter Silvester, Steven Smelt.

Moving To New York (The Wombats).  Jimmy Metral, Andrew Vallino, Chris Fadden, Peter Madsen, Ben Horsley, Joseph Noble.

My Immortal (Evanescence). Aneka Breakey, Vanessa Moore, Yvette Scott, Dan Edwards, Sandy Chun, Luke Excell.

A Man Without Love (Englebert Humperdinck). Alexander Sartori, Liam Farmer, Don Munro, Sarah Stutchbury, Paula White, Ron Shuard.

Do I Wanna Know (Arctic Monkeys). Hu Bo, Rachel Stevens, Joshua Doan, Juhi Malhotra, Adam Mason, Elliott Carter, Solal Chauquet.

Tame Impala (The Less I Know The Better). Beau Chapman, Bridget Bakos, Alex Budden, Matthew White, Zachary Galletly, Marinho Isabella Merola, Joshua Doan.

Closer (The Chainsmokers). Kay Shim, Tina Macht, Maeve Carter, Rory Bateman.

You’re So Vain (Carly Simon). Cherie Van Wensveen, Andrew Vallino, Chris Fadden, Frank Mccready, Jane Wolhuter, Vikki Hartog, Peter Madsen, Peta Stilgoe.

Dreams (Fleetwood Mac). Cherie Van Wensveen, Natalie Law, Andrew Carkeet, Jennifer Thomas, Samuel Forbes, Philip Nowell, Peta Stilgoe.

Love Me Like A Man (Bonnie Raitt). Julie Cavanagh, Keith Rowell, Aaron Snoswell, Barry Meadowcroft, Caroline Hylands, Grant Croft.

Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Weezer). Michael Boatfield, Lj Siu, Geraldine Murphy, Alex Ash, Patrick Bortolanza, Fred Pearson, Damian Gould.

Bring Me To Life (Evanescence). Kari Mcgregor, Tyler Brinkhoff, Alex Budden, Trent Neindorf, Raima Reza, Greg Underwood.

The Scientist (Coldplay). Keith Armstrong, Andrew Vallino, Amelia Black, Chris Fadden, Peter Madsen, Wayne Black, Nicholas Howe.

I Don’t Wanna Be You Anymore (Billie Eilish). Madison Fowler, Bridget Bakos, Yi Ran Sun, Jake Turner, Zachary Galletly.

At Last (Etta James). Clarissa Dharmaseta, Keith Rowell, Thomas Conroy, Peter Gehrke, Elliott Carter.

Willow (Taylor Swift). Jenny Day, Julia Harvey, Kahni Burrows, Jennifer Thomas.

SATURDAY SESSION 1 (YELLOW), 10am (tickets here)

Last Nite (The Strokes). Holly Hyde, Joshua Hameiri, Aimee Wigan, Jack Horscroft, James Wigan, Meg Cox, Alexis Chaffey, Jed Forsythe, Rata Salehi.

Believer (Imagine Dragons). Virat Kumar, Angus Fairley, Ada Luo, Aadvika Govarthanan.

Price Tag (Jessie J). Ada Luo, Ava Lanigan, Tripp Hesketh, Marco Waite, Thea De Silva, Felix Wade, Adeline Ford.

Good 4 U (Olivia Rodrigo) Ishika Digumarti, Mackenzie Guyatt, Rosha Hoseinabad, Charli Mccrae, Arlen Norris, Harrison Pickett, Archie Mcconnell, Leo Gaidarenko, Talea Cubela, Holly Hyde.

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams (Greenday). Griffin Martin-Cooper, Oliver Barclay, Caleb Fuller, Ferran Kairan, Owen Slattery, Ryan Ghafoori.

Radioactive (Imagine Dragons). Virat Kumar, Rohan Clark, Tommy May, Ewan Clark, Felix Bishell, Daniel Plakhov, Tyler Oakley.

Thunder (Imagine Dragons). Aadvika Govarbhanan, Ben Hall, James O’Brien, Alice Hall, Leo Di-Losa, Fern Tofts, Mahan Akbari.

Count On Me (Bruno Mars). Ava Czako, Abraham Muller, Lancelot Lan, Aadvika Govarthanan.

Talking To The Moon (Bruno Mars). Keeley Cox, Chelsea Bazyar, Emily Archer, Anissa Gadsby, Theo Hameiri, Paige Sciacca, Calum Duncan.

Firework (Katy Perry). Emily Grant, Gabriel Chan, Penelope Fidler, Layne Auer, Alexandra Henderson, Shaambhavi Modak.

A Sky Full Of Stars (Coldplay). Ella Han, Luke Meggiorin, Henley Lockyer, Edson Arthur, Tiffany Gaskell, Francis Piccini.

Traitor (Olivia Rodrigo). Ishika Digumarti, An Nguyen, Ryan Akbari.

SATURDAY SESSION 2 (BLUE), 12pm (tickets here)

Cover Me In Sunshine (Pink). Amelia Alphonso, Eddie Qi, Tianyou Mao, Elizabeth Wheeley, Andre Dua.

Dream A Little Dream Of Me (Mamas And Papas). Bianca Musumeci, Nurein Samsuri, Elizabeth Wheeley.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot (Pat Benatar). Celine Arnold, Muchuan Yan, Seraphim Ivanova, Sam Wheeley, Jamie Pruce, Ruben Mcquarrie.

Roar (Katy Perry). Sophia Chen, Hoorvi Kaur, Amiya Joshi, James Cottrell, Uday Rethinam.

Geronimo (Sheppard). Ruby Lim, Sebastian Vuong, Aaradhya Singh, Leonard Kallquist.

Believer (Imagine Dragons). Bailey Gunton, Sophia Chen, Reuben Copley, Hugo Bell, Spencer Gooden, Rohan Prentice, Olivia Rowswell, Aden Jordan.

Butter (Bts). Talia Sil-Kumar, Arlo Hargreaves, Marco Torres, Sam Wheeley, Dain Park.

We Don’t Talk About Bruno (Encanto). Ruby Lim, Erica Willimot, Liam Sweeney, Sam Wheeley, Diya Rakesh, Archie Loveland, Yuna Lee, Amy Davidson.

Mr Perfectly Fine (Taylor Swift). Marieta Meyn, Felix Ross-Hagebaum, Sam Wheeley, Niamh Hodgkinson, Summer Langguth, Adrian Kennedy-Clark.

Yellow (Coldplay). Amy Davidson, Gabriel White, Sam Wheeley, Sophie Petersen, Clyde Day, Lewis Vu.

Faded (Alan Walker). Saanvi Joglekar, Sophie Allen, Ezekiel Almendras, Oli Dubois, George Robertson, Edward Perpich, Ollie Elliott.

The Pretender (Foo Fighters). Luke Meyn, Isabella Reynolds, John Haughton, Luis Torres, Benjamin Taylor, Sam Tsonis, Luka Davis.

The Diary Of Jane (Breaking Benjamin). Erica Willimot, Nate Huntress, Harry Wardale, Hannah Lilehkoohi.

SATURDAY SESSION 3 (RED), 2pm (tickets here)

Shake Me Down (Cage The Elephant). Enye Power, Becky Sauer, Leanna Yue, Annika Adib Maeve Power, Otto To, Eden Matthews, Boom Taksinpruk.

One Call Away (Charlei Puth). Eden Veivers, Finn Ainsworth, Olivia Kemp, Elizabeth Wheeley, Agatshay Saini, Dissanayake Amiru Chetwin, Nathan Barth.

House Of The Rising Sun (Haley Reinhart). Andrea Betarani Vincita, Martina Tuckett, Elizabeth Wheeley, Greg Manwaring, Mariia Svistunova, Millie Maloney-Repar, Matthew Kelly.

Traitor (Olivia Rodrigo). Paige Liddelow, Summer Antonio-Tran, Sophie Thompson, Ivy Strelow, Elizabeth Wheeley, Jayden Thomas, Phoebe Evison, Heath Beatson.

Don’t Stop Me Now (Queen). Andrea Betarani Vincita, James Rylance, Monica Atterton-Evans, Elizabeth Wheeley, Peter Gehrke.

Fluorescent Adolescent (Arctic Monkeys). Will Potter, Meg Henzell, James Thelen, Ben Streeton, Luca Galluzzo.

Bad Habits (Ed Sheeran). Ella Veivers, Charlotte Rowell, Imyah Gajanayake, Saksham Sehgal, Niall Kongahage, Thomas Bolster, Sam Thompson, Barbara Froget Penaranda.

I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor Swift). Rida Kang, Isabelle Krishnamoorthy, Zara Mckinnon, Eva Memon, James Thelen, Daniel Moran, Amber York, Kisara Hendahewa, Eden Veivers.

Rolling In The Deep (Adele). Lilli Jones, Julian Engelstaedter, Arissa Memon, Elizabeth Wheeley, Aanya Ghosh, Kasper Stam, Henry Deveney, Chris Deveney, Isla Morley.

Come As You Are (Nirvana). Chloe Collard, Mila Cowley, Ella Daniels-Gillen, Riya Kollambalath, James Thelen, Sam Bulgarelli, Tom Mcconnell, Noah Cowley.

Rumour Has It. Mila Cowley, Will Potter, Oliver Underwood, Dylan Williams, Elizabeth Wheeley, Max Roberts, Alex Colarelli, Rida Kang, Barbara Froget Penaranda.

I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor (Arctic Monkeys). Will Potter, Ryan Purdy, James Thelen, Ben Streeton.

Fighter (Christina Aguilera). Ciara O’Sullivan, Madeleine Collard, Elizabeth Wheeley, Nelson Ross, Ronan Avella, Finlay Ross.

Sweater Weather (The Neighbourhood). Maeve Power, Damsarani Gamalath, Annika Adib.

SATURDAY SESSION 4 (GREEN), 4pm (tickets here)


I Want To Break Free (Queen). Coco Nielsen, Caiden Volz, Carolina Voinea, Brody Huckin, Miguel Borges, Liam Mccarthy.

Still Into You (Paramore). Chace Pascoe, Luka Franks, Georgia Neville, Eshaan Gupta, Jacob Humphrey, Zan Mohd Hazlan.

You Belong With Me (Taylor Swift). Kirra Radway, Eve Wilkinson, Alexander Nguyen, Olivia Yuen, Charlie Fisher, Finley Mcdonagh.

Demons (Imagine Dragons). Bryan Li, Ricky Klonowski, Luka Rijkhoff, Sean Mccusker, Xaver Torrington.

Stitches (Shawn Mendes). Madalyn Jancik, Cormack Mccusker, Jaina Cheng, Jess Huang, Luca Supurmaniam, Josie Hughes, Aby Anoop, Newton Yiu.

Grenade (Bruno Mars). Chloe Perrett, Eve Wilkinson, Lachlan Sartori, Vibodh Sris, Alexander Burton, Lucah Fox-Cashin, Finley Mcdonagh, Chloe Perrett.

Let Her Go (Passenger). Eva Wan, Malia Albert, Nasi Kosanovic, Siyana Murphy, Jess Huang, Eva Wan, Sovin Shin, Alexander Nguyen.

Happier (Olivia Rodrigo). Malia Albert, Charlotte Hedditch, Phuc-Khiem Nguyen, Tharuki Waththegama, Malia Albert, Emily Hawkins.

Do I Wanna Know (Arctic Monkeys). Parmida Darouei, Angelo Climacosa, Carolina Voinea, Charlie Fisher, Alex Hamilton, Anakin Hill, Finn Franks.

Imagine Dragons (Radioactive). Elora Volz, Madhav Parameshwar, Alex Li, Jess Huang, Judah Moore, Eli Wills, Harry Christian, Abigail Hedditch.

Good 4 U (Olivia Rodrigo). Elora Volz, Niana Volz, Nikhil Narayan, Holly Landers, Jess Huang, Sarah Harris, Lani Slynko, Arvin Sevakumar, Viren Sevakumar.

Another One Bites The Dust (Queen). Cooper Collins, Vibodh Sris, Jess Huang, Benji Christian, Kiran Mccray, Jacob Mccray.

Don’t Look Back In Anger (Oasis). Jess Huang, Angus Macpherson, Abigail Johnson, Angela Johnson, Tim Johnson.

Dark Necessities (Red Hot Chili Peppers). Chace Pascoe, Elliot Maher, Roman Sakzewski, Zan Mohd Hazlan, Jacob Humphrey, Eshaan Gupta.

Performance Showcase Information. Must Read!

Everything you need to know about our upcoming Performance Showcase is below!

Register HERE (Registration is closed)

Rehearsal Schedule is HERE 

Session List is HERE (Refer to this to ensure you are purchasing tickets for the correct session!)

Tickets

A reminder that performers also require a ticket so please include them when booking.

For Friday Tickets HERE

For Saturday Tickets HERE 


EVENT DETAILS

When

Friday evening August 5th.

Doors 7pm for a 7:30pm start. Approximate finish time 10:00pm.

Saturday August 6th.

Session 1 (YELLOW)

Doors 9:30am for a 10am start.

Session 2 (BLUE)

Doors 11:30 for a 12:00pm start.

Session 3 (RED)

Doors 1:30pm for 2pm start.

Session 4 (GREEN)

Doors 3:30pm for 4pm start. Concludes approximately 5:30pm.

Where
The Judith Wright Centre For Contemporary Arts
420 Brunswick St (Cnr Berwick St)
Fortitude Valley

Parking
Find parking and transport information here .

We would highly recommend taking public transport if practical to do so.

Brunswick Street Train Station is a short walk to the venue.


TICKETING INFORMATION

  • Tickets will go on sale July 11th at TryBooking.com.
  • Purchase tickets at the links below.

FRIDAY SESSION https://www.trybooking.com/CAOBB

SATURDAY SESSIONS https://www.trybooking.com/CAOCL

  • Sessions are separately ticketed with allocated seating.  Refer to the Session List so you know which session to purchase tickets for.  PERFORMERS REQUIRE A TICKET.  Note: If you are performing in more than 1 session on the Saturday, purchase tickets only for the 1st session you/your family are performing in.  Then, contact us to advise the number of complimentary tickets you need for any subsequent sessions you are performing in.  If you wish to perform both Friday and Saturday, you will need to purchase tickets for both days.
  • The venue requires all guests including performers to have a ticket.  As performers form part of the audience when not on stage, they require a ticket.
  • If you have a child under 6, while admission is free, a complimentary ticket is required.
  • PLEASE PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE as early as you can. We rely on accurate estimates of attendees provided at registration when planning sessions, however there is a risk sessions will over sell. Tickets are NOT available on the day from the venue.

Ticket prices are:

Tickets must be purchased for performers too!

Cabaret Table Reserved – 4 people (Friday show only): $100 per table

Cabaret Table Single Seat (Friday show only): $29

Single Ticket: $19

Child (5 & under): FREE, ticket still required.


ON THE DAY

We appreciate your cooperation to help us make the event run as smoothly as possible on the day.  Please arrive on time for doors in the session you are playing. Guests, including performers, will not be permitted to enter the auditorium prior to doors.  We are busy until this time with set up and sound check.  Upon entering the performance space, performers are to place their instruments to the side of the stage as directed by staff and immediately find their seat in the audience.  If performers wish to warm up they should do so at home as there will be no opportunity for this on the day.  Latecomers will only be admitted in between acts.  Please respect the instructions given by the ushers.

Performers will be called to the side of the stage a few acts in advance.  When called, please move promptly to the designated area, remain silent and follow directions given by staff.  Once your performance is finished, absorb your applause and immediately return to your seat in the audience.

A substantial and encouraging audience is critical to the performers’ positive experience at the event, so we do appreciate that you stay for the duration of the session and help create the atmosphere we strive for.  While we prefer that people stay for the duration of a session, we appreciate it is not always possible with small children who can become distressed.  If you choose to leave before the end of a session, please do so only between acts so as not to disturb the performance.


GENERAL FAQs

Which session am I playing in?  You will receive a copy of the program when it is finalised, which should be by early July.  You will see which session you are in by referring to the program.

Can I request a particular session?

NO

We are not able to grant requests to perform in one session or another.  Not because we don’t want to, but because it’s an added variable that literally creates impossible situations. The logistics of organising sessions are complex enough as it is!  If you have registered, it is assumed you have made yourself available for the day without restriction.

Can I perform in more than 1 act?

Bass players, drummers and pianists, might be invited to be in more than one act to complete a band.  Anyone wishing to perform in more than 1 act may be required for multiple sessions in which case we will arrange your complimentary tickets for any additional sessions to your primary performance.

What time am I playing?  We cannot answer this question, and it isn’t relevant.  You should arrive in time for DOORS for your allocated session.

Do performers need to purchase a ticket?  YES.  This is because a) it’s allocated seating and they need one as they will be in the audience when not performing; and b) it is fairer this way and it keeps overall ticket prices down.  In previous years, many performers did not bring guests and therefore did not help to contribute to the cost of the event yet benefitted from participating in it. Ticket revenue merely subsidises the event to make it possible. This event costs money, it doesn’t make money. Thank you to our clients who appreciate the massive amount of work and expense that goes into organising this event to benefit them, it is our pleasure.

Is it ok if I am late?  Please try to arrive on time for doors.  Admitting guests into the performance space during the show is disruptive and discourteous to performers.  You also risk missing your performance entirely.

What do I need to bring?  Guitarists:  Only your guitar.  Please ensure it is in tune.  Parents of young children with generic nylon string guitars please note that we normally arrange for enough identical guitars to be at the venue for use.  This saves us needing to tune a large number of instruments.  A staff member will be off stage to tune instruments for children.

Pianists:  Only your sheet music if you need it.  Better that you can perform a piece from memory though.

Drummers: Sticks

Can I bring my own amp and effects?  No.  Ensure you discuss effects needs with your teacher in your lessons.  There will be basic effects provided.

Are there rehearsals?  Yes, but only for those that need them.  Typically, rehearsals occur on the weekends leading up to the main event.  You will receive details about your rehearsal at the earliest possible time. Rehearsals are not charged for.

What is my child playing?  Please speak to the teacher.  In the months leading up to the concert we co-ordinate a spreadsheet of repertoire and who is playing what.  Until registrations close we cannot finalise the programme, however your child should have selected or been assigned a piece by October.

Media Release.  Our media release is in place as we cannot possibly prevent members of the audience from taking photos or video on the day.  However, if you do not wish to have images of you or your child used by us on the website or for other advertising means please just let us know!

Important Dates

Friday May 20 or before – Registration Opens

Friday, June 3 – Registration Closes. LATE REGISTRATIONS NOT ACCEPTED. Places for some instruments, particularly vocals, will book out prior to closure.

Period June 3 to mid June.  Band groupings and song selection (the part where we really start to lose our hair!)

Saturdays and Sundays July 23, 24 and July 30, 31 – Rehearsals

Monday July 11th – Tickets go on sale

Friday August 5 and Saturday August 6 – PERFORMANCE

Finger Isolation Exercises For Guitar

Male guitarist does a finger isolation exercise

Finger isolation exercises are a staple when it comes to guitar practice, especially here at The Guitar Gym.

  

These exercises are best used as a regular drill or warm-up. The primary benefits of these exercises are:

Increased coordination and brain/hand communication

After doing these exercises every day for a few weeks, you will notice a significant change in the responsiveness of your fingers. This applies to chord shapes, difficult phrases, playing speed and muscle memory improvements.

Improved flexibility and functionality

Flexibility is the main inhibitor of what is or isn’t possible on the guitar, by doing these exercises you will expand your ability to play difficult chord shapes and melodic runs that span over several frets.

The exercises featured in this video are a more challenging take on the traditional finger per fret exercise. If you are reading this article, you are likely looking for the best improvement for your time spent with your guitar. 

I would like to invite you to take part in a two-week finger per fret program with me and see the results for yourself.

I have listed below a set of instructions/guidelines to follow in order to get the most out of this two-week challenge, but also generally in your practice.

  • First, watch the video above
  • Download the Tab for the exercises
  • Set a timer for five minutes, go through the exercises in the tab until the timer runs out
  • Do this two times a day for two weeks
  • For those with Guitar Pro, feel free to start at 50% speed and advance each day over the two-weeks
  • For those without Guitar Pro, start slowly at your own discretion and only speed up when comfortable
  • Remember, the goal is to control each finger as it moves, playing this fast is NOT the goal but will help with improvement
  • Make sure you play non-stop for the entire five minutes – it will feel like a long time while you are doing the exercise

Download the Tab below and get started:

Online Lesson Help

Please watch this video to ensure you get the most out of your online lessons using Skype and our Member Zone website.

Scale Permutations For Guitar

A scale permutation (sometimes called a “sequence”) is one of several possible ways in which a scale can be ordered or arranged.

Before applying a permutation to a scale, you first have to learn your scale well enough and be able to play all the right notes and be creative enough to play the correct notes in various patterns/shapes/arrangements.

I find the easiest way to think about permutations is to separate them into two categories, Grouping and Skipping. While in the Scale Permutations video we only touched on one example of each of these types, the combinations are in fact limitless. If you truly want to go deeper into learning and discovering all the wonderful ways to play a scale that you can possibly imagine, then I recommend you try the following:

Learn groupings of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 throughout a scale of your choice, if you have nowhere to start on this, you can use the G major scale shown in the Scale Permutations video, then learn interval skipping permutations of a 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th.

Let’s assume you can do all of these options relatively fluently. The real magic begins when you start to combine these options together. I’ve listed below a few ideas and filters you can use when experimenting with these permutations, remember you are only limited in this exercise by your own creativity and flexibility.

  • Pick a grouping and play ascending, then a different grouping for descending and vice versa, there are approximately 15 different combinations available here in total. You can do the same with skipping.
  • Try alternating between skipping and grouping in the same phrase. Skip ascending and group descending, try this with the same number at first and then start changing the number of notes in your groupings and skips.
  • Learn a scale on one string and try these same exercises on one string. This will improve your skill of position shifting and lead you towards areas of the fretboard you may never have played in.

Download the tab below and get started:

The Improviser’s Dilemma Series: Permutations Of The Pentatonic Scale Using String Skipping

GuitarImprovisationLessons

Linear Makeover: “why not try a perm(utation)?”

The first article in Brandon’s series “The Improviser’s Dilemma

GuitarImprovisationLessons

It’s a very common occurrence for guitar players to find themselves at a standstill with their current level of playing, whether it be linear, chordal or otherwise. You might find yourself unable to move forward because of a self-made belief that you need to learn more music theory or that the knowledge you currently have is boring and old. A good way to get around this feeling is by looking at the bits and bobs you do have and reimagining them through permutation and restrictive practices. At the end of the day, music is meant to feel good and enrich the creative parts of your being and the following examples can help you get back on track to a healthy and loving relationship with your instrument.

Improvising With The Pentatonic Scale

The pentatonic scale is an essential foundation to most, if not all, guitar players when they want to start improvising. After learning a few pentatonic shapes and boxes, most guitarists are thrilled with the idea of using them in a jam, whether it be jazzy, bluesy etc.


Fig. A A minor pentatonic scale

Figure A is a simple pentatonic box in the key of A minor, ascending then descending. After your fingers gain the necessary muscle memory to ascend and descend this shape, you might start experimenting with adding some bends, slides and other guitar-centric techniques for expressive embellishment purposes. But then what? What happens after you’ve resigned to the idea that pentatonic scales just aren’t doing it for you anymore? After you’ve exhausted yourself with pentatonics for a while, you might be thinking “this isn’t very interesting” or “man, my pentatonic scales sound boring” and, as the great B.B King said, “the thrill is gone.”

One thing you can do to make the pentatonic scale feel fresh is changing the way you would sequence it through permutation. Read on for a fresh perspective towards approaching your pentatonic scale!

Permutation Of The Pentatonic Scale Using String Skipping

A cool way to spice up your pentatonic shapes is by using string skipping. You can access sounds that are more angular through larger intervallic leaps made through this technique. Figure B is a simple example of this, playing the 6th and 4th string ( E+D), 5th and 3rd (A+G) 4th and 2nd (D+B) and 3rd and 1st (G+E). Doing these exercises ascending and descending can help to solidify this new way of playing pentatonics: 

String Skipping Ideas For Pentatonic Scales
Fig. B Example of string skipping through the pentatonic scale. Parts that use frets 5 and 8 (minor 3rd interval) are highlighted with blue, those which use 5 and 7 (Major 2nd interval) are highlighted yellow.

After you’ve familiarised yourself with this idea, you can start experimenting with the string skipping and coming up with your own patterns. Each string has their own fragment of the scale. The E strings and B play the wider intervallic fragments (minor 3rd), playing from the 5th fret to the 8th and vice versa. The remaining strings A, D, G play between the 5th and 7th frets (Major 2nd interval). You can easily think about these different parts as two different types of cells that make up the scale as a whole, as colour highlighted in Figure B.

Figure C shows an example you can mix up the string skipping exercise by playing a mix of ascending and descending intervals on different strings:

Example string skipping pentatonic
Fig. C  Example pentatonic scale using string skipping permutations

Now it’s time to hit the practice room and come up with some of your own string skipping permutations! In the next chapter of The Improviser’s Dilemma, we’ll show you how to make a simple 3 or 4 note line into endless linear materials for you to freshen up your improvisation vocabulary. Happy playing!

Thanks for reading. If you are interested in improving your improvisation, or your guitar playing in general, we’d love to help! Why not book a no obligation, free trial guitar lesson and see what our guitar lessons are like?

Dynamic Control For Guitar Players: Simple Steps To Becoming A Better Musician

dynamic control for guitar players

Dynamic control is a crucial skill for guitar players to possess, but it can often be overlooked. Dynamics refers to how loud or soft notes are played, but there can be much more to it than that. Strong dynamic control will allow you to have more engaging performances, and elevate the quality of the songs you play to a whole new level. Here’s some examples of things to think about when implementing dynamics.

dynamic control for guitar players
Dynamic control is a crucial skill for guitar players

Loud And Soft

The concept of loud and soft is fairly self explanatory, but how do you do it, and how do you implement it? A good exercise to start with, is to take a single note, and play it as softly as you can. To do this, gently brush the tip of your pick across the string. Then, start to gradually play louder, by more aggressively picking, and catching more of the string with your pick. Practice going louder and than softer again until you feel comfortable and in control. From there you can start to implement the same exercise but with chord strumming. If you play an electric guitar, you can use the volume knob on your guitar, and adjusting it between sections to change dynamics in conjunction with your picking technique.

Now that you have control over dynamics it’s time to start implementing that control. Typically dynamics are used to help differentiate different sections within a song. 

E.g. Verse: soft, Chorus: Loud, Final Chorus: VERY LOUD.

Try experimenting with this in the next song you learn.

Leave Yourself Room

Always consider what comes next and where the song needs to go in relation to dynamics. If you start playing super loud right from the first verse of the song then you will have no room to raise the dynamics in the chorus. You can only ever play so loud. There is a point where you can’t strum harder, amp wont go louder or you start to drown out the rest of your band. Save that point for the climax of the song, but how do you do that? 

Try pulling out a pen and paper, and writing out the structure of the song. Figure out what section in that structure you want to be the climax, and play that first, as loud as you can. From there work in reverse through the loudest to softest sections. This will ensure you never run out of headroom.

Leave Room For Your Bandmates

Listen to the rest of the band while your playing, take note of how loud or soft they are playing, and to play accordingly. This is especially important if you are new to the concept of dynamics and unsure of where to use what volume. 

E.g. You are playing rhythm guitar in a song with a band and another guitarist is taking a solo. You should in this case play relatively softly, so that the solo guitarist can be heard. 

Leaving room like this for your fellow musicians will make the music sound much better and also shows great respect. Nobody likes being played over the top of. Showing this kind of courtesy will encourage people to want to continue to play with you, and to do the same for you when it’s your turn to take the lead.

Don’t Be Afraid To Stop Playing

Dynamics isn’t just about your own playing, it’s about the whole band and what’s best for the song. Sometimes what’s best, can be to play nothing at all! By not playing anything in some sections of the song, the parts you do play have far more impact. 

E.g. You are playing in a band and a song you’re working on is sounding the same right the way through with few differences between section. You could try dropping out all together in one of the verses and come back in loud and strong in the chorus. 

The audience is more likely to take notice of, and appreciate your great guitar playing if it’s taken away in some sections, and the brought back again.

As you have probably figured out, dynamics comes largely from a mindset, rather than from practicing a technique. That means that you can improve your playing using dynamics, just by thinking about dynamics. If every time you’re practicing, rehearsing or performing you consider dynamics, you’ll start to develop far more interesting music than you have before. The key things to remember with all of these factors, is to maintain a balance between soft and loud. Without one you cannot have the other.

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Maximise Your Guitar Practice: The Metronome

maximise guitar practice using metronome

Metronome practice is one of the most effective methods for improving your playing quickly, especially for technical, high tempo pieces. Unfortunately, for many of us it can also be a tedious way to practice and as a result is often overlooked or not done properly. Use these tips to maximise your metronome practice so you can spend less time with a metronome and more playing the fun stuff.

maximise guitar practice using metronome

Go Slow To Go Fast

Learning songs at a very slow tempo is likely something that has been relentlessly drilled into you already, its especially important for metronome practice. Usually it is recommended that you should start your metronome far lower than you might think, as low as 50-60 bpm. By starting at a tempo this slow, you are forced to thoroughly understanding the rhythmic placement of each note in relation to the beat of the metronome. It is important to note that reducing the tempo much below 50-60bpm is not recommended. Slower than this makes it extremely difficult to keep time due to long pauses between each beat. 

Take Small Steps

Once you are able to play the song fluently at a very low tempo, you can start to increase it. This increase should be very small. You should only ever increase the tempo by 1-5bpm at a time. By making small changes like this, the increase in speed is barely noticeable, and you will be able to adapt to it more quickly and accurately. It may seem tempting to increase by 10-20bpm, but you will likely end up struggling to play accurately with that big of a change and have to reduce the tempo again anyway resulting in lost time, and developing bad habits/mistakes.

Be Accurate

It is extremely important while using a metronome to be as accurate as possible. Small mistakes at a slow tempo will become large mistakes at a fast tempo. To maintain accuracy you should never increase the speed until you can play a section perfectly at least 3 times in a row. You should be able to play at the current tempo relatively effortlessly before increasing the tempo.

Tips For When You Get Stuck

With almost anything you learn, you will inevitably encounter a tempo that you struggle to get past. E.g you are learning a technical shred solo and can’t quite get the last 15 bpm you need. Here’s some tricks to gain that last bit of speed.

  1. Temporarily boost the speed to far beyond what your capable (e.g. full tempo of the song) and attempt to keep up with it a handful of times before reducing the speed again. When you reduce the speed back to where you started, it will feel relatively very slow and more achievable. Use this trick sparingly as using it too much will result in sloppy playing.
  2. Don’t be afraid to take a break if your struggling. Go for a quick walk, watch tv for half an hour, come back the next day. Whatever you need to do to clear your head and try again. 
  3. Try breaking the practice up into small concentrated chunks. Try spending just 10 minutes of heavy focus on the part you’re stuck on, then do something else for 20. Come back and do another 10 minutes and repeat. You will find these small blocks of intense focus will yield better results than if you tried to bash away at it for hours on end.
  4. Drop the tempo back down and check for any small mistakes. Sometimes we can get stuck at a speed because we have progressed to fast and started making mistakes.

Practice Songs You Already Know With Metronome

The metronome isn’t just for learning new songs. It’s also a fantastic tool for keeping on top of what we have already learnt, particularly for technically challenging songs. You will find that even in songs you have know for years, sitting down with a metronome and practicing it slowly for a few minutes will dramatically improve how accurately you can play it.. 

Where Do You Get A Metronome

Luckily for you, you will already have access to a metronome through either a computer or mobile phone. Google has a built in free metronome app, all you have to do is search “metronome”. For practice that requires non-standard time signatures and subdivisions, there are many great mobile apps that offer these features for free. So there’s no excuse for not using one.

So next time you sit down to practise with a metronome, try using these tips to maximise your practice time. The better you are at using a metronome, the less time you’ll have to spend using it. You’ll become a much cleaner, more accurate and faster guitarist for it.

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