Reading Guitar Tablature

Tablature is a system of reading guitar music which is based on fret numbers as opposed to symbols on a staff.  As guitarists we have two options when it comes to reading music.  One is standard notation, which is essential for translating music to anyone who’s not a guitar or bass player, and the other is tablature.  There are many people who will disagree with me on this, but I feel that learning how to read tablature and rhythms is enough to get by for the casual guitarist.  However, if you want to begin to learn music theory, get into the realms of jazz or classical music or pursue music as a career, then it is essential that you learn how to read standard notation.

Introducing standard notation too early on can be a little boring for guitarists excited to start playing the music that they love, so I almost always start with teaching tablature (unless the music that they love happens to be jazz or classical).  Once you’re able to read tablature there are endless resources available to you on the internet and in transcription books to keep you busy for a long, long time.  The good news is that tablature is an incredibly simple system for translating guitar music.  Once you get the basics of reading tabs, you should find a teacher or a book that explains reading rhythms.  This is really important in comprehending more complex solo passages or strumming patterns, and is often overlooked by guitarists.

This is what a line of blank tablature looks like:


Continue reading to learn more about how to read tablature

The Beginner Guitarist

There are a lot of different reasons people decide to play an instrument.  As a child it’s usually because someone you look up to in your life plays music, your parents decide they want you to learn music, or maybe you just heard something that caught your interest, and you want to try to emulate it.  In my case it was all of the above.

Adults, however, end up picking up an instrument usually after years of regretting not learning one as a child, or simply because they’ve enjoyed listening to music for so long they want to take a crack at it themselves.  Regardless of why you may have decided to start playing music, the next step is deciding what instrument to play.  Guitar being one of the most popular instruments in contemporary music is the first choice for many.  The sounds of acoustic and electric guitar are everywhere: radio, TV, internet; and a lot of people start playing music because they’ve specifically fallen in love with the guitar.  The truth is that it’s one of the most versatile instruments out there, and can be heard in virtually every genre of music.

Because guitar is such a pervasive instrument, it can also seem like a lot to take on.  Should I start with acoustic or electric?  What should I start learning first?  Should I take lessons?  And on and on and on…  In the following articles we’re going to help answer some of these beginning questions and hopefully get you started on a path towards enjoying the guitar to the fullest.  Like learning anything that requires technical ability, you want to make sure you cover the basics before trying to move onto playing Hendrix or Segovia.  Trying to learn difficult pieces right off the bat can be demoralizing, so you’ll want to start simple and work up to playing the harder stuff.  No matter if you think you’re a natural or not, the guitar will reveal itself to you with patience, practice and perseverance.

Continue reading for more basic techniques and concepts to get you on the right track from the start

Fall 2012 Recital

Here’s a little montage from our Fall 2012 Recital.  Thanks to everyone who came out for making it such a great success!

 

Performances in order of appearance:

Philip Dilgard-Clark – “Smoke on the Water”
Ian McGrath – “Let It Be”
Julia Dickman – “Firework”
Philip Johnson – “Dust in the Wind”
Aliyah, Debbie and Teyah – “Be Alright” and “Rolling in the Deep”

New Piano!

PML Piano

Piano lessons on a beautiful upright.

We are happy to report that Philly Music Lessons now has a near new Pearl River upright piano, available to all students taking lessons at our studio in Fishtown.  There is just no substitute for learning the touch and feel of a real piano.  Students who practice on keyboards at home will now have the benefit of being able to experience the acoustic instrument during their weekly lessons.

Rock Band and Group Guitar Classes

Group Classes

Rock Band and Group Guitar Classes

 

Philly Music Lessons in conjunction with the Bache-Martin Elementary School’s Saturday Programs in Fairmount, is now offering group music classes, Rock Band and Group Guitar (Ages 8+), starting Saturday, September 15th, 2012.  Registration for the 8-week session is $200.  Classes will be limited to 5-6 students in each program and both classes will end with a recital that is open to all families and friends.  The Bache-Martin Elementary school is located at 22nd and Brown Streets, Philadelphia PA 19130.

 

Rock Band – 11 AM, Saturdays

Open to Guitar, Bass, Piano, Drums and Vocals, Rock Band is designed to give students who already know the basics of their instrument (1+ years of experience) a chance to play and perform with fellow musicians while learning new music and increasing their musical knowledge in the process.  Repertoire will be decided in the first couple classes based on the interests of the students and is not strictly limited to rock music.

Group Guitar – 10 AM, Saturdays

The Guitar Class is for guitarists who are just starting out (up to 1 year of experience).  The goal is to learn the basics and further their understanding of the instrument among peers in a group setting.  Throughout the 8 week program students will learn how to read guitar music, explore some beginning guitar repertoire and practice playing together as a group.

Classes are hosted by Joe Primavera.  For more information or to register please CONTACT US.

New Teachers, Free Lessons!

Joe from Philly Music Lessons here.  Just wanted to give you all some updates on our teaching staff and let you know about some current promotions that we’re running.

New Teachers
The ever growing Philly Music Lessons family now has four teachers covering guitar, bass, piano and drums.  Our two newest additions are piano teacher Kira Abribat and guitar teacher Vince Guglielmello.  You can see all of our teachers bio’s and pictures under the TEACHERS tab on the website.  As always, we provide private lessons to all ages and skill levels, in the comfort of your own home, or at our studio in Fishtown, Philadelphia.

Current Promotions
You may also be interested to know how you can get some free lessons.  Well, it’s easy.  Simply refer someone to us, and your next lesson is free if they end up taking with us for a month.  Just spread the news to friends and family and start racking up some free lessons today!  We are also offering a half-priced trial lesson to anyone who has never taken with us, so no one pays full price until they know they’ve found the right teacher.

In-Home Music Lesson in Cherry Hill and Pennsauken, New Jersey

In-Home Music Lessons in Cherry Hill and Pennsauken, New Jersey

We not only offer private, in-home music lessons to the Greater Philadelphia area, including Lower Merion and all along the main line, but we’re also happy to cross the Ben Franklin Bridge into the Pennsauken and Cherry Hill areas of New Jersey.  We service Pennshauken, Stockton Township, Merchantville, Cherry Hill, Maple Shade, Erlton-Ellisburg and all along Kaighns Avenue and Marlton Pike.

When I first came back to Philadelphia after graduating from Temple University, some of my first guitar students were from Carusi Middle School and Cherry Hill High School West.  I still spend every Wednesday doing home-visits in the Cherry Hill area to students interested in everything from Jazz to Rock and Heavy Metal.  The other Philly Music Lessons teachers are also available for in-home piano, bass and drum lessons almost every day of the week.  The drive from Fishtown, Philadelphia to Cherry Hill doesn’t take very long at all, and in the springtime you get to enjoy all the wildflowers along Route 70, near the Cherry Hill Mall.

My drive usually takes me over the Ben Franklin or Betsy Ross Bridge.  I start out on Marlton Pike and pass the Garden State Pavillions Shopping Center, visiting houses in Ellisburg and Barclay-Kingston.  When I get to Route 295 I head north, to my students near Chapel Ave, Church Road and the Hillview Shopping Center.  I end my loop near Pennshauken and then head back to Philadelphia from there.

I’ve had some of my students in Cherry Hill for over three years now, and it has been a pleasure getting know them, and seeing them grow up over the past couple years.  There is a special bond that occurs between music teachers and their students, which continues to strengthen as the years go on.  Music is not only fun and intellectually stimulating, but can also serve to bring people together.  Having your kids take music lessons can enrich their lives in so many ways, and that is the main reason I began teaching music in the first place.

Private In-Home Lessons in Lower Merion: Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Rosemont

In-Home-Lessons-in-Lower-Merion

At Philly Music Lessons we believe that in-home lessons are vital to parents who want to give their children the gift of music, but have very busy schedules.  You can’t beat the convenience of having one of our professional and dedicated teachers come directly to you.  All you need is an instrument, and the instructor will provide everything else necessary for the lesson.  We’ve been teaching guitar, piano, drum and bass lessons in the Greater Philadelphia area for over 5 years, and getting to know the students and parents in each town has been a pleasure for all of our teachers.  In-home lessons seem to create a bond between student and teacher that doesn’t exist in the more sterile atmosphere of a music school.  Over the years we’ve had teachers who have been invited to their student’s birthday parties, graduations and bat mitzvah’s.

I have personally been teaching in Lower Merion, right outside of Philadelphia, since Philly Music Lessons began.  Some of my first guitar and piano students were in the Rosemont, Haverford and Bryn Mawr areas.  Many of them attend some of the local elementary and high schools such as Harriton High School, The Haverford School, Haverford High School, Coopertown Elementary and The Shipley School.  Our convenient and affordable in-home lessons have enabled countless kids in the area to learn music in the comfort of their own homes!

Montgomery and Delaware counties also offer a whole host of colleges and universities, just a couple miles from the West Philadelphia border, including Haverford College, Bryn Mawr University, and Rosemont College.  A lot of college students think that it might be too late to start playing an instrument, but we have a lot of dedicated, beginning college students, who have shown a great deal of promise.  Also, if you are already intermediate to advanced and trying to continue your musical studies throughout college, we have teachers who have been playing professionally for years who can help you get to the next level.

In-Home Music Lessons in Bala Cynwyd, Narberth and Ardmore

In-Home Music Lessons in Ardmore, Narberth and Bala Cynwyd

Philly Music Lessons is happy to offer private, in-home guitar, piano, bass and drum lessons to areas all along the main line in Delaware and Montgomery counties. Our professional and dedicated teaching staff can come to you, so you don’t have to take too much time out of your busy schedule. Our in-home rates are not much more than our studio rates, and the convenience of having a teacher come to your home can make all the difference in you or your child sticking with a weekly lesson schedule.

Most of our teachers spend at least one day out near City Ave and Lancaster Ave, and it has been a pleasure for all of us to get to know the students and parents in the surrounding areas of Philadelphia. It is important for Philly Music Lessons to bring our passion for music to students from all walks of life.   You’d also be surprised at how often the parents of our students sit in on lessons, see the benefits of music firsthand, and actually end up taking lessons themselves!

I have been doing home visits throughout Lower Merion to the Bala Cynwyd, Narberth and Ardmore areas for over 3 years now. Two days a week I cross City Avenue near St. Joseph’s University in West Philadelphia and teach guitar and piano lessons to students in the area. It’s always nice to take a drive and get out of the city for a while. The site of the old Barne’s Foundation, the Merion Botanical Park and Belmont Park are all welcome sights along the drive. As I leave Bala Cynwyd and Narberth via Montgomery Avenue, I pass Lower Merion High School, where some of my students in the area attend, and eventually end up in downtown Ardmore where I can stop for a bite to eat.

Ardmore is a little gem of a town right outside of the city limits of Philadelphia. I’ve become familiar with it over the past couple years because I’ve worked out the Milkboy recording studios quite a few times. Aside from teaching private music lessons, I am also a recording engineer. I teach regular workshops and recording classes at the Hill School in Pottstown and have helped them build up a state of the art recording facility. Before the studio was built up, we used to record the choir in Ardmore, so the students could get a feel for what it’s like to be in a professional studio and so they could have an album at the end of the year to give to family and friends. We also have a fully equipped recording facility at our studio in the Fishtown and Northern Liberties area of Philadelphia.   We believe that recording can be an incredibly useful tool in furthering one’s musical understanding.

We offer In-Home lessons in West Philadelphia

music-lessons-for-west-philadelphia-students

More than anything, West Philly is known for it’s top notch universities including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and St. Joseph’s University.  It’s very common for students who didn’t pick up an instrument in elementary or high school, to want to start learning in college.  A lot of students might have the desire to start learning a new instrument, but may have some reservations because of their age.  Many adults think that it’s too late for them to start, or the best time for learning has passed.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  College level students tend to have great practice methods and a lot of experience in other areas that can be applied to learning a new instrument.  I would encourage any adult who hasn’t already to at least try taking private music lessons.  They can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling.

I always enjoy visiting my friends in West Philadelphia, because there is not only a strong academic community, but also a very strong sense of overall community.  My band practices regularly right near the newly thriving Baltimore Avenue commercial district.  From the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania to Clark Park and Penn Park, all the way up to the Philadelphia Zoo, it always feels like West Philly.  The large houses with bay windows and the tree lined streets create a city all its own.  As in the Art Museum area, and Center City, Philly Music Lessons is happy to offer quality in-home music lessons to the neighborhoods and universities of West Philadelphia.