education Music

Guitar Noise Podcast

Guitar Noise PodcastI just subscribed to the Guitar Noise Podcast. In the first episode, managing editor David Hodge goes through some of the basics of strumming. If you’re just learning the guitar, as I am—my parents gave me a guitar over the holidays, then I recommend you check it out.

I hope that, as they get a little more familiar with the technology, they will take advantage of dividing their podcasts into chapters and then show relevant “artwork” such as a JPG of the strumming pattern or chords that they want you to hit. But as it stands now, it’s still a great example of using podcasts for teaching.

(Yes, I realize in order to use chapters the podcast needs to be in AAC format instead of mp3, but as an iTunes user, it’s a trade-off that works for me. Perhaps they could have two streams, a normal podcast and an enhanced m4a version.)

Feed link.

life Music

Learning to Play the Guitar in the 21st Century

In answer to the age of question of “What would you like for Christmas”, I told my parents I would be interested in having a guitar. A couple of Christmas’s later, my parents came through for me! I am now the proud owner of a fantastic sounding Fender acoustic guitar.

Learning to play has been slow but rewarding. The first couple of days were painful on my fingertips. Then suddenly, after a blister or two, I can now play for as long as I like.

It’s great.



The guitar I picked out came as a package along with extra strings, a strap, some picks, a tuner, and a “Getting Started on Guitar” DVD.

I was surprised to find how easy and useful the DVD turned out to be. The host teaches you how to play a basic chord and then another track lets you play along to some canned backup music. The process repeats, slowly building up your skill.

It’s pretty sweet; my only complaint is that after the music stops, you have to grab the remote and navigate back to the song to start it playing again. It would be nice to be able to set it to repeat, and to have more than 3 practice tracks.

Lately I discovered a method of practising that solves this problem.

I got myself a copy of “Play Guitar Today! A Complete Guide to the Basics”. It’s a music book for beginners that has a CD enclosed for backup music. Well I ripped the CD to iTunes, scanned the music, and then set each track with it’s appropriate “album art” ie. the sheet music or instruction that fits.

iTunes—Sheet music as album art

Now when I practise the guitar, iTunes is the teacher. The corresponding sheet music pops up and I can go to town.

It was a bit of a hassle setting this up, but I’d recommend it to anyone learning to play—it’s totally worth it.

I wonder how long it will be until they sell it like this?