Electric Guitar

Newcastle Guitar Lessons

In the spirit of the late Don Andrews, Angelo does not want to make you a clone of himself—he wants you to be all you can be as an artist.

Learning new melodies

When working on a rhythm in a melody, it is a great idea to clap a few bars over and over, looping where you can. This way you are removing one entire level of complexity in learning it, i.e. the pitch, and reinforcing the movement through time. I still use this technique all the time. Clapping in time is something most of us learn when quite young, so it should not pose a problem. I tell my students, if you can’t clap the rhythm, you won’t be able to play it.

10 Responses to “Learning new melodies”

  1. Mazie says:

    You made certain fine points there. I did a search on the issue and found most folks will go along with with your blog.

  2. angelo says:

    The secret is to break down the problem into simpler, more manageable ones.

  3. Peter Bennett says:

    I absolutely agree with you on this Angelo 100% and a sharp 9…..
    …..and the hidden benefit of clapping is, I don’t play any wrong notes because I’m clapping not playing.

  4. Brett says:

    yeah thats definately helpfull , but for someone like me with a short memory and easily bored, I’ve found that if the melody has words like most jazz standards do , I learn how its sung ,so when I go to play the melody if I sing it in my head the words remind me where I am and what its supposed to sound like , so if i hit a wrong note its obvious to me.I do the same thing when others are taking a solo so I dont get lost !!its like a road map for dummies haha , great website by the way!! I like peters comment about not playing wrong notes when your clapping haha , as for me I rely on wrong notes to show me where the right ones are !

  5. Mark says:

    A few good points above, and I reckon the great thing about sometimes playing wrong notes and being human is that is brings some syncopation and also dissonance into the mood of the song – would probably make it a little less boring for you, Brett!

    • Brett says:

      well what I meant by easily bored was that clapping the melody would bore me , learning to play a new melody is exciting and challenging , improvising over the chord changes using a melody and chord notes and lines which include so called “wrong” notes is a new challenge and where learnt stuff turns into inspiration!! 🙂 haha imagine playing a solo using only “wrong” notes, i wish i could do that ! it would be out there! hang on , actually not so hard , just move everything up a semitone ! hahhaa

      • angelo says:

        I am talking about difficult parts. One piece that comes to mind for me is Let’s face the music and dance sung by Frank Sinatra with his orchestra. The four bars leading into the first verse, and then a similar pattern in the coda had a tricky syncopated riff. I had to clap it over and over just to get the rhythm in my head. So I am not talking about clapping a whole piece, but rather separating the rhythm from pitch when required

        • Brett says:

          ahhh yes ! I get it , I hear you brother , I just listened to the intro of that song Lets face the music and dance and actually had trouble clapping in time the first few times! a very good and valid point to clap rhythms to tricky syncopated riffs!I also apologise for getting off the subject , oh well thats forums i guess ! hope your having a great week , awsome website by the way!

  6. Brett says:

    another point , i play drums on the steering wheel of my car while listening to music , the right hand is either a hi-hat or a kick drum and the left hand is the snare ,i guess its a way of practicing rhythm while doing seemingly mundane things . I guess what im saying is you dont even have to have a guitar in your hand to be working on new skills.thats where clapping and tapping are helpful and fun !

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