Top 10 Tips For Guitarists
By: School of Rock’s Tom Hoban
1. Have fun all the time. Music is something about which you should never complain. That’s what school is for.
2. Warm-up – you might not get finger-cramps every time you play, but having a good set of warm-up exercises will not only prevent frustrating injuries, it can also double as some of the less-fun aspects of practice-time (running scales, speed exercises, what-have-you)
3. Practice with a metronome – maybe not EVERY time you sit down to play, but there will never be a time when playing to a metronome won’t benefit your playing.
4. Listen… to EVERYBODY – being able to listen to the other instruments around you is simply an invaluable tool.
5. Slow down – as with most things, speed will come last. If you can’t play it slow(ly), chances are you won’t be able to play it fast either.
6. Have a structure to your practice-time – you’ll get a lot more out of your practice time if you have specific goals in mind. A great time to come up with said-goals is at the END of any practice session. Think about how you’d like to progress by the end of your NEXT practice session.
7. Figure out WHY you like the music (that) you like – If you LOVE a particular guitar solo, see if you can transcribe it and figure out WHY you love it.
8. Play a tune in all 12 keys – this a big test that we guitarists normally can avoid due to repetition of chord shapes on the neck of the guitar, but it’ll no doubt help you in weird and wild ways if you are able to navigate your way around all 12 keys.
9. Learn songs from different styles of music – you’ll end up discovering way more similarities than differences, which will in turn help your ear recognize more patterns.
10. Finally, once again recognize the joy of translating your feelings into sounds that can move others. It it truly a gift that is yours to enjoy!
After developing a mild-obsession with the Beatles in the 7th grade, Tom decided it was time to start playing guitar. In High School, Tom began taking his playing more seriously. He played in both the Jazz Band, as well as the Rhythm Machine- where he tried out and was selected to play in a jazz band for the Illinois Music Educator’s Association. To close out his High-School playing career, Tom’s rock band won the school Battle-of-the-Bands in both his Junior and Senior year.
He then went on to The University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied classical guitar with Javier Calderon. During college, Tom was selected to play as a soloist with the University of Wisconsin Marching Band during their Spring Concert Series. In his senior year, Tom’s rock band won the campus Battle of the Bands, earning them an opening slot for the Violent Femmes. Tom graduated in 2005 with a degree in Classical Guitar Performance.
Since 2005, Tom has been a part of a number of Chicago-based bands, which has given him the opportunity to play many Chicago venues including Martyrs’, The Kinetic Playground, The Abbey, Gunther Murphy’s (RIP), and The Double Door. Tom is currently playing gigs all around town with his band Rod Tuffcurls & The Bench Press.
For more information on the School of Rock:
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