Happy New Year from J.G.G.!
Have you made your new years resolutions yet? If not, don't worry, we thought of some for you!
Our instructors have worked together to create some New Years Resolution that apply to all musicians of all levels! Take a look, we're sure you can find a goal that will work for you, and be sure to mention it to your teacher in your next lesson!
We will talk about specific goals for different instruments, but we don't want to over-look a very important goal that applies to every musician!
Practice every day! We know you hear it every week from your instructors, but it doesn't hurt to mention again. If you're tired of hearing it from us, maybe you will find it more inspiring to hear it from some more well known musicians. Check out these quotes!
"if you want music to be your livelihood, then play, play, play and play! And eventually you’ll get to where you want to be.” Eddie Van Halen
If you struggle with practicing your instrument consistently, maybe playing every day is the new years resolution for you!
Even if you only strum one chord, play one scale, do one warm up, or play one beat... don't go to bed until you have given your instrument some attention. Some days you may have more time than others, but every day you can find at least a few minutes!
Now we have some more specific practicing goals for you! Let's start off with our drummers. There are lots of goals you can set for yourself this year to help you develop your skills. Here are just a few!
Drum Resolution #1:
Follow our "Musicians Minute" series on our YouTube channel, and learn all the "Lick of the Week" lessons for Drums! Every few weeks we post a new video where one of our drum teachers will teach you a new beat! If you follow through with this goal, by the end of the year you will have learned at least 10 new beats!
Here is the link to the first video to get you started!
Study a different style of beat each month!
With all the different genres of music we listen to, there are endless amounts of drumbeats to learn! We have a suggestion of 12 different styles of drum beats for you to master this year! Talk about this with your instructor, this is a great goal for an intermediate drummer!
Drum Resolution #3:
Improve your soloing skills. Something that can really make you stand out as a drummer is being able to improvise with rhythms and create some really exciting drum solos. An audience loves with when they are entertained just by the creative smashing of sticks on a drum! Work with your drum teacher on some improvising exercises to help you feel more confident as a solo drummer!
Check out this drum solo by Neil Peart!
Up next, let's see what kinds of goals our guitarist can work towards!
Guitar Resolution #1:
Learn every major and minor chord in open position. When you're first learning the guitar it's really fun to get comfortable with some of the simple chords so you can strum along to your favorite songs. You may learn easier versions of the more complex chords when you first start guitar lessons as well. It's a great goal to start playing the full chords (even if you have to use 3, or maybe 4 fingers at once!) You will be able to expand your repertoire if you really feel comfortable playing all the chords. This is a great goal for beginner to intermediate guitar students!
Guitar Resolution #2:
Lose the capo! Once you are confident with playing chords in open position, it's easy to get stuck there. Often we use the capo to play chords higher up on the neck of the guitar. Well, it's time to get rid of your capo and learn your barre chords! The capo is a great tool to have, even professionals use them, but a great way to force yourself to start learning the barre chord shapes is to limit your use of it. Next time you're learning a song that has some barre chords in it, instead of changing the key and grabbing your capo, try challenging yourself and learning some new chords!
Guitar Resolution #3:
Soloing! Whether you have soloed before, or never attempted... this resolution is for you! Developing your skills in improvising and soloing can only further your success as a guitarist. Work with your instructor and start learning your pentatonic scales, as this is the first step to soloing... but there's no end to the possibilities once you get started! Learning to play with rhythms, add special techniques such as bending, and tapping and even learning to use different pedals with an electric guitar are just some of the possibilities out there. Learning the skills and getting comfortable with your creative side while improvising is all you need!
Need some inspiration? here's a video of 10 of the greatest solos of all time!
Singers! What goals can you set for yourself this year? Here are some of our suggestions.
Vocal Resolution #1:
Warm up EVERY DAY! Practicing every day is important for every instrument, but it's extra special for the voice. Being a singer, you are not only learning how to play your instrument, but you ARE the instrument and you are building it and growing it as you learn. Muscle memory is crucial to your abilities as a vocalist. Even if you are not working on your repertoire, it's important to have a healthy warm up every day. Spending as little as 5 minutes a day warming up your voice or working on focused healthy breathing will make a big difference! The best part about being a singer is you always have your instrument with you! You can do sirens and lip trills on your ride to school! You can sing scales while you're making dinner! You can focus on your breathing while you're trying to fall asleep. Talk with your teacher about some simple warm ups you can dedicate yourself to daily.
Vocal Resolution #2:
Learn to sing in harmony! Singing is fun, but singing with others is even more fun. There are endless opportunities when you learn to sing in harmony. This year you can make it your goal to learn some harmonies to your favorite songs!
Vocal Resolution #3:
Expand your style! Because singing is something that is very personal, we usually feel best when singing our favorite songs. It's good to push your comfort zone! Set a goal for yourself to learn a song from each genre of music. If you put in the effort, we are sure you can find a song that you can connect with, even if it's not your favorite style. Here are some genre suggestions!
Hip Hop/ R&B
Next up, lets talk about pianists! Here a few suggestions for New Years resolutions to help expand your abilities.
Piano Resolution #1:
Memorize all the major and minor scales. Scales are the foundation behind all music. Having a clear understanding of them will help all the intricate patterns in music theory make sense. Many piano students learn scales slowly over the course of their studies as they relate to the songs they are learning. Setting a goal to learn all the major and minor scales withing a year will help ensure that you actually do memorize them all. Learning them consecutively also makes the patterns more repetitive, and therefore easier to learn. This is a great goal for beginner pianists.
Piano Resolution #2:
Learn to read from a lead sheet! It's easy to only think of the piano as a solo instrument. Note reading is crucial to becoming a great pianist, but it's not the only skill needed to be a diverse pianist. In many genres of music Lead Sheets are used instead of notated music on the grand staff. Learning to balance improvising off of chord progressions while maintaining the groove of the song you are playing takes practice, but once you feel comfortable it's a lot of fun! Being comfortable with lead sheets will give you the opportunity to play with other musicians as well!
Piano Resolution #3:
Learn a duet! As noted before, the piano is often thought of as a solo instrument. A great experience for pianists of all levels is to learn duets. This can be done with your instructor, or with another pianist you know. Duets are great because they challenge your note reading abilities. Having good rhythm is also very important so the two parts of the piece blend seamlessly. It's a great opportunity to learn about team work, as well a motivation to practice so you and your partner are both prepared to play the song.
Bass players need New Years resolutions too! Check out some ideas our instructors have put together for you!
Bass Resolution #1:
Memorize your major and minor triads. Bass players are often reading from a lead sheet where you only have chord names to improvise with. Although playing a groove on the root note of a chord will sound good, a simple way to take your sound to the next level is to play around with different notes from the chord progression in the song you're playing. Knowing the notes belonging in each chord is a simple, but very useful skill to have!
Bass Resolution #2:
Master your walk on the blues! One of the most common forms of music is the 12 bar blues. The bass is a very essential to creating the blues feel. Walking the blues is a great introduction to walking bass lines which is a very important skill to have as a bassist!
Bass Resolution #3:
Slap, (crackle) and POP! No, we're not talking about eating Rice Krispies cereal, we're talking about some fancy tricks! Learning to slap and pop is a skill that will really make you stand out! Check out this video with some of the best bassists of all time for some inspiration on how to take your bass playing to the next level!
We can't forget about the Ukulele! We also have some resolution ideas for our Uke players!
Ukulele Resolution #1:
Learn every major and minor chord. The Ukulele is most often used as a rhythm instrument, so learning your chords is very important. Chances are a simple chord was the first thing you learned to play on your Ukulele. Because there are only 4 strings, barre chords are possible for just about everyone (including those of you with little hands). Setting the goal to memorize all your major and minor chords, even if your fingers are tangled in some awkward shape, will make any song achievable for you!
Ukulele Resolution #2:
Learn a new strumming pattern each month! Once you have chords under your belt, you can spice them up with different strumming patterns. How you strum your chords adds the element of rhythm to your playing. With your instructor you can learn a new strumming pattern each month and explore different songs that fit well with the rhythm you are learning.
Ukulele Resolution #3:
Become a Ukulele Soloist! Although the Uke is often used as a rhythm instrument, it's beautiful as a solo instrument as well! It takes special skills to make those 4 high pitched strings carry a tune well, but with practice, anything is possible! Improving your note reading skills and learning some solo Ukulele pieces is a great goal for you if you're trying to take your Ukulele skills to the next level!
Check out this Ukulele solo of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".
(Maybe because the solo is being done on a Ukulele instead!)
So there you have it! It's a new year and we hope you have set some new goals for yourself. Musicians are always growing and learning more about our instruments and ourselves as we improve. We hope this year you discover more of the endless talent you have... just keep practicing!
Have a happy, healthy and music fill New Year!
The J.G.G. Team.