Write Now: Lessons May Make One A Better Musician

The goal is to become a better musician.

If I could, I would love to be able to take one two-hour private music lesson from three well-known musicians.

Each is a virtuoso on his respected instrument.

I say this because each lesson would only help me progress to be a better musician. I would take a lesson on electric bass, drums, and guitar. In each lesson, I would study technique, theory, harmony, rhythm and time, and ear training. I would want an in-person lesson. Even though a video lesson is an indispensable tool, a one-on-one lesson is much more beneficial because one is right there with the musician who can instantly correct any deficiencies one may employ.

ELECTRIC BASS

I would want to study with John Patitucci.

If you have ever heard this guy play, then you know why I chose him. He can play anything, but it’s how he explains harmony, technique, and musicianship. Within his lesson, I would have to revisit some basic techniques and wells as possibly learning some advanced techniques. I could learn from him how to understand the fretboard better as well as developing my ear when trying to take a solo. Also, just to tap into his immense musical vocabulary would be a plus. I consider myself an intermediate to advanced player, so whatever I would absorb from his teachings would help me immediately. I would want to how to play scales differently as well as using the modes. The possibilities are endless, so in a two-hour lesson, I would have to tighten my focus. If I only learned one new technique from him, I would still be much farther ahead than I previously was.

DRUMS

I would want to study with Steve Smith.

Whether he is playing jazz or playing with Journey, this cat can burn.

I first learned about Smith when I was a junior at Jamestown High School. Journey’s “5SC4P3” (Escape) was in heavy rotation on the charts and the bands video’s alo were in heavy rotation on MTV. I remember trying to learn the single “Don’t Stop Believin'” from that same release. It was hard to figure out the song. Then to see him play it, the part made sense. He released a video some years later and he broke down how he composed the part. I still can’t play it correctly.

But what I would want to learn from him is not the part to that song. Specifically, I would want to learn how to play better jazz drums, and I would concentrate on rhythm and time, and limb independence. I would also want to learn stick control, and any tips when sight-reading music. Drum music, specifically for a drum set, looks complicated. It’s lines of music stacked on top of each other. To some musicians it may resemble a conductor’s score. So, learning how to decipher drum parts will make me a better drummer.

ELECTRIC GUITAR

I would want to study with Steve Vai.

From what I have read and watched, he puts in major amounts of practice time. I am very limited in my skills as a guitar player. I understand the theory, but for me it’s about developing my fretboard dexterity. I can play some chords, but to play a chord and switch to another proves difficult for me. So, if I can learn different chord voicings, I think I would become a better guitar player. To be able and sit down with him, and learn different scales which could be applied to my playing would be awesome. Also, I would want to get a handle on my guitar tone. Although one can make many sounds emanate from a guitar with different electronic effects, it’s hard for one to copy another’s tone. I believe tone comes from a player’s fingers and hands, and how he plays the guitar.

As an example, you could let me play the exact same guitar, and use the same amp and effects, but I still would not sound like Vai. There is no way I could because his tone comes from within him. I would want to learn how achieve a better guitar tone.

OVERALL LESSONS

The more tools I have, the better player I will become. That’s why I would learn about rudiments, technique, and theory. I have heard this: if one can’t read then what good is a dictionary or library? By learning rudiments, technique and theory, I have several dictionaries and librares available to me.

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