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Practice Strategies (Guitar Lesson)


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Brendan Burns

Practice Strategies

Taught by Brendan Burns in Tips & Tricks with Brendan Burns seriesLength: 22:28Difficulty: 1.0 of 5


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Member Comments about this Lesson

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smilinstevesmilinsteve replied on July 29th, 2013

profound and needed...Thanks

thedudethedude replied on July 26th, 2013

Awesome advice - excellent teacher!

BuffyLOLBuffyLOL replied on November 16th, 2012

That was real helpful thank you so much Brendan!!!

sandyman53sandyman53 replied on November 15th, 2012

Lots of good points! Might be worth while to outline them in the "About this Lesson" section ?

doccallahandoccallahan replied on July 10th, 2012

I feel enlightened, thanks Brendan.

joseejosee replied on December 17th, 2011

These are all things in this lesson that we can apply on all the aspects of our life. Thank you for this lesson.

libubulibubu replied on June 20th, 2012

Wow thank you.

thenin0007thenin0007 replied on November 24th, 2011

Thank you very much for this,it really cleared out some things i was thinking about :)

lexzbuddylexzbuddy replied on July 29th, 2011

I have some questions, they relate to the "social" aspect you were speaking about. 1. I often struggle to relax & play to my best when I play with others. I have NO idea how to cure this or get the sort of playing I have in my own time to happen when I play with others. 2. I try to get people I know that play bass or drums or guitar etc. to have a jam some time & they always seem reluctant. Some because they lack confidence, some are novices, some know too much, some too little. For the most part it is because they don't know how to play as many tunes as I can or some such thing. Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of songs but I'm not a real jerk about it. I'd love to teach stuff & learn what they know but most of the less experienced folk just end up shying away. Like you said, fear of looking at yourself & finding out what you do & don’t know. I've tried going from the other direction on this & having them play what they know. I then play with them but they get all flustered & stop wanting to play. It’s a real shame to be honest. 3. Folk that are more experienced often seem "focused" on their own thing & don't want to "jam" so to speak. All covers & no improv. How do you get them to come round to new ideas? Work with others? Million dollar question I guess. 4. I hate playing in public. An example of this happened last weekend. I stayed in a hotel in the highlands of Scotland & the locals had an open Jam in the pub. My wife encouraged me to take my guitar along, so I did. I played along with everybody for a few songs & had a lot of fun. They then started to "focus" on me. There was a bit of friendly banter, and beers, I just lost the nerve after that... Oh ya, and letting one of the guys play my guitar; bad idea. He sat it on the floor & was leaning on it like a cane! AHH! It’s a bloody Martin FFS!! (my stupidity ofc) Admittedly a lot of fun albeit a load of country tunes I didn’t know. I think I did OK, nice folks to be honest. So, to get to the point; how do you deal with public performance basically? 5. Bands – The dreaded question. How on this gods earth do you get a decent band together or find one to join? I mean really, it’s either all chat & no play or a bunch of folk that really don’t seem at all interested in showing up on time, practicing before hand or getting on with anything. How do you find some likeminded folk that want to jam, rehearse & work together? I don’t know if this is the sort of “comments” you were looking for. Hope it’s ok though. If not, sorry, totally ignore this. Thanks.

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on July 30th, 2011

1. If it's a struggle to relax, than take notes. See what works and what doesn't work. There is a way to play with tension and without it, and believe me it can be a real challenge to figure out how to sort that all out. But it's a worthy quest. 2. You are absolutely right, the psychology of the people you jam with is a reality that needs to be accounted. Sometimes you just have to work through that. Often times, the more you put yourself out there, the more you find the right people to play with. 3. Everyone works differently - especially with musicians. Do what you can at first and then see how you can develop it. 4. Performance anxiety is real thing and it's something that always needs attention. Keep experimenting and keeping notes of what is working and not working. If you are having trouble with the attention, try thinking about your performance as a service - it's not about you, it's gift to the music gods or in honor of something/someone beautiful. Focus on the muse and not on yourself. 5. Sometimes you have to be the leader than you need. Running a band is very similar to running a business. There is a lot of trial and error involved, but there is also a lot of case studies to look at. Try asking some people who are in good bands how they got that way. Best, Brendan

lexzbuddylexzbuddy replied on July 29th, 2011

That was really cool. Gave me something to think about. Cheers.

galuemdgaluemd replied on July 25th, 2011

You really got me thinking! I needed this. Thanks

panama400panama400 replied on July 25th, 2011

I have been playing serious only a few months. look at it as I want my brains and fingers at the same level; adjust practice from there. Loved your stones set.

jj90jj90 replied on July 21st, 2011

Very important topic! Looking forward to more Brendan! Thanks for sharing :-)

Tips & Tricks with Brendan Burns

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Brendan Burns covers tips for rapid chord changing and economy of motion.



Lesson 1

Pivot Fingers

Brendan Burns explains how pivot fingers can be used to achieve smoother, quicker chord changes.

Length: 9:04 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 2

Battle Plan

Brendan Burns discusses a "battle plan" for performing chord changes. The battle plan prepares you for the next chord in the progression through visualization as well as physical preparation.

Length: 8:16 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

The Strum Switch

Brendan explains how rhythmic consistency with the right hand must be maintained in order to perform effective chord changes.

Length: 9:27 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Staggered Strumming

Brendan Burns explains how "staggering" your strums can assist in performing chord changes.

Length: 8:08 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Connected Chord Voicings

Brendan discusses and demonstrates how to connect chord voicings together.

Length: 14:00 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
Lesson 6

Connecting Chords: Dominant 7ths

Brendan Burns demonstrates and discusses ways to connect dominant 7th chord voicings.

Length: 10:35 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Connecting Chords: Minor 7ths

Brendan Burns demonstrates connecting chords for both the 6th string and 5th string minor 7th voicings.

Length: 13:15 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Connecting Chords: Major 7ths

Brendan Burns discusses the major 7th chord voicings and ways to connect them.

Length: 13:15 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

Connecting Chords: Minor 7th Flat 5

The last chord voicing in the connecting chords series is the minor 7th flat 5. Brendan demonstrates uses and voicings for this chord.

Length: 7:52 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Kline Electric Guitar

Brendan answers some frequently asked questions about his Kline guitar.

Length: 6:31 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Practice Strategies

Brendan Burns discusses ways to get the most out of every practice minute you spend with the guitar.

Length: 22:28 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Prepared Guitar Techniques #1

Get ready for the wild and weird! In this two part series, Brendan shows us how to achieve some very unique, organic sounds by physically attaching various items to your guitar.

Length: 25:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Prepared Guitar Techniques #2

Brendan wraps up this short series by showing us some practical applications for the prepared guitar.

Length: 17:24 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Harmonics Part 1

In part one of this mini-series, Brendan shows you everything you need to know about producing solid left hand harmonics.

Length: 23:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Harmonics Part 2

Brendan shows us how to play the simple tune of "Amazing Grace" using only harmonics. In addition, we'll learn how to develop other melodic ideas that enhance the original melody.

Length: 9:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Harmonics Part 3

Brendan continues in his harmonics series by showing us how to bend harmonic notes behind the nut, culminating in the harmonic exploration of two traditional folk tunes: "Danny Boy" and "Shenandoah".

Length: 35:39 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Harmonics Part 4

Brendan wraps up his harmonics series by showing two really awesome techniques: tap harmonics and pluck harmonics. These two techniques will make the entire chromatic scale available to you via harmonics!

Length: 14:24 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Practice Strategies, Vol. 2

Brendan expands on a topic he shared with us a while back: practice strategies. Learn how to get the most out of your practice time with 8 very helpful and practical tips from a seasoned veteran!

Length: 26:57 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only

About Brendan Burns View Full Biography Brendan has been passionate about music since childhood. He began his studies on trumpet, in elementary school, and then moved to guitar as a teenager. He holds a Bachelor's Degree from Berklee College of Music, and has studied with Norm Zocher, Joe Stump, Bret Willmott, Bob Pilkington, Jay Weik, Tim Miller, & Charlie Banacos.

While at Berklee, Brendan was a member of the Music Mentoring Program, teaching private lessons to gifted high school students. He is currently teaches, and is chair of the guitar department at Brookline Music School. Brendan also teaches guitar for Tune Foolery & privately at his home in Cambridge, MA.

Along with educating, Brendan plays out often as a Solo Guitarist, performing standards, pop, and classical repertoire. He has recorded and played with the chamber-fusion band Ra Quintent, and as well as Vessela Stoyanova's Eastern Stories Under Western Skies Project. Brendan also performs as a leader, director and sideman for various Boston art-rock projects, and is former member of MIT's Gamelan Galak Tika.

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