Implementing "Deliberate Practice"

Next year the term "deliberate practice" will be twenty years old; in that time it has gradually moved out of the academic world and become a phrase uttered in hushed tones in musical, sporting and other spheres. What does it mean and how can we use it?

What is "Muscle Memory"?

If you've ever worked on developing speed on guitar you've probably heard references to "muscle memory". But what is this mysterious facility? Is it something real or just a part of musicians' folklore? Can we do anything to make our learning more efficient, or should we be suspicious of "automatic" playing as less creative?

A Special "Altered Pentatonic" Scale

I "discovered" a scale about a month ago when playing with the Ionian b2 (which is now, by the way, part of my regular improvising vocabulary). At the time I thought it was just a curiosity but I liked the sound and since then I've seen it pop up in a few other places.

New free ebook: Spectral Analysis of Scales

There's a brand new entry in my series of free eBooks: Spectral Analysis of Scales. This one's a bit more technical than the others, but I think it'll be of interest to advanced musicians looking for a way to expand their vocabulary of scale and arpeggio ideas a little more easily. It's completely free, so download it and spread the word. This is the first edition, so as always please send me any errors you find!

How Many Heptatonics Contain the Common Pentatonic?

Perhaps you've already learned the good old-fashioned "Pentatonic scale" (major or minor versions, it doesn't matter). Perhaps you know you can learn some of "the modes" (of the Major Scale) by adding two extra notes to one of the modes of this scale. If so, you know how quick and easy that is. Which other seven-note scales can we learn by adding two notes to the Common Pentatonic?

The Common Minor Pentatonic b6 & Scale Spectra

This interesting but little-known scale cropped up in the context of some exotic scale work this week. It's easy to learn, has an unusual but very usable sound and can help with learning several larger scale structures.

Periodized Practice

In my own playing I've decided it's time to focus on technique again, which I haven't really given much attention to in the last 12 months. Here's my plan for the next year.

Harmonic Major Applications

I just watched a Tom Quayle video on this topic that contains some good information but needed some translation before it made sense to me. I thought I'd provide the translation for anyone else who found it useful.

New Bandcamp site, plus modding on Reddit

Two quick bits of news. I'm now a moderator over at /r/guitarlessons, the part of reddit dedicated to learning guitar. I've also decided to set up a Bandcamp account for future solo electronic releases.

Simple Arpeggio Superimpositions

This is a quick note on two superimposition strategies that are quite common in jazz, and that enable you to use your triad and seventh arpeggios to create more sophisticated sounds without having to memorize anything new.