Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fireflies and my daughter

YESTERDAY I WAS giving a guitar lesson to one of my best students. We were listening to a song and learning how to play it. This student, a young woman, is a fabulous player and it's a challenge to come up with stuff to make her better.

I rely on a lot of common sense things to teach guitar. It's about feel, rhythm and tempo. We work on things to improve hearing and appreciating music. It doesn't matter if it's a teeny bop song, country or classic rock. A good song is a good song, and to me, figuring it out is the best way to learn.

We do work on things like tabs and scales, and learning all 12 notes in the chromatic scale. I keep the theory to a minimum, but it does help.

This approach works almost 100 percent of the time. I have many students who had teachers who did boring drills and required a piece of paper to play songs. That's not my approach, and I think it's proof there are many different ways to learn.

Anyway, in our lesson we were using YouTube and listening to a song. It got done and I forgot to click the pause button on the laptop. Lo and behold, the song "Fireflies" popped up.

My daughter, Emily, loves this song. Written and performed by the band Owl City, it's electronic music and keyboard driven, but very clever and the arrangement is way cool. The background vocals are by the lead singer of Relient K, another of Emily's favorite bands. It's quirky and hooky and I put it on my iPod playlist.

It was playing, so we learned a very simple version of Fireflies on acoustic guitar. Have capo, will travel, I always say.

Again, it's all about the power of music. I miss Emily a lot because I haven't seen her since February, and probably won't see her again in person for many months. Fireflies reminds me of her. It's that simple.

Sometimes songs aren't just songs.

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