“Mark Altekruse had a very positive impact on my blues/rock guitar playing. Working with Mark moved the needle for me and it was fun to work with a talented guitarist. Being an adult student can be an awkward situation but with Mark it was fun and a great learning experience.”–John Schroeder (one of Mark’s students)
Music is a lifelong pursuit and you will never stop learning something new. And those new things you learn will often make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. When I am with a student I look for moments when the light bulb goes on in their head – it shows on their face and it shines through when they play.
On the subject of learning, one of my teachers, the late-great Howard Roberts, once compared learning music on an instrument to that of dealing with finding your way home in a blizzard. When you are in a blizzard it is often impossible to see the path in front of you – you feel blinded by the millions of snowflakes coming straight at you. It is the same in music – in front of you are all the intricacies of the song, the techniques you must acquire to perform the song, the endless possibilities of interpreting or improvising on the song. It appears at times like the worlds most complex labyrinth. In a blizzard all you can do is constantly move small groups of snowflakes out of your way until you begin to see the path. As you attempt to clear the path you will, of course, stumble and fall along the way – that is to be expected.
The same is true in music. Like pushing snowflakes out of your vision in a blizzard work on small bits of a song at a time – measure by measure, phrase by phrase. Learn the song in all keys. Study how substituting different chords can change the feel of the song. Study the scales and arpeggios that work within the song structure. Train your ear to create tension and dissonance by playing outside the scales and arpeggios found within the song – and then learn how to resolve that tension.
Sound daunting? Sure, it can seem that way. But no matter how difficult the process seems at first it will become easier on the next song. And easier still on the next. And so on.
I look forward to learning about your musical interests. Fill in the contact form below so we can begin a conversation about your six string dreams! Or feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.