6 October 2008

Find Musicians In Your Town

Many novice guitarists dream of playing in a band with other musicians one day. But it might be time to stop dreaming and do it sooner than you think.

You don't have to be a crack guitarist to play in a band. You can benefit from playing with other people just as soon as you can hold three chords.

A few years ago I joined a band of friends made up almost entirely of novices. We had a drummer, bassist, two guitarists and took turns to sing (badly).

Nobody knew how to play really well, but it didn't matter. We played easy songs - three chord rock tunes - and had lots of fun. None of us would learned as much playing alone in our homes. We also learned to listen and play with each other, something you just can't do by yourself.

Playing with other musicians will help you learn guitar in at least three specific ways.

1. It keeps you motivated. Having a commitment to someone else to show up and play, to learn new songs is a great incentive.

2. You have a lot of fun, even if it's only from laughing so much at each other's mistakes.

3. You learn from each other. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses. Someone in your band will have just the insight you need on something you don't get. You will surely have the insight to help someone else.

If you are a novice guitarist then seek out other guitarists and musicians to play with. You can probably easily get other novices to play with you. You might have a harder time convincing a serious band that you are the new guitarist they need, though.

You should offer to play with melody instruments: flute, saxophone, trumpet, violin, harmonica, etc. Many of these instrumentalists are happy to have someone playing a few chords to accompany them. You can learn a lot playing backup to solo instruments like this.

You can also play for a more advanced guitarist who wants to work on improvisation. They are often very happy to have someone play chord backings for them, and they can show you some guitar tricks in return.

Good places to look for people to play with are local music schools or music shops. Many music shops offer a bulletin board where you can read or place ads. The Virtual Rock Band is a directory with thousands of musicians listed. You might find someone in your area there, too.

Spend some time this week to find musicians to play with. You can get some useful group practice to boost your guitar learning and have lots of fun at the same time.


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