How to sing and strum two different rhythms

If you struggle with strumming and singing, you’ve probably noticed that the rhythm of your singing tends to lock into the rhythm of your strumming… and not in a good way.

I’ve found a way to cure this problem by singing Nirvana’s “Come as You Are.” It turns out this song is the perfect training exercise for learning one of the most common rhythm challenges you’ll find in melodies.

If you enjoyed this lesson, there’s tons more where this came from in the Members Section. Join the Heartwood Guitar family today! Members get access to…

  • Strum & Sing in 60 Days – My innovative course
  • Premium Song Lessons – In-depth tutorials for classic popular songs
  • Strum Pattern Videos – Pop-up videos that enhance the free 750 chord charts on my site
  • Guided Practice Videos – Learn good practice habits. Like having a private lesson with me.
  • Access to the Members-only Forum
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How to hear chord changes when playing with others

Many guitarsts struggle with staying locked-in with fellow musicians or recordings. Do you ever find yourself

  • Drifting off the beat?
  • Losing track of where you are in a chord progression?
  • Not hearing when you’re supposed to make a chord change?

If so, don’t worry–you’re probably not as rhythmically hopeless as you feel.

I’ve taught many, many adult beginners who didn’t play music or dance much when they were kids, and so never learned the deceptively difficult skills of counting and feeling beats.

In this video, I’ll teach you how to train yourself to keep track of the structure of the song you’re playing by counting beats and feeling them with your body.

Training yourself to do this is so, so worth it. Go for it! And remember, there’s nothing wrong with you!

If you enjoyed this lesson, there’s tons more where this came from in the Members Section. Join the Heartwood Guitar family today! Members get access to…

  • Strum & Sing in 60 Days – My innovative course
  • Premium Song Lessons – In-depth tutorials for classic popular songs
  • Strum Pattern Videos – Pop-up videos that enhance the free 750 chord charts on my site
  • Guided Practice Videos – Learn good practice habits. Like having a private lesson with me.
  • Access to the Members-only Forum
Become a Member

How to use a capo

Here’s another lesson from my course Strum & Sing in 60 Days, teaching the basics of using the capo.

My favorite chromatic tuning app (necessary for tuning a guitar with a capo on) is GuitarToolkit.

Here are the notes you’ll tune your strings to for all capo positions. I’ve given all accidentals sharp names:

Capo 0: 6E 5A 4D 3G 2B 1E
Capo 1: 6F 5A# 4D# 3G# 2C 1F
Capo 2: 6F# 5B 4E 3A 2C# 1F#
Capo 3: 6G 5C 4F 3A# 2D 1G
Capo 4: 6G# 5C# 4F# 3B 2D# 1G#
Capo 5: 6A 5D 4G 3C 2E 1A
Capo 6: 6A# 5D# 4G# 3C# 2F 1A#
Capo 7: 6B 5E 4A 3D 2F# 1B
Capo 8: 6C 5F 4A# 3D# 2G 1C
Capo 9: 6C# 5F# 4B 3E 2G# 1C#
Capo 10: 6D 5G 4C 3F 2A 1D

If you enjoyed this lesson, there’s tons more where this came from in the Members Section. Join the Heartwood Guitar family today! Members get access to…

  • Strum & Sing in 60 Days – My innovative course
  • Premium Song Lessons – In-depth tutorials for classic popular songs
  • Strum Pattern Videos – Pop-up videos that enhance the free 750 chord charts on my site
  • Guided Practice Videos – Learn good practice habits. Like having a private lesson with me.
  • Access to the Members-only Forum
Become a Member

Learn the names of the notes in this three-minute video

Do you ever knock your guitar way out of tune and, as you struggle to understand what your tuner is trying to tell you (what in the heck is a Bb or G#?), find yourself wishing you paid more attention in your childhood piano lessons?

Don’t worry, I’ve got your back! In this 3-minute excerpt from my fun, innovative course, Strum & Sing in 60 Days, I teach you how the musical notes are named and what order they’re in.

See? You were right all along. You really didn’t have to pay attention in those piano lessons.

If you enjoyed this lesson, there’s tons more where this came from in the Members Section. Join the Heartwood Guitar family today! Members get access to…

  • Strum & Sing in 60 Days – My innovative course
  • Premium Song Lessons – In-depth tutorials for classic popular songs
  • Strum Pattern Videos – Pop-up videos that enhance the free 750 chord charts on my site
  • Guided Practice Videos – Learn good practice habits. Like having a private lesson with me.
  • Access to the Members-only Forum
Become a Member

The key to accurate picking

Picking the right string is the hardest thing about playing guitar.

How do good guitarists pick accurately? They touch their guitar lightly with their picking hand as they play. I call it BRUSHING.

This is a skill that all good guitarists use, but I’ve never seen it taught outside of my studio.

Learn this skill and you’ll get rid of your sloppy picking forever!

(I shot this lesson five years ago, soon after my twin boys were born. Man, time flies!)

If you enjoyed this lesson, there’s tons more where this came from in the Members Section. Join the Heartwood Guitar family today! Members get access to…

  • Strum & Sing in 60 Days – My innovative course
  • Premium Song Lessons – In-depth tutorials for classic popular songs
  • Strum Pattern Videos – Pop-up videos that enhance the free 750 chord charts on my site
  • Guided Practice Videos – Learn good practice habits. Like having a private lesson with me.
  • Access to the Members-only Forum
Become a Member

The Caterpillar: The One Finger Exercise All Guitarists Should Do

This classic finger exercise will boost your strength, coordination, and flexibility. Do this every time you pick up the guitar to practice and your guitar skills will skyrocket!

Wondering what else you should do when you practice? A good practice routine looks like this:

1. Warm Up – Play an easy and fun song that you know well
2. Exercise – The Caterpillar
3. Learn New Material – This might be a new piece of music, or learning a new skill like playing a scale
4. Study Music Theory (optional)
5. Review Old Material – Keep those old songs alive so you don’t forget them

Over the years of teaching this exercise to my private students, I’ve found that in its original form, the Caterpillar is too hard for many beginners. So I’ve developed four levels of difficulty that I teach in this video that will make the exercise accessible to anyone.

If you enjoyed this lesson, there’s tons more where this came from in the Members Section. Join the Heartwood Guitar family today! Members get access to…

  • Strum & Sing in 60 Days – My innovative course
  • Premium Song Lessons – In-depth tutorials for classic popular songs
  • Strum Pattern Videos – Pop-up videos that enhance the free 750 chord charts on my site
  • Guided Practice Videos – Learn good practice habits. Like having a private lesson with me.
  • Access to the Members-only Forum
Become a Member

New in-depth song lesson: “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty

Here’s a lush, jangly song with a simple 3-chord progression–that’s right, just three chords for the whole song–but some challenging rhythms, and a mysterious blend of acoustic guitars in the studio recording that were a bear to untangle.

The version I teach is what Petty played live: Capo 1, using key of E chord shapes. They sound rich, with nice low bass notes–perfect if you’re playing solo.

But I also show you how to play the song Capo 3–perfect for a friend you want to jam with. Together, these parts sound AMAZING.

You can buy this lesson individually here, or become a member to get access to all my premium song lessons, plus tons more.

Become a Member

Daily Guided Practice Videos

I’ve come up with a new way of practicing that I’ll think you’ll love.

They’re 15-minute videos that start with me briefly teaching a principle of effective practice, like slowing down to avoid mistakes or relaxing your body.  Then I start a 10-minute countdown timer, and while you practice a piece of music of your choosing–it can really be anything as long as it’s challenging–I occasionally give you gentle reminders to apply the principle we’re working on.

I got this idea doing daily meditations using the headspace app.  Even though I usually struggle to create new habits (well, good ones anyway), I found it super easy to do these daily 10-minute meditations.  I loved how they taught just a simple principle, and then reinforced it over several days or more until I really internalized it.  And I really got the sense that the teacher was there with me, coaching me, encouraging me, even though it was just a recording.

Of course, as a teacher who’s constantly looking for new ways to help my Heartwood Guitar members, I thought, “I wonder if I could take the things I love about these meditations and apply them to guitar practice videos?

Here’s my first video.  The rest are available to members of Heartwood Guitar.  Come join us!

 
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