Learning and Lessons

Totally Guitars Weekly Wrap Up April 28th, 2017

On The Beat with Totally Guitars - 2 hours 47 min ago
Improve Your Guitar Skills with the online guitars lessons from Totally Guitars! Totally Guitars News Podcast
Categories: Learning and Lessons

Totally Guitars Weekly Wrap Up April 21st, 2017

On The Beat with Totally Guitars - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 18:56
Learn To Play The Guitar with the online guitars lessons from Totally Guitars! Totally Guitars News Podcast George Harrison wrote some great songs, one of which opens today’s update, and the following one is one he would have considered amateurish and weak, from only a few years earlier. There were quite a few thoughts on […]
Categories: Learning and Lessons

Totally Guitars Weekly Wrap Up April 14th, 2017

On The Beat with Totally Guitars - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 17:57
Master Your Favorite Tune with the online guitars lessons from Totally Guitars! Totally Guitars News Podcast Dropped D Tuning was popular around TG Central this week. I got a bug to resurrect a few pieces that I do not play often enough, including one that was in danger of really getting away from me. I […]
Categories: Learning and Lessons

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Guitar Noise - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 11:05
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Categories: Learning and Lessons

A Magical Simultaneous Vision

wilbeau - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 12:35

Editing creates more and more sense out of a work or text. Everything in a piece is there for more than one reason; a chord might support the melody and develop a counter melody. An inner voice might give breathing room to the main tune but add a small, unexpected surprise to the texture.

I have just re-imagined a set of songs originally written over 20 years ago and observe that the harmonies were chosen often to clash with the vocal line. They were chords and clusters selected with joy, I was happy just to play them so long ago, but now I work to meld them into a cohesive shape.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The tones written must be there for multiple reasons and these rationales often make the music easier to play. A mind perceives the reasons behind those tones, and as it does so, the patterns become more interesting, more musical. The more musical a phrase is, the easier it is to play.

alan bell chainsA few days ago, I was playing through the revisions with a singer* who stumbled numerous times on a particular word. Turned out that the composer might have set the syllables in a slightly un-natural way and as we worked through the issue we found a better way to do it and the problem ceased to be. The stumbles helped us fix an issue with text setting.

The set of songs were recorded in one three hour session with a violinist who was sight-reading. Finishing the pieces, I began to embed vocal cues in the guitar part to increase the chances of getting it all done on time. Each wrong note would decrease the chance of getting the right ones recorded. Every cue would help the singer find the correct pitch with greater ease.

I prefer to work from a complete take while editing a recording. There is increased listenability since the performers felt the entire gestalt unfold in real time. This flow is one of those subtle human things that listeners sense on an unconscious level. Performers broadcast all of that subtle stuff and that focus draws listeners in. It is a complex array of big goals and small, note-to-note shaping but also phrase and section shaping. Each gesture will in some way affect many subsequent ones and a small change in dynamic on page one means that others must be altered as well.

The whole and the parts are knit together – all the secrets of the world are in a grain of sand. Adjusting a delicate inner voice means there will be other changes as well. I like to think of this as the human mind working at its best: evolving the macro and micro pictures in a magical simultaneous vision.

*Doug MacNaughton

One day, Nasrudin went to the local doctor. “Every night for the past six weeks, I’ve had dreams where I am wrestling with donkeys.”

The doctor gave Nasrudin a herb. “Eat this, and your dreams will go away.”

“I will have to start them tomorrow.,” Nasrudin said taking the package, “Because I’m in the championship match tonight.”


Categories: Learning and Lessons

Totally Guitars Weekly Wrap Up March 7th, 2017

On The Beat with Totally Guitars - Fri, 04/07/2017 - 19:21
Learn To Play Your Favorite Song with the online guitars lessons from Totally Guitars! Totally Guitars News Podcast Picks, thumbtacks, and an original CD from a long time member of the TG Community. Welcome to April, where showers are continuing here in Northern California. Today’s update started with a John Fahey piece that crossed my […]
Categories: Learning and Lessons

Blues Supplement Shuffle

Learning Guitar Now - Fri, 04/07/2017 - 07:36

I’m going to be extending the Supplement Series to different styles,and keys due to the popularity of the first supplement lesson I put out. The next in the series will be a Shuffle Blues solo that is in the beginner/intermediate category.

This solo will be available soon.

The post Blues Supplement Shuffle appeared first on Learning Guitar Now Blog.

Categories: Learning and Lessons

Totally Guitars Weekly Wrap Up March 31st, 2017

On The Beat with Totally Guitars - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 19:27
Learn To Play The Guitar with the online guitars lessons from Totally Guitars! Totally Guitars News Podcast So sappy songs week has come and gone, or has it? Today’s update included a few of my favorites, along with bungled attempts at some others. I guess we can blame Vanessa for breaking out You Needed Me […]
Categories: Learning and Lessons

Rockin Blues Solo and Rhythm

Learning Guitar Now - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 09:43

I’m currently working on a few new courses that will be added to the All Access Pass in the next few weeks. One is a Rockin Blues solo where you’ll learn the rhythm guitar and the lead played over the tune.

This lead is an Albert King, SRV, influenced solo with a little bit of my own style thrown in of course. The rhythm guitar is not that hard really but to make it fit and sound good requires the right technique and execution. I’ll be dissecting this as well.

[This post contains video, click to play]

To gain access to this new course when it becomes available, check out the All Access Pass.

The post Rockin Blues Solo and Rhythm appeared first on Learning Guitar Now Blog.

Categories: Learning and Lessons

Totally Guitars Weekly Wrap Up March 24th, 2017

On The Beat with Totally Guitars - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 17:36
Learn To Play Your Favorite Song with the online guitars lessons from Totally Guitars! Totally Guitars News Podcast A little bluesy version of some recognizable tunes started off today’s update, followed by hints at possible upcoming lessons. I didn’t mean to set up any teasers but it might look like that. This week we added […]
Categories: Learning and Lessons

…dew is her cool way of being satisfied.” Robert Priest

wilbeau - Tue, 01/24/2017 - 06:19


I am thinking about the ways we teach music in private studios. Often we quickly learn how to read before proceeding to learn pieces from a graded collection. The thinking is that works of a similar level of difficulty are nice when grouped together. From an early age we study varied repertoire because that makes a more interesting program. We adhere to this notion even though almost none of the students will go on to become concert artists.

DSCF8018For most of western art music history, you learned what your teacher knew and stayed pretty much within the time frame you lived in. This would have simplified learning because the repertoire reflected a narrower syntax. Students learned to play using music from a similar aesthetic, developing skills and dexterity based on those needs.

Knowledge in this sense is additive, we learn a little bit then add to it. An allemande does this and a sarabande does that. A study by Carcassi in A major employs certain chords while the same composer’s study in A minor does a few different things.

It is much more challenging to learn music from different periods and styles; an allemande from the 17 century, will be very different from one composed in the early 20th. Each of those requires a radically different skill set.

solfar-sun-voyager-a-bellIf one teaches a set of works by a given composer, the student learns how that creator explores the keyboard or fret board. Knowledge comes by seeing similarities. One of the main reasons so many teachers [and learners] use graded repertoire is because of an exam system and it is so much simpler to teach to the exam – four pieces and two studies. Work and refine. The graded repertoire books are marvelous collections of music sold at a very accommodating price. They are not a method. The problem with standardized testing it creates standardized teaching.

And then there are the profits from the exams…

One fine spring day a neighbour noticed Nasrudin digging a hole, and asked what he was looking for.Nasrudin said, “I buried something in this field last month, and I’ve been trying to find it all morning.”

“Well,” said the neighbour, “did you mark the place where you buried it?”

To which Nasrudin replied, “Of course I marked it, there was a cloud directly over my head as I was burying it. It cast a long narrow shadow as I was digging. Now, I can’t find the shadow or the cloud!”



Categories: Learning and Lessons

Cloning Github Repository from Mac Terminal

Learn Guitar with Will Kriski - Mon, 01/23/2017 - 15:08

I’m starting to play with deep learning, machine learning, artificial intelligence in a variety of ways from statistics, linear algebra, calculus, Python via KhanAcademy, DataQuest.io, Coursera courses, Udacity Courses, EdX courses (refreshing my memory in some cases). So I thought I would start to blog about my discoveries which will hopefully help you as well.

I was watching a video by Siraj Rival about Python for Data Science and he had put a code sample up on Github. Github is a repository for code (an online code versioning system) where people post and share code with each other. It’s becoming more of an online resume where employers can see that you’ve actually worked on projects, not just padded your resume 🙂

So when we find a cool project we want to play with we can download the code to our local machine using Git on our Macs. Git is a code versioning system (maintaining/updating code in an organized way) and Github is an online version of that. If you don’t know how to install Git, check out this article on installing Git.

Instead of downloading a zip file, forking the repo (using Github website to copy the code to my Github account) or using Github for Mac I wanted to download the code from the command line.

In the image above you see a green Clone or download button for a Github project. The project uses Scikit-learn for Python to do data analysis. Click that to see a dropdown where you can copy and paste the URL to the .git file. We’re not going to download the ZIP file. We’re going to pull the files from the Mac terminal instead. Go ahead and open a Mac terminal (it’s under Applications->Utilities). Go to a directory you’d like to install the code in (I use the default which is Users/myusername).

To clone a Github repository you just type:
git clone <URL to repository>

so for us, this is:
git clone https://github.com/llSourcell/gender_classification_challenge.git

This pulls the code down and will make a directory based on the project name (gender_classification_challenge). Now you can cd (change directory) into the gender directory and play with the code like I am going to do!

The post Cloning Github Repository from Mac Terminal appeared first on Will Kriski.

Categories: Learning and Lessons

Totally Guitars Weekly Wrap Up (Personal Update from Neil) January 20th, 2017

On The Beat with Totally Guitars - Fri, 01/20/2017 - 17:51
Learn to Play Your Favorite Song with the online guitars lessons from Totally Guitars! Totally Guitars News Podcast
Categories: Learning and Lessons

Recognizing Trends For The Sake of Your Career

Learn Guitar with Will Kriski - Fri, 01/20/2017 - 08:18

In this post, I’m going to talk about various decisions I made which lead to amazing opportunities. I believe you can achieve this predictive capability as well by observing, reading and having the mindset to watch for trends. Of course, you should do things that you are interested in, not just follow trends!

After a few years of doing structural engineering in consulting firms, I realized I wanted to return to my childhood passion, which was computer programming (my first computer was a Timex Sinclair ZX81). So around 1999, I looked into the industry and felt that object-oriented programming was where things were headed (a way to organize code into objects rather than endless lines of code). There happened to be a fast-track program at the University called OOST (object-oriented software technology). We learned different things but I felt that Java was pretty amazing and “free” or open-source (headed by Sun Microsystems at the time) and where things were going. Also, web-based applications were getting pretty interesting (much more powerful than the usual ‘static’ HTML websites), so I decided to work at Servidium which was developing a web-application framework called Jaydoh. Frameworks make it easier to build web apps and allow you to separate the view (HTML – what you see in the browser) from the controller (Java – the logic) which are also usually different skill sets.

Jaydoh was basically competing with Struts (an Apache open source framework) so the challenge to get sales was large, ie. to sell a proprietary framework when an open source one was already available. So I decided that I should get into open source Java instead for the sake of my career. That lead me to work at Digital Oilfield (DO) who was using J2EE (Java Enterprise Edition) to run their apps.

As it happened DO was about to release a new version of their software so they asked me if I wanted to learn something called webMethods. I said sure even though I had no idea what it was (always good to learn new skills). They needed a way to exchange invoice files between companies and were originally thinking of using Java (servlets) unless I could figure out webMethods quickly (which I did). This lead me to learn about the new area of ‘Enterprise Application Integration’ or EAI and B2B (business to business) transactions (exchanging data like invoices and purchase orders between companies essentially). At that point, I realized that this was an important and growing area. I’ve been working in this area ever since (about 2003).

Somewhere along the line people started talking about web services. So instead of applications full of code that are hard to reuse, we started to think about creating web services (similar to functions by accessible on the internet). In the corporate world this became SOAP (simple object access protocol) and on the internet, it became REST (Representational State Transfer). SOAP is pretty complicated compared to REST which is another important fact to take note of.

During my work as an integration consultant, I noticed that new areas were getting some interest such as business process modeling (BPM). I was pretty interested in this as well as it made sense to set up a process (step by step tasks that need to be done in a common business process) and plug in either automated or human-performed tasks. This is a higher-level layer than the integration layer of course. The challenge for me was that none of the companies I was getting called by had these types of opportunities (it was fairly cutting edge at the time). Also as a contractor, you are paid for your expertise so whenever you have a major learning project it’s probably best to join a company as an employee so you can learn the new skills. Another way is to pay for your own training and try to be put on a project with other experienced people (in BPM, for example). This is a bit riskier as you have the knowledge but not the experience.

I decided to keep doing webMethods projects which were lucrative and allowed me to ‘retire’ in my early 40s. In 2010 I moved to a semi-rural area of Eastern Canada but was still taking various webMethods projects with large breaks (usually many months) in between. The last one was only 1 day a week from home which was great because I could work on other things of interest. But in general, this work was getting pretty boring (not much new learning).

A few years ago I finally decided to get my health in order. So after reading a lot of books, I felt that a plant-based diet made the most sense. I ended up losing over 35 pounds, lowered my blood pressure and lower my cholesterol to ‘heart attack proof’ levels. I’m on no medications at age 47. In fact, I recently had to buy 30″ jeans which is crazy to me (I’m 6′ tall). So I recommend working on your ability to search, read books and papers and try to decipher some of the studies (say on Google Scholar) as it can be tricky to depend on an ‘expert’ in the field (many of them disagree with each other). My success with this approach ended up turning into an online business (Potato Strong) with ebooks, a program, a course, and coaching along with various social media channels that I maintain.

During the past few years, webMethods integration opportunities have diminished somewhat for various reasons (licensing fees, software competition, the influx of cheaper and/or offshore labor, etc) so here we are at another decision point. I’ve been working on other things but my mathematical and programming interests seem to keep coming back. I feel like there’s so much more I can do that I didn’t get into. I received a Ford Motor Company scholarship in 1988 which paid all my engineering tuition plus some living expenses (value $18,000), and then won an NSERC scholarship which paid for my Master’s degree.

Lately, I’ve been looking into deep learning, which is a subset of machine learning which is a subset of artificial intelligence. Related to that area is data science. Last year I took a Computational Investing course on Coursera taught by Tucker Balch of Georgia Tech. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others are investing billions of dollars in the area of deep learning. Just to give you an idea of how much better computers are getting at this type of work, there are computers winning Jeopardy game shows, beating people at chess and Go, recommending what Netflix shows you might like to watch, tagging photos on Facebook automatically (facial recognition), translating languages (Google translate), not to mention self-driving cars.

If you’re thinking of career longevity, you might want to focus on things that require very high-level knowledge or one-on-one contact (nurse). Even things like taxi/truck drivers could be replaced with self-driving cars. At a minimum, these are fun things to read about and even play with. Keep your eye open for changing trends and technologies that could affect your job security.

The post Recognizing Trends For The Sake of Your Career appeared first on Will Kriski.

Categories: Learning and Lessons

Deep Learning and Data Science – New Blog Topic

Learn Guitar with Will Kriski - Thu, 01/19/2017 - 06:30

My website (the one you are on now) has historically been about guitar playing and teaching. I still play or practice every day as it’s a long time passion. I try to focus on one topic at a time, so currently it is using minor pentatonic scales (more so sequences) over jazz progressions (if interested drop me a message – I was working on an ebook about this).

After I lost a bunch of weight eating a plant-based diet (I’m now in 30″ jeans at age 47 at 6′ tall) I created the www.potatostrong.com website along with a ‘Potato Strong’ profile for each of YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr. That’s been going pretty well and it feels good to help a lot of people lose weight, get off medications and help the animals and the environment.

For Potato Strong I developed a couple ebooks, program, course, and coaching and as I started to make sales I shared this information on a Facebook page called Share Your Passion Online. Every month I shared my total online income which grew from nothing to a modest monthly income that helps pay the bills. I then had it on auto-pilot to some extent (using MeetEdgar and BoardBooster) but I would still post what I ate most days (to help people see what to eat) and also do YouTube videos which are fun. But I needed a new challenge as I love to learn new things.

My background is engineering (I have a Master’s degree) and computer programming (diploma in object-oriented software technology). I went from being an engineer to switching over to software development where I ended up doing integration for large companies using webMethods software (now SoftwareAG).

webMethods contract opportunities have slowed substantially in the past few years. I used to get calls from a lot of recruiters and had a few close relationships with small consulting firms that specialize in this area.

In one of the many books I’ve read lately (can’t remember which one) they suggested thinking about what you liked doing as a child. While this might not work in every case I used to program computers in my basement. It was fun to make the computer do things. I started with a Timex Sinclair computer that used a regular TV and no data storage (I would eventually turn off the computer losing everything) before I added a regular tape recorder. Then I met a friend in high school and I loaned him my Atari game system for his Vic-20 (with a tape recorder). Then I eventually got a Commodore 64 and my high school had PET computers.

I’ve always loved to learn and am constantly reading books on various topics. It’s a blessing and a curse because it’s hard to do the same thing every day especially if there is no learning component. So last year I took a Python course online that involved stock market predictions using Pandas, Numpy, etc. I did very well and was helping others in the forums.

For some reason, I recently started thinking about artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. It’s a complex area covering algebra, calculus, probability, computer programming and more (which is pretty much in my study background). I’m going to start with data science projects for the most part using a site called dataquest.io. This area touches pretty much every area of work from health care to social media as it helps employers figure out best business practices.

I’ll be posting my discoveries along the way here. Hopefully, I can add some guitar learnings and other topics over time. The topics are categorized in the top menu if you want to focus on one particular area.

The post Deep Learning and Data Science – New Blog Topic appeared first on Will Kriski.

Categories: Learning and Lessons

Composing Rounding the Human Corners part 1

wilbeau - Mon, 01/16/2017 - 12:00

The next set of blog posts will reflect a recent work I have composed. Each song from the project will be presented in turn. Because singing sends thoughts into the soul of another person, the choice of text is vital. I look for texts that reflect my notion of the sacred: the wonder of life, love of children, and our need for community. It is a privilege to take such notions into meaningful lyric expressions.

alan-bell-another-stone-in-the-wallphoto: Alan Bell

Rounding the Human Corners is a poetic cycle that reflects a trip Hogan took in 2002 with Brenda Peterson and the journey was chronicled in Sightings: The Gray Whales’ Mysterious Journey. The migration route started in Baja, California and ended in Alaska. Much of this journey was on boats and titles in this cycle include Sounding the Depths, Whale Rising and The Radiant -which refers to the Manta Ray. I have found that several of the texts fall naturally into sea shanty metres. Given the amount of time spent on boats during that journey, it is possible that the waves of the ocean may set such a metric sensibility into the imagination.

alan-bell-linksphoto: Alan Bell

Restless was the second text that I worked on and is a breezy and light-hearted, musing about always walking toward something. It ends with the thought that even at the end of life one could leave their skin clothes lying empty and still travel on. It is a good choice for song number two in the cycle, the tempo is slightly quicker than for the opener, and creates an unsettled feel for the legato lines.

The singer on this recording is the marvelous Toronto Mezzo soprano Maria Soulis and Alan Bell is responsible for the recording.



Categories: Learning and Lessons

Skills are Better Than Goals

Learn Guitar with Will Kriski - Fri, 01/13/2017 - 12:12

Forget focusing on fame and fortune. Or being a famous guitarist. Screw goals.

Instead Scott Adams (from Dilbert fame) suggests we focus on systems, not goals in his bookHow to Fail Almost Everything and Still Win Big.

I always get excited when I hear an idea that sounds strange at first but then makes me think in a new way. I often I evaluate a project based on the possible opportunities/expectations ie. thinking of learning how to write mobile apps so I can possibly earn some income or help some group like the disabled. Another one is debating whether to write an ebook to help people with a particular problem and earn some income.

A possibly better way to think when evaluating what to do with your time is to focus on the skills you will acquire. These skills may provide some benefit in the future, especially if they are combined with other skills. Scott Adams mentions that he combined some average drawing ability with humor and his knowledge of the office environment.

Since some of you are likely guitarists you could focus on the skills you will acquire – songwriting, arranging, learning scales (that can be applied to many styles), being able to focus for long periods of time while practicing, and so on. Every day you can focus on whether you are developing skills instead of whether you will be famous or even earn a living at the craft. This is systems thinking versus goals.

Say you want to start a blog to share your knowledge but you are wondering if anyone will care, if you will make any money eventually and so on. You might benefit from thinking about what skills you will acquire instead such as clear and concise writing, learning how to install or update a blog (and related website tasks), doing ‘Deep Work‘ (less distracted), writing longer more well researched posts, etc. That way it’s always a win even if no one ever reads your blog. You’ve still developed very useful skills that can be re-used in the next venture.

Focusing on the day to day systems and skills you will develop instead of the end result is another way of saying to be in the present moment. A lot of our ‘future based’ thinking leads to stress and impatience as we are unhappy that we are not at our goal. I’ve seen a lot of guitarists, dieters, and entrepreneurs be constantly frustrated and even give up because they weren’t seeing results (their future goals) fast enough.

When I was doing IT contracts my skills with integration work, specifically using webMethods software, was in high demand. And the hourly rate reflected that (plus I always asked for a high rate). I specifically chose to learn skills rather than try to move up the ladder so to speak. I often made more money than the managers who were more generalist in nature (not to mention employees).

This change in thinking also changes the questions we ask ourselves. Instead of ‘Am I a famous guitarist?’, ‘Do I have a hit song?’, ‘Am I making lots of money?’, ‘Do I have abs?’, we can ask ourselves if we are doing the work each day – ‘Did I practice today?’, ‘Did I write today?’, ‘Did I improve a little today?’.

I hope this idea is interesting to you. What skills are you currently developing?

The post Skills are Better Than Goals appeared first on Will Kriski.

Categories: Learning and Lessons
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