I found a story in the November 26th issue that I thought was actually pretty cool, so I thought I'd post it. It is, unexpectedly enough, about how to learn to play the guitar. I can't find the article on the Weekly's website (looks like it wasn't ever posted, alas) so I'll try and type in a good exerpt here:
This holiday season like every other, prospective preteen shredders will plead their parents for their first axe, and older folks of all ages and abilities will decide to take up a new skill or finally pursue that lifelong dream of being a guitar player. But after the wrapping has been thrown out and all the appropriate rock poses have been mastered in front of bedroom mirrors, there is the matter of actually learning to play the damn thing. This is a complex task that has left many a holiday gee-tar in near mint condition until it is finally unloaded at a garage sale or on EBay.
But local guitar teacher Bodie Kent has made the once-daunting task of learning to play guitar a much easier experience with his Total Power Guitar software program.
"Learning should be effortless, absolutely effortless," says Kent, "With a great teacher you forget that you're learning. You're just fascinated. That's what I designed TPG to do, because that's the fastest, most efficient way to learn."
After dropping out of med school, Kent turned to teaching music, but was disappointed in the way music was being taught. He created TPG in response to what he considered to be an inadequate approach to guitar instruction.
"I found the methods out there just weren't clear enough. A lot of them were just based on pure memorization. Learn these chords, and later on you'll figure out how they work together." says Kent. "I decided that's just not good enough. It needed to be simpler. There needed to be a method that would be very clear from the very start with how music works, and that's what TPG does. You learn how a string vibrates. From that, you figure out what notes fit together, how to make a scale, how to make a chord, how to make a song."
Kent feel that teaching basic theory along with chords helps students better understand the process. TPG also guides the student at a manageable pace, and offers quick rewards to keep learners from getting too frustrated to continue early in the process. In fact, by the end of the first lesson TPG has the student making music.
In addition to his music and teaching skills, Kent understands that the human attention span is a fleeting thing, and it's getting shorter all the time. He took this into account wen developing TPG - as well as applying some of that med-school training.
"The human brain works really well in four to six minute intervals. The quickest way to learn is to do a little segment and then flip to something that's different, kind of like weight training. It's just very simple baby steps. Each little step is only about five minutes, and then there's five or six of them in any given lecture."
Pretty cool stuff eh? I went to Kent's website, http://www.myndflyte.com/, and checked it out. Total Power Guitar is only $9.95, which is pretty damn good even if it is only HTML files on a CDROM and some guitar tuning and metronome freeware. I think I will probably acquire a copy. I'm sick of my $800 fender strat sitting, unused, in its pretty tweed case on my bookshelf...
Also, check out the rather amusing "Tanked In Tuxes" piece from the same issue.
Finally, the "People's Republic" column in this week's issue was absolutely hilarious. I'm convinced author Rob Sheely is an unsung literary genius. Clicky, clicky...