Bing Hodneland logo



List Bestselling Books


List Bestselling DVDs


Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
In Association with

All the information on this site is free. But if it is of value to you, I appreciate a tip.

Previous page:


Next page:
Previous page: Lessons Next page: Guitar lessons


There is a story saying that Mozart once was approached by a man who told that he wanted to write a symphony, and he asked Mozart for advice on how he should proceed. Mozart told him that he should study harmony, melodic development, counterpoint and of course the works of the masters. A little puzzled by the answer, the man asked:
-"But I have heard that you wrote your first symphony when you were ten years old."
Mozart nodded.
-" Had you done all this when you were 10?" the man continued.
-"No, but I did not have to ask anyone how to do it", was Mozart's reply.

We probably all have friends who seems to be able to pick up any melody, identify any chord and playing pattern just by ear. They also seems to be able to turn anything they learn into some personal music. And we envy them, wishing that we would have the same talent.

We are among those who have to ask. We would not had spent time searching for and reading material like this if we were not. But it is - at least to some extent - as learning a language. For the majority of you out there, it would give no meaning if I talked to you in my native language, Norwegian. It would only be strange sounds, and some of you would probably believe that you hear spoken German (given that you do not understand German, but only have some ideas about how i sounds).

What we want is to be able to get the sounds in our heads out through our instruments. To be able to do that, we have to be able to identify the sounds. My philosophy is that if we know what to listen for, then we will develop our listening skills and eventually be better musicians. Once again we can compare with learning a language: If we learn a few words, then we will be able to identify those words, and we will eventually learn to identify words that we do not know. If we are not able to identify the musical elements in what we hear others play, then it is unlikely that we will be able to identify the often rather unclear sounds in our heads. We will still be able to play, but we often tend to repeat ourself. We play what our fingers knows, and do not create very much.

If we know some often used chord progressions, we can learn to identify them. It is not too difficult to identify a 12-bar blues progression. If we know the chords of this progression, then we will eventually be able to identify I-IV, IV-I, I-V, V-IV-I and V-I changes. And then we are well on our way. We will also be able to identify songs that almost follows a standard 12 bar progression. If we know some of all the variations, then we can be identify that specific variation. And we we know that it does not follow any of variations we know, then we still know a lot about the song. Knowing what you do not know is a good start for learning.

For me, learning music has similarities with learning a foreign language: You should learn how to speak and write, not only words. You have to learn the grammar and syntax of the language, and you have to build a vocabulary. Knowledge will help us understand and our abilities to use the language.

We also have to realize that knowing the language is not enough. You do not become a writer just by learning the language. I do not become a new Henrik Ibsen just by knowing the Norwegian language. Knowing the language makes it possible to talk, but it does not give me anything to say. And just as some people are talking and talking without saying anything, many guitarists play chords, phrases and licks without producing any interesting music.

Previous page: Previous page: LessonsNext page: Guitar lessons Next page:

Previous page: Next page:
Previous page: Lessons Next page: Guitar lessons