Fender Dual 8 Professional Lap Steel Guitar.jpg Fender Dual 8 Professional Lap Steel Guitar ca.1952
Pedal Steel Guitar Lessons: What You Need to Know First
The pedal steel guitar originated from the steel guitar. Essentially this was the same set up as the aforementioned instrument except it did not include pedals that allowed for change in greater variation in key. This more rudimentary instrument came about some time in the late 19th century and was largely used in Hawaii. This instrument became more popular in the United States in the 20’s and 30’s. Since that time, the pedal steel guitar and its development as an instrument with the addition of pedals has helped in the progression of more modern country music and western swing and later jazz and blues.

The instrument looks sort of like the top half of a guitar laid on a table although the pedal steel guitar is not closely related to a guitar. Older pedal steel guitars had six strings, the more modern ones generally have ten but some have up to 14 strings. The tuning pegs are located at the end, each peg controls one string. Small rollers sit near the nut, helping to prevent strings from getting stuck if they are being raised or lowered. The strings sit much higher on the neck of a pedal steel guitar and its frets are painted on for intonation purposes for the musician but not utilized like a guitar’s frets. A bridge sits at the end of the neck on the right side of the instrument, helping to lift the strings off the neck. Another row of individual rollers also sits near the bridge, which roll according to the pedals and levers you’re pushing with your feet and/or knees. At the right end of the instrument, there is a pick-up that makes sound come out of the amp.

The right foot pedal is typically used to regulate the volume of the pedal steel guitar. The left foot usually utilizes one or more pedals that control key. Similarly, the knee levers can be positioned under the pedal steel guitar so that by moving your knee to the left, right, or up you can change the note or key that is played. The advantage, and in some cases disadvantage, of using the pedals and levers over the slider is that these pedals only affect one string at a time where as the slider, if perpendicular to the length of the string, changes the vibration length of all of the strings touched at once.

While your feet and or knees are pressing on pedals or levers, one hand will hold a solid metal slider. Most commonly this slider is a few inches long and made of steel but some artists will use bottles or combs for more rugged effects. Because the strings are so high on what is usually the fret board, the length of the instrument’s string vibrations are shortened or lengthened by the metal bar curtailing vibration to the left side of the slider. The hand that is not holding the slider will usually be plucking. Because of the rigidity of the strings, most musicians use a thumb pick and two to three finger picks to pluck the strings as either individual notes or chords that go along with what the slider is playing. These notes all vibrate creating noise down the string, reverberating to the pick-up so that this music plays out through its amp.

Ultimately, learning the pedal steel guitar can be a challenge. Getting used to the unique movements that are inherent to playing, can be difficult and discouraging. Regardless, this instrument is not only rare and particular, it provides a rewarding experience that is incomparable. For some beginner video lessons, visit this website.

Photo Credit: Drew Coffman original posted on Flickr

Man learning or playing Banjo
The Quickest Way to Learn Banjo Chords
The banjo is not a very old instrument, relatively speaking. The general design was laid down in colonial America by Africans, and it was modeled on other traditional African instruments. It usually has four or five strings, with one string being reserved as the 'drone' string. Banjos usually bring to mind country music and bluegrass, but it has been gaining some popularity in other musical genres. This is a good time for people who want to learn banjo chords and techniques, because a lot of information that was once fairly pricy is now available for much less or for free on the internet.

In addition to finding banjo teachers here on LRNGO, a quick search in a major search engine will turn up hundreds of sites designed to help you teach yourself to play the banjo in some way. In order to learn banjo chords, you will first need to learn how to read the notation that people use to write down chords. This can seem complicated, but there is a great guide on how to learn to do this on the Banjo Ben website. This is a completely free website with tons of information on banjos, especially for beginners. This site also offers advice on how to buy your first banjo, how to tune it, hold it, and how to use fingerpicks. There are also many resources to help you learn banjo songs, such as 'Cripple Creek' and 'Rocky Top.'

Other sites require a membership or fees for their instruction. Banjo Teacher is such a site. This site offers dozens of products for people who want to learn banjo songs, chords, and technique. There is a special package for beginning players that includes a book, audio CDs, and a DVD. This package contains very detailed instructions for everything a beginner will need to know.

There are also many other deals for more advanced players, such as guides and techniques to build up your playing speed or accuracy. Particularly useful are the song books with accompanying CDs and DVDs. There many of these books with hundreds of songs. They include detailed instructions on how to play the songs, as well as audio CDs with the songs on them. Some of these packages include a DVD that shows exactly what the hands are doing as the song is played.

A great free resource for people who want to learn banjo is YouTube. People love to upload videos of themselves playing music, and the banjo players are no exception. You can find videos of people playing almost anything you can imagine, and it can really broaden your musical horizons to do a bit of video exploring. There are even people out there who offer banjo lessons completely for free.

Learning a musical instrument is usually a difficult process, but the rewards can be great. If you want to learn banjo chords, songs, and technique, the internet is a great place to go but don't neglect your local music shops. There are usually people there who can help out new players. There is only one simple rule for aspiring musicians – practice!

Photo Credit: Alan Levine

Filming movie with aspiring actress and sunset
How to be an Actress – The Path to Stardom
The path to stardom is much sought after as aspiring actresses hope to become celebrities someday. While this may be a bit ambitious, if they apply themselves in learning how to be an actress, the chance for stardom could be theirs.

Acting school is a good place to start. Many instructors are celebrities themselves, with much experience to impart. There are various places that teach the performing arts. Many high schools have classes that instruct in how to be an actress, and then progress on to college and university programs. Many of the celebrities that we know and love today were once students in these acting classes. In fact, it is generally the case that stars are not accidentally formed, but deliberately created.

While many envy the lifestyle of celebrities, most do not fully comprehend the amount of work and diligence that was invested in earning that status. To learn how to be an actress, one must be willing to get in touch with their emotions in order to be able to pull off a convincing performance. You must learn to be comfortable in front of a crowd, or a camera. You must be able to have your work picked apart, and critiqued repeatedly.

The celebrities that are known for their skill and talent, as opposed to their looks or sex appeal, are usually also known for their discipline, diligence and ability to work hard, and then harder, to achieve memorable performances.

The often unheard of forces behind the success of many celebrities are their acting coaches and instructors. Those serious about learning how to act should find themselves an acting coach that can work with them, perfecting their skills and preparing them for future opportunities.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Kos-Read

Playing the Trombone
Learning Trombone from a private Teacher
The trombone is a popular and common instrument that is a staple in orchestras and many bands. It’s a versatile and melodic instrument, pleasant to the ears and enjoyable to play. If you have begun to develop an interest in playing the trombone, but don’t know where to start or find trombone instructors, don’t worry. Playing the trombone can be easy and fun if you get good trombone instructors, study hard, and practice daily.

The trombone is a member of the brass family and a unique instrument. With its slide and natural pitch bend effect, it is like no other in either sound or appearance. A staple of marching bands, jazz bands and classical concert groups alike, one could not imagine a performance in any of these genres without this instrument. This instrument was also a staple (some would say a necessity) in the New Orleans style of music that was the beginning of jazz in the US. Many will tell you that jazz as we know it would not have been the same without the influence of the trombone.

One of the best places to discover trombone instructors is in your local school. Not all schools have music teachers of course, but larger and higher quality ones are sure to, and among the music teachers may be one who knows the trombone. You should look especially in schools which have a marching band or other musical features, because they will often keep a trombone teacher on staff whose classes you can attend.

If no schools have trombone teachers in your local area, the next logical place to search is in music stores, where contact information and referrals for teachers are often kept. A local music store might have the information for hundreds of local music instructors, and one that is right for you will surely come up.

If neither of the above options works out for you, then you should look in classifieds both online and in newspapers. Classifieds often features ads by local trombone instructors who are searching for eager students. If you can’t find any trombone instructors, then you can always post an ad of your own.

These are just a few of the best ways to discover trombone instructors that are right for you. If you’re serious about learning this powerful and beautiful instrument, the time and energy you spend finding an instructor will be well worth the invaluable knowledge you will gain.

Photo Credit:ACE Foundation

Amy Whitcomb of Delilah at the Hong Kong International A Cappella Festival 2012
Learn Voice Over Acapella and How to Sing
Learning voice over acapella music and how to sing is a rewarding experience for anyone interested in music. There is a vast difference between listening to a truly great singer who sings almost effortlessly, and a not so great one whose singing seems rather like someone straining or lifting a heavy object. With the latter, it can be painful to listen to or watch. The best way to learn voice over acapella music and specifically how to sing is by taking vocal lessons. Whether through attending workshops presented by a professional vocal coach, getting private vocal or singing lessons, or going through online or DVD courses.

It’s not that learning how to sing is that difficult, but it does take determination, perseverance, and inner motivation. Without those qualities, a student will usually end up giving up before the lessons can pay off. This is especially true with voice over acapella singing, where there are only vocals and no instruments to accompany. Anyone who wants to learn music can, if they have the determination to develop their skills and not give up too soon.

Some of the basic building blocks involved in learning how to sing voice over acapella music are the mastery of breathing, using the diaphragm, and learning how to relax vocal chords and muscles. To learn music and how to sing requires using specific techniques that can enhance the singer’s ability and skill, such as cord adducting, smoothing out the bridges, controlling the larynx, and resonance. Most of the time, it’s very difficult for new students enrolled in singing classes or a vocal workshop to grasp these concepts and techniques on their own, it’s simply too confusing. However with voice over acapella music, you will only hear a voice or voices, so the differences in technique upon playback will be more evident.

New students as well as professionals with years of experience behind them constantly need vocal coaching to help them hone their craft and vocal range when singing voice over acapella music. Even professional singing artists understand that to truly learn music and how to sing without accompaniment requires an attitude of constantly upgrading and expanding their techniques in how to sing. The valuable assistance of a professional vocal coach can make the difference in growing as a singer or stagnating. Learning voice over acapella music techniques and how to sing should be a fluid experience, with the student always eager to learn more, practice and perfect their craft. Find information on which microphones to use for voice over acapella singing here.

Photo Credit: istolethetv

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