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Whenever I check out the forum on AG Community, I tend to gravitate towards the forums on playing the guitar - technique.  I even just added a reply to a discussion I started that focused on technique.  I'm sure others have posted things on this before but I thought I'd bring up the art of making music.  After all, isn't that what it's really about.  There are so many players, even well known professionals, that I think put on a great show and have excellent technique, but complete self expression through sound is lacking.  Even some to me sound like they are making music but it all seems like an act.  I suppose, in a sense, it has to be sometimes.


I hope some of you know what I'm talking about.  In the realm of the solo instrumental guitarist, I see so often the player with a blank stare with some slight head nods.  I know I'm guilty of this.  Not that movement and facial expressions are everything but they do reflect how excited or sad or angry someone may be.  


To get to my point, I just thought I'd see if anyone else had any thoughts on making real music, ideas on how to get beyond the notes and actually speak with your instrument, and how this translates into performance and entertainment.




Tags: David, Making, Music, Real, Youngman

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Click over to the "Groups" section where you'll find groups specific to songwriting and/or style specific playing.  Here are a couple to start you off


Songwriting Review



 I know  what you mean about "making music".  I'm a newbie.  I would LOVE to be able to make music with my guitar.  Right now I am concentrating sooooo hard on my chords, changes and strumming that I feel overly "mechanical".  There are people that can "play guitar", there are people that are "guitar players", then there are people that are "musicians/artists".  My only hope is that I have enough years left in my life to become a "guitar player".  But I'm having a RIOT on this journey.  Keeping It Fun, Dean

Hi Dean,

Thanks for your comments and I'm so glad to hear you have "real Music" on your radar.  I like to think that I'm on the right path of making real music but there are so many temptations and distractions.  You have to have technique to be able to speak with your instrument without thinking about the technique.  Also, when I perform sometimes I think about what I should say next between songs or I think about random stuff.  I'm not lost in the music.  I have moments but it takes something that often seems beyond me to stay in the music consistently.  This is all kind of abstract thinking but I hope some others can get in on the discussion and we can help each other out to experience this more and more for ourselves and for our audiences.

All the best,


I'm new too, about 9 mos. I'm working hard on changing chords also, but I love to sit on my front porch and work at it, I've come a long way and am improving so maybe this summer.will put me over the top.

Performance and performance style are highly individualistic and I don't think anyone has a lock on what works and what doesn't. 

We see folks who stand like statues and others who throw themselves around the stage like lunatics.

Sometimes this works for either type and sometimes it doesn't.   I've seen relatively "expressionless" performers who are nonetheless riveting; everything goes into the song.   I've seen manic individuals who I thought had practiced the whole routine in front of a mirror... It looked completely artificial.

Many of the folks I really like essentially sit there and play, but they do so with great passion and enthusiasm.  It's hard to fake....

Hey Mark,

Thanks for the post.  I think you're right.  It's hard to pin point a method or tactics.  

Here's how I've been approaching things.


First I try to understand why I'm going to perform a piece.  I need to know clearly what it is this piece is about and what it means to me.  Depending on the piece I might think about what it might mean to others.


After doing this I try to decide how I can portray this.  As a solo instrumental guitarist, do I need to do any explaining of the piece to set it up or can I just play it.  (I try as much as I can not to give too much away about the piece so that I'm forced to explain it through the guitar).


I have been learning more about stage presence and performance.  I think this is where things can look fake but I also have noticed that I am sometimes not portraying what I want to portray.  My face can look nasty.  My wife has described some of my movements while standing and playing as the potty dance.  So I've been paying more attention to these things to get across what I'm trying to express with a piece.


In going through all of this I'm hoping to reach a point where this is all natural and I can be more free in my performance.  I have found that when I work on performance I tend to focus more on the emotion of the music which I think helps in making real music.


Of solo guitarists, the best performer that comes to my mind is Tommy Emmanuel.  I'm also pretty impressed with Akihiro Tanaka.  Both are fun to watch in how they act on stage and it all seems quite sincere.


  I think stage presence comes with time, I know I use to just stand and play and sing, now I look out and see people tapping there feet and that loosens me up also, the more I have played the more I joke and talk with the crowd between songs and that follows thru to my playing.  When I play back up with others I tend to turn into a statue again since it's their show.

I went to a seminar with Tom Jackson who is a live production producer.  He basically works with musicians and bands on their stage presence and performance.  He's got a bunch of videos on youtube and as far as I know he is one of the very few that does this.  He works with quite a few big names.  The one that comes to mind right now is Taylor Swift.  


I've seen another guy on YouTube that does something similar.  


I started implementing some of these things into my performance and I actually had some people compliment me on my stage presence saying I seemed very comfortable and engaging.


I guess I should change this discussion to Stage Presence rather than Real Music.  (Although I think they are or at least should be related).

Thanks for the posts guys.


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