🌟 #1 Best Musicianship Workout Tip EVER!

No matter where you're at as a player, you can improve. There's always room for never ending improvement. But, where most guitar players focus their attention, may not actually be the best areas that can offer the highest forms of improvement to overall skill and musicianship... 

Are you wondering how you might be able to improve on your musicianship in a simple yet highly effective way? I've got a great practice idea I can show you that will help you learn how to make rapid improvements to your musicianship. 

It is easy to understand and it uses nothing more than the most basic, common-place melodies. These can be any melody-line that you've been listening to for many years now - anything...


Have you ever sat down and slowly picked apart a common place melody? If not, you're really missing out. This type of study does wonders for your ear training, for your sense of timing, and for your understanding of the balance that exists between melody and harmony.

In this episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider," we're going to look at a classic piece of music that is about as simple as it can get. Plus, it is a melody that has also has recently been placed back into the public domain. 

It is the piece "Happy Birthday to You," which was only recently (as of Jan. 01, 2017) placed back into the public domain, (European Union - Global Copyright). 


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In getting started with any piece of music, (no matter how simple), the best initial plan of action is to plot out the melody line. This would first require you to go and locate a good quality audio recording of the piece you want to analyze. 

Find a good recording, however long it takes you, make sure that you do this step. I would not recommend going from memory, because as you spend more and more time analyzing where you believe a melody is actually headed, there's a better and better chance (the longer you work at it), that you're going to get lost in the overall structure.

Play through the melody of, "Happy Birthday to You."

 click on the above image to enlarge full-screen

Once you understand the structure of the piece, start breaking down the connection of harmony to the melody so that you understand the most simple application of a group of chords that will match up to the melody.

Since pretty much every song on Earth can be broken down to a "I-IV-V" progression, that is where I would suggest you should begin from. Let's review the chord changes matched to the songs lyrics for, "Happy Birthday to You."


Once you've organized how the chords fit against your melody and you've developed a rough sketch of how the piece operates rhythmically, the next step is to take things a step further and develop a guitar chord melody arrangement of the piece.

This is where knowing a lot of chords and having a good ear for matching up chords to a harmony (over top of a melodic arrangement) can really help. 

You'll need to spend a good amount of time on determining chords that can be used to stack up notes from a melody line into a series of chord changes.

I've organized something like that for our rendition of "Happy Birthday to You."

  click on the above image to enlarge full-screen

I hope that this exercise makes you think a little bit more about how much value can be had from the study of simple common-place melodies. 

By working through melody lines that we've heard hundreds of times, whether that's; children's songs, holiday melodies, cultural pieces, TV show theme songs, or maybe famous melodies from Movies, whatever it may be - the study of these sorts of melody parts can be incredibly valuable to the further development of ear training, (along with your sense of rhythm and your application of chords).

If you want to make your musicianship better, this type of work is absolutely fantastic.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section below... if you enjoyed this video, give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more on YouTube.

Thanks again and we'll catch up next week , for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."



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