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Officially Endorsed by Knucklehead Strings

Officially Endorsed by Knucklehead Strings
Go to "Extended Family" and look for "Wilder Mountain"

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chasing The Ever-Elusive Dream

So I'm sitting at Big O' Donuts here in Cookeville on my new laptop about to go home and hit the hay for the night.  I figured I need to start getting serious about my blog if I'm going to start getting any headway with new students.  I'm really struggling hard with going to the same ol' J.O.B. (Just Over Broke) every day.  I don't sleep much because I try to make the most of my time away from work by soaking up every last minute I can trying to live my life outside of work.

Also, my mind is always working non-stop (except when I'm playing my guitar) so I'm always on the move or obsessed with doing things just for the sake of doing them.  I love to write because that seems to be one of the only ways I can express what I'm feeling in a tangible way that helps me release those thoughts and try to settle my mind down a bit.

Anyway, my job is slowly sapping away all my energy (that and not sleeping).  All I can think about when I wake up in the morning is, "Not another eight hours of monotonous, meaningless work."  All I think about while sitting there in my out-of-date-in-desperate-need-of-a-replacement chair is how bad I want to be at home teaching and signing up new students.  It's my passion.  I can honestly say I've found my calling and have been pursuing it heavily for over a year now.  There have been more downs than ups it seems, but I'm still going and trying hard to make my dreams happen.

My "Dream Journal" notebook is finally completed and I've begun a new one.  There is much to be shared, and now that I have more mobility with my laptop, I can get to work on transcribing its contents.  So much to do, it seems, but again, it's my dream.

Signing off for now since my battery is nearly dead.  Hope to post more often.

For now, check out my official Wanna Play? Guitar Instruction website and let me know what you think.

Big O' Donuts

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Now accepting students!!!

Wanna Play? Guitar Instruction

I am now currently accepting students in the Upper Cumberland area.  You can find my information on my Google Places page as well as view some of my videos on my YouTube page.

Why learn to play the guitar?

How would you like to be:

•Successful at playing the guitar?
•Confident in your abilities as a musician?
•Passionate about making your own music?
•Impressed at your own progress as a performer?
•Totally comfortable playing in a band?
•Unafraid to perform in front of others and overcome stage fright?

My name is Eric Beaty and I live in the Algood/Cookeville, TN area. I have the hands-on, real-world experience you are looking for in a guitar teacher, and I'm ready to teach you how to become a real Guitar Hero!

Whether you want to play songs by the campfire, play like your favorite artists, play in a band, or just play
for your own personal pleasure, I can help you achieve your goals step-by-step by giving you the personalized lessons you need to become an accomplished guitar player.

Can't read music? Not to worry. I started playing guitar over 15 years ago with just a guitar and a few chords; everything grew from there.

Lessons start at $15 per 30 minutes once a week. I'll be your personal coach and teacher throughout your journey toward musical success. Give me a call at (931) 537-3483 and I'll get back with you as soon as possible.  If I'm not at home, please leave a message and be sure to leave your contact information.

Your guitar. My Experience. Perfect Combination!

Let's get started making you a better guitarist today! What do you say? Wanna Play?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Three P's of Playing Guitar

The Three P's
of Playing Guitar

(Or any other instrument)
© Eric Beaty 2010

P #1: Perception
Topping the P-list at number one is Perception.  When it comes to your five (some say six) senses, you may think your fingers are the most important part of playing guitar.  Nope.  What about your eyes?  Wrong again.  In fact, many people make music without the aid of vision (think Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles).  So what is the most important thing you need to play guitar?  In my opinion, it's your ears.  Big or small, your ears are what you need to hear the music other people play in order to incorporate what you hear into your own playing.  That's how you find your own personal playing style.

Think about this, before you could learn to: read, use your hands, walk, talk, or see, you began hearing even before you were born!  That's why you often see people talking to soon-to-be mothers' stomachs.  Hearing is your most developed sense besides touch.  This is why it's so important to use ear plugs if you're going to be in a loud band or going to play loud by yourself.  You need to save those ears!  After all, it's hard to tell if you sound good if you can't hear yourself playing.

Believe it or not, you'll be using your ears far more than your eyes or fingers when playing guitar.  For instance, you've probably seen many famous guitarists close their eyes in ecstasy when they play solos or certain notes.  Sometimes they'll hold that note for a long time, letting it ring, before playing the rest of the solo (Eric Clapton is well known for this).  What you may not notice is that, all the while, they're using their ears to hear certain things.  Such as: if the note is the correct pitch, if the tone of the guitar is just right, if they need to play louder or softer, if the audience is silent or cheering, etc.

Considering these points about perception, try this exercise (you won't even need your guitar):  Go someplace either where there's lots of noise (not loud noise), like a restaurant or coffee shop (people talking), or even roll down your window in traffic.  Or if you prefer, go to a quiet place such as a park or woodsy area, or maybe a lake or beach.  Now, just take a moment and relax.  Use your most developed sense to listen carefully.  Try to clear your mind of thoughts, worries, and "to-do" lists.  You might hear honking horns or blaring radios if you're in traffic.  You might hear soft cafĂ© music or people laughing and talking in a coffee shop.  Coffee shops are a great place to listen and relax; they usually have low light and soft music.  But also listen for music in every day sounds, not just the music in the overhead speakers.  That's where it gets really interesting.

When you hear a honking horn, can you tell if the sound is a high-pitched sound or a low-pitched sound?  What musical note does it sound like (A, B, B-flat, C-sharp, etc.)?  What about if you hear screeching tires?  Is that sound an angry sound; maybe a hurried sound?  Music expresses emotions at their deepest level, so listen for the emotions in every day things.  A chirping
bird might sound happy; the howl of a dog, sad.  A revving motor may sound impatient or arrogant.  Use your ears as a filter to help translate to your mind and heart the emotion and feeling of life all around you.  Then, when you begin to play your music, it will come from your heart and soul -- not just your fingers.  That's what musical self-expression is all about.

P #2: Patience

The second "P" in our list is Patience.  This can be a hard one for many people.  In today's hurried and busy society, patience doesn't come naturally.  We have microwaves for faster meals, Hi-Speed Internet has replaced Dial-up, and we can barely obey the speed limit anytime we go somewhere.  I've even seen a local McDonald's put an extra drive-thru lane up!  (Two drive-thru lanes?!  If you're going to learn to play the guitar (and play it well), you will need to have patience.  How much patience?  Well, how much do you want to learn; and for how long?  When it comes to the guitar, you will never completely learn everything there is to know about it.  There are so many diverse genres of music and styles of playing that you'll always be learning.  But that's a good thing!

When you first learn to play you might be interested in one or two styles of music, say Blues and Rock.  A year or so later you might like to venture out into other styles like Jazz or Classical.  It takes patience to learn many different styles -- much less one style -- of music.  But therein lies the fun!  You'll never run out of ideas or ways to express yourself, no matter how long it takes.  I'm not saying it will take a long time to play your favorite songs or genres, but you'll hardly notice the time passing once you're really immersed in the learning process.  As they say: "Time flies when you're having fun."

You must learn and strive to be patient; not only
with learning the guitar, but with yourself as well.  Regardless of how well you play, you are your harshest critic.  That's right, you.  You will always see yourself in a worse light than anyone else.  It's just in our nature as humans -- especially as creative, expressive humans.  Be easy on yourself.  There's another saying that states "It's not about the journey; it's about the destination," but I disagree.  Music is totally about the journey!

So don't worry if you don't understand what you're playing or how to play it, learning music is a lifelong journey, and if you love music, you'll love the journey no matter how long it takes because time will be flying by!  Pretty soon, you'll feel like you don't have enough hours in the day to learn more and more.  Be patient here as well; you don't want to overwhelm yourself with all learning and no play.  Give learning a break and just play the guitar.  Patience will make you a much better musician; much more so than impatience and discouragement ever could.  Above all, learn to be patient.

P #3: Practice, Practice, Practice!!!

And last but certainly not least in our P-list is Practice.  (Okay, three practice's is actually five P's; so sue me.)  As you can tell by the emphasis on this last one, practice is the most important tool you have.  Sure, your ears are very important, but if you don't develop your concept of the way different chords, scales, songs, etc. sound by practicing actual listening, then having good perception won't help you much.  This is called "Ear Training."

You may be asking yourself, "Self, what's the best thing I can do to help me become a better player?"  Well, it isn't by just showing up for your weekly lesson; although, that is important.  And it isn't just by playing a song one time through and thinking you've got it down perfectly.  (Notice Perfection wasn't one of the P's?  That's because you'll never be "perfect" on your instrument.  Why?  Because there's always room to improve!  That's why it's so fun to play; you're constantly improving and learning new things!)  The fact is, if you're going to get better consistently, you're going to have to go out to the woodshed and buckle down.  In other words, you're going to have to practice!
Practice doesn't have to be a boring, mindless, tedious task, however.  Practice should be fun and engaging; something you look forward to every day (after you've done your homework, that is).  Every time you sit down with your guitar you should tell yourself, "It's my time to enjoy what I'm about to learn because once I learn it, if I keep practicing, I'll never have to worry about having to learn it again."

It's thrilling to me to be able to finally figure out something I've constantly worked on for a while, whether it be a particular picking pattern, song progression, or developing my speed technique.  Now I don't have to spend so much time on that particular lick I learned because it's been programmed into my head and my fingers (through muscle memory, which means that my fingers "remember" that certain shape or phrase or lick).  "Thrilling" may be a bit too big a word to describe it, you may think, but go ahead; try it for yourself and see if I'm right.

Practice does involve repetition
to some degree.  But once you get it down, you only have to "oil the machinery" from time to time instead of plugging away at the same thing day after day after day.  Just a quick brush up once in a while on that lick you finally learned is all it takes to keep your fingers nimble and ready to play it in the real world.  When that happens -- say you're playing in your own band or at church somewhere -- you'll be ready for it.  Why?  Because you've practiced it!  It's kind of like taking a test; once you've studied hard for it and it's time to actually take it, the answers just come to your mind without you really having to try.

When you put all these things together -- Perception, Patience, and Practice --
in no time you'll find yourself becoming a better musician, able to play your instrument in ways you never dreamed possible.  Just keep at it; which reminds me...

Click here for 387,000 sheet music titles

A Parting Word...

Three P's is a nice, well-rounded number, but if I were to add a fourth "P" it would be Persistence.  Closely related to patience, persistence means "Don't Quit!" in a nutshell.  Don't ever give up.  There will be times of frustration.  There will be feelings of incompetency and inadequacy.  But you must never, ever quit.  If you are truly serious about being a musician, you must keep going no matter what.  Sure you'll sound bad at first; everyone does.  And there may be people who make fun of your playing.  Just remember, most of the time they're too conceited to remember that they too were once beginners and sounded as horrible (or even worse) as you think you do. 

But you'll get better.  And you know why?  Because you have the three -- ahem, four -- P's to guide you.  You are now equipped to tackle the most difficult assignments any teacher (or you, yourself) can give from here on out.  So now you have no excuse.  Keep going, don't quit, and I'll hear you around sometime.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Hunger for Knowledge

Okay, so I'm sitting at my computer at home at 12:15 a.m., right?  I should be in bed by now!

I've been listening to a lot of business audio books for the last week.  Books like The Millionaire Next Door, The Millionaire Mind (both by Thomas Stanley), Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and I'm trying to get more ready to listen to at work tomorrow.  I'm starting on some books by Steven Covey -- most popular for 7 Habits of Highly Effective People -- and one of Robert Kiyosaki's other books entitled Before You Quit Your Job.

On top of all that, I've been reading some of these types of books as well.  I'm currently on Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking, and I found a book I just had to have about living out your dream career by Delatorro McNeal II called Caught Between A Dream and A Job.  Another book I also just had to have is a more obscure one called Talent to Treasure: Building A Profitable Music Teaching Business by Marcia Washburn.  This last one is a hard one to find anywhere to buy besides her website.

I recently finished a book by Lloyd Steiner called Make A Fortune Teaching Private Music Lessons.  You can read my review on

Lastly, I've been going to my local Books-A-Million (BAM) store to check out some business/teaching music books and found one of the Idiot's Guide books by Karen Berger called The Idiot's Guide to Teaching Music On Your Own.  It's a very extensive book and well worth the $16.95 price tag, but it's geared more towards those that have some sort of degree in music instead of your basic musician like me.  So I've been going there and reading it every time I set foot in the door.  I must have it over half-way read by now!  I'm also following her blog CreateWorkLive right here on Blogspot.

Wish I could say more, but it's way past my bed time.  I've been trying to adjust to an earlier sleep schedule so I can change to day shift and start teaching at night, but no such luck so far on the sleeping end of things.

At least I'm staying quite motivated with all this information rattling around in my head, though.  I realized something today: no matter how much I learn, experience is the best teacher of them all.  So I need to get out there and start teaching!

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Beginning the Journey

Have you ever had a dream that you couldn't let go of in your mind?  Oh sure, you may have let it sit on the back burner for a while, but it eventually gets hot enough to start screaming for your attention.  Something that gnaws away at your sanity until you decide to do something about it?

Well, I have.

For me, my dreams have always revolved around making music.  From the time I was a child I can remember wanting to learn to play an instrument.  I chose guitar.  I had been playing some piano in church but quickly found out that a piano just isn't as portable as a guitar.  I wanted mainly to be able to sing and play hymns at church because I wanted to be involved in something.

I remember the drive and determination I had to succeed in learning to play.  I'd begged my grandmother (Dad's side) all year for a 2-part video series on how to play guitar that I'd seen in some catalog.  Christmas arrived and with it my guitar videos.  I was ecstatic.  Now all I needed was -- bingo -- a guitar!

Not a problem.  My grandmother (Mom's side) had a junior guitar she'd bought for my younger brother who for some reason at the time wasn't interested in learning.  It was one of those nylon-stringed guitars with a neck as thick as my thirteen-year-old forearm.

I took it home and began learning from the videos on how to play certain rhythmic chord songs like "Tom Dooley," "Amazing Grace," and "House of the Rising Sun."  I also learned how to use the "relative tuning method" of tuning the guitar.  You musician's out there know what I'm talking about.  Along with the chords and the tuning instructions, the booklet that came along with the VHS tapes also had a section on learning how to read music.  "I don't need no stinkin' music notation," I thought, "I have my ears!"

Now I regret not learning how to read music at the same time I was learning how to play guitar, and I'm just now trying to learn how to.  But at least I was able to play after a month or two of banging out chords on those old songs.  I was able to see the connection of how chords were used in songs in similar ways (I didn't know the term "chord progression" until much later).  As a result, I was able to sing and play at church and enjoy being a part of something special.

And so began my love of music and the guitar.  Now, fifteen-plus years later, I have a desire to earn a living sharing this love of music to the people of my community.  Only, I have no clue as to how to start.  Looking back on what I've written here, I see the determination to succeed in playing the guitar and I think if I could just muster up that same determination and utter tenacity I know I could experience that same joy and fulfillment again.

So this is my story.  A continuing saga (if you will) of how I will make every effort to move forward and chase my dreams until they become a reality.  No more day job, being my own boss, working less & making more, working with people, teaching (another passion of mine, though I don't know how to even start teaching guitar; I'm more of a Bible teacher), and the many other benefits that come with being an entrepreneur.

There are many things that scare me in starting up my own business, though.  But that's for another time.  For now, will you walk with me as I journey onward; trying not to look back?


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