So, I stumbled across this new tab site a few months ago and forgot about it until recently. Guitar Tab suffers from the same greatness and tragedy as Wikipedia: it is user submitted. So, you may get a completely accurate assessment of the original song. You may get complete garbage. It can be a pain to sift through the garbage to find the real gems. 

The other major complaint I have had with guitar tab is that it doesn't dictate rhythm. If students bring in Tab it is normally just a bunch of numbers across six lines. This version of tab is only helpful if you are very familiar with the song. With no rhythm indicated there is no way to know how long to hold each note. 

Enter Songsterr. It seems to be more accurate than many tabs I've come across and there is only one tab per song (unlike Ultimate Guitar and others that can have 20+ tabs per song!). This makes it easier to find what you are looking for. 

What I like about Songsterr:
-Mostly Accurate Guitar Tabs
-Guitar Tabs with Rhythm
-Multiple Guitar Parts for each song (electric 1, electric 2, acoustic, bass, etc..)
-Online Lessons available through Tab
-The ability to hear the tab as you read it 

The last one is worth its weight in gold, especially for beginner and intermediate students. If you can hear the tab as you read it (the curser moves through the tab as it is played) it makes it MUCH easier to play. 

Through the free program, you can read any tab and listen to it. If you pay for a subscription to Songsterr Plus ($9/month..cheaper if you buy multiple months) you open up a new world of possibilities including the ability to print, zoom, go full screen, slow down the track, focus mode, solo mode, and looping to work on specific parts. 

Do I recommend Songsterr Plus? There are worse places that you could spend money to help your student succeed. I recommend trying it for a month, and seeing how much it is used. Check it out and let me know what you think!
I stumbled across these this week. One of my students has them on her guitar and her husband raved to me about them. I got a chance to play them this week and they are phenomenal...and cheap! I still don't know very much about them, but they are Martin M130 Silk and Steel strings. It seems that there is a bit of silk woven into the string and it makes for a light, almost pressure-free playing experience.

If you are just starting out, are a young student, or have sensitive fingers I can definitely recommend these strings. Try them out and let me know what you think!

Check them out in my new Amazon Store.
Two exciting new things happening this semester for my drum and guitar students. For Drum Students, we'll be working on rudiments and using Vic Firth's worksheets. Rudiments are rehearsed stick patterns. You can think of them like lay up drills in basketball or practicing catching pop flies for baseball. We practice rudiments (rehearsed sticking patterns) so that when we have to use them in a real life situation (in a piece of music or song) they flow naturally and easily. Musically, they are the equivalent of practicing scales. These Vic Firth worksheets break down each rudiment and give several level for students to achieve: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond based on BPM (beats per minute). These give students a tangible goal to shoot for and, frankly, make learning rudiments a lot more fun. In the near future I hope to have a place on my website to keep track of student's progress through the rudiments and through each level. The link above has the online version of the worksheets I printed for my students, an audio file of each rudiment at different tempos for students to play along, and a video demonstrating the rudiment at multiple tempos. Check it frequently and use it for practice throughout the week!

For guitar students we are working through 100 Killer Licks and Chops for Rock Guitar. I LOVE this book and wish I had found it sooner. It traces rock guitar from Scotty Moore (Elvis' guitarist back in the 50's) to present day, stopping to pay homage to all of the major players and styles along the way. Each week I will pick a different example to play through. Week 1's example was a Beatles based riff. I have had quite a few students play through it already and all seem to be enjoying it. Next week the example will be from a completely different artist and genre; perhaps a Metallica based riff or some Eddie Van Halen style tapping? The overall goal is to give students a brief taste of a multitude of styles and artists that they otherwise might not have been familiar with. Some weeks the example may come easily; other weeks it may take a lot of practice. Some weeks the student might love the example; other weeks they may hate it. I hope to encourage students to dive more deeply into the artists that they enjoy, while still giving them a taste of different genres. 

This is only a taste of the great things to come this year in lessons. Stay tuned for more and leave a comment with things you would be interested in learning or seeing in lessons or at stickandstrum!
I stumbled across this today and I really like it. It is a refreshing reminder of what originally brings a student to the instrument and what it takes to live up to the expectations that were in his mind when he originally choose to pursue it. 

"If a student takes up an instrument it is because he is interested in playing it. It is because he has knowledge of how it is performed, and desires to do that. The only obstacle, if he has a good teacher, is practice and work. When confronted with the work, and the knowledge that he cannot perform adequately without doing this work over a long period of time, he may wish to quit. This does not change his desire to perform, it is only an adverse reaction to work put in versus tangible results in the short term. 

If the student is forced to do the work then he will then reach a level of performing where he can do what originally drew him to the instrument. At this time many students experience the ‘rush’ of being able to perform well for themselves and others. The student now enjoys the great gratification that any musician feels from being able to perform. There is no other way to provide this sense of accomplishment and pride without putting in the practice time. When the student experiences this level of playing he can make an informed decision about whether he wants to go on and pursue it further. If this happens you have given a great gift to that student that he would otherwise never have had." 
                                                                                                 -Adapted from Gregg Goodhart.