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Introduction To The Martin Taylor Guitar Academy
This "introduction" block sets the stage for what is to follow. Put down your guitar, and enjoy learning about Martin's background, influences, and philosophy about music and the guitar. If you are anxious to get going, you can skip ahead to the "Underlying Concepts" block or even "Learn By Playing Tunes" block. Just be sure to get back and watch these important videos!
Underlying Concepts
The "Underlying Concepts" block starts very basic and progressively lays down the foundation for Martin's approach to fingerstyle guitar. Even if you are already an advanced guitarist, Martin asks that you go through all of these lessons. This block ends with Martin teaching two versions of the jazz classic "Satin Doll."
Developing Technique & Musicianship
Here we switch almost entirely to music, musicianship, and advanced techniques for making music on the guitar. To get started right, Martin teaches a simple but soulful version of his own composition "True." Martin uses this tune as reference point throughout the curriculum. More techniques flow from Martin's presentation of jazz blues, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", and "My Romance."
Learn By Playing Tunes
Watch, listen, play. It's all here: A progressive collection of tunes that represent every skill and technique Martin employs in his fingerstyle guitar playing. For many of these tunes, Martin provides a very detailed analysis of all of the techniques employed. All of the tunes are presented with alternate camera angles (you can see exactly what Martin sees using the "topview" camera angle), and slow-motion versions. Many of the tunes have downloadable notation PDF files, though Martin prefers you to use you eyes and ears rather than the notation which can become a "crutch" and inhibit progress.
Auxiliary Lessons
This is the place where material will be placed that relates to specific topics not covered in the core curriculum, such as accompanying a singer, gear, etc.
Guided Arrangements
30 Day Challenge
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Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons: True: Discussion with Alison Burns Part 2

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>> I'll show you how not to do it.
Let's see if I can do this.
Do it from, go from the top.
>> Okay.
I'm taking no notice of what Allison's
doing there.
You see?
>> [LAUGH].
That was very good though.
>> Did I do it well?
[LAUGH] I've got another career.
>> Ignoring the singers.
>> As an alternative accompanist.
You see I, I was just totally
unsympathetic to what Alison was doing.
I wasn't playing anything wrong.
I was playing everything okay.
It was, it was fine.
But I wasn't sympathetic to what was going
>> Also tempo as well, tempo's very
>> Yeah.
>> Mm-hm.
>> So that's another thing because of, you
have to think about the lyrics too.
>> Mm-hm.
>> Sometimes when you play an instrumental
version of something.
So I, I might play.
I could maybe do a section like that at
that tempo.
You've got lyrics.
See how that sounds.
>> This is gonna be hysterical.
>> From the top.
See, it's all gone.
It's all gone out the window.
We're not, all the poetry has gone out,
out of that.
So we have to listen, number one you've
got to listen to what's going on.
And it works both ways too.
You know, when you.
One of the reasons you get such really
good partnerships between singers and
accompanist you can look all the way down
the years to,
to great singers that have always had the
same accompanist for years.
You know, with, Ella Fitzgerald with Tommy
Tony Bennett and Ralph Sharon.
They, they build up a real empathy in the
It's like a marriage.
And so then, they know what each oth,
what, what they're thinking.
And it's not because they're just
repeating everything the same.
Because every night they might play it
Because we never really do this, the same
every time we.
>> No, not at all.
We normally, we know the set, but we don't
know how the set's gonna turn out.
>> Yeah.
>> But we know it's gonna be good.
>> But also if you compared.
If, if we recorded one night and then we,
we played another night.
We recorded another night, you, you would
listen to it, and
they're, they're slightly different.
>> Mm-hm.
>> They're not ex, they're not exactly
the same because of, you know, general
Sometimes you have to go with the flow a
little bit.
You can't very rigid and say, I'm gonna do
it this way-
>> Mm-hm.
>> And this is exactly the,
the way I'm gonna-
>> Mm-hm.
>> Gonna play.
You have to be open.
[CROSSTALK] Open to things.
>> And also like you said, on the,
the music on the night is really important
when it comes to a performance.
>> Mm.
>> Eh, and, just say for
example that you accidentally started at a
different key.
Then the singer should-
>> Has to go over it.
You know, unless, it's, you can make a
joke of it and claw it back.
>> I can think of a couple of occasions
where I've done that.
>> [LAUGHS] Absolutely, now, well, it
worked for you, and
it also adds to the charm.
>> Yeah.
>> Of the concept, too.
>> Another element of that, of, of the
mood, of course, is that when you, You
know, if, if you're going to be working
with, not just working with a singer.
Whatever you do, if you're, if you're
going up and doing a set, maybe,
you know, you might even up to play three,
three tunes or
three songs, or you may even be doing an
It's the pace, pace the set, you know, not
just play three tunes the same,
but just kind of have some kind of pace
going on.
So that, you know,
you play something maybe that's kind of
got a kind of a swinging feel to it.
And then maybe something that's really up.
And then, then take the tempo down.
And then very often, if you change the,
the program,
if the format, say, we, there's one song
that we play be,
there's two songs that we play either side
of true.
The one before will kinda dictate a little
bit of the mood.
If we played something that was really
uptempo or
another one that was fairly slow, it may
affect the tempo,
the mood and the, the way Alison
interprets the lyrics because it becomes,
the set should, should flow, they
shouldn't be.
Songs in, in isolation like, like that.
Like it,
>> Mm-hm.
>> It does set up the mood the,
the song before does tend to set up the
mood, doesn't it?
>> And also I think singers don't tend to
think about keys.
But mixing the keys.
In between, in the running order of the
>> Yeah.
>> Because the singer can say, oh,
I'd just like to sing this song.
You say, well actually that's the same key
as the last song,
which is something I've learnt from you.
>> Yeah.
>> And the audience is-
>> The ears of the audience can maybe
quickly recognize it,
something will sound like it's in the same
>> Yeah, that's something, really, that's
very important.
Something to bear in mind.
Not, not only when you're working with a,
a singer.
But if you're, if you're playing on your
own or in a group.
And you have a you play one thing.
Not just the, the mood of that, that tune.
But also the key.
Because if you then go into the same key
straight away.
Say you play three tunes in, in the same
There's something happens in,
in the listener's mind where they don't
know what it is.
They don't know that you played in, in, in
the same key, but
somehow there's a sameness to those two or
three songs.
They don't quite, necessarily know what it
is, but there's something quite the same.
So, you can play something in the key of B
flat, and I would do something like that,
play in the key of B flat and the in the
next tune I would play in the key of E.
So, B flat is a very jazz kinda key-
You know it's,
E's got a more of an open,
Like a open kinda feel to it.
So that there's a number of things that
we, we have to think of, but
the most important thing about working
with a singer,
or working with any other musician is
Just listen, don't just, don't play in
And you'll be surprised there are a lot of
players that do that, and,
very, very good players that do that, that
forget that, that little, that number one,
number one rule, really.
>> It is, indeed.
>> You've really got to listen all the
time to what's going on, and that way.
Everything binds together.
If I'm listening to Allison and being
sympathetic to the way she's interpreting
the lyrics and and the lyrics and the way
she's phrasing the lyrics as well.
If I'm sympathetic to that, I can actually
play lots of little fills.
And counter-melodies in there, they will
work as long as I do it sympathetically
within the context of the lyrics
And Alison's interpretation
of those lyrics.
>> I'm liking it.
>> Good. Me too. >> Yeah.