Category Archives: Concepts

Connect 7

Minor Endings

Major = Happy, Minor = Sad.

This has served for generations as a first step to aural identification of the two basic chord types.

Major = Reliable, Minor = Slippery Customer. How’s that, then?

The makeup of a major scale, once learned, remains learned. The minor scale, once conquered, simply grows another head and reappears in disguise. Brought about by historical change and (multi)cultural influence,* Continue reading Connect 7

Connect 5

Circular Practice

The interface between the practice of forms and combat in tai chi is known as pushing hands – a repetitive two-person exercise. The idea is to build up sensitivity to the shifting weight of the opponent and to use this against them – pretty much as in judo and aikido.
In real life, when the push/strike comes, you parry this to one side and then smite the opponent with

Continue reading Connect 5

Connect 4

…sorry, couldn’t resist that title.

The Periodic Table

For right handed guitarists, that hand is relatively straightforward. The left hand is the complex one due to the multiplicity of techniques required. Within the first few lessons, pupils will have come across the following techniques:

  • Press (the string – to make a note)
  • Release (the string – to access the open note)
  • Relax (the pressure, staying on that string while playing another)
  • Re-press (the original finger on its string)
  • Plant – (a finger on a note before playing)
  • Transfer (pressure to the planted note)
  • Lean (on one note, so that another note can stop without all notes coming to an abrupt end)

There are many more to follow * and Continue reading Connect 4


“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.    Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961)

My PT at Musselburgh Grammar School, Bob Paterson, is a champion of the enthusiastic greeting. Salutations never begin with “Have you done…” or “Could you give…” but rather “Did you see…” or “have you heard..” Yesterday, he drew my attention to a fantastic resource on the website of Learning & Teaching Scotland. Continue reading Listening

Honey, I Depressed The Kids

“Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.” William Faulkner (1897 – 1962)

I awoke yesterday to the news that children in our country are being poisoned by junk culture. This referred to a letter sent to the Telegraph by Baroness Susan Greenfield (Director of the Royal Institute and Professor of Pharmacology), author Michael Morpurgo and 109 others. Junk food, a test-driven curriculum and a general lack of time feature among the problems described. Depression and concentration problems are two of the symptoms. Rather than simply complaining, the purpose of the letter is to spark interest in a national debate on childcare in the 21st century. Continue reading Honey, I Depressed The Kids