Avoiding Distractions

Friday, September 11, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog

Remember: there's a drastic difference between knowing something intellectually, and the physical embodiment of that thing.

Just because you KNOW it, doesn't mean you "got it".

For example: You may know 20 different chord voicings, but can you apply them in different and interesting combinations (progressions)?

Can you then play them at a multitude of tempos (WITH a metronome) for 4 or 5 minutes without fail? Can you play them with different rhythmic variations? Arpeggiate them? Play loudly? Softly? Finger-pick them? etc...

There are so many ways to improve your musicianship; and most of the time the answer lies in musical variation of "simple" information.

• Choose one idea

• Explore it deeply

The hunt for new information can be a distraction from what is truly needed to grow your musicianship.

Songwriting Challenge!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog

Below, I've put together a framework of "raw material" to get you going.

GOAL: start this song - develop this song - finish this song - in 1 week or less!

Keep in mind - you're NOT aiming for perfection here. Just get a fairly solid demo version...a "first draft". Then we'll take it from there.

Ready. Set. Go!

Title: "Steady Hands"

Theme: Write about something you've lost. This could be an object, a person, a relationship etc.. Try to answer the questions. Such as... • how did you handle it? • why is it a loss? • how did you feel before you lost it/them? • how do you feel now? • can you get it/them back? • do you want it/them back?

Layout: Verse/Chorus/Verse/Chorus/Bridge/Chorus 

(FREE printable template - CLICK HERE)

Chord Progression:

• Verse - Am | F | Am | F  x2

• Chorus - C | G | Am | G  x2

• Bridge - Em | Em | Am | G  (don't repeat)

As always. If you have any questions, shoot me a message or leave a comment below to let me know if I can help!

Your friend & coach

- Jake

#LetsGetBetterTogether #CreateYourArt

 

Quick Tip: Using Open Strings

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog

ALL open strings work in conjunction with these 3 keys.

C Major/A minor

G Major/E minor

D Major/B minor

No matter where you are on the fretboard - whether you're playing single notes or fretting chords - try incorporating some open strings to liven up your sound.

[video demonstration coming soon]

Below (fig #4) is an example of a lick that utilizes open strings.

#LetsGetBetterTogether

5 Ways To Write A Stronger Lyric

Monday, June 15, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog

Writing lyrics can be tough. It's easy to get stuck "in-your-head". It can also be tough to critique your own song, because, I mean...YOU wrote it, right? Of course that's what you meant to say! If not - you wouldn't have written it in the first place! Right??

Well...not so fast.

If you're anything like all the other humans out there in the world, you make sense of things through your emotions. The issue is that emotions are very internal. YOU feel how you feel, but the listener doesn't! So your job as a songwriter is to COMMUNICATE your internal feelings to a listener!

I've listed 5 ways to check your lyrics as you write them. They're also very beneficial for checking a "finished" lyric as well. Go through one of your songs now; and see if you can strengthen it by writing another draft using these 5 points!

 

1. Identify Potentially Weak Lines: • try to strengthen them by adding an image - or a comparison to SHOW the listener what you mean.

2. Check Your Rhymes: • Keep rhymes conversational. • Try not to draw attention to them. • Preserve the natural word order of speech.

3. Answer The Listeners Questions: • Eliminate unclear references.

4. Say What You Mean: • Be conversational • Use some direct statements • This adds believability to your song

5. Develop Your Story: • Don't use information from Verse 1 in Verse 2...the listener has already been there. • move your story forward. • Zoom into your story • Zoom out • Give each section its own identity within your overall theme.

 

Your friend & coach

-Jake

It's All In How YOU See It.

Monday, June 8, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog

It's simple. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.

I'm all about taking seemingly simple or typical things and working to craft them in interesting ways.

There seems to be a tendency in a lot of people to write-off simplicity. As if in order to make something really creative and cool, they have to use complex ideas.

In my opinion - this is a mistake.

Simple ideas - seen from a creative standpoint - are usually what lead to profound works of art.

Let's put this into action real quick by writing a song.

Try this.

YOUR CHORDS:


YOUR STRUCTURE:
VERSE: (use this progression)
||: D D E A :||

CHORUS: (use this progression)
||: F#m F#m E E :||

YOUR LAYOUT: - (V = Verse & C = Chorus)
V C V C

Creative Perspective #1

Play this structure with "open position chords" at 75bpm. Use a basic strum pattern here. Whatever you'd like.

example: VIDEO 1 click HERE

Creative Perspective #2:

Play through the structure again, but place a capo at the second fret. This will change the voicing's but the chords will stay the same. Play it again at around 75bpm with whatever rhythm you choose, but pay close attention to how you perceive it differently than concept #1.

example: VIDEO 2 click HERE

The only thing that has changed is the chord voicing's. Different voicing's tend to cause you to change the way you think about what you're playing. This ultimately leads you to new sounds and new possibilities for the SAME EXACT chord movements.


Same information. New perspective.

New territory = New vision.

There are literally countless ways to approach basically everything. The cool stuff comes from YOU.

We're all using the same stuff. All dipping from the same well.

Show us how YOU hear a song!

Again...

If you change the way YOU look at things, the things you look at will change.

Your friend and coach
- Jake

[NEW PODCAST] Dissecting The Art of Songwriting

Friday, May 15, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog

Here's the story...

About a month ago I was asked to co-host a brand new podcast. I replied with a very enthusiastic "ABSOLUTELY!" I'll tell ya flat out...I'm a podcast kinda guy. I listen to 'em in the shower, on the road, in the gym (during cardio ONLY - I have my limits).

Needless to say - I do love to learn.

One of my main reasons for learning is that I truly love to pass my knowledge along to you.

That's why I LOVE teaching, coaching, and mentoring so much.

I get to engage with YOU! I get to form a meaningful connection and build a life experience!

PRICELESS

So when Darren Cooper invited me to co-host, you can see why I jumped at the opportunity.

Connecting with YOU on another level?! Sign me up!

So this is the first ever "Create Your Art" Podcast...

And the very first interviewee??

This dude!

(aka me - aka dude posing like George Michael)


I was asked to talk about a subject so near-and-dear to my heart...

Songwriting

In the podcast you'll hear me talk a bit about some of my own personal creative roadblocks, and how I navigate my way through them (or around them) in order to create my art. My music.

I give you some tips on how to overcome your own roadblocks, as well as a cool little challenge for you to join in!

There are so many cool things planned for you in the very near future. I couldn't be more excited to play a part in your life. To help you see that you are an artist right now...in this very moment. And to help you through any creative blocks or issues that you may be experiencing.

Know this.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

You have support here. It is CRUCIAL that YOU Create Your Art!

The world needs it...

The world needs YOU.

So...please enjoy the - Create Your Art [Podcast] CLICK HERE!!

And most importantly - #CreateYourArt

-Your Friend and Coach -Jake Hahn

 

 

 

Drop That Method Book!!

Friday, April 10, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog

I remember - it was about 17 years ago that one of my guitar teachers said to me..."It's about results, not methods, right?"

He knew the answer, but was wise enough to phrase it as a question so that I would contemplate the deeper meaning of his point.

Which I did... for years to come.

So now I'll ask YOU as he asked me...What is more important to you... Results OR Methods?

I'd venture to say that results wins this one.

Why?

 

Because HOW you learn isn't as important as the bottom line - YOU LEARNED.

So WHERE you learn or WHO you learn from doesn't matter so much as long as it makes sense and is practical and usable for YOU as an individual.

Art is non-linear.

Learning itself is non-linear.

While method books on the other hand?....LINEAR!

Developing skill on an instrument and acquiring the knowledge to understand new ways in which you can use it isn't always a step-by-step process.

For example: When writing a song, you can start in SO MANY different ways! The best approach is to understand the craft as a whole - from many perspectives - and use what works for YOU!

IMPORTANT:

Methods can be very useful to GET YOU STARTED - but shouldn't shape who you are.

Learning a new skill is less like climbing a ladder & more like sliding around a spiral

Don't become the product of any method or tradition unless that is your goal from the start.

Be flexible - stay flexible.

"use no way as way

- Bruce Lee

Be in the moment. Be present. Be open to the best way to meet the situation in which you find yourself.

Having no limitation as limitation

- Bruce Lee

Keep an open mind. Don't limit yourself or your thinking. Don't let your beliefs or your style limit your experience.

Most importantly - don't let someone else's method dictate who you are, or who you'll become as an artist.

If you're at a place where you simply don't know WHERE TO START - click HERE to download your FREE guide to help you get moving FAST!

all the best!

- Jake

Quick Tip: 3 Points To Becoming A Better Songwriter

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog

Writing songs isn't something you're "naturally good at".

It isn't really (as most will say) an issue of talent.

It's an issue of craft.

Strengthening your development in any area of any craft takes 3 things...

INSIGHT

study and learn new things directly related to the skill.

APPLICATION

put your new found insights into use with focus and practicality.

REPETITION

repeat... ;)

Use these 3 points in a cycle, and there's no way that you'll stay where you are. You'll no doubt experience growth as a songwriter.

These 3 points aren't "slick" or "sexy" - but...

 THEY WORK.

The 4 Points of Forward Progress.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog

4 Points of Forward Progress.

• Stop

• Think

• Focus

• Feedback

Only when you take the time to STOP-THINK-FOCUS & get FEEDBACK on something does the learning process really kick in!

If you notice that you don't really have to focus during your practice/exploration sessions, then you're most likely just "treading water"

 

You're standing still.

Making little to no forward progress.

My suggestion is to use your level of focus as a way to gauge the quality of your practice sessions.

The easiest way I've found to do this is to take a few moments to reflect after you've finished a session.

Be honest with yourself here.

At the end of the day you can only have one of two things...

RESULTS or EXCUSES - not both

So remember - learning is all about feedback.

So any tool you can use to offer that feedback is something that I highly recommend you consider.

All the best!

 

"Everybody Wants A Quick Fix" - Bull#@!%

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog

"Everybody wants a quick fix."

I see that phrase being thrown around by so called "experts" ALL OF THE TIME!

What do I think?

I think it's very popular these days to write people off.

That's what I think.

It's an assumption that you're just lazy and you want the "magic bullet formula".

Here's a scenario for ya:

You finally decide that it's time to find a teacher and learn to play your guitar! It's been in that case for far too long!! You envision what most of us dream about...

You wanna be able to -

• jam with some friends

• impress some people at a party

• express that love song you wrote

• take the stage at an open mic night

• bask in the applause of a room full of adoring fans

• entertain your friends around a nice warm campfire in the fall

• etc...

That's where your mind is! That's where your heart is!

So you sign up for lessons with some random guy in the back of a music store in town, because the young guy behind the sales counter saw that X teacher had an opening that just so happened to fit your schedule.

Nothing more.

The future of your musicianship put in the hands of convenient scheduling.

(BTW - if you haven't seen "learn guitar with David Brent" you're missing out. Hilarious :)

 

So you attend your very first lesson.

Nervous. Anxious. Unsure. Intimidated. Overwhelmed.

Teacher X proceeds to run you through his "lesson 1 protocol". At the end of this lesson he states that you'll need to have this mastered by next weeks lesson so that you can move forward.

This is highly typical.

So you go about your week.

Since you've dedicated part of yourself to this new musical endeavor - you set aside some quality practice time.

It's tough.

You get frustrated at times.

This too is HIGHLY typical, and is to be expected.

The week passes and once again it's your lesson day!

So on and so forth...

Weeks go by in this fashion and you start to get concerned that you're not progressing the way you "should be".

So you ask - "shouldn't I be further along at this point?"

Teacher X responds with - "maybe if you practiced more...yes. This takes time. There's no 'quick fix' here."

aaaaaannnd  CUT! End scene!

Okay. Let's turn the tables here.

We also have to consider the aspect of laziness on the part of the teacher or coach to put ALL of the responsibility on YOU due to THEIR shortcomings in helping you to achieve what you want!!

Meaning they don't REALLY know how to help YOU as an individual. They're most likely just set in their ways, and are currently only capable of delivering the information to you in a limited way.

And if you don't fit their mold...too bad...you MUST be lazy or incompetent or both.

Granted...there are some lazy folks out their who simply fail to put forth adequate effort, and want to place blame on others for their lack of achievement. I've seen it. I've even done it! And having done it in the past - and grown out of it - is EXACTLY how I am now able to spot it in others!

So what would I replace these seeming accusations of laziness, incompetence, and the "quick fix" mentality with?!

This...

You simply want to know that you're ON THE RIGHT TRACK!

• You want to see progress

• You want to experience results

• You want to be confident that you're not wasting your time!

Time is precious!

I don't suggest wasting it.

Let's say you ARE putting forth a REAL and genuine effort during your practice sessions; and you're truly being consistent and allowing yourself some grace, patience, and sufficient time for results to actually happen.

If all of the above are true for you and you're STILL not seeing the results you'd like. The results that this level of dedication SHOULD bring!

Then you are NOT lazy!

You are NOT looking for a "quick fix".

You probably just need someone to Teach you, Coach you, and Mentor you in a way that actually WORKS FOR YOU!