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.
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!
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.
all the best!
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...
study and learn new things directly related to the skill.
put your new found insights into use with focus and practicality.
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...
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog
4 Points of Forward Progress.
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!
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
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.
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.
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?!
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!
Monday, April 6, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog
I've been wanting to record a collection of my songs for quite some time now.
I have everything I need to create a beautifully polished album right here in my home studio, but over time - I've noticed how easy it's been for me to get caught up in all of the "bells & whistles" of a recording program.
In my case...Logic Pro.
Reverbs, compression, delays, EQ's, miking techniques, a million software plug-ins etc...
It's SO easy to lose sight of simply capturing a great performance.
So I've decided to scale way back on the "bells & whistles" and focus 100% on capturing these songs in an authentic, emotive, and real way.
I wanna be versatile, and most importantly -
I REALLY like the idea of "location recordings". I wanna be able to record anywhere at any time.
So... My Super Simple Set-Up:
1. Zoom H2
2. Zoom "HandyRecorder" app
I'll toss 'em in my bag and take 'em with me wherever I go!
Well...my guitar may not fit :)
That's it for now!
I'd better get at it.
Until next time...
Monday, April 6, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog
Ya gotta keep your mind excited!!
(?this little guy agrees?)
The better you are at doing this - the easier you adopt new things.
An active brain is a sponge!
When you're bored with a subject
• you lack enthusiasm
• you lack motivation
• you feel disempowered
• you get lazy
Most of the time when you approach the typical practice session it can tend to feel like work. This is the polar opposite of why you want to play an instrument to begin with; so it makes sense that it may not be so much fun.
You make associations with EVERYTHING you experience.
The human brain is an integrating machine! If somewhere along the way you've linked practice with work then most likely the very thought of "practice" becomes a daunting task.
It becomes WORK!!
So - what can you do?!
SHIFT YOUR THINKING!! That's what!
Start replacing the idea of practicing with EXPLORING!
Think about it!
Here's a scenario for ya...
"I MUST go into this dark, musty, dirty, scary cave and navigate my way through just to get to the other side of this mountain...(ugh...I guess I'd better get in there). I have NO other choice here..."
"Hey! I'm goin' caving!! Maybe I'll find that warm natural pool I've heard so much about and go for a quick swim! I'd better grab my swimsuit!"
The choice is YOURS.
Be an EXPLORER!
Sunday, April 5, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog
If you don't make the time to work on your skills on a daily basis -
then you're giving your time to the slow decline of your competencies.
Take a moment to figure out what learning music means to YOU.
What is your "why"?
When you figure out YOUR "why"...you'll then know how much time per day you're willing to commit to building your skills.
Remember - even 5 simple minutes of focused practice can do the trick ?
Thursday, April 2, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog
We all want to write good songs. And one way to do that is by avoiding some things.
Here are 3 lyric writing mistakes and how YOU can fix them!
Mistake #1: Using too much "feeling language" - especially in your verses.
The Fix: Set up a scenario that your listeners can interpret with their senses by using "sense-bound" language. Sight-Smell-Sound-Taste-Touch-Movement. Put them in the very room where your story happened. Don't just tell them how you feel. Give them images. Things to picture. Trigger THEIR sense. Trigger THEIR memories. SHOW them.
Mistake #2: Using cliche and highly predictable rhymes.
The Fix: Rhymes have the power to close/stop a lyric. You can also use rhyme to speed a lyric up - or you can slow it down by NOT rhyming. Use rhyming as a way of closing a section in your song. There are plenty of typical rhyme schemes you can follow, but you want to make sure - first and foremost - that your lyric comes across as genuine. Don't let rhyming distract the listener from your content.
Mistake #3: Moving your timeline around
The Fix: Choose where your story starts, and where your story ends...then write it that way. Listeners like a well developed linear path to follow. If you make it too complicated you'll lose them. There are already so many things to listen for in your song - so don't confuse them by jumping around in time in your story.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 by Jake Hahn | Blog
Traditional schooling used (and continues to use) mainly linguistic and logical teaching methods.
It also uses a limited range of learning and teaching techniques.
Many schools still rely on classroom and book-based teaching, repetition, and pressured exams for reinforcement and review.
A result is that we often label those who use these learning styles and techniques as "bright".
Those who use less favored learning styles often find themselves in lower classes, with various not-so-complimentary labels and sometimes lower quality teaching.
This can create positive and negative spirals that reinforce the belief that one is "smart" or "dumb".
I believe the result always outweighs the method.
The majority of "music lessons" tend to follow this traditional approach as well; and in doing so usually leads to the infamous... "this student just doesn't have what it takes"
When in reality the instructor was short-sighted and unable or unwilling to adapt to the STUDENTS particular learning style.
Maybe it's true that only a handful of people are cut out to be "stars".
But ALL of us have the potential for artistic self-expression!
Never forget this..
A good coach will adapt to YOU.
A good coach will pay close attention to YOU.
A good coach will guide YOU in achieving YOUR goals - no matter what it takes.
YOU will have to apply YOURSELF
...there's no doubt about that.
But be sure to choose a coach whose focus is 100% on...