Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mastering the Guitar One Way Or Another!

I need to pay rent and close a bank account with a "merchant alert" (whatever that means). I'd like to cook a few couscous recipes that I have been dying to attempt! I also really really want to find a great guitar teacher and work on improving some technical guitar skills. As you can probably tell, these are all items that are most easily completed at home and not on the road. 

I love, love, love being on tour, but the more I day dream about a few weeks off to hibernate in my apartment with some very precious "alone time", the more tours and events seem to be scheduled.

The point is, I don't think I'll see the inside of my bedroom for another few months, and probably will be living either on a bus or in a van for most of 2012. I'm starting to realize that since I'm not going home anytime soon, I'm going to have to figure out creative ways to check off all my "to-do" items while traveling. For instance, I'll have to educate myself on paying utility bills and closing accounts online, and perhaps we will have to stay in an "Extended Stay" one evening to have access to a kitchen. Most of my errands are difficult to complete while traveling, but not impossible… I had to walk seven blocks in sub-zero degree weather (without a scarf because I misplaced it) to a Wells Fargo the other day! I know I say this all the time, but please, never take for granted how easily all of you can cook and drive and do whatever you'd like at your own convenience!

I have decided, because my guitar lessons aren't going to happen anytime soon, I'm going to embark on a journey in the "music learning" arena all by myself using only books, the internet, and my mind. That's how I started playing the guitar, and that is how I will continue learning. Because of the added pressure of all of these really incredible tours that will probably take place this year, as well as the tour we are on right now, I need to be on TOP of my game.

I've decided to post all of my musical discoveries on this blog and to share with you guys how I'm going to "improve" my guitar playing on all levels.  I am asked all the time by many of you how I "started playing the guitar", "what method I used: Did I have a teacher or did I teach myself", "How I practice", etc… So, hopefully you can learn something too!

Questions are always welcome, in fact, I believe I might be asking YOU guys some questions I'll have on the way as well.

Basically I've divided my learning syllabus into 6 key areas that I plan on covering daily on my blog:

  • Music Theory
  • Music History
  • Music Today
  • Technical Guitar
  • Songwriting
  • Guitar Equipment

Let the learning begin!


P.S. Don't worry. I'm still going to include "stories from the road" and "Chandler the Robot" Jewelry News. 


  1. I'm actually really looking forward to this... So make sure you stay with it k? Haha.
    Learning to play guitar has been the best experience for me over the past couple of years. I've learned so much, and yet so little, ya know?
    One of the hardest things for me to accept has been that the only way that I'll get really good is by practice and a lot of it. Like... I used to make excuses and just mess around and ignore theory and that didn't get me anywhere.
    I want to play in a band. I want to be able to keep up with my friends first, but I want to very badly.
    But you and Carlo are the reasons I first stepped back and said "I want to do that." Maybe it'll happen for me if I keep pressing at it.

    Thank you Meg!

    1. Emilie, I love that you said this: "So make sure you stay with it K?" because I was talking to Nick over our Valentine's Day dinner that I had this new format idea for my blog and I wasn't sure what my readers would think of it. He asked me if I thought everyone would be into "guitar" posts. We will see how it goes. I will definitely give it a fair shot. I'm really excited about this idea.

    2. I think that enough of your readers are into music enough that they'll appreciate it. I know I will anyways.

  2. Traveling always sounds fun to me, but touring must be tough! I would've died on that walk in sub-zero degree weather. Hopefully you all will see some better weather soon.

    Good luck with all your endeavors, Meg! If you ever ask us any questions, I can try to help with Music Theory and History, as I'm taking the class right now. Cadences, non-chord tones, harmonic progressions... BEADGCF!

    My teacher actually shared a pretty cool site with my class the other day. It has some pretty good exercises for theory practice. Here's a link if you want to check it out: http://www.teoria.com/

    There always seems to be more and more to learn about whenever it comes to music, so I can't wait to see what you discover.

    1. Thanks Lorenz for the link! Now I can ask all my questions to you and you can ask your music teacher! ha ha. But really, I think that site is a really great place for me to start.

  3. Ugh practice. One of the reasons I stopped playing piano which I really regret now. Meg and Dia have influenced me to start again and I have. Lately I've been wanting to take up guitar cause I can play 5 or 6 [meg and dia] songs on GargeBand and I can be on the iPad for hours!

    These blog posts sound like they'll be helpful and interesting. Looking forward to them!!!

    1. Maybe we can be each other's cheerleader as far as practicing goes! I need a little push myself...

  4. Awesome! I always wanted to learn from a professional guitarist :D

  5. This is an awesome idea Meg! I'm not a musician at all myself (when I was in 8th grade, I had a piano recital where the audience actually laughed at how bad I was hahaha never played piano again in my life) but as a designer, I love to see other artists talk about practicing and learning. The fact that I can't play instruments for the life of me actually makes me even more fascinated to learn about what actually goes into playing and making music. And it's even better to see a professional with the humility to admit that they still have a lot of learning to do and be willing to share that journey with us fans :]

    1. Wow. Thank you for this comment! I actually had an AWFUL experience at a piano myself (Do parents try to terrify their kids on purpose?!) Fortunately, I kept at it. I'm glad that a designer and not a musician per say can find some value in these types of posts. That was what I was hoping.

  6. My goal this summer is to pick up the guitar that has been sitting behind my couch for 3 years and learn how to play it. It would be awesome to take some of your input to help me learn. You've actually inspired me to do this more than anyone!

  7. I wish I could learn some meg and dia songs on the piano....can't find any sheet music though...... Boo hoo

    1. Yeah, it was super difficult for me to find anything too. I ended up having to go a bit of a 'cheating' way I guess. Type in meg and dia and then the song you want and then piano. They give you the lyrics with letters representing a note.

      911 Tabs is a pretty good site. Majority of the tabs are for guitar but I've managed to find some piano ones too.

      They'll put a letter like A and at the bottom it represents 3 notes like A C E

      It takes a while sometimes but it's definitely worth it.

      Hopefully this helps

    2. This is why you should try to "play by ear". I'll go over this:)

  8. As a guitar player myself, I love this idea and can't wait to read!! I'm always interested in hearing others talk about how they first learned and what inspires them. The cool thing about music is you learn something new every single time you pick up your instrument. And I must say that you are already one hell of a guitar player! Hands down my favorite female guitar player :)

    My question for you is in your 'Need You Now' cover on the Blake tour, how did you arrange the solo you do? I know it's not in the original song and I personally always have trouble trying to come up with a solo for the songs I write. Any tips on that?

    Hope you had a great Valentine's Day! Amazing show in Cleveland last night! Did Nick like the drum sticks you made him?! I forgot to tell you, but THANK YOU so much for playing 'Love Is' so glad to hear more songs from Cocoon <3

    XO Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary,

      I will definitely go over "improv". Thank you. That's a great idea.

  9. Awesome. I started teaching myself how to play the guitar about a year or two ago, and i've been looking for more ways to get lessons online, so I'm really looking forward to your lessons :) this makes me really happy.
    It would be reeeeaallly amazing if you could post a tutorial video on how to play one of your songs haha though I guess learning how to play by ear would also be incredibly helpful :)

  10. I'm really excited about your new idea! I'm still in the "smoke on the water" phase of of my guitar career, so hopefully I can keep up. The beauty of some your topics (like history, theory, etc.) is that I don't have to be able to perform to appreciate. :)

    Note on your side topic of paying bills on the road... I have not written a check in over five years. Most banks these days offer 'online bill pay'. It's sooo easy...just set up your billers once, and then you just enter the amount you want each month and let the bank send the check.

    PS. lovin' my new tiny dancer bot <3

  11. I for one look forward to reading your guitar related blogs (not that there's anything wrong with the other subjects you write about).