Michigan Marrow 5k Walk

Get ready to help save lives by putting on your walking shoes and participating in our inaugural Michigan Marrow 5K Walk or Donating to Team Taylor! The walk will be held at Stony Creek Park in Shelby Township on Saturday, August 13 at 9:00 a.m.

My wife Jen and I have just register to be on Team Taylor for the Michigan Marrow Walk. If you would like to join the team visit:

If you would like to donate visit

My personal goal is to raise $1,000. We understand that times are hard on everyone right now but we would really appreciate any donation that you can spare. There is a really easy form on-line. It will only take a minute.

My involvement in this race is in support of a student of mine, Taylor, an incredibly brave young woman who is fighting for her life. Help her and the thousands of people of all ages that are diagnosed with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases.

The Michigan Marrow 5K Walk that unites communities across Michigan in support of helping patients in need of a bone marrow transplant. With your support you can help us cover the cost of adding new potential donors to the Be The Match Registry, increasing the chances of saving more lives. You will also be supporting patients with financial hardships through My Friends Care Cancer Fund.

Party For The Planet

Party for the Planet: Michigan Green Living festival

May 13-15th – Downtown Rochester, Michigan

Join the party to help keep Michigan beautiful. Many of us take for granted the big beautiful planet we live on. I know I do. This event will help build awareness of the MI Green Team and all the ways they are working to improve the health and prosperity of our community and our great state. Learn about the local businesses and local people striving to help thru the use and production of green products, services and practices. Get information on how you can Green Your Life or Your Business. Join the celebration of the beauty of our planet and those dedicated to keeping it that way. There will be music, dancing, food, drinks, games, prizes, exhibits, awards, a parade and so much more.

Visit MiGreenTeam.com for more info.

Party for the Planet will include performances by:

FREE ADMISSION – Sponsored by

Ear Training Continued

This tip is a continuation of my post Ear Training For

Beginning Guitar Players.

Another way to expand your ears ability to hear is to further define the chords that you know on the instrument. For example you may know how to play an Emajor chord but can you recognize an Emajor chord in a song without having the guitar in your hand? In other words your listening to a song and all of a sudden you hear an E, C, D, A, or G major chord and know without a doubt that you are hearing that chord? If you enjoy listening to music then this ability can be developed.

The first thing you need to do is to take every chord that you can currently play on guitar and give it a definition. Play an E major chord and then play an E minor chord. If they were both colors what colors would they be? The choice is yours and no one can say that you are wrong! Play the two chords again only this time decide what they smell like. A little more difficult you say, well give it some time and use your imagination! Play the two chords again and try to think of what they taste like, feel like, sound like, etc. By thinking of the chords in new way you will be accessing parts of your brain that you don’t usually use when listening to sound and this alone will help you to define what those chords mean to you. If you absolutely can not think of what a chord smells like, move on and don’t force it to happen it may take a little time. Maybe just stick with color until you have given numerous chords a color definition.

Ear Training For Beginning guitar players

Something that is often overlooked by aspiring guitarist is ear training. Ear training can help you to play, write or sing what you hear whether it be a song on the radio, an idea at a rehearsal with other musicians or even a melody that has been stuck in your head. There are countless examples of musicians that would learn by singing along with the track and then slowing the song down by simply singing the song slower. I remember reading an article that stated that this was the way that Stevie Ray Vaughn learned how to play from the great guitarists before him. There was a time when musicians did not have devices that enabled them to slow a song down for difficult passages much less loop small sections so that one could hear the same phrase over and over.

To get started, try singing the guitar part of your favorite song along with the track and then again without the track, a capella. If you notice that you are having trouble singing the correct pitches or rhythms then you have a weakness that should be worked on! Early on this was a sore spot for me and it took a very long time for me to get decent at this skill. In my case I had to start by matching my voice to one single note on the guitar. This seemingly simple task gave me much trouble and wImage of minor pentatonic scale on guitar neckas extremely frustrating. At the time I was pretty fast with my fingers yet still couldn’t match my voice to a single pitch much less sing a phrase correctly.

What really helped was blocking my ear canal with my finger while singing the note starting low vocally and sweeping up to the pitch. This sort of “tuned” my voice to the note on the guitar and helped me to hear it inside my head. Once I was able to match that one note correctly I played a note one fret higher or one fret lower on the guitar and started the process over again. The next step taken was to sing along with riffs that I knew how to play like Day Tripper by the Beatles and scales that I had under my fingers like the minor pentatonic.

Try to add this type of practice into your routine ever time you pick up the instrument even if its only for a few minutes… you will eventually get past the one note like I did and be on your way to having a great ear that will serve you well on your musical journey.

There are many tools out there to help you with ear training. Here are a few that you might find useful.

New Chapter

For those that haven’t heard yet I will no longer be playing with 7 Million Jigawatts. It has been a good run. I have been with them for over 3 years and in that time I have made some great friends and grown as a musician. The band helped me to improve my vocals by singing harmonies. Improved my rock and pop guitar playing including learning a ton about tone and gear. (thanks Jake!) Had a lot of fun playing bass and keys together. Put my home studio and recording engineering skills to the test when recording our 5 song ep “Taking Flight”. I had the wonderful opportunity to record on Melissa’s jazz project. 7mj fans are in for real treat when Melissa releases the tracks for that disc! Melissa, founder of Dream Town Media, is also working with some great artist helping them to develop and promote their projects. Dream Town Media handles a wide spectrum of services from online marketing to publishing to branding. Jake Tobias, founder of Tobiasound Studios, is available for recording. He did a great job recording, mixing and mastering my show at Bakers last year that is available to listen to on the jazz trio page. Jake and Melissa are always working hard to support local music/artists and our community. 7MJ will continue to rock hard pushing into the new year with a new lineup so I hope the you will check them out. My last show with them will be Friday, December 17th at Rogers Roost in Sterling Hts. Hope to see you there.

However the time has come for a new chapter. Time for me to work on some other things. It is time I finally quit talking about writing a third Fingerstyle disc and really do it. In the mean time I will also be recording a live disc for release in mid 2011. The first date for recording will be on Friday, Jan 21 at Lazy Daze Lounge in Downtown Rochester.

Also, It’s time I get back to my true passion- jazz. As luck would have it I recently got a call to book the jazz trio- slightly modified to focus on Latin jazz to fit at Cantina Diablo. The timing couldn’t be better to get the guys together and work out some new material. We have recorded a little bit from our shows and you can listen to a couple of clips on jazz trio page. Check the shows page for complete show info but as of now we are playing at Cantina Diablo in Ferndale on 12/3 12/11, 12/18, 12/30 12/31 and then all Saturdays in January and February starting January 8th.

Jon and Nate having a blast performing live
Jon and Nate having a blast performing live
Of course Jon and I will still be playing together as 45th Parallel acoustic duo doing classic and alternative rock along with our original music- especially Jon’s. Did you know that Jon Vidal is an incredible song writer? If you haven’t done so you definitely need to check out his solo discs. We are about half way done recording his 3rd disc at Studio 1946. We hope to have it done early next year and also considering recording a live disk as well. Stay tuned for more info about that. You can visit 45duo.com or like us on FaceBook for complete show info but here is a list of our next couple: Sat, 12/4 @ Liberty Street Beer Co in Plymouth, Wed, 12/22 @ Dooley’s in Sterling Hts, Thursday, 1/27 @ OCG in Royal Oak & Friday, 1/28 @ Library Pub in Novi.

Hope everyone has a great holiday season. All of my different projects as well as 7MJ are available for private parties and functions. If you would like more information email or call. I would be happy to discuss the possibilities.