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Reviews of “The Stone House”

“After listening to The Stone House multiple times, I was surprised to read that the music contained no overdubs. But more noteworthy was discovering the six pieces that make for a very rewardable listening experience were completely improvised, with no rehearsal and no written music… a remarkable lead instrumentalist in Wingfield… In other words, the sonic tapestry of all four instruments serves to enhance The Stone House’s inevitable storytelling atmosphere.”  Downbeat *****  (John Ephland)

“That the collective resume of this group of rising star musicians includes everything from more clearly definable jazz to something that can only be described as progressive music… means that The Stone House is a truly unique record in its undercurrents from a multiplicity of musical perspectives…”

“It’s an album that breaks many rules, but could only be made by four musicians who not only learned them first, but continue to apply them even as they find ways to push past them into new terrain. Completely unclassifiable, The Stone House is a record that will challenge many preconceptions while still being rooted in enough of the approachable to render its appeal to fans of progressive music… a career-defining record for everyone involved.”
All About Jazz (USA) (John Kelman)

“Be prepared to be blown away… instant game changer… profoundly innovative and compelling… immediately essential… I can’t even begin to describe how enthralled I am to have a copy of this stratospheric release by Wingfield, Reuter, Stavi, and Sirkis.”

“Two extremely original, brilliant and clearly innovative electric guitarists, Mark Wingfield and Markus Reuter, have created a quartet and laid down six tracks that exit from the boundaries of fusion-jazz, possibly entering post-rock. The Stone House easily see them stretching the textural and tonal qualities of their instruments”
Mediaversal Reviews (USA) (Wesley Derbyshire)

“I was completely taken aback and just in awe… It felt as if they were breaking the doors down of Jazz with a gigantic bulldozer… This is a spellbinding release”

“It felt as if they were breaking the doors down of Jazz with a gigantic bulldozer… The music itself is original, ominous, and eerie at its finest…”

“It felt at times listening to the entire album recalling the essence of the THRAK- era of King Crimson with a Holy Shit momentum.”

“When this was announced last year, my first reaction was “This is a perfect team, perfect match, perfect combination, and perfect quartet.” And I was right on the money with this.”

“This is a spellbinding record that MoonJune Records has released.”
Music From The Other Side of the Room (USA) (Z.Nathanson)

“Electrifying collective improvisation from four progressive masters… This album was recorded live in the studio with no overdubs, and completely improvised, with no written music or rehearsal, but you wouldn’t know it to listen to it.”

“The whole band charging ahead together as if by telepathy… demonstrates how conversational the group can be… It is rare for any improvised project to have the success rate achieved here.”

“Great as these players are individually, their collective performance is almost magical.”

All About Jazz (Mark Sullivan)

“The communication between the musicians is truly telepathic.  The individual performances by all quartet members are, as expected, quite amazing, both on the individual level and especially so on the ensemble level.”

“A splendid effort which should make all guitar fans extremely happy, especially since many of the things heard on this album are quite unique and certainly innovative.”
The Soundtrack Of My Life (Adam Baruch)

“What happens when four progressive Euro cats convene at a recording studio in Spain with nothing prepared beforehand? With no composed music, no rehearsals, overdubs expressly forbidden, no genre limitations… these four just plugged in and played. Spontaneous combustion creates fires but this spontaneous composition creates art.”

“Those who thirst for new sound should seek no further.”
Aquarian Magazine (USA) (Mike Greenblatt)

“Mark Wingfield and Markus Reuter… take the limits of their instruments and then just keep going. There are times when it is hard to realise that the sounds are coming from guitars as they are taken into brand new areas of tonal adventures.”

“Fully improvised music is rarely as compelling or interesting as this…  This is yet another incredibly important release from Moonjune.”
Jazz Music Archives (USA)

“Masterful… ensemble of great rank, equipped with tons of talent and expressive ingenuity, opening the field for the reign of the texture and the empire of impressionism within a sonorous scheme strictly demanding in the technical…. an hour of jazz-progressive delight.”

“We consider “The Stone House” as a 100% recommendable record for fans of progressive rock and jazz with especially adventurous motivations.”
Autopoietican (Spain) (César Inca Mendoza Loyola)

“Judging by the musicians one cannot expect something less than impressive when it comes to performances & music.”

“The most imposing thing of all is that “The Stone House” was recorded live in the studio with no overdubs and completely improvised, with no music written down or rehearsed. Can you imagine that? Do listen to a single track and please read the above line again. How that’s possible?! Every performance here is simply amazing! The guys play like they have rehearsed each music theme at least a dozen times! …. It’s hard to believe that this is a live recording.”
Grande Rock (USA)

“Rhythmic patterns allow the quartet to move from softly spoken music all the way to deafening rock and terrifying climaxes. This is not background music… Rocking passages such as the King Crimson-like Silver or the magnificent Fjords De Catalunya. You are entertained by sweeping landscapes and suggestive soundscapes.  Your are fed daring musical adventurers for nearly an hour before being treated Bona Nit Senior Rovira’s final moving chord.”
IO Pages Magazine (Holland) (René Yedema)

“A telepathic masterpiece of progressive jazz-rock musicianship.”

“Brilliant, fresh, honest and uniquely original music that truly defies categorization!” (USA)

“Wingfield and Reuter raise the mastery of the guitar to a cosmic level.  Both musicians are not afraid to go new ways, and are far from the standard guitar cliches.”

“The albums’s tracks are full of exciting dialogs and guitar solos which are like precious jewels, juicy bass inserts and polyrhythmic drum patterns…. The internal intrigue of the album is built on the almost magical interaction of the two first-class guitarists with the active support of the rhythm section… It is amazing that all the music of The Stone House is improvisational.”
Jazz Square (Russia) (Leonid Auskern)

“The Stonehouse is an impressive session from four musicians who are sure to be the cream of the international fusion scene.  The music on this album was recorded without anything preset or written down it was completely improvised. No overdubs!”

“The result is an enormously exciting album, on which the four participants are mutually encouraging each other on high-altitude flights on their instruments.”

“Free music, sometimes violent, sometimes meditative – always giving you goosebumps!”

“It’s over-used, but here the term “Super Session” really fits!” (Germany)

“Exciting music that feels structured with melody and yet has a surfeit of exciting improvisations and climaxes.”
Jazz Weekly (USA) (George W. Harris )

“On this monster disk of the Progrock, the cream of the international fusion scene has certainly come together to form an impressive session. All four musicians set their sights on absolute musical heights and improvised from a standing start without overdubs!  Here, the name “Super Session” really fits.  Shopping Spree!”
Jolly Joker`s Ohrenbalsam (Germany)

“Press play and you will be overwhelmed by ingenious and inventive prog rock with a jazzy jacket.  No ego-tripping as in the jazz world.  Each harmonious melody line is researched and turned into something spectacular.”
Keys And Chords (Holland) (Marino Serdons)

“There has not been a previous plan, a score, any rehearsal or overdubs.  The art and magic of the talent of each of these four musicians has reached such a high degree of communication and cohesion, that it’s as if they had written and rehearsed all the music before hand.”

“Bona nit Señor Rovira’s melody unfolds its wings at the hands of Wingfield who descends and placidly plots where to land.  Without realizing the 59 minutes and 54 seconds total have gone unnoticed but gladly that leaves us a taste to want to repeat many times listening to the essence that only a work of art knows how to capture.”

“Fjords de Catalunya… sounds very rehearsed!  As if they have been playing it year after year.”
Opinionynoticias (Venezuela) (Jordán Quintero)

“Rush starts the album: haunting guitar, a bit mysterious, see astral with an off-beat Free Jazz / Fusion which detonates and accompanies both perfectly! A twelve minutes that flies!”

“Be open minded and you’ll find an unconventional music made by musicians peerless!”
Profil Prog Reviews (Quebec) (Marc Thibeault)

“These four players, well-versed in transforming tangles of discursive strands into dazzling revelations, came together without any rehearsals or preamble, plugged in and took off. The resulting melange of rock-orientated grooves and languid drifts through spacey ambience is breathtakingly confident. With so much complimentary overlapping content and tuned-in acuity, you’d never guess that these six pieces were wholly improvised.”

“Moving seamlessly from speculative reverie to ferocious, tumbling interplay, the degree to which this music sounds intricately arranged probably stems from the quartet’s ability to swap the focus from its frontline to backline in the twinkling of an eye, a rare capacity that brings to mind Wetton-era Crimson’s forays into the unknown.”

“Wingfield’s impassioned guitar runs springboard from Reuter’s broad tonal sweeps.”

“Bassist Yaron Stavi, whose nimble interlocking with drummer Asif Sirkis frequently regulates both direction and temperature.”
Prog Rock Magazine (UK) (Sid Smith)

“The two guitarists create an interplay that goes beyond the limits of the instrument… an ingenious and resourceful progression against the common use of the six strings.”

“Dynamic and harmonious, emotional and powerful (the roaring start of Rush and the excellent Silver), in a crossover path where the conventions are lost and sounds make provocation.”
ProgressivaMente (Italy) (Luigi Cattaneo)

“Remarkable Spontaneous Electric Explorations.”

“Four of today’s finest progressive music artists got together to record an improvised album titled The Stone House. Although the music was not written or rehearsed, it’s not free jazz. Instead, Wingfield, Reuter, Stavi, and Sirkis treat the listener to remarkable electric musical explorations where the four musicians engage in an ongoing creative dialog.”

“The four instrumentalists constantly cross musical boundaries, injecting ambient electronics, prog rock machinations, psychedelia, jazz-rock and beyond.”
Progressive Rock Central (USA) (Angel Romero)

“Recording a live studio album with nothing written down or preplanned is a dangerous project to try unless you are the class of musician’s on this recording.  Improvised albums recorded without rehearsal often have a distinctive raw feel, but this album makes you feel the same quality you get at the concert hall after the band has refined  the compositions for a long period and rehearsed for many years.”

“Recently, I have been using the term “Beyond genre” to describe music that transcends or goes beyond genre.  I think this album is suitable for such an expression.”

“They expand the expressive possibilities of their individual instruments.  Making a musical experiment such as this, so successful is never easy.  Let alone one with the  emotional repertoire of this album.”
Progutopia (South Korea)

“The interaction between the men is almost telepathic.”

“The music is therefore downright nail biting and tension also continues in the quiet moments of the album. The tone is also put at ease with this incredibly exciting composition.”

“Silver stands out the rotating, hypnotic rhythms… this composition turns around like a real whirlwind. The beautiful guitar solo can be seen as the eerily beautiful eye of this hurricane.”

“This album deserves the designation ‘masterpiece’. The sound of these four men is energetic and intense, but therefore very exciting.  This album shakes you completely, but I know very little music more impressive.”
Progwereld (Holland) (Luke Peerdeman)

“Not unlike the atmospheres of Terje Rypdal ECM recordings (for icy space guitars) or Miles Davis post “Bitches brew” (for the electrical, instrumental and rhythmic expansion) and we could also add Robert Fripp, Bill Frisell… as many references to music which is very written and precise, while it seems that here everything has been improvised in the studio in one take. Wonder.”
Sefronia Chronique Jazz (France) (Igor Wagner)

“Bassman Yaron Stavi, who has a long association with Robert Wyatt, not to mention Phil Manzanera and David Gilmour, and the rarely unemployed Asif Sirkis, on dextrous but very powerful drums, have a telepathic understanding of where that anchor should be, even in these unchartered waters.”

“Atop that you have two of the most imaginative guitarists around, Markus Reuter of primarily Stick Men fame, although he has many more strings to his bow than that particular combo, and the much in demand Mark Wingfield.”

“An unrivalled confection of consummate deliciousness.”

“Listening intently – and you will – to The Stone House, it is hard to remember in places that this is all off the cuff, the arrangements unfolding before the listener, just as they did before the players as they switch attention from the top line to the rhythmic structure and back again with intuitive ease.”

“The album moves from spacious ambience to edge-of-seat thrills and back again… When this thing motors it inescapably recalls the mighty Crimson in their 1973-74 improvisational pomp in the way it takes risks; it is that good!”

“The sound throughout is gorgeous.”
The Progressive Aspec (USA) (Roger Trenwith)

“Completely improvised music which sounds super strong and convincing, it’s almost hard to believe that your are listening to a live recording of literally what happened on that memorable day (19 February 2016) in a studio in Spain.  But it was played by four awesome musicians so that explains something.”

“Six compelling instrumental pieces… and what an impressive example of “listen before you play” a credit to all four gentlemen.  Great CD.”
National Dutch Radio Vrije Geluiden VPRO (Holland) 

“Guitars become an otherworldly force in the hands of Mark Wingfield and Markus Reuter. The two bend the boundaries of traditional jazz-rock lines, using the guitar as a controller for electronics to lead into some beautiful sonic territories…gorgeous guitar-scapes.”
WFMU FM (NYC) (Irene Trudel)

Reviews of “Proof of Light”

“The sound of this music is bigger than its component parts. Maybe it’s guitar marvel Mark Wingfield’s careening reverb, his vibrato or sustain…Wingfield’s guitar as a piercing, darting, spectral sound full of artful glissandi… the guitarist seemingly winging it but really guiding the song’s intricate contours… full of life from a generous spirit.”
Downbeat * * * * ½ (John Ephland)

“Wingfield possesses the goods to be a world-beater… sparking vivid notions that the guitar is an extension of his soul.”
“Astounding virtuosity and unique voice.”
“Many artists and technicians within the perceivable inner circle recognize Wingfield as a force to be reckoned with.”
“Akin to guitar heroes, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix, Wingfield makes his guitar howl, sing, and cry for mercy amid flickering single note runs.”
All About Jazz (Glenn Astarita)

“Mark Wingfield is undoubtedly one of the greatest guitarists of recent years worldwide…. His languid, plaintive, spiritual sound, ambient and personal… guitar seems to be occasionally in some sparkling Hindu robes that find their ally In the drumbeats of Asaf Sirkis… atmospheres and silences to make Yaron Stavi sing on his double bass.”
TOMAJAZZ (Barcelona) (Enrique Farelo)

“Astonishing” “Mark’s guitar is going to take you to spaces you’ve never explored before” “Will bring back memories only you are privy to – “How does he do that”, you’ll be asking yourself.”
Improvijazzation Nation

“Guitarists who offer a truly individual style, something to say beyond technique, are harder to find. Mark Wingfield falls into the latter category…. Command interest not only because Wingfield and his bandmates are ridiculously gifted craftsmen, but also because they crave innovation and risk…. you simply never know what sonic treat is around the next corner.”
Relix Magazine (NYC USA) (Jeff Tamarkin)

“Mark Wingfield has created a unique electric guitar vocabulary… his playing is characteristically deep, nuanced, and inventive. 
Guitar Player
 (USA) (Barry Cleveland)

“Here Mark Wingfield unquestionably proves that he can become a giant… Coltrane’s style, comes to the fore in several ways… Mark Wingfield served with his silky melodic sound fits generously with the artists on the legendary Munich ECM label.”
Rock Times (Germany)

“The tones Wingfield is able to squeeze out of his instrument are truly remarkable… Lightning fast fusion to slow sustained highs, his playing is exceptional… giving the music an ethereal quality with tremendous atmosphere… Wingfield is a remarkable player ably demonstrating his fabulous dexterity and keen sense of tone.”
Sea of Tranquility (New York) (Jon Neudorf)

“The vocal dimension that’s so central to Wingfield’s playing. His lines undulate melismatically much like a singer’s, and the cry of his playing exudes an emotional immediacy characteristic of the human voice.”

“will appeal to fans of progressive guitar playing is a dramatic understatement; it would be more correct to describe the album as an essential addition to any such fan’s collection.”
Textura (Ontario Canada)

“The ethereal, bending howl of the leader’s guitar leads the ear in other directions… expressiveness and singing lines… a distinctive, pitching bending, now wailing, now growling sound stretching out slow moving melodies… The themes and melodic lines hint at music from a myriad of cultures… Full of energy and emotion… Fans of the continually expanding frontier of music blending rock, jazz and eclectic influences will want to have this album on repeat.”
LondonJazz (UK) (Mike Collins)

“Enchantingly wondrous… Six-string savant searches the darkest reaches of personal universe… everybody talks about his unique approach and amazing technique… while almost ignoring the pleasure his sonic creations bring… brightness of the true master”
DME (Canada) (Dmitry M. Epstein)

“As a guitarist he has earned the highest recognition amongst professional colleagues with his melodic, signature style of playing… sometimes majestic, in other parts mysterious and always surprises you with its turns, twists and inflections… Mark Wingfield plays with the imagination of the listeners… evokes memories and associations”
Grand Gtrs (Germany) Kerstin Baramsky

Guitar Player Magazine’s editor Barry Cleveland selected Mark for his Top 40 Guitar Player Artist InterviewsOther guitarists on the list are such luminaries as Jeff Beck, Wayne Krantz, Eric Clapton, Mike Stern, David Gilmour, Allan Holdsworth, Mark Knopfler, Martin Taylor, Bill Frisell, Ry Cooder, John McLaughlin, Johnny Marr, Ralph Towner, Daniel Lanois, David Torn, Paco de Lucia, John Scofield, Adrian Belew and Terje Rypdal.

“His superb phrasing is just the start. It’s his choices in tone and the way his notes spill into unusual areas that make the biggest impression. They just coat your ear holes with gooey goodness… the chops of god… a unique voice, singular approach and defined sense of journey. This work takes you to places serene and stimulating.”
Modmove (Australia) (Rob Hudson)

“As a guitarist Mark Wingfield is quite extraordinary… As a guitar player Mark Wingfield is very inventive, creating something fresh, in a truly original style.”
Background Magazine (Holland) (Pedro Bekkers)

“One of the best jazz guitarists in the world… He has raised the bar”
HPF (Budapest, Hungary)

“Mark Wingfield’s music soars high above the subliminal, the terrestrial, the mundane, transporting us with his musical voyage… His guitar takes on the role of a vocalist or a horn – shimmering and sometimes bellowing with expression and imagery of profound beauty… Progressive innovative guitar at its finest! Five stars!”
Jerry Gordon WPRB FM, Princeton (USA)

LondonJazz Best 10 albums of the year

“A mesmerisingly atmospheric, evocative, even (appropriately) cinematic set of music… The sort of allusive, contemplative jazz that has come to be associated with ECM… This is a subtle, often dramatic, but always wholly enjoyable album.” LondonJazz

Mark’s latest album with Kevin Kastning was named as one of the favourite albums of the year by NYC‘s premier radio station WFMU

“A fantastic, expansive and adventurous album from two master musicians. Unquestionably, one of the best albums of this or any other year.” Anil Prasad of Innerviews

Guitarists Mark Wingfield and Kevin Kastning attracted a host of rave reviews for their previous album together (‘extraordinary beauty’, ‘fantastic, expansive and adventurous’, ‘sublime’) and this duo recording contains seventeen reasons why… Wingfield’s searingly eloquent electric guitar against the astonishing plethora of sounds obtained by Kastning…‘new acoustic landscapes of imagination and deep introspection’, and that is a pretty accurate description of what Wingfield and Kastning deliver throughout an intriguing and consistently gripping set.”
LondonJazz (Chris Parker)

“Celebrated British guitarist” Guitar Player Magazine

“Mark Wingfield shifts from Eno-esque ambient soundscapes…to ripping rock-tinged abandon… to cinematic guitar-synth.” “Dramatic” “Intriguing” Bill Milkowski, JazzTimes

“Virtuoso” Guitar Player Magazine

“Abstract paintings in sound evolve into a ballad that actually tells a story from the heart.”

“Wingfield’s forward-thinking exploration of smart, swinging, and highly melodic globally informed jazz.” Barry Cleveland, Guitar Player Magazine

“Brit guitar hero” JazzTimes

“I found myself amazed” The WholeNote

“Irresistible beauty” “Extraordinary” “Sublime” “Magnificent” LUX ATENEA

“Sleeper Street exemplifies his determination to take his instrument into previously-unknown territory” Anil Prasad, InnerViews

“All in, Sleeper Street is a great slice of contemporary UK jazz combining muscular virtuosity, cinematic soundscapes and distinctive compositional style with admirable authority.” Guitarist Magazine

“Wingfield’s guitar playing is mysterious, majestic, and blazing in turns” Guitar Player Magazine

“The six string winged, improvising shaman” Music That Matters

“Innovator” The Guardian

“Wingfield’s musical eclecticism is well attested… very distinctive-sounding” JazzWise

“Unique and sophisticated…one of England’s most accomplished players.” Guitar Player Magazine

“Setting scenes and moods that also invite the listener to pick up their mental brushes and paint their own pictures.”

The Kastning/ Wingfield duo not only convince the listener of a very high level of guitar playing but also of deep philosophic thinking. The compositions build up of countless layers in such a magic way that in every relistening newer, other layers open up. The I walked into the silver darkness is the most remarkable guitar album of the first half of 2011.” HiFi Portal Magazine

“Literally scaling new heights sonically” FAME

“Almost moved me to tears.” BBC

“Wingfield is proving to be a key proponent of adventurous, swinging and modern instrumental jazz-rock fusion in the 21st century.”MWE3

“Consistently brilliant and forward-thinking” Guitar Player Magazine

“Wingfield and Kastning are surely pushing the envelope with this disc.” “Two extremely gifted guitarists” “I am in awe of how they can express themselves by travelling through every region of the instrument, often with what seems like effortless abandon. This collection of original instrumental pieces will impress all guitarists, no doubt.” The WholeNote

“Guitar virtuoso” “Uplifting” “Inspiration” Guitar Techniques Magazine

“Cinematic eloquence… command of electronic textures… and swooping-bird evocations” The Guardian

“Often soaring in the upper registers, Wingfield’s guitar hovers above…” JazzWise

“Contemporary jazz doesn’t get any better than this.”Fretwired

“One of the UK’s best new composers” SPNM

“One of today’s most creative transatlantic musical voices” BMIC

How modes and scales fit with chords lesson 1

Lessons two and three are available here.

If you find any of these lesson useful, I invite you to have a Skype lesson with me as, in person. I will be able to help you a lot more. Everyone is different, and I find that thing move a lot faster when I can give exercises specific that are to you. Set up a Skype lesson with me now here, and we’ll get your playing moving forward.

How modes and scales fit with chords lessons 2 and 3

Once you have paid for a lesson you can view it as many times as you like for an entire year.

If you found lesson 1 useful, I’m sure you’ll want to see lessons 2 and 3.  In these lessons we look in detail at the sounds in each of the modes.  We then go on to look at how each of the modes fits over the three main families of chords and the sounds and moods each mode can create.  We will see how you can know which mode or scale will fit with a chord while playing in real time, purely by sound, without having to think about it.

If you find any of these lesson useful, I invite you to have a Skype lesson with me as, in person. I will be able to help you a lot more. Everyone is different, and I find that thing move a lot faster when I can give exercises specific that are to you. Set up a Skype lesson with me now here, and we’ll get your playing moving forward.

Our videos are hosted on Read more

Picking technique guitar lessons 2 and 3

Once you have paid for a lesson you can view it as many times as you like for an entire year.

If you found lesson 1 useful, I’m sure you’ll want to see lessons 2 and 3.  In these lessons we look in detail at how to pick correctly and the key exercises which will get your alternate picking really happening.  We look at creating rhythms with picking that can generate great ideas for improvisation.   We also look at how picking can be used as an expressive and tone creating tool.

If you find any of these lesson useful, I invite you to have a Skype lesson with me as, in person. I will be able to help you a lot more. Everyone is different, and I find that thing move a lot faster when I can give exercises specific that are to you. Set up a Skype lesson with me now here, and we’ll get your playing moving forward.

Our videos are hosted on Read more

Picking technique guitar lesson 1

Lessons two and three are available here.

If you find any of these lesson useful, I invite you to have a Skype lesson with me as, in person. I will be able to help you a lot more. Everyone is different, and I find that thing move a lot faster when I can give exercises specific that are to you. Set up a Skype lesson with me now here, and we’ll get your playing moving forward.

The Attention Conundrum

You crumple up a piece of paper, throw it across the room and it goes right into the bin. Wow you think, that was impressive. So you do it again and… of course you miss. Why is that? Short answer: you were thinking about it the second time. So… you must not have been paying attention the first time right? Yet, it wasn’t an accident and it wasn’t luck. Part of your mind knew exactly how to throw the paper, its weight, air resistance, the necessary angles, velocity muscle groups etc… and part of your mind (the part that got involved on the second attempt) hand now real idea about any of these things.

If we apply this to guitar playing, the obvious inference is: don’t think about what you’re doing and you’ll play better. This is undoubtedly true when you’re actually improvising, playing live or recording. But when it comes to practicing, it begs the question: how can I practice when I’m not thinking about what I should be doing and not concentrating my attention on getting it right?

The answer is that you need to learn the skills of controlling your attention. There are different ways of paying attention to something. There are different parts of your mind which can pay attention. You can be aware of more than one thing at a time. There are parts of your mind which need to be kept out of the process or they’ll get in the way. There are other parts of your mind which need to pay attention if you’re going to play well and practice effectively.

This is one major area of study and practice. This is one of what I call the Three Cornerstones which we look at in detail in private teaching as well as  workshops.


There are hundreds of scales and many different types of chord. Trying to calculate a way through this library is not going to work when you step onto stage or the record light goes on. Applying learned formulas as a way of navigating these complex harmonic combinations is going to limit your imagination.

DemistificationSo how can one know, which of the many notes, in which of the many scales to play over which of the many types of chord?

You have to do this in the twinkling of an eye. How can this be done?

The answer is simple. You need to use your ear.

Your ear is connected directly to your heart and your imagination.

Formulas, and calculations are not.

The problem is, that the term “playing by ear” has more than one meaning. If one is playing by ear in the true sense, one is playing directly from the imagination and the heart on the instrument. Each note is the note you want to hear at that moment to express how you feel about the music.

The other common meaning of “playing by ear” is something else entirely. It refers to a someone, who doesn’t have any real understanding of what each note will sound like before they play it. They don’t really understand music theory either, nor do they really know their instrument that well, but they manage to make what they play “fit in” ok despite this. They will typically rely on preset fingering patterns which they already know will sound ok, but have no real connection to what they hear in their head. This is not playing by ear in the true sense and it is ultimately a very restrictive and unsatisfying approach for both player and listener.

Learning to use your ear in the true sense of the word is the most important thing you can do as a player. In terms of making great music, it trumps any level of technique. For many players, and certainly for improvisors, being able to truely play by ear, is the only way to real musical satisfaction.

This is one major area of study and practice. This is one of what I call the Three Cornerstones which we look at in detail in private teaching as well as  workshops.

Focus Immersion

There are no ultimate or best exercises or practice patterns. Every individual has certain exercises that will get them from A to B the quickest, but what works for one individual may not work for the next. The trick is to know, out of all the exercises possible, exactly which ones you as an individual need to be doing.

So how does one do this?

FocusBy learning the skills of Focus and how to immerse your awareness in the correct way, you can engage your conscious mind (the Director) and your automatic mind (the Doer) with each other.

Not engaging these two parts of your mind, or engaging them incorrectly, will very likely lead to practicing inefficiently or ineffectively. You also have no way of knowing exactly what you should practice at any given time to maximise your progress. When you learn how to focus correctly, you will know what exercises are actually benefiting you.

This is a skill which takes a number of defined steps to learn, as a shorthand for these I call the process Practice Noesis.

Learning to Focus in the correct way brings many benefits on many levels of playing.

This is one major area of study and practice. This is one of what I call the Three Cornerstones which we look at in detail in private teaching as well as  workshops.

Noesis (Greek: ν?ησις for “insight”) is a word meaning (in
philosophical context) “understanding as the ability to sense,
or know something, immediately”. Noesis encompasses the
processes of the thoughts and the types of thoughts along
with psyche episodes or moments (states), in consciousness.

Noema (ν?ημα) is the object of focus of the nous or
consciousness. Usually the term noema is used when one
engages in the perception of an object. The focus of noema
can be object external to the human consciousness and objects
within the human consciousness.

Sleight of Hand

A piece of wire strung across a piece of wood. The string is shortened against a pieces of metal in the wood. The resulting sound when the string is plucked could accurately be described as a “ping”. So how do we get from that lifeless ping to the almost voice like singing quality we all associate with electric guitar?

Sleight of handIts not the gear.

It doesn’t matter how expensive your gear is, how many vacuum tubes you have or which distortion pedal you use, its still a ping with a coat of electronic paint on it.

So how does one take the ping and make it sing?

Various things are involved. The first step is realising that pitch is a fluid thing. Playing an A at exactly 440 Hz is not necessarily going to sound best in every situation, it might sound better or “sweeter” played slightly sharp or flat, depending on what the music is doing around you.

The guitar is not like a piano, a harp or a zither. There are many ways to sound a note, even with a pick, and many more if you involve other fingers on either hand. Once the note is sounding, during that period when the string is vibrating on its own, you have a huge opportunity to make things happen. A sustaining note is not a passive act on the guitar.

This is one major area of study and practice. This is one of what I call the Three Cornerstones which we look at in detail in private teaching as well as  workshops.