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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Now Available at Amazon! “Gigs Musician’s Play for a Living”

Most upcoming musicians have no idea of what kind of gigs musicians play for a living. (As well as many ‘established’ ones.) Unless you’re in the flow of work yourself this can be a mystery. This little book shows you the types of gigs different instruments are used for, as well as who books the gigs! It covers keyboards, piano, guitar, bass, drum-kit, percussion, strings, woodwinds, brass and vocalists. (You can’t find work unless you know where to look!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Improvising Music: A 7-Step Routine to Play What You Hear

This video teaches you how to recognize the notes you hear, whether on a recording, YouTube video or in your head. There are many forms of ear training, and this improvising-based technique can be done at any level from beginning through advanced: it's fun, it's easy, it's effective, it can be done on any instrument. Really. So if you want to boost your ear training to the next level--watch this video, then grab your instrument and dig in!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Buttwinick is in the News: Crescenta Valley Weekly - (Had to Share)

Marty Buttwinick has been teaching music for over 30 years and tailors his lessons to his students’ abilities … and goals. Not one to shy away from technology, the music teacher uses Skype to communicate with students who have moved away. By Isiah REYES - See more at:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sharps and Flats: explained through the major and minor scale.

This video explains exactly why a note is called a sharp or a flat. The answer to this question is very easy to understand when presented from the ground up with a few music-theory basics.

Musicians and singers are often confused about what a scale is, and exactly why the notes in a particular scale are called what they are. Well, in order to easily understand all of this, you need to understand half steps, whole steps, note names, the formula for major and minor scales and a few other music theory basics.

Understanding these points, along with a few tricks you will learn, you can easily determine why a note should be a sharp or a flat!

Marty B.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hello! I've posted this before, but so many of my current students are doing extremely well by applying these 12 practicing guidelines that I wanted to post these again. Use them well, and leave me a comment about how they work for you.
Practicing a musical instrument correctly is vital for efficient forward progress. Practicing incorrectly can add years of time to your runway, as well as damaging your body. After teaching twenty-five thousand hours of one-on-one lessons, here are some fundamental guidelines to apply.
  1. Be there. Have your attention on what you are doing.
  2. Be willing to learn something. You cannot learn if you think you know it all already.
  3. Understand what you are practicing and why you are practicing it. Keep your personal goals in mind and aim for that result.
  4. Accept the fact that learning to play well doesn't happen overnight. Learning musical skills takes time. You can learn certain small motions or ear training topics in a few minutes, but you need to invest enough hands-on repetition to develop stable skills. A beginner can take anywhere from twenty to seventy hours of practice to even begin to get the feel of things.
  5. Learn to relax your body when playing. Accumulated tension is one of the biggest causes of body problems, rough playing and a host of ills. There are about 120 muscles, bones and tendons in both forearms and hands, and all of these parts are learning new motor controls. While you are learning control you will get tense. It is natural to use force to do something until control is developed. Not being relaxed when you play is like driving a car with the brakes slightly depressed. The brake pads are going to wear out real fast and you’re in for a bumpy ride. Notice and release tension when you play. Tension can occur in any part of your body: hands, wrists, arms, neck, shoulders, lower back, face, mouth, legs, feet.
  6. Learn how to practice at the right speed. To play anything well you need to develop complete control over what you are doing. Control is developed by repetitive actions at the speed that you can actually do the thing you are supposed to be doing. If you go too fast, you can’t grab a hold of whatever it is and it’s like screeching around a corner in a car while driving too fast in the mountains. Go too fast and you end up in the trees. (And if you ever got mad and frustrated while practicing, I’d bet you were just going too fast!)
  7. Understand the words and symbols on any written materials you are using. (I was giving a kid a piano lesson recently, and she almost fell asleep in the middle of her lesson, but had been bright and awake when she walked in. I snooped around and discovered that there was one symbol in a song book that her dad got her that sent her under the table. I found the symbol, defined it for her and she instantly brightened up and came back to life.)
  8. Learn to sing in tune if you don’t already, regardless of the instrument you play. If you can’t, this is easier to learn then you might think. It’s almost impossible to fully enjoy playing music if your ears aren't working, and the way to train your ears is to sing. I don’t mean singing as a vocalist but as a musician. This just means to be able to hit the right notes with your voice without any attention on how it sounds.
  9. Develop a good sense of rhythm. Having good rhythm is vital, probably the most vital aspect of being a musician. Good rhythm can be developed with the proper drills. If your sense of rhythm is really bad it could take some time; however, you CAN develop good rhythmic ability with efficient instruction and drilling.
  10. Realize that people progress at different speeds according to current skill levels, past experience and inherent ability. Only compare yourself to yourself, and if you want to move faster than you are, fine tune your practice approach and put in more hours.
  11. Prioritize the steps on your lesson as needed. If your lesson is short, you might not need to do this: you just go through all of the steps each time you practice. If there are many things to practice, and time is short, you might need to prioritize. If you do, either start with what you like the most, or with what you and your teacher feel is most important in relation to your goals. A bottom line is: start with whatever you will actually do! It could be following all the lesson steps in the order written, or doing what’s the most fun, however it goes. As long as you are practicing and moving closer to your goals. The bottom line, in most cases, is…
  12. Have fun. Music isn't worth doing if you can’t have some fun while doing it. Not all studies are fun—many things aren't; but there is always a way to make some part of what you are doing fun and rewarding.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What Exactly Are Scales?

As I am revising some of my teaching materials into book format, I want to offer this download about Scales to anyone who wants it. It's good! I use the materials as I teach so there's no real application with it, but that's why I'm turning it into a book! If you have any confusions about what scales are--download it and have at it! It's not everything about scales, just some basic definitions about the core elements.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pro Musicians’ Tips #4 of 4: About Gigs, Groups and Fake Books!

Welcome to the final installment of tips from professional musicians, Pro Musicians’ Tips #4 of 4: About Gigs, Groups and Fake Books! These lists of “Pro Musicians’ Tips” has been compiled from years of personal experience, observing others and by personal survey of about a dozen working professionals spanning all echelons of the business from local clubs to major-venue players and stage hands. In my out-of-print-being-revised-and-updated book, How To Make A Living as a Musician, these were listed as appendix material, called “Miscellaneous Tips & Advices.” These tips represent dues well paid over many, many years. In addition to local working professionals, a few stellar names to be acknowledged for their contribution of tips are Grammy Award Winning saxophonist Ernie Watts and jazz drummer Ed Shaughnessy who has worked with everybody! Use them well! Click HERE to get your tips!

Pro Musicians’ Tips #3 of 4: About Guitar Tuning!

Welcome to Pro Musicians’ Tips #3 of 4: About Guitar Tuning! There are also some brass and woodwind tips here, but these are mainly for guitar and bass players who might “think” they know how to tune. ;-) There is more to tuning a guitar than plugging it into a tuner and turning things! Who would think that tuning a guitar could be so involved? (Share this with any non-pro guitar players you know!) Click HERE to get the tips! and once you read them..., USE them!