Online Courses

Guitar Ensemble Techniques

Authored by Tim Miller

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Course Code: OGUIT-460

Next Term Starts January 8

Level 4

Level 4

3-Credit Tuition

$1,479

Non-Credit Tuition

$1,229

Your favorite guitarist didn’t become your favorite guitarist without the support of other musicians. The most important skill for a guitarist to learn is the exact same skill that was so important in kindergarten: playing well with others. Guitar Ensemble Techniques gives guitarists the essential and practical skills to play well with others in any ensemble situation. This course begins with daily warm-up techniques that help you prepare for rehearsals, jam sessions, and stage performances. From there, you’ll explore chords, scales, improvisation techniques, time accuracy, tone production, ear training, and the many aspects of jamming with other musicians. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to confidently interact with other musicians in a group setting and bring your A-game to any jam session you join.

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By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • warm up effectively for a performance
  • accompany other musicians with essential chord forms
  • improvise over a variety of different chord progressions
  • perform with a solid rhythmic foundation
  • play with a personal touch that allows your unique sound to shine
  • play with better technique and ear training
  • go to a rehearsal or performance prepared with the essential skills that you need to play your best
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Syllabus

Lesson 1: Warming Up

  • Picking Hand
  • Fretting Hand
  • Synchronization
  • Tempo

Lesson 2: Essential Chord Knowledge for Ensemble Playing Using Six Guide Tone Shapes

  • Sixth String Root Shapes
  • Adding Tension Notes to 6th String Shapes
  • Fifth String Root Shapes
  • Adding Tensions to Fifth String Root Shapes

Lesson 3: Improvising with Minor Pentatonic Scales 

  • Essential Scale Shapes and Fingerings
  • Learning Patterns for Improvisation
  • Minor Pentatonic Applications over Different Chord Types
  • Applying Knowledge to Chord Progressions for Improvisation

Lesson 4: Know How to Play a 12-Bar Blues and its Variations

  • Blues Form
  • Blues with Turnarounds
  • Adding Substitutions
  • Blues in 12 Keys

Lesson 5: Time Accuracy

  • Developing Your Rhythmic Foundation
  • Owning Each Subdivision
  • Combining Subdivisions
  • Elements of Time Feel

Lesson 6: Tone Production Essentials: Developing Your Touch on the Guitar

  • Focus on Timbre
  • Focus on Dynamics
  • Focus on Note Duration
  • Vibrato and Intonation

Lesson 7: Develop Your Ears

  • Transcribing Lines
  • Transcribing Chords
  • Recognizing Chord Types
  • Recognizing Modal Sounds

Lesson 8: Picking Techniques

  • Picking
  • Hybrid Picking
  • Fingerstyle
  • Developing Speed

Lesson 9: Improve Your Reading

  • Know the Notes on the Fretboard
  • Playing Rhythms
  • Guide Tone Chord Reading
  • Reading Strategies During a Performance

Lesson 10: Develop Your Phrasing

  • Using Motives
  • Developing Melodic Ideas
  • Using Space
  • Follow the Phrasing of the Song

Lesson 11: Mastering Triads

  • Closed Voice Triads
  • Spread Triads
  • Voice Leading Triads
  • Triads over Bass Notes

Lesson 12: Performance Preparation

  • Performance Checklist
  • Know Your Gear
  • Pre-Performance Practice Techniques
  • Listening and Blending Onstage

Requirements

Prerequisites

Completion of Guitar Chords 101 and Scales 101 or equivalent knowledge and experience is required.

In order to succeed in this course, you should have a basic understanding of standard notation and TAB. You should have a basic understanding of major and minor triads, major and minor barre chords, major and minor pentatonic scales, and the major scale and its modes. You should also be able to properly tune your instrument, and record and upload your assignments using a computer.


No Required Textbooks


Software Requirements 

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Students are required to record video for assignments. You can use your smartphone, digital camera, or webcam to do this. If you do not already have a preferred video software, you can use the built-in recorder tool within your assignment post. You can play the backing track through your speakers as you record and the microphone will pick up both the guitar (acoustic or through an amp) and the track as you play along.


Hardware Requirements 

  • A built-in microphone or an external microphone plugged directly into your computer (via built-in ports or an external audio interface)
  • Capo
  • Ability to tune the guitar into tunings other than standard EADGBE—a chromatic tuner may be helpful for this
  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Webcam
  • Internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed ( http://www.speedtest.net to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)

Instructors

Author & Instructor

Tim Miller offers a distinctive voice to the world of jazz and rock guitar. He is currently a professor in the Guitar department at Berklee College of Music. Guitar Player magazine characterized his playing as "pure melody consciousness with remarkable control, and a breathy, violin-y tone"

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His most notable recordings are Trio and Trio Vol.2. Tim has performed/recorded with Dweezil Zappa, Paul Motian, Randy Brecker, Mick Goodrick, Mike Stern, Ben Monder, Gary Burton, Eddie Gomez, David Liebman, Greg Osby, George Garzone, Mark Turner, Jerry Bergonzi, Gary Thomas, George Duke, Gary Husband, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Antonio Sanchez, among others.

Tim has also co-authored a book with guitarist Mick Goodrick titled Creative Chordal Harmony for Guitar (Berklee Press/Hal Leonard). Additionally, he is the author of the Berklee Online course Guitar Ensemble Techniques. Read Less

What's Next?

When taken for credit, Guitar Ensemble Techniques can be applied towards these associated programs:

Associated Degree Major

Questions?

Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at advisors@online.berklee.edu.

We can also answer basic questions in the comments below. Please note that all comments are public.

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