Monday, May 9, 2011

Performance & The Subconscious Mind- Part 5 Aaron Beck & Larina Kase

Performance & The Subconscious Mind- Part 5 Aaron Beck & Larina Kase
[Originally Posted on February 3, 2011 by Richard Matteson]

Larina Kase


Clearing Negative Beliefs and Experiences

Clearing Technique #4: Getting Clear with Cognitive Therapy

We’re still in the twilight zone examining the subconscious mind and ways to “clear unwanted negative thoughts” that enter the conscious mind from the subconscious mind during a musical performance. These negative thoughts can cause additional anxiety and cause a lack of focus on the music and enjoyment of the performance.

In this blog we will re-enter cognitive behavioral therapy (See Part 3- Ellis) from a different branch Cognitive Therapy (CT) first expounded by Dr. Aaron Beck in the 1960s.

Most of the information is based on the short article “Five Steps to Getting Clear with Cognitive Therapy” By Dr. Larina Kase which appeared in Joe Vitale’s book, The Key.

The process is an examination of unwanted negative thoughts as they might appear before and during a performance. This was something I also learned from Aaron Shearer in his performance classes at North Carolina School of the Arts. Trying to prevent anxiety or an anxious thought doesn’t get rid of it- it makes it worse.

In the performance class we would sit on the stage and simply let the “fight or flight” responses that are triggered by a performance happen. We’d let the adrenaline come, we’d feel the body’s reaction to being the focal point or center of attention.

If our hands would shake, we’d let them shake. After the initial surge I noticed that it was something that could be managed and it didn’t keep getting worse- it got better. By trying to prevent the body from doing what it naturally does - that made it worse.

By letting the excitement happen and examining the effects, I was then able to regain control of my hands and fingers. After the first piece the excitement was becoming beneficial.

Let’s look now at the “Five Steps to Getting Clear with Cognitive Therapy” By Dr. Larina Kase:

1) Identify your unwanted, negative and obtrusive thoughts- write them down if possible.

2) Examine your thoughts and see if they are accurate. Impartially decide whether the thought is true or not.

3) Conduct a behavioral experiment to further examine if the thought is true. For example your thought is, “Every time I play I lose focus and think about making a mistake.”

The next time you perform notice if you really think that or if it was just one time (an infrequent occurrence).

4) After examining the evidence, decide if the original thought is true. Is it likely to reoccur?

5) Most upsetting thoughts are unlikely to reoccur. Realize this thought is not helping you- don’t resist the thought- let it go away from your consciousness.

The implied solution to our unwanted upsetting thoughts before and during a performance is to simply allow them to happen, notice them- realizing they are unlikely to occur, and let them go.

Kase also believes that the occasional unwanted negative thoughts do not draw or attract other negative thoughts to you (ie law of attraction). It’s the intentional or habitual dwelling on negative thoughts that is harmful.

Let’s look at Aaron Beck’s Three Column Technique as a way of examining upsetting thoughts. First, you have the situation which in this case would be a musical performance. Then you have the automatic thoughts about the performance, and lastly the logical errors:


1) SITUATION: Performing a solo at a recital

AUTOMATIC THOUGHTS: I froze once before so I’ll freeze again

LOGICAL ERRORS: Magnification; Overgeneralization

2) SITUATION: Performing a solo at a recital

AUTOMATIC THOUGHTS: There’s my teacher, I’ll never be able to play this in front of him/her.

LOGICAL ERRORS: Magnification; Polarized thinking.

3) SITUATION: Performing a solo at a recital

AUTOMATIC THOUGHTS: I feel terrible, I think I’m going to be sick.

LOGICAL ERRORS: Magnification;

These and other negative automatic thoughts will pop into our consciousness before and during a performance. When they come, you briefly examine them, then let them go. You choose instead to focus on positive enabling thoughts and the task at hand- playing the music.

More to come,


Performance and the Subconscious Mind- Part 4 Neville Goddard

Performance and the Subconscious Mind- Part 4 Neville Goddard
[Originally Posted on February 2, 2011 by Richard Matteson]


Clearing Negative Beliefs and Experiences

Clearing Technique #3: Visualization & Imagination

“Imagining creates reality” Neville Goddard

This blog is one of a series of blogs on performance and the subconscious mind. This is Part 4 featuring the concepts of visualization based on the work of Neville Goddard.

Neville (1905-1972) was an influential metaphysics teacher. His interpretations of the Bible and the works of William Blake are fascinating. [Most of his work is available online]

At the core of Neville’s teachings is what he called The Law, the technique of creating one’s physical reality through imagining. This concept is a form of visualization and can be applied to performance as well as other life applications.

Renown guitar teacher Aaron Shearer used ADM (Aim Directed Movement) as the cornerstone of his process for learning to play the guitar. You simply see in your mind’s eye what you are going to do before you do it. He also advocated using visualization to see the opening measures of the music before you begin performing.

Neville used a similar technique to manifest events in his physical reality by first seeing them in his mind’s eye. By imagining the result you want, and seeing it, you create it in the physical world.

Let’s look at some examples of how this would work in a musical performance.

1) You are backstage alone before a performance. Closing your eyes to block out distractions you imaging yourself performing and your audience enthusiastically applauding after you finish. You see yourself bowing. You see their faces and sense their joy from hearing your performance. You hear people talking as they leave about how much they enjoyed the performance.

This is the kind of positive mental imagining that creates successful performances.

Maybe you’re a musician and you want to perform at Carnegie Hall.

1) You get photos and watch video performances at Carnegie Hall. You image the feel of the carpet, the smell of the polished woodwork, the sounds of the audience and see the colors of the interior decor. You know what it’s like to be in Carnegie Hall. You read the program with your name on it and see the pieces you will be playing. You imaging yourself on the stage playing a classical arrangement of an Appalachian folksong.

The applications for visualization and using your imagination are endless. There are two more important concepts which should be added:

1) In most cases you must take action in order for your imagination to create reality.

2) It must be something that you believe you can do.

If you don’t practice and don’t know the music, imagining success is something your conscious and subconscious minds will not believe. If you don’t call Carnegie Hall and book the hall, you may never play there.

And how do you get to Carnegie Hall?


More to come,


Performance & The Subconscious Mind- Part 3 Albert Ellis

Performance & The Subconscious Mind- Part 3 Albert Ellis
[Originally Posted on February 1, 2011 by Richard Matteson]


Clearing Negative Beliefs and Experiences

Clearing Technique #2: Forgiveness & Understanding Our Beliefs

“I absolutely MUST, under practically all conditions and at all times, perform well (or outstandingly well) and win the approval (or complete love) of significant others. If I fail in these important—and sacred—respects, that is awful and I am a bad, incompetent, unworthy person, who will probably always fail and deserves to suffer.” One of the three basic irrational beliefs (or musts) posited by Albert Ellis creator of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

This quote from Ellis (September 27, 1913 – July 24, 2007) shows the fear that the pressure and stress of a performance may bring. It’s no wonder that performances trigger the biological “fight or flight” responses in our nervous system. It’s also no wonder many performers suffer some form of “performance anxiety.”

In 1955 Ellis, a psychologist who held M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology from Columbia University and American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).

This blog will continue examining methods of “clearing” unwanted negative beliefs and traumatic experiences from the subconscious mind that may be preventing successful musical performances. Ellis used a rational humanistic approach and posed: it’s not the event (performance) that is a challenge it’s our views and beliefs about the event that is a challenge. He didn’t try advise “clearing” the subconscious as much as understanding the problem and dealing with it in a positive accepting way. We make mistakes; we accept and forgive ourselves and go on.

Ellis was inspired by many of the teachings of Asian, Greek, Roman and modern philosophers. The idea that our beliefs upset us was first articulated by Epictetus around 2,000 years ago: “Men are disturbed not by events, but by the views which they take of them.”

Albert Ellis and REBT posit that our reaction to having our goals blocked (or even the possibility of having them blocked) is determined by our beliefs. To illustrate this, Dr. Ellis developed a simple ABC format to teach people how their beliefs cause their emotional and behavioral responses:

A. Something happens.
B. You have a belief about the situation.
C. You have an emotional reaction to the belief.

In the 2003 Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Albert Ellis posits three major insights of his ABC format and REBT:

“Insight 1 – People seeing and accepting the reality that their emotional disturbances at point C only partially stem from the activating events or adversities at point A that precede C. Although A contributes to C, and although disturbed Cs (such as feelings of panic and depression) are much more likely to follow strong negative As (such as being assaulted or raped), than they are to follow weak As (such as being disliked by a stranger), the main or more direct cores of extreme and dysfunctional emotional disturbances (Cs) are people’s irrational beliefs — the absolutistic musts and their accompanying inferences and attributions that people strongly believe about their undesirable activating events.

Insight 2 – No matter how, when, and why people acquire self-defeating or irrational beliefs (i.e. beliefs which are the main cause of their dysfunctional emotional-behavioral consequences), if they are disturbed in the present, they tend to keep holding these irrational beliefs and continue upsetting themselves with these thoughts. They do so not because they held them in the past, but because they still actively hold them in the present, though often unconsciously, while continuing to reaffirm their beliefs and act as if they are still valid. In their minds and hearts they still follow the core philosophies they adopted or invented long ago, or ones they recently accepted or constructed.

Insight 3 – No matter how well they have achieved insight 1 and insight 2, insight alone will rarely enable people to undo their emotional disturbances. They may feel better when they know, or think they know, how they became disturbed – since insights can give the impression of being useful and curative. But, it is unlikely that they will actually get better and stay better unless they accept insights 1 and 2, and then also go on to strongly apply insight 3: There is usually no way to get better and stay better but by: continual work and practice in looking for, and finding, one’s core irrational beliefs; actively, energetically, and scientifically disputing them; replacing one’s absolutist musts with flexible preferences; changing one’s unhealthy feelings to healthy, self-helping emotions; and firmly acting against one’s dysfunctional fears and compulsions. Only by a combined cognitive, emotive, and behavioral, as well as a quite persistent and forceful attack on one’s serious emotional problems, is one likely to significantly ameliorate or remove them — and keep them removed.”

For example:

A. You have a performance coming up, you’re concerned about the situation.
B. You believe, “The music’s too difficult, I’m not ready. I’ll never make it thought the hard piece. The last time I performed my hands were shaking, it was horrible.”
C. You feel fearful and anxious.

If you hold a different belief, your emotional response would be different:

A. You have a performance coming up, you’re concerned about the situation.
B. You believe, “I love performing and sharing music. If I practice more on the hard piece I’ll be ready.”
C. You feel excitement and anticipation.

The ABC model shows that A does not cause C. It is B that causes C.

Clearly different beliefs can produce different results. By accepting ourselves as fallible and embracing our mistakes as well as our victories, we can forgive ourselves and forgive others. We can establish positive beliefs with forgiveness.

If we make a mistake in a performance- so what?- we go on. By accepting our mistakes and knowing that we are human we’re able to recover and go on. And most importantly- the mistakes from past performances will not haunt us causing more anxiety. For it’s not so much the mistakes but rather our attitude towards them.

When we forgive ourselves, we take the pressure off. When we take the pressure off, we can perform.

Say it to yourself: “Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me.”

More to come,


Performance & The Subconscious Mind- Part 2 TFT & EFT

Performance & The Subconscious Mind- Part 2 TFT & EFT
[Originally Posted on February 1, 2011 by Richard Matteson]

Roger Callahan


Clearing Negative Beliefs and Experiences

Clearing Technique #1 TFT & EFT

In the last Blog we looked at some information from Joseph Murphy about how the conscious and subconscious minds work in concert. If the subconscious mind is filled with negative experiences and beliefs about performing, it’s going to make performing a difficult and unpleasant experience. In this blog we’ll examine some solutions and a clearing technique developed by Roger Callahan in the 1980s.

A musician can consciously focus on positive thoughts and words before a performance repeating in their mind, “I’m prepared, I can do this” or “I’m a great guitarist, I know I’ll nail this.” The positive thoughts are good but they may not be in alignment with your subconscious or the musician may not believe they are true. The negative beliefs and experiences may be blocked in your body. How do we get them out?

Pumping in a few token positive thoughts will help but probably not enough to make a big difference. In past blogs we looked at some ways world renown teacher Aaron Shearer
had his students mentally prepare for performances. The main ways were:

1) Believe that a performance is sharing music so the emphasis is on the music and not the individual musician and their ego.

2) Think positively toward your audience.

Without recognizing the role of the subconscious mind (which we talked about in private conversations), Shearer is teaching you to send affirmations to the subconscious.

There are two ways to get both minds aligned:

1) You can send positive thoughts, affirmations and beliefs to the subconscious (I love my audience; I love sharing music) hoping to replace the negative beliefs and past experiences.

2) You can “clear” the past negative experiences and beliefs so that they no longer bother you.

Positive information and beliefs simply do not work with some individuals because of the deep emotional scars they have experienced in the past. Some of the fears may not even have anything to do with performances. They may involve personal trauma.

So how do we clear ourselves and cleanse our subconscious memories?

There are many ways, some rooted in accepted and often controversial psychotherapeutic remedies and some new concepts that are beyond quantitative scientific analysis.

From the concepts of Freud, Alfred Korzybski and Will Durant came L. Ron Hubbard’s 1950 book Dianetics, which led to the religious movement Scientology, defined by Wiki as a “method of spiritual rehabilitation is a type of counselling known as auditing, in which practitioners aim to consciously re-experience painful or traumatic events in their past in order to free themselves of their limiting effects.”

Clearing and removing past negative experiences and beliefs is a topic with a myriad of possible remedies that my short series of blogs cannot evaluate.

When you think (pun intended) about it, we don’t understand scientifically how our thoughts travel, the rate they travel, and what they are composed of.

Let’s look at some solutions to clear our subconscious so we can perform better and become better people.

Clearing Technique #1 TFT and EFT: Thought Field Therapy (TFT) was discovered and created by psychologist Roger Callahan in the 1980s. It involves tapping with your fingers on the main meridian points used in acupuncture. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), created by Callahan’s student Roger Craig in the 1990s, is a variation of Callahan’s techniques.

“According to Craig, imbalances in the body’s energy system have enormous effects on the personal psychology and subsequently on the physical health. He further theorized that tackling the negative experience as well as curing the negative emotions is going to correct the energy imbalance. EFT gets rid of the negative emotions that disrupt the human system’s flow of energy.”

While tapping, certain repetitive phrases that deal with the problem are spoken or mentally reviewed. The EFT verbal phrases would need to be customized and adapted to fit musical performance, which wouldn’t be difficult. Here are some of my ideas you might say while tapping:

First you identify the problem, saying to yourself: From past experiences I have learned that I can’t make mistakes, that anything but a perfect performance is unacceptable.

Then: These limiting beliefs I no longer hold true. I choose to accept myself.

Then: I enjoy sharing music and have the ability to confidently perform in any situation. I love playing music.

You can script the dialog to fit your personal situation. There’s lots of info on the internet and you can access free videos on youtube and other sites.

More to come,

Richard Matteson

Performance & The Subconscious Mind- Part 1 Joseph Murphy

Performance & The Subconscious Mind- Part 1 Joseph Murphy
[Originally Posted on January 31, 2011 by Richard Matteson]


Performance is a concerted effort (pun intended) of both your conscious mind and subconscious mind. In an effort to better understand the working of the subconscious mind, I’m going to write a few blogs about how the subconscious mind works and present some different ways to improve your performances.

Joseph Murphy wrote a book titled, “The Power of Your Sub-Conscious Mind.” In it he says, “Your conscious and subconscious mind must agree. Your subconscious accepts what you really feel to be true. The dominant idea is always accepted by your subconscious mind.”

If you have mixed thoughts about your performances or your ability to perform- guess what?- the mixed thoughts and feelings will prevent you from performing at your ability level. The negative thoughts you’ve been feeding your subconscious need to be replaced with positive thoughts- I love sharing music, I love my audience etc.

Some negative thoughts are so ingrained that getting them out is as important as replacing them. How do we do that? That’s another blog–or two!

Many of the keys are found in psychotherapy. I’m studying newer concepts like NLP techniques and other new forms of finding the source of negative beliefs- like “clean language” (exploring the source) and “power switching” (directing the mind so you can keep positive thoughts during a performance).

Here’s a bio from wiki: Joseph Murphy (May 20, 1898 – December 16, 1981) was a Divine Science minister and author.

Murphy was born in Ireland, the son of a private boy’s school headmaster and raised a Roman Catholic. He studied for the priesthood and joined the Jesuits. In his twenties, an experience with healing prayer led him to leave the Jesuits and move to the United States, where he became a pharmacist in New York (having a degree in chemistry by that time). Here he attended the Church of the Healing Christ (part of the Church of Divine Science), where Emmet Fox had become minister in 1931.

In the mid 1940s, he moved to Los Angeles, where he met Religious Science founder Ernest Holmes, and was ordained into Religious Science by Holmes in 1946, thereafter teaching at the Institute of Religious Science. A meeting with Divine Science Association president Erwin Gregg led to him being reordained into Divine Science, and he became the minister of the Los Angeles Divine Science Church in 1949, which he built into one of the largest New Thought congregations in the country. In the next decade, Murphy married, earned a PhD in psychology from the University of Southern California and started writing. After his first wife died in 1976, he remarried to a fellow Divine Science minister who was his longstanding secretary. He died in 1981.

Joseph Murphy: The Power of your Sub-Conscious Mind

“The subconscious cannot reason like your conscious mind. Your subconscious mind cannot argue controversially. Hence, if you give it wrong suggestions, it will accept them as true and will proceed to bring them to pass as conditions, experiences, and events.

All things that have happened to you are based on thoughts impressed on your subconscious mind through belief. If you have conveyed erroneous concepts to your subconscious mind, the sure method of overcoming them is by the repetition of constructive, harmonious thoughts frequently repeated which your subconscious mind accepts, thus forming new and healthy habits of thought and life, for
your subconscious mind is the seat of habit.

The habitual thinking of your conscious mind establishes deep grooves in your subconscious mind. This is very favorable for you if your habitual thoughts are harmonious, peaceful, and constructive.

If you have indulged in fear, worry, and other destructive forms of thinking, the remedy is to recognize the omnipotence of your subconscious mind and decree freedom, happiness, and perfect health. Your subconscious mind, being creative and one with your divine source, will proceed to create the freedom and happiness, which you have earnestly decreed.”

Thanks Joseph,

More to come, Till next time

Richard Matteson

Performance: Establishing a Routine

Performance: Establishing a Routine
[Originally Posted on December 5, 2010 by Richard Matteson]


Today we’ll look at another critical area of performance development: Establishing a routine (or routines).

Aaron Shearer talk about establishing routines in his “Learning the Classic Guitar” volume 1. He suggests a series of routines to establish your concentration as you are seated before an audience in the final moment before you start playing.

1) Check the tuning of the guitar (or it could be any instrument) [Shearer is suggesting this not only to make sure your guitar is in tune but it's important to move your hands, get a feel for the strings and how your hands are operating doing some simple motor skills. This also gives you time to understand the effect the increased adrenalin has on your motor skills and to calm down from the initial adrenalin rush.]

2) Breathe deeply several times. [This has a calming or relaxing effect on the nervous system and can stabilize the adrenalin rush.]

3) Silently sing or solfege the first well defined phrase of the piece you are about to play [This helps you focus on the music and not on negative performance concerns. The more you can focus on the music the better the chance for a successful performance.]

4) The last step before beginning to play is clearly setting the tempo in your mind by silently counting. [It helps me to also feel the pulse in my body- usually I use my right toes to gently and quietly pulse the beat. The worst mistake is to simply get pumped up and start the tempo at too fast a pace]

You’ll need to do this routine over and over until you’re unconsciously competent, then it’s a habit. Aaron Shearer wrote that these steps direct your attention away from the audience, gives you time to gain composure and they create an atmosphere of expectancy in the audience.

These are not the only routines. There are stage conduct routines that should be learned as well as pre-performance off stage routines.

If we look at Aaron’s list of routines while seated on-stage just before a performance, there is no mention of positive thoughts. Aaron preferred to use practical and tangible guidelines.

He does suggest that the performer needs to direct their attention away from the audience and to tuning the guitar and the music.

I believe and studies have shown that positive thoughts improve the mental state of the performer which in turn leads to better performances.

Thinking about a past successful performance (or performances), thinking positive thoughts about yourself and your audience are also important mental routines and help give you the self-confidence to perform to the best of your ability.

Howard Thurston (July 20, 1869 – April 13, 1936) a famous magician from Ohio, never stepped onto the footlights until mentally he said over and over, “I love my audience.”

Be sure to add to your routine positive thoughts about yourself and your audience. We’ll look at other positive thoughts and examples in another blog.

More about routines to come—

Richard Matteson

Performance Excitement

Performance Excitement
[Originally Posted on December 4, 2010 by Richard Matteson]


Today we’re going to look briefly at performance excitement.

There are two main types of performance excitement: positive and negative.

Positive excitement is excitement that sharpens your focus allowing you to fully concentrate on the music and the task at hand. You feel stronger and your fingers have more vitality. You can bring out subtle nuances in the phrasing. You can use expressive devices like playing sections with different tone color (timbre) and dynamics. You feel the energy from the audience and it lifts you to a new level of execution that you can’t reach in your practice room. You can play faster and more accurately than during practices.

Negative excitement and concerns make you feel uneasy, nervous or sick. Negative excitement is also called “performance anxiety.” Negative excitement causes the hands, arms and sometimes legs to shake and twitch. The performer may sweat and their hands and touch become slippery. It becomes impossible to concentrate and the mind reaches a panic state where memorization is faulty and focusing on the music is impossible. The performer is now focused entirely on negative concerns and making it through the piece is the only hope.

Let’s look at what happens to the body during a performance. Being the center of attention and other concerns cause the mind to send messages to the body. The body prepares for a “flight or fight” situation and pumps additional adrenaline and other hormones. This is the body’s primitive inborn response system.

This is what happens:

1) Our breathing rate increases.

2) Our heart rate increases. Blood is also directed away from our digestive tract and into our muscles and limbs, which are used for running and fighting. Because of the additional blood flow to the muscles, our body temperature rises and in order to control our temperature, we may start to sweat.

3) Our pupils dilate.

4) Our awareness and concentration intensify.

5) Our sight sharpens.

6) Our impulses quicken and our reaction time is quicker.

7) Our perception of touch and pain diminishes.

You can see that many of the physical changes can be beneficial to a performance. Understanding what happens to your body and harnessing the excitement so the results are positive is our goal.

This requires practice in a controlled performance environment like a performance development class or a group of performers trying to improve their skills.

The key is letting the body pump additional adrenaline and other hormones and using the excitement to perform better. Your mind can’t tell your body, “Don’t pump in any more adrenaline my hands are beginning to shake!” It won’t help.

You need to become aware of what’s happening to you and learn how to use it to your advantage. The role of the conscious mind is to objectively notice what changes are happening. It’s the negative concerns of the mind about the physical changes that often create performance anxiety. Negative thoughts lead to a panic state and make performing very difficult. The mind needs to assist the body and notice the changes while focusing on the music and positive concerns.

Positive performance excitement can take the performance and music to a new level that isn’t obtainable in the practice room.

We’ll look at how to do this in another blog,

More to come—-

Richard Matteson

Performance Development: Positive Thoughts

Performance Development: Positive Thoughts
[Originally Posted on December 2, 2010 by Richard Matteson]


One often overlooked factor of performance development is the role of positive thoughts and having a positive outlook. In this blog we’re going to look at “thoughts that are put in the subconscious mind” and the “conscious competence” theory.

Here are some critical areas for positive thoughts:

1) The thoughts that are put in the subconscious mind.
2) The thoughts we think about our audience
3) The thoughts we think about ourselves
4) The thoughts we think about our performance situation. Aaron Shearer called them “concerns.”
5) The thoughts about “sharing music.”

To better understand 1) The thoughts that are put in the subconscious mind we can look at Maslow’s “conscious competence theory” also called for the “Four Stages of Learning.”

The Four Stages:

1) Unconscious Incompetence: You don’t understand or know how to do something and you don’t know that you don’t understand. It’s been called “ignorant bliss.”

2) Conscious Incompetence: You don’t understand or know how to do something, but now you realize that you don’t know how to do it. This is “awakening or awareness” stage.

3) Conscious Competence: You understand or know how to do something. To do this requires a great deal of conscious concentration.

4) Unconscious Competence: You have practiced the skill until it becomes “second nature” and can be performed easily without concentrating too deeply. The skill is now part of the subconscious mind.

Let’s look at an example, say, tying your shoelaces. When you were very young you didn’t know you needed to tie your shoe laces (Unconscious Incompetence). After you tripped on your shoelace your mother told you needed to be able to tie your shoelaces (Conscious Incompetence). You learned to tie your shoelaces and with great difficulty and could tie them (Conscious Competence). After tying them hundreds of times you no longer needed to think about how to tie them- you just automatically did it (Unconscious Competence).

We can see by this process, information about playing the guitar or any instrument is stored in the subconscious and gradually we become “unconsciously competent” with certain musical skills.

What is less obvious is the role of the subconscious mind accepting positive thoughts and having these thoughts become “unconsciously competent.”

If you understand that your goal is to “share music” with other people, it takes repeated effort to have this goal part of the subconscious mind and become “unconsciously competent.” It just doesn’t happen because you think about it once or twice.

As a performer you want to “feel good” about performing. The thoughts of enjoyment and excitement about performing need to reach the “unconsciously competent” level. You want to have positive thoughts about yourself and your performance experience.

Telling yourself this (I love playing the guitar or I love performing for people or I love my audience) consciously while you are performing is necessary but it won’t work until it’s reached and is part of the subconscious.

Learn to use positive thoughts until they become “unconsciously competent” and you will become “unconsciously competent” as a performer.

More to come———–

Richard Matteson

ADM And Visualization During a Performance

ADM And Visualization During a Performance
[Originally Posted on December 2, 2010 by Richard Matteson]


Today we’ll look at the role that ADM (Aim Directed Movement) and visualization play during a performance. Aaron Shearer talked about ADM and also about visualization but he never said they were the same- for a reason.

They use similar mental processes. ADM is used to see in advance a single movement form of a series of movement forms. You can use visualization to see, in advance, movement forms (ADM) and/or visualize the melody line (silent solfege) or the rhythm.

So ADM is a subset or a function of visualization- they are not the same.

It’s important to note that both ADM and visualization are products of the conscious mind even if they are part of the subconscious mind. This distinction is important, for the conscious mind should direct the subconscious mind during a performance.

Let’s say you consciously use ADM to learn a piece. This is the best way to learn. You slowly play each movement form with continuity and accuracy (we’ll look at the steps involved in another blog). After several correct repetitions the information is now stored in the subconscious mind. Soon the piece can be played entirely by the subconscious mind much the same way you can drive to work or walk to class and never know how you got there- you’ve done it so many times that the subconscious can perform the task.

If you use ADM consciously at the same time your subconscious mind is playing the piece, you’re reinforcing and directing information that you already know. If something goes wrong or if you want to add expressive phrasing or tone colors, you’re able to do this because your conscious and subconscious are one.

This is especially important when dealing with mistakes during a performance. Your conscious mind has a procedure for the best way to handle mistakes (see my blog: Mistakes During a Performance) and it directs the subconscious so the performance will be the best it can be.

If the conscious mind is not focused on the music and using ADM when something happens- a mistake or a distraction- the subconscious mind will be unable to recover once once the series of connected movements is interrupted.

You’ll be like the driver on autopilot that suddenly realizes another car had lost control and is going to hit him. Too late, too late, too late. The conscious mind was not paying attention.

One of the most important uses of visualization occurs during a *performance before you start playing a piece or suite or sonata. Not only must you use ADM to mentally play through the first movement forms but you’ll need to silently solfege the melody, firmly establishing the first several measures in your mind. Before you begin, you place your fingers to play the very first movement form, then after establishing the correct tempo by gently feeling the pulse with your right toes, you begin.

Too often performers start on shaky ground, not really knowing what they are going to play. Or, in their excitement, they begin playing at a tempo that is much too fast and they’ll never be able to accurately play the piece at that tempo.

More to come—-


*In many recitals the performers memorize the music and do not have the sheet music they are playing on the stage.

Goal of DigiMusiCam

Goal of DigiMusiCam
[Originally Posted on November 22, 2010 by Richard Matteson]

My mentor, Aaron Shearer, on park bench studying his manuscripts.


In our blog our administration members can post news items, goals of the company and technical and educational views of our company.

I welcome all enrolled music teachers and want to encourage you to build up your schedules by enrolling new students. We are in the process of determining a marketing strategy and will be signing up many students in the days to come.

If you have questions please call us at the company number 502-410-2123.

We are in the process of organizing our community page- this blog is the first step. I’ll be posting information about my musical projects as well as company activities. Our goal is to improve music education by creating a global network of teachers and students.

Look for posts about my mentor Aaron Shearer and his teaching methods which I’ll be sharing with you.

Chordially Yours,

Richard Matteson

Goal of Learning Music

Goal of Learning Music
[Originally Posted on November 23, 2010 by Richard Matteson]


Today we’re going to explore the fundamental goal of learning to play music.

Many teachers and students don’t really examine the underlying psychological drives that motivate us to learn and excel.

If the only place you could practice or play an instrument (or sing) was in a soundproof room and no one could ever hear you- there would be no motivation to practice and excel.

The reason we learn is to perform for others. It’s the drive to share music with others and recognition of our personal accomplishments playing the music we have learned that motives us.

Simply- the reason we learn to play is to perform. This fundamental concept is often overlooked. Our goal is to learn how to perform. That’s not in many cases how we’re taught. Few teachers actually understand and have a plan to teach students how to perform. They are thrown in the water and must learn how to swim.

Fortunately there is a system to learn how to perform. It’s one that I’ve developed from Aaron Shearer who I worked with in the 1980s on his “Learning the Classic Guitar” books.

I’ll be sharing my thoughts in this blog and have started a video series “Secrets of Learning the Guitar” which will cover some of the information.

So the goal of learning an instrument is performing and the goal of performing is sharing music.

More to come—–

Richard Matteson

Performance Development: Sharing Music

Performance Development: Sharing Music
[Originally Posted on November 23, 2010 by Richard Matteson]


One of the concepts Aaron Shearer stressed in his performance development classes at North Carolina School Of The Arts was “sharing music.”

By focusing on “sharing music” a performer takes his or her mind away from some of the concerns about performing and focuses on the act of sharing- what a great concept.

This focus on sharing takes the emphasis off the performer’s ego and places it instead on the music- where it should be anyway. The ego is concerned about being the center of attention and with the performance situation (the audience,
the perceived importance of the performance, the difficulty of the music, the preparedness) as well as performance excitement.

Learning to focus the conscious mind isn’t easy in a performance situation- you have to practice.

What is just as important is that the concept of “sharing music” is embedded firmly in the subconscious mind. To do this you must diligently remind yourself that sharing music is your goal.

By focusing on sharing music, and thinking positively about yourself and your audience you are developing the mental tools to become an excellent performer.

More to come—

Richard Matteson

Role of the Subconscious Mind

Role of the Subconscious Mind
[Originally posted on November 24, 2010 by Richard Matteson


This is one area that Aaron Shearer didn’t write about- the role of the subconscious mind during a performance. Aaron was too practical to give too much credence to the unseen and unknown. I had several fascinating conversations with Aaron in his condominium in Winston-Salem in the 1980s about the subconscious mind but he wasn’t interested in including the topic in his books.

The unconscious or subconscious mind governs most of our daily activities- we don’t know how we talk, we don’t know how we walk, we don’t know how we drive our cars- yet we do. These are activities performed by the subconscious mind.

Different parts of the brain process different bits of info but it’s easier to understand if we simplify it to two parts: the conscious and subconscious.

After the subconscious mind gets the information from the conscious mind on how to play a new piece of music, the info is processed and soon becomes part of the vast storehouse of information the subconscious mind.

When we play music, we have little conscious understanding of what we are doing. Even our reading skills- like our walking and talking skills- are seated in the subconscious.

So if we learned and/or memorized the music correctly or if we are reading the music correctly the subconscious mind will play it correctly- unless- unless the conscious mind interferes.

This happens frequently during performances- the conscious mind has nothing to do and starts thinking about the wrong things- “Oh, there’s my music teacher- I’ll never be able to play this in front of him/her.”

It’s how we use our conscious mind to properly direct our subconscious mind that is the issue. We can learn to focus our minds on the music using mental solfege and ADM (Aim Directed Movement). By learning to aid the subconscious mind instead of hindering it we become able to truly perform and bring the music to a new level.

We need to carefully explore the relationship of the conscious mind and subconscious mind and the steps we need to take to provide the best direction for the subconscious mind.

More to come———

Richard Matteson

Conscious and Subconscious

Conscious and Subconscious

[Originally Posted on November 24, 2010 by Richard Matteson]


An iceberg is a good metaphor for the mind. The subconscious is the large section underwater. The surface of the water is the connection between the two parts of the mind.

Understanding the role of both parts of the mind is important in developing ourselves as people and musicians. The subconscious mind carries out the majority of tasks including playing an instrument or singing. The thoughts our conscious mind feeds into the subconscious determine how the subconscious mind operates.

The mind is constantly transmitting thoughts which are vibrations that penetrate space and time and effect matter and other thoughts.

Thoughts are physical things- if you don’t like your audience- they know it on a subconscious level. Developing a positive attitude towards your audience and yourself is important and is a critical part of the performance situation that is often overlooked.

Positive thoughts are an essential ingredient in successful performances. if you have no control over your conscious mind and you’re sending negative thoughts while you’re performing, your performance will surely suffer and performance anxiety will be the result.

The focus should be on sharing music and on sending positive thoughts to your subconscious mind.

We’ll look at concrete steps to take in another blog,

More to come——–

Richard Matteson

Security and Confidence

Security and Confidence
[Origanlly posted on November 24, 2010 by Richard Matteson]


One of Aaron Shearer’s slogans was developing “security and confidence.”

Today we’ll look at what he meant by “security and confidence” and how to develop these qualities.

Confidence is developed from a series of successful performances. Confidence also comes from knowing what to do and how to do it- by having accurate information and knowing how to apply that information.

One of the tools for learning to play an instrument accurately and securely is ADM or Aim Directed Movement. You see in your mind’s eye in advance how and where to place your fingers to play a movement form or a series of movement forms- before you do it. By understanding in advance each movement form and how the forms are connected (associative principle), you understand exactly what to do. Developing this along with other visualization techniques like mental solfege and counting help you focus on the music during a performance.

In a performance habits of security and confidence also come from knowing how to perform and what to do if there are errors, memory lapses or problems. If you have no idea what to do if something goes wrong- you’re not prepared.

By understanding the two main ingredients for a successful performance, which are accuracy and continuity, and how to best carry them out during a performance, you’re on your way to developing security and confidence.

More to come——–

Richard Matteson

Aaron Shearer: Misunderstood?

Aaron Shearer: Misunderstood?

[Originally posted on November 24, 2010 by Richard Matteson]


The photo of Aaron Shearer (above) was taken in the late 1980s and that’s how he looked when I first met him at NC School of the Arts in 1987.

I moved to Winston-Salem to work with Aaron on his books and learn his system. I lived on Broad St. with two guitar majors at NCSA, Marshall Crutcher and John Parris.

Aaron died two years ago but his work lives on through his many students and associates- and through his three “Learning The Classic Guitar” books published in 1990.

I attended guitar performance classes and worked teaching at two local music stores. I studied and practiced usually 5 or 6 hours a day- I was confident I’d found the guitarist’s “Holy Grail.”

Aaron wasn’t always easy to get along with. As a teacher he was demanding and sometimes whimsical. He wanted to break you down to build you up. He seemed to be more negative than positive but now I think Aaron was just being realistic. “Some guitarists never get it” was more than just a slogan. He was throwing down the gauntlet. Aaron knew how hard it was to make a career playing classic guitar. I struggled mentally to overcome the changes in technique and find confidence in the competitive atmosphere.

Looking back- was it worth it? Yes. Through the years I’ve wondered how the guitar community has reacted to Aaron’s sometimes radical statements.

Aaron would say, for example, “Just because you have a doctorate from a prestigious university, it doesn’t mean you’re qualified to teach the guitar.”

He also said about perhaps the greatest guitarist of the 20th Century, “I learned right away that Segovia knew nothing about teaching.” In fact Segovia rejected his earlier books that were published by Belwin Mills and are still in print today.

What became apparent to me even in the 1980s is that when Aaron inferred that “most music educators don’t know how to teach”–he was right!!

Many teachers don’t understand even the basics- such as the reason for learning an instrument, what the goal of learning an instrument is or have any idea how to teach performance. There wasn’t a carefully conceived systematic approach based on logic and common sense.

Explaining Shearer’s concepts to knowledgeable teachers over they years would often lead to a reaction- “I know about that” or “We do similar things” but in reality they had no practical steps to apply the information. Although they thought they understood completely because the concepts are common sense- they misunderstood.

More to come—-

Richard Matteson

Performance Development: What Makes A Successful Performance?

Performance Development: What Makes A Successful Performance?
[Posted on November 25, 2010 by Richard Matteson]


Quality and continuity are the two main ingredients for a successful performance. Aaron Shearer called them “accuracy and continuity.”

Quality or accuracy is the least important of the two main ingredients and refers to your tone, the quality and volume of the sound and the number of mistakes. If you make mistake after mistake it surely will not be an acceptable performance. If your nails (assuming it’s a classical guitar perf) are bad or you pound the strings the result may be an unacceptable performance.

A few minor mistakes may not be objectionable and the audience may never know you made them. That’s why you should never let mistakes upset you- once a mistake is made it’s behind you, just carry on to the best of your ability.

Every performer should know what to do if mistakes happen and be prepared to deal with any problems when they occur.

We’ll deal with mistakes in another blog.

Continuity is the most important ingredient for a successful performance. If you stop or hesitate it’s usually immediately noticed by the listener. Breaking the rhythm signals that something is wrong.

The goal of the performer is play the piece from the beginning to the end with stopping or pausing.

We’ll look in detail at how to develop these performance skills in another blog,

More to come—–


Mistakes During A Performance

Mistakes During A Performance
[Posted on November 26, 2010 by Richard Matteson]


Today we’ll look at what to do when mistakes occur during a performance. We will be using a solo guitar or solo instrument recital as our setting.

Aaron Shearer talked about mistakes in his classes and books. Paraphrasing, he said there are two types of mistakes:

Minor mistakes- are errors that don’t cause you to become confused or hesitate.

Major Mistakes- are errors that cause you to be confused or hesitate.

Now let’s look at Aaron’s guidelines for a successful performance which he called “accuracy and continuity” and I call “quality and continuity.”

The most important ingredient is “continuity” which is: you try to play from the beginning to the end of the piece without stopping or hesitating.

The worst thing you can do if you make a mistake is try to fix the mistake. That is- you play the same thing again in an attempt to correct the mistake. Shearer calls this the “double reflex error.” By fixing a mistake you immediately let the audience know there was a mistake and what’s worse you break the rhythm or continuity of the piece.

This method of correcting or fixing mistakes is established at the early stages of learning by many students who think they need to correct mistakes and get into a habit of doing it.

When a mistake is made you immediately go to the next note. This should be done at all stages of learning and become a habit!!!!! This is not the same thing as intentionally practicing a trouble spot, where you isolate and repeat a problem spot.

Another common problem for performers is: making false starts. Their conscious mind directs them to start playing but they haven’t thought carefully about what they are about to play and how it begins. Once they get started they can play the whole piece.

The performer should be prepared to play the very first notes of the piece and the fingers should be placed to play the very first note or chord- before they start. By visualizing the first phrase and the movement forms, melody and rhythm before they start, then they are almost ready to begin. Silently establishing and counting out the rhythm, they begin.

The performer should remain calm and in control when mistakes occur and be prepared in the event a major mistake occurs.

If a mistake is made:

1) Immediately and without pausing proceed to the next note and continue on in rhythm.

2) If the mistake prevents you from playing the next immediate note, skip ahead and continue, playing in rhythm. [If you are using ADM or silently solfeging and have practiced the stop-start procedure this isn't difficult. If you are playing with an ensemble or band you have to learn how to do this.]

As long as there’s not a prolonged pause in the music this is an acceptable solution.

3) If the mistake prevents you from playing the next immediate note and you become confused and can’t skip ahead, you immediately skip to an anchor point. An anchor point is a predetermined spot usually at the beginning of a section or passage. It should be near to the place in the music where you made the mistake and became confused.

This has happened to me several times during a solo performance and unless someone in the audience knows the piece intimately and is paying attention, no one may know that anything is wrong. The key is: you must not pause or hesitate and must keep playing in rhythm.

4) If the mistake prevents you from playing the next immediate note and you become confused and can’t skip ahead and you can’t immediately skip to an anchor point- you simply start over without pausing.

5) If the mistake prevents you from playing the next immediate note and you become confused and can’t skip ahead and you can’t immediately skip to an anchor point or start over without pausing- you stop and look up, signaling that the piece is over. If there’s applause- you stand and bow.

This is the process for dealing with mistakes in a formal recital or program. This can be adapted to other performance situations.

In band, orchestra or ensemble situations, as a performer you must be able to jump back in the music after a mistake is made- you won’t be able to skip ahead or behind. If you’re reading it’s not difficult to find your place and jump back in. If you’re playing from memory or not using music you need to use the stop-start procedure (I’ll cover in another blog).

Remember, as a performer you know when you make mistakes. The audience is usually forgiving- they may not notice minor mistakes and unless you break the rhythm even major mistakes may be unnoticed or forgiven. Do not apologize, talk about the mistakes on-stage, become un-nerved or visibly upset. Usually you are your own worst critic.

Your goal as a performer is to perform by sharing the music you love- and enjoy it! If you’re not prepared for mistakes and don’t know what to do when they happen, you’re not adequately prepared to perform.

More to come,

Richard Matteson

Stop and Go Technique

Stop and Go Technique
[Originally Posted on November 27, 2010 by Richard Matteson]


Today we’re going to look at an important performance tool: the Stop and Go Technique (I also call this the Stop and Start Technique).

When a mistake or different fingering happens during a performance causing you to stumble, you need to be able to jump back and begin playing the music as soon as possible. One way to practice starting at any point is the Stop and Go Technique.

To optimize this technique you need to use visualization or ADM to know exactly where you are in the music and where you’re going.

There are different methods of applying the Stop and Go Technique and I’ll show you several. When the student is performing a piece the instructor snaps his or her fingers and the student immediately stops playing- focusing on the music by using ADM and silent solfege.

The student keeps playing the music only in their mind until the instructor snaps his or her fingers again and the student immediately begins playing.

By learning this skill you can stop and then start back at any point in the music.

Another way is to do this with a recording of the piece. Start the recording and play along. Stop playing for a few seconds and then start playing again. Or you can also start the recording and jump in at any point.

When you make a mistake or a wrong fingering or momentarily become confused during a performance you need to be able to immediately jump back in the music.

If you do not practice the “Stop and Go” Technique the odds that you will be able to immediately start playing again (in time with the music) after a major mistake are slim.

This technique also helps your visualization and ADM skills- you have to know the music and where you’re going at all times.

Aaron Shearer used a version of it on me when I was studying privately with him. In a lesson he asked me to play the first measure (four beats) then silently visualize for the next measure- then I would play the third measure and skip the fourth. This continued through the whole piece.

To my surprise I had no trouble doing this but when I had to play every other measure from the last measure to the first, I stumbled, because the order of the music wasn’t the same.

The Stop and Go Technique is an tool that every performer needs to master because sometimes things don’t go as planned. If you’re playing with an ensemble or group this is critical skill to master- the other musicians are playing on and you have to be able to jump back in quickly.

More to come,


Acoustic Music Source Book

Acoustic Music Source Book
Posted on November 28, 2010 by Richard Matteson


My new book, Acoustic Music Source Book is out and is available from Mel Bay and (see cover above) To order by phone: 1-800-863-5229

It has over 200 old-time songs melody lines, song notes, lyrics and guitar chords.

Here are the songs:
After The Ball
Ain’t Gonna Lay My Armor Down
Ain’t Gonna Study War No More (See: Down by the Riverside)
Ain’t Gonna Rain No More
Ain’t No Bugs On Me
Ain’t Nobody’s Business/T’Ain’t Nobody’s Buziness/Nobody’s Business
Ain’t That Trouble In Mind (See: Don’t Get Trouble In Your Mind)
Alabama Bound
Alabama Jubilee
Alberta (See: Corinna, Corinna)
Alexander’s Ragtime Band
All My Trials Lord
All Night Long/Richmond Blues
All The Pretty Little Horses
Amazing Grace
Angel Band
Angelina Baker/Angeline, the Baker
As I Went Down to the River/Valley to Pray
At A Georgia Camp Meeting
Atlanta Blues (See: Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor)
Aunt Rhody
Baby Mine; (See: Banjo Pickin’ Girl/Going ‘Round This World, Baby Mine)
Baby-O; (See: Whatcha Gonna Do With The Baby-O)
Baby, All Night Long (See: All Night Long/Richmond Blues)
Back Up and Push
Bald-Headed End of the Broom
Band Played On, The
Banjo Pickin’ Girl
Banks Of The Ohio
Barbara Allen
Battle Hymn of the Republic (See: Pass Around the Bottle)
Battleship Of Maine, The
Beautiful Dreamer (Stephen Foster)
Been To The East Been To the West
Bell Cow (See: Old Bell Cow)
Bicycle Built For Two (See: Daisy Bell)
Big Ball’s In Town/Big Ball in Boston; (See: Roll on the Ground)
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Bile Dem Cabbage Down
Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home?
Billy Boy
Billy Grimes The Rover
Bird in a Cage
Bird in a Gilded Cage, A
Birmingham Jail (See: Down in the Valley)
Black Dog Blues
Black Jack Davy (See: Gypsy Davy)
Blackest Crow, The (See: My Dearest Dear)
Blue-tail Fly (See: Jim Crack Corn)
Boatman Dance
Bottle Up and Go (See: Step it Up and Go)
Buck-eyed Jim
Buffalo Gals
Bugle Call Rag
Bully of the Town

CC Rider (See: Easy Rider)
Camptown Races
Can The Circle Be Unbroken (See: Will the Circle Be Unbroken)
Cannonball Blues/Solid Gone
Careless Love
Casey Jones
Cat Came Back, The
Cat’s Got The Measles
Charley Is A Good Ol’ Man
Chicken Reel
Chilly Winds (See: Lonesome Road Blues)
Cider/Cider Mill (See: Paddy Won’t You Drink Some)
Climbing Up The Golden Stairs
Columbus Stockade Blues
Coming Round The Mountain (See: She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain)
Cotton Mill Blues
Cowboy’s Lament (See: Streets Of Laredo)
Cripple Creek
Crow Black Chicken

Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built for Two)
Dance All Night With A Bottle In Your Hand
Danny Boy
Dark Hollow
Darling Nellie Gray
Days of Forty-Nine
Derby Ram (See: Didn’t He Ramble)
Devilish Mary
Diamond Joe
Didn’t He Ramble
Down in the Valley/Birmingham Jail
Down on Penny’s Farm
Down to the River/Valley to Pray (See: As I Went Down To The River To Pray)
Down Hearted Blues
Don’t Get Trouble In Your Mind
Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down
Down by the Riverside
Down Yonder
Drunken Sailor
Ducks On The Mill Pond RM (Lomax bk)

Easy Rider
Erie Canal

Fall On My Knees
Fifteen Cents (See: Give Me Back My Fifteen Cents)
Fishing Blues
Fly around My Pretty Little Miss (See: Pretty Little Pink)
Footprints in the Snow
Four Nights Drunk (Our Goodman)
Four Cent Cotton
Fox, The
Frankie and Johnny
Froggie Went A-Courtin’

Gambler’s Blues (St. James Infirmary)
George Collins
Georgia Camp Meeting (See: At A Georgia Camp Meeting)
Georgia Railroad
Gettin’ Upstairs- (See: Such a Getting Upstairs)
Gideon’s Band
Girl I Left in Sunny Tennessee, The
Give Me Back My Fifteen Cents
Give Me That Old Time Religion (See: Old Time Religion)
Go Tell Aunt Rhody (See: Aunt Rhody)
Going Down the Road Feeling Bad (See: Lonesome Road Blues)
Going Down To Lynchburg Town
Going ‘Round This World (See: Banjo Pickin’ Girl)
Going To Raise A Ruckus Tonight (See: Raise A Ruckus Tonight)
Golden Slippers (See: Oh, Dem Golden Slippers)
Goodbye Liza Jane (See: Mountaineer’s Love Song)
Grandfather’s Clock
Green Pastures
Gypsy Davey

Handsome Molly
Hard Times in the Mill (See: Cotton Mill Blues)
Hesitation Blues
He’s Got the Whole World in His Hand
Home on The Range
Hop Along Peter
House Of the Rising Sun
How Long, How Long Blues
How Many Biscuits Can You Eat?

I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow (See: Man of Constant Sorrow)
I Am A Pilgrim
I Don’t Love Nobody
I Gave My Love a Cherry (See: Riddle Song, The)
I Got A Bulldog
I Never Will Marry
I Ride an Old Paint
I Truly Understand
I Want A Girl
I’ll Rise When the Rooster Crows
I’ll Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms (See: Roll in My Sweet Babies)
I’m Alabama Bound- (See: Alabama Bound)
I’m Just a Poor Wayfaring Stranger (See: Poor Wayfaring Stranger)
I’m Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad (See: Lonesome Road Blues)
I’m in the Jailhouse Now (See: In the Jailhouse Now)
I’m Sittin’ On Top Of The World (See: Sittin’ On Top Of The World)
I’ve Always Been A Rambler
I’ve Been Working On The Railroad
I’ve Got the Lovesick Blues (See: Lovesick Blues)
Ida Red
In the Good Old Summertime
In the Jailhouse Now
In The Pines
It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More (See: Ain’t Gonna Rain)

Jesse James
Jim Along Josey
Jimmy Sutton (See: Old Jimmy Suttton)
Joe Turner Blues
John Brown’s Dream (See: Little Rabbit)
John Hardy
John Henry
Johnny, Get Your Gun
Johnson’s Old Grey Mule (See: Thompson’s Old Grey Mule)
June Apple
Just A Closer Walk With Thee

Katy Dear (See: Silver Dagger)
Kentucky Moonshiner
Keep On The Sunnyside
King Kong Kitchee
Kitty Alone

Last Payday At Coal Creek (See: Payday at Coal Creek)
Letter Edged in Black
L’il Liza Jane
Listen To The Mockingbird
Little Brown Jug
Little Maggie
Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane
Little Rabbit
Little Sadie
Liza Jane (See: Mountaineer’s Love Song)
Londonderry Air (See: Danny Boy)
Lonesome Road Blues
Lost John Dean
Lovesick Blues
Lulu Walls

Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor
Mama Don’t ‘Low
Man Of Constant Sorrow
Meet Me in the Moonlight
Michael Row the Boat Ashore
Molly Hare (See: Old Molly Hare)
Moonshiner (See: Kentucky Moonshiner)
Motherless Children
Mountaineer’s Love Song
My Dear Companion

New Prisoner’s Song (See: Meet Me in the Moonlight)
Nine Hundred Miles
Nine-Pound Hammer
Nobody’s Business (See: Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness)
Nobody’s Darling on Earth

Oh Dem Golden Slippers
Oh Didn’t He Ramble (See: Didn’t He Ramble)
Oh Susanna
Old Aunt Peggy Won’t You Set ‘em Up Again (See: Pass Around the Bottle)
Old Bell Cow
Old Chisolm Trail
Old Dan Tucker
Old Grey Mare/Down in Alabam
Old Jimmy Sutton
Old Joe Clark
Old Molly Hare
Old Time Religion
On Top Of Old Smokey
Other Side Of Jordan, The (See: Jordan Is A Hard Road To Travel)
Our Goodman (See: Four Nights Drunk)
Out on Penny’s Farm (See: Down on Penny’s Farm)
Over the Garden Wall

Paddy Won’t You Drink Some Good Ol’ Cider
Papa’s Billy Goat (See: Bill Grogan’s Goat)
Paper Of Pins
Pass Around the Bottle
Paul and Silas
Payday At Coal Creek
Peg and Awl
Penny’s Farm (See: Down on Penny’s Farm)
Peter Went Fishing (See: Georgia Railroad)
Polly Wolly Doodle
Poor Wayfaring Stranger
Prettiest Little Girl In The County-O;
Pretty Little Pink
Pretty Saro
Prisoner’s Dream (See: Logan County Jail)
Prisoner’s Song (See: Meet Me In the Moonlight)
Putting On the Style (Jerry Silverman bk)

Ragged But Right
Railroad Bill
Raise A Ruckus Tonight
Red Apple Juice
Red River Valley
Richmond Blues ( See: All Night Long)
Riddle Song, The
Rise When the Rooster Crows (See: I’ll Rise When The Rooster Crows)
Rock Island Line
Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms
Roll On The Ground

Saint Louis Blues
Salty Dog Blues
Scarborough Fair
She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain
She’s Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage (See: Bird in a Gilded Cage)
Shine On Harvest Moon
Shorty George
Shout Mourner (See: You Shall Be Free)
Silver Dagger
Sing Song Kitty (See: King Kong Kitchee)
Solid Gone (See: Cannonball Blues)
Spike Driver Blues
Sporting Cowboy (See: Logan County Jail)
St. James Infirmary (See: Gambler’s Blues)
Step It Up and Go
Stillhouse (See: Paddy Won’t You Drink Some)
Street’s of Laredo (Cowboy’s Lament)
Sugar Hill
Swannanoa Tunnel

T’Ain’t Nobody’s Buziness (See: Ain’t No Nobody’s Business)
Take A Drink On Me
Take Me Out To the Ballgame
Take This Hammer (See: Swannanoa Tunnel)
Tear It Down
Tell Old Bill
This Morning, This Evening, So Soon (See: Tell Old Bill)
This Train Is Bound For Glory
There Ain’t No Bugs On Me (See: Ain’t No Bugs on Me)
Thompson’s Old Grey Mule
Tom Dooley
Train Forty-Five (See: Nine Hundred Miles)
Train on the Island

Uncle Bud- Version 1 (Mack McCormick)

Viola Lee Blues

Wabash Cannonball
Wade In The Water
Wagoner’s Lad
Water Is Wide, The
What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor (See: Drunken Sailor)
What’ll I Do With The Baby-O?
When The Saints
When The Good Lord Sets You Free (See: You Shall Be Free)
White House Blues
Whoa Mule
Who Broke The Lock?
Wild Bill Jones
Wildwood Flower
Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Willie Moore HD

Yellow Rose Of Texas
You Shall Be Free

More— to come,

Richard Matteson

ADM: Aim Directed Movement


This is an ongoing series of blogs relating to performance development. The series was started on my digimusicam web-site in Nov. 2010

ADM: Aim Directed Movement

Originally Posted on November 30, 2010 by Richard Matteson

One of the essential principles used for learning music and performing is ADM or Aim Directed Movement. Aaron Shearer had already coined the term in the late 1980s when I moved to Winston-Salem to work with him and learn his system.

ADM is seeing in the mind’s eye how and where to move your fingers- in advance- before you move them.

You use ADM to first visualize a single movement form. A movement form on the guitar is, for example, moving three left hand fingers to play a D chord, or moving a single left finger to play one note. A right hand movement form could be an arpeggio form p,i,m,a or plucking three strings to play a chord.

Music is a series of interconnected movement forms and knowing exactly how and where you move your fingers in advance is ADM.

What happens is most guitarists (this could apply to any instrument) do not really understand what they are doing, in advance. They use trial and error. After a few mistakes they begin to understand what to do and eventually figure it out.

They go from inaccuracy to accuracy. They think that eventually by making correct repetitions and hard work they can overcome the mistake and erase the faulty muscle memory. However there’s always a chance an early mistake or habit will come back.

Now consider the alternative: going from accuracy to accuracy using ADM. You understand what to do in advance before you do it, therefore you play it correctly the first time.

After playing the piece or section correctly and repeating it doing it correctly, the chance of playing it incorrectly is slim. Additionally, there’s less time involved learning because you don’t have to erase mistakes by rote repetition.

Visualization and ADM are the keys to securely understanding and knowing how to play music. You can learn a piece of music without even using the guitar. Then play it correctly to affirm your understanding.

In another blog we’ll look at different ways to use ADM. We’ll use a step by step process when first learning music and also look at how ADM is used during a performance.

More to come—

Richard Matteson