Strength Training: Build your muscles and your chops will follow!

Physical Tips

Strength training and the building and maintenance of lean muscles in guitarists around and over 40 is important.  In fact, it could be imperative.   Playing guitar up on a stage under numerous lights and a lot of pressure from lots of people gives one good enough reason to need to be in shape.  The muscles used the most when playing guitar are those in the arms and hands, obviously.  The chest muscles don’t really get any kind of workout when playing guitar, however they do contribute to supporting the weight of the guitar by the strap around the shoulders.  In order not to slouch, which can be difficult with that weight around your neck, the shoulders should be in a pulled back position.  This is difficult to maintain for an evening of playing and after a while they start to droop.  When this happens the chest muscles also slouch and relax, when the shoulders are pulled back it puts certain pressure on the chest muscles. There is no particular training in the muscle sector for guitar players, just general rule exercise works.

If you don’t favour visiting the gym, there are certain “unexercises” you can do to strengthen the arms and hands, fingers especially.  The hands and arms, especially fingers, must be in good shape to maintain a pleasant and comfortable feeling enabling you to play to your fullest ability throughout the evening.  Doing finger exercises by practicing chords and speedy movement up and down the fret and with the plucking of strings is imperative to keeping your fingers working strongly and without stress, such as cramps or pain.  They say that exercising the fingers  for instance typing using all fingers, and similarly playing guitar is good for arthritis, which inflicts many, especially those that use their hands a lot and it would definitely be tragic for a guitar player, or any musician, not to be able to play.    Knowledge of such an instance for a piano player comes to mind.  The chord and note exercises are essential for keeping your fingers strong and able; it also helps the forearm muscles.  For these arm exercises, lifting hand held barbells is the perfect answer, something you can do whilst watching the hockey or ballgame!

A seasoned guitar player will ignore any pain or handicap and not notice it until after the gig is finished.  Much of the pain could have been avoided had they kept in shape, a little at least.  Most musicians welcome the idea of exercise, if their specific form of exercise is music related, when playing music is their ideal. However, diet is also really important if you are serious about maintaining a good physique.

Keeping in shape to be healthy is a benefit to everyone, and maintaining a good muscular system is important, because with weakened upper body muscles one couldn???t lift a guitar let alone play one, and for those that aren???t musicians it would be equivalent to lifting a few pounds.   When you eliminate exercise completely, then you start to get weak at the knees and have to sit down to strum, with your guitar leaning on your knee, and the foot resting on a footstool.  In addition, your music is less energetic than that of a rock star; calmer more peaceful renditions fill the air, the serenity surfacing with age. However, you still need that upper body strength no matter where your guitar is leaning.

Having pain is no fun, everyone knows that, but having pain and trying to have fun is impossible, unless you are a musician of course!   Therefore, standing on the stage with a guitar strapped around your back for a couple of hours can get uncomfortable if you are in pain.  So, instead of just standing there playing the guitar, babying the sore spot and getting stiff, roll your shoulders, move your upper body rhythmically keep it moving, standing stiffly in one position will not help but hinder, the ongoing movement will loosen the muscles, relieve the pain and remove the stiffness.   Don???t let your fingers get cold, harder to play and takes longer to warm up, a silly thought but significant one.

In addition, when in pain on stage, it shows on your face and the audience either think you are just plain miserable or don???t want to be there, they don???t imagine you are in pain.  Either of these could be true but it is more than likely the pain you didn???t take care of previously that is causing your dismal look.   Exercises that could be done without going to the gym, of course if you enjoy that type of activity you will no doubt build a good strong upper body in half the time than using barbells in front of the TV, but that level of exercise must be maintained regularly, as all exercise should be no matter how limited.

The bottom line is to be a great guitar player at 40 or older you just keep playing, and practicing and later in life exercising.  The playing only gets better, but you still need to practice no matter how good you get, always new songs to learn and gigs to attend.  Up there on the stage, everyone looking at you, how important is it that you are in good physical looking shape, when those fans are ogling you in awe.

Strength training and the building and maintenance of lean muscles in guitarists around and over 40 is important.  In fact, it could be imperative.   Playing guitar up on a stage under numerous lights and a lot of pressure from lots of people gives one good enough reason to need to be in shape.  The muscles…

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The Secret Weapon: 3 Tips to boost your Creativity

Mental Tips

If you’re like most musicians, you are always looking for new ideas, new licks, grooves, lyrics, or riffs.  We are creators!  We like to come up with new stuff to do with our music.  Unfortunately that is often a hard thing to do.  Do you ever feel stuck?  Do you feel like you’re just playing the same old licks?  Do you feel “blocked”?  Are you struggling to finish the lyrics to the second verse of that song you’ve been working of for the last two weeks? You might want to put the guitar down and hit the gym.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have been hearing that working out is the way that we strengthen our bodies, increase life span and stave off old age.  All true…you won’t get an argument from me on any of those points. But did you know that exercise has some additional perks that you  may not be aware of?  One of those is that exercise stimulates creativity…do you I have your attention now?

Recent studies involving school age children have shown that the capacity for learning is significantly increased when children move around, run, dance jump etc… while being taught.  In his book Spark the Revolution, John J. Ratey M.D. says that exercise is like taking a little Prozac or Ritalin.  The idea is to “clear the fog” so to speak.  Regular exercise increases endorphin production which leads to a greater sense of well being and an over all increased positive attitude.  This is the most productive state of mind for problem-solving…a.k.a being creative.  You cannot create in a fog. When you are blocked your state of mind is most definitely less than positive.  The most effective way to turn this around is to move your body!

Here are 3 tips for boosting your creativity using exercise.

  1. For best results you want to make sure that you get at least 30 minutes of rigorous exercise a day at least 5 days/week.  It can be anything from a brisk walk to hard core weight training or running but it should be enough to increase your heart rate into your target zone.
  1. Work out before sitting down to write music or lyrics or even before practicing. This will get those problem solving endorphins flowing.
  1. If you feel stuck or blocked stop working. Get up and move around. Put on some music and dance around your house or apartment. Better yet, go for a brisk walk or run out side.  Get your heart rate up for 20 minutes or so.  You may want to take a note pad or mini voice recorder with you.  Your “break-through” will more than likely come to you before you get back to your house.

There is no need to make this complicated. Movement stimulates the creative juices, no matter if that movement is choreographed “dance moves”, a brisk walk, or holding various yoga poses.  The most important thing to remember is to move your body. Stimulate the body and the mind is sure to follow!

Lou Lombardi is on a mission to help musicians create longevity, sustainability and vitality. Please visit his website rockstarbodiesformusiciansover40.com for more great articles and to receive his 5 Quick tip Videos that will get you started on that “Rockstar Body” today.

creative

If you’re like most musicians, you are always looking for new ideas, new licks, grooves, lyrics, or riffs.  We are creators!  We like to come up with new stuff to do with our music.  Unfortunately that is often a hard thing to do.  Do you ever feel stuck?  Do you feel like you’re just playing…

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You’re NEVER too old to improve your skills!

General Music Tips

Please enjoy this “Guest Post” from our good friend Mike Socarros. You’re never too old to improve your skills.

PLEASE Visit our Store HERE: Rockstar Bodies Fitness Mall

Developing Your Skills

You have to believe in yourself. You must believe that you can and are able to play at a high level, or at a level higher than where you are right now. Without this you are doomed. The mental aspect of playing guitar is very important, every great player believes in himself, and you MUST do the same. For example, if you are frustrated or are coming across things that you are not able to do you should not get discouraged. In other words you should use it as a platform to propel yourself to the next level, sort of like a stepping-stone. Step UP to the next level. You have to say to yourself; “I can do this,” and believe it. Believing is key. Expect yourself and see yourself playing well. Visualizing yourself playing well is a good idea to do before you pick up your guitar. Know what it is that you are going to play and then envision yourself doing it without mistakes. Feel yourself in that place of victory. One thing I do regularly is read positive stuff on a daily basis, whether it’s a new book or a daily quote.

Practice

Practice makes perfect. It’s the same with playing guitar. If you don’t practice every day you won’t make any progress. There is surely somebody close to you or maybe a world’s away that is practicing right now. This is by no means a statement of intimidation. It is a call to action. It is the truth. Desire is in all of us. It’s what we do with that desire and what we are willing to prepare ourselves to do with it that counts. If you have the desire to play the guitar at a high level you have to act on your desire. Stir it up. One good way of doing this is with consistent practice. The more you practice the better you will get and you will see results which will then stir up your desire to be even greater. A good question to ask oneself is, “What am I going to do about it?” Is your desire big enough to be the best, to be good, just for fun? Once you have determined the answer to these questions you will have a much clearer path laid out before you and a much easier time practicing your guitar. You should stick with someone who monitors your progress and not be going all over the Internet from site to site trying to learn in this way. You can learn by doing these things but it shouldn’t be the only way you learn. In fact, I think you should do both. If you are serious about your progress, you must be guided by someone who knows what he or she is doing, how to make you better and how to get you to progress. One of the major causes of failure is LACK OF PRACTICE, not talent. It’s because someone stops playing that their skills grow stagnant, it’s NOT that that person doesn’t have any, or little, talent. Another way to stir up your desire is to be constantly on the lookout for things that you want to play. For example, looking up songs that you love and that are in your style of playing, and studying them for a few minutes will greatly help you to see how the pros did it. This is a great source of motivation because now you have a broader perspective on how to go about creating your own song.

You should write down your practice goals on a daily basis. Write them down on paper and not on the computer. It’s done with more emotion this way. What matters is that you are CLEAR. And once you are CLEAR your actions are then determined and ready to plow into. Another thing to do is to get with someone who knows more than you and keeps tabs on your progress, even if it’s just a hobby. Every hobby takes commitment as well. If not the fun dwindles. And your progress suffers. If it’s just a hobby, ask your family members or your friends for feedback. It’s always fun to get good feedback on your playing. Get a response from them, although be careful of negative people and responses. Know whom you are showing it too and if you always get negative responses about other areas of your life from this person then by all means do not go to this person. Go to someone else. Forums are a good place to show your stuff but be careful since negativity can be anywhere. If you see any kind of negativity it is NOT good for your progress as a player. If you are not so serious but still interested in learning; then you need to get with a teacher that will help you play BETTER. There are great rewards in being able to express yourself exactly the way you want to.

If you are a serious student, there is only one path for you to take. Take lessons and take them seriously!

Teacher

I believe that all great leaders first learned how to follow, and that’s how they became teachers. They had teachers themselves. I believe you must do the same when learning your instrument by studying with a good teacher. Trying to do things yourself will only get you so far. Every single athlete in the world has a coach. This coach knows what the athlete needs to work on. He has studied this and has been through it in order to get you to the highest level. You should be seeking someone who has proven results. The coach can then assess your skills and give you exercises and a certain plan made out specifically for you.

After all is said and done, you need to get into your practice spot and not stop. Don’t be inconsistent. Be consistent. Keep a log of your progress. This is very important when you need some inspiration. And lastly, learn in line with your goals.

About the Author

Mike Socarras is a guitarist, songwriter, lyricist and guitar teacher. He teaches music theory, songwriting and guitar in the Westchester area. If you would like to know more about music and playing guitar you can visit these links for more songwriting information.
visit my website: http://www.westchesterguitar.com/

never to old to rock

Please enjoy this “Guest Post” from our good friend Mike Socarros. You’re never too old to improve your skills. PLEASE Visit our Store HERE: Rockstar Bodies Fitness Mall Developing Your Skills You have to believe in yourself. You must believe that you can and are able to play at a high level, or at a…

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No Mr. Spock, humans are not logical!

Mental Tips

If you think that you make descisions based on sound reasoning or logic you would be completely wrong! Human beings are emotion driven creatures. Most of our decisions are based primarily on emotions. We decide to do something or not to do something based either on how we feel about it or how we imagine our choice will make us feel. Don’t believe me? Why did you decide to become a musician? Would you agree that that decision was probably one of the bigger decisions that you made in you life? Did you weigh all the options, do a bunch of research and after careful examination of all the facts decided to learn to play guitar? You can kid yourself if you want but if you are honest with yourself you will have to admit that you wanted to play music because it made you feel good to play. In fact most of the major decisions that we make as human beings are made out of emotion. We get married because of emotion. We get divorced because of emotion. Our decision to pick a certain career is highly influenced by emotion.We want to have kids because of emotion. It’s all about the feeling!

A lot of people have talked about mastering their emotions and not being so “emotionally driven”. That may seem like a noble approach on the surface but it’s a loosing proposition. This stems from the idea that emotions are a weakness that we need to overcome and conquer. First of all e cannot escape our emotions, but even if we could it is always much better to concentrate on enhancing strengths than trying to overcome weaknesses. It takes a lot of effort to overcome anything and if it is something that is heavily ingrained you may only overcome for a short period of time before you have slipped backward to your old ways again.

But what if we need not over come or master our emotions at all? What if we could harness these powerful gifts and mold them and shape them to bring us great success in all our endeavours? This is totally possible and it is being done all the time. And you don’t just need the “good” emotions either… any emotion can be harnessed and focused to move you in the direction that you want to go. Fear and anger can be just as helpful as love and gratitude. Fear of poverty has driven many to great financial success. Anger over social injustices has cause people to abolish slavery. There are no “bad” emotions. Like Eric Clapton says, “It’s in the way that you use it.” The next time you feel over come with emotion take a minute and ask yourself, “How can I harness this very powerful feeling to move me closer to my greater goals and desires?” Harness your emotions and you can accomplish anything.

PLEASE Visit our Store HERE: Rockstar Bodies Fitness Mall

humans are not logical

If you think that you make descisions based on sound reasoning or logic you would be completely wrong! Human beings are emotion driven creatures. Most of our decisions are based primarily on emotions. We decide to do something or not to do something based either on how we feel about it or how we imagine…

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Aging Musicians

Physical Tips

Because of the baby boomer syndrome many musicians these days are over 40.  Many famous musicians are over 40!  Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler, KISS, not forgetting the ‘fair’ sex in this issue, Madonna, Shania Twain, Debbie Harry and Jennifer Lopez.

I haven’t seen any obvious wear and tear on any of them, only good shape and lots of energy.  This must account for their glorious presence in the industry.  Besides their talents, their looks play a really important role in their performance and stage appearance.  Madonna for instance is a great example of a musician over 40.  Stevie Nicks is an amazing 60 something!

I guess keeping up with the Joneses as far as fitness and music popularity is concerned is big business in the celebrity world.  With so many great shapes up on stage doesn’t it want to make you pitch in and be a part of that rockstar body generation?  Visualize yourself in that skin tight T, clinging blue jeans and screaming fans, could you remain this good looking without working at keeping in shape.

I suppose mostly it is a frame of mind, you are either lazy and unenthusiastic, whereby you will remain fat and ugly, or eager and energetic, hence you will shine.  We all know how good exercise is for you, whether you are a musician or not, but when you appear for fans, sleek and  clean is essential.

So, squeaky clean and solid is the thought for the day, squeaky clean inside and solid on the outside.  The program Rockstar Bodies might give one good incentive to approach this unique blue print with enthusiasm and inspiration.

Let us know what you think about musicians over 40 from the boomer era!

Get that “Rockstar Body” today!  It’s easier than you think! Check out our store for some GREAT PRODUCTS that make creating and maintaining that Rockstar Body a Breeze!

aging-musician

Because of the baby boomer syndrome many musicians these days are over 40.  Many famous musicians are over 40!  Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler, KISS, not forgetting the ‘fair’ sex in this issue, Madonna, Shania Twain, Debbie Harry and Jennifer Lopez. I haven’t seen any obvious wear and tear on any of them, only good shape and…

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Positive Mental Health As It Relates To Physical Fitness and Music

Mental Tips

Are you one to spurn the mental attitude positive thinking stuff?  Also, have you noticed when your body hurts so does your mind and visa versa.  When you think negative thoughts, are stressed or upset with things in general, you get snappy, irritable, tired and your body hurts from the tension.  If you are a musician being in this frame of mind and soul does not help the creative side, and it becomes difficult to concentrate and play to the best of your ability.  Stiff arms and fingers don’t help a proficient guitar player at all.

Creative Visualization is a form of meditation and is a fancy name for “relax, then think all kinds of pleasurable thoughts and put them into a creative mode, imagine you are acting on those thoughts, and see it mentally.”  It also means bringing positive, mental health and attitudes into your life.  For anyone creative, conjuring up positive and pleasant thoughts can be easy when putting them into mental pictures and this type of meditation can be accomplished anywhere, but being in a quieter environment with others of the same mind, makes this exercise easier and more flourishing, the multiple minds creating maxi positive thoughts and emotions.  To create stimulating, motivational and positive thoughts disposes of the stress and you begin to relax.  If you are alone when you meditate try laying down, this would be a good time to make sure every part of your body is relaxed by starting with your feet and working your way up.  As you ‘see’ the relaxation taking place with each limb you imagine and relax, your mind can gradually dispel of all negative inspirations and turn them positive with his form of meditation.   This is creative visualization.  You can close your eyes and get immersed in a believable vision; you are up on stage in front of thousands of people all screaming for more of your great music.  Think harder, get rid of any other thoughts, suddenly you can feel the positive vibes that are emanating from the imaginary crowd in your mind.   Stand to the back of the crowd and see yourself, you can see yourself playing your ultimate best now you are relaxed you are enjoying this ‘mind movie’ starring you, and you are glad people love you and your music.   You can of course change that scene into a meadow full of daisies, or a rushing river, whatever you like and wherever you would like, and once you come back to reality you will find your mind has brightened and the outlook is much better, your body more relaxed and ready.

Yoga is not just about making supremely graceful moves and keeping your balance while doing so, it is about good physical and mental health, which in turn enhances creativity and inspiration.   To achieve this much of the time we should be conscientious about our diet, but in this busy world, that is a bucket list item.  You should make sure your body is in good enough condition to perform certain tasks, there are over 20 Yoga Poses for Stress alone, and for the guitar player there are over 20 poses for arm strength, and for hands and fingers there are more than 10 Yoga poses.   Don’t let their names scare you, you will be amazed at how easily you can fold into all kinds of ‘ohm’ positions.

It is important for all, not just musicians to have a positive outlook and attitude, in this world, that could be hard to accomplish, but with good mental health and positive attitude comes good physical health and strength, after 40 should be no problem.  If your schedule is too busy to spend extended time with creative visualization or Yoga, getting into the habit of five minute ‘boosters’ can work anywhere.   A five-minute booster is a ‘take a quickie break for the mind’ type of meditation.  Just stop everything, find something to concentrate on, such as staring at nothing or a spot on the wall, empty your mind, quickly.  Your five minutes goes fast, so don’t fill your mind with trivialities, empty it.  Drift away, stay wherever you went mentally for a couple of minutes, then back to what you were doing.  You might not feel it but your mind is clearer.  As you get more accustomed to doing this five-minute booster meditation exercise, you will definitely notice the difference in everything.  Your music or vocation will improve your mental attitude and outlook in general will give you more confidence.

No need to be a fat rocker! Check out these very cool products designed to help you create and maintain that Rock Star Body! Rockstar Bodies Fitness Mall

Are you one to spurn the mental attitude positive thinking stuff?  Also, have you noticed when your body hurts so does your mind and visa versa.  When you think negative thoughts, are stressed or upset with things in general, you get snappy, irritable, tired and your body hurts from the tension.  If you are a…

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