Does The Song Matter?

Welcome to this month's edition of the Fingerstyle Monthly. This month we're going to look at the relationship between technical exercises and learning songs.

As most of you know, I've added a Lesson Survey to several of the pages at

The point of the survey, obviously, is to find out what visitors want to learn. As of today, Technique Building Exercises leads at 34.0%. The next closest choice is Acoustic Blues Songs at 31.7%. This makes me wonder about the larger picture.

Are the technique building exercises being used to develop skills that are then applied to your own songs? Or, is learning the exercises being seen as the final goal?

My intention, and certainly my hope, is that the exercises found at are being used to help you play your songs better. In my opinion, the whole point of developing technique is to learn to play music. Technique is a tool to aid in self expression.

In a sense, the song itself is another tool to aid in self expression. The way a song is played varies from performance to performance. If you're angry, you sound angry. If you're happy, you sound happy. So both techniques and songs are tools to allow you to express your emotions.

I hope that my line of reasoning makes sense to you. If it does, I believe that you'll grow as a musician.

Extra, Special Lessons

You'll remember from last month's newsletter that I mentioned extra lessons for the readers of Fingerstyle Monthly. After more research, it looked like even with your approval, my approach might still be considered spam.

So I've decided to make the lessons available as a pass word protected page. Click here to be taken to a page that will ask you for a password. Enter "picker" (without the qoutation marks) where it asks for the password. This will take you to the lesson.

I hope that you enjoy the lesson. Please read the text above the video. I mis-spoke at several points in the video, but didn't realize it until I was editing the video.

Sorry for any confusion that this might cause.

What's Next?

I'm currently working on two new additions to the website. One is a page about influential women fingerstyle guitarists. The other is a lesson showing my arrangement of Fats Wallers Ain't Misbehavin'. It's a great song and I think that you'll enjoy learning my arrangement of it.

The easiest way to be informed of when these pages are ready is to subscibe to my blog. It's easy to do and will keep you up to date with the activities at

I'll leave you with a video of the great Mike Dowling.

Drop Down Mama

See you next month!

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