Country Music Lesson Section

The term “Country Music” is a VERY wide subject today!  Today’s popular Country music is really just Rock & Pop music with a few different instruments added into the mix like fiddle, pedal steel guitar, and mandolin.  Lyrically, in general, it tends to be more about relationships, home, and family.  I kind of personally like that.  The educational problem with Country Music is that there are so many subtly different -isms and schisms to this musical area that it is almost difficult to teach!  So, let’s divide it up into some smaller categories for clarity’s sake…

Modern Country Music – you can best learn how to play violin to this style by learning about Rock, Blues, and Fiddling first!  You’ll also need to check out some of our tutorials on how to electrify your instrument since you will also be competing, volume-wise, with electric guitars and drums sets!

“Country Western” – it used to be a running joke that, to folks who were really into this style… that they would say they liked “both styles of music… Country AND Western!” …like that was all there was in the world!  ;~)  Today, this is often called Old Country with artists like Hank Williams (Sr.) being at it’s pinnacle.  This older style is a great study in simplicity, but is more difficult than it sounds, as to sound authentic, you’ll need to switch major pentatonic scales on the fly to mirror the chord changes.  Usually this will be associated with our Jamming 102 or “Gigger” level lessons.  Some songs from this style will also be included in our “Roots Music” listings.

Western Swing music is sometimes lumped into the Country Western category too.  Style inventor Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys were very popular in the US in the 1940’s with Wills also becoming a Western Cowboy movie star.  Western Swing study will need to include Jazz as the chord changes are much more sophisticated and complex with Playboy’s arrangements often including multiple key changes within a song to accommodate the varied vocalists and instrumentalists that were featured in his band.  **I find it an interesting side note that Gypsy Jazz was also being developed in this same time period in Paris, France, and sometimes played the same songs!… just in a different style.  Bluegrass music, invented by Bill Monroe, was also developed in this same time period… only a couple states away from Bob Wills’ Oklahoma, in Kentucky!  It is a different world today for sure.  Styles being so localized is almost surely a thing of the past now.  I’ve heard bands from all three styles all play tunes like Minor Swing, All of Me, and Sweet Georgia Brown.

Country Fiddling – This is a broad term that can include Bluegrass, Old Time, Folk, Cajun, other other more ethnic & geographically-oriented styles like Irish/Celtic …which is a deep enough subject to be a section all of its own!  Mostly it is centered around American “mountain music” that came with the many European immigrants in the later 1800’s.

Outlaw Country – This is a hard drinking, rough and tumble style that developed in the 1970’s with superstar and American icon Willie Nelson at its helm.  Willie, with Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash, are considered to be the “Mt. Rushmore” of this very American style.  Some would include artists like Hank Williams Jr. too.  To learn this style, you’ll need a mixture of Roots Music, Blues, and Folk.

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Here’s an auto-generated list of every lesson that has the word “country” associated with it on the site:

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