Friday, March 1, 2019

Guitar lessons and tips to get better

WE HAD ANOTHER successful month of guitar lessons at Second String Music. We are fortunate to have great students and Sheryl does an amazing job of keeping the time and payment schedules organized.

I'm an average guitar player at best. I do like to teach. The students who want to learn and are motivated to play are the ones that get better.

It's amazing how much I learn every day. Literally, every day. Why did it take me 38 years to figure out the major and minor pentatonic? Geesh.

This week we stressed playing along to songs, especially if you don't play with other people. It's how I learned by listening to the radio and plucking bass notes on a battered Silvertone given to us by a family friend. That morphed into learning chords and riffs.

Another basic tip is to pick a little thing and work on it for a few days. A blues turnaround or a riff from a favorite song like "Day Tripper" or "Pretty Woman" are great practice ideas. A one-on-one lesson is the best way to learn efficiently and to have fun doing it.

Lastly, take yourself out of the comfort zone. If you are a classic rock fan like me, it's all fine and dandy to learn "Wish You Were Here" or an 80s hair metal classic. But going outside your normal listening routines will help you adapt and appreciate music.

One of my high school students suggested learning "All Of You" by John Legend. Initially I rolled my eyes because it's a piano song and I don't listen to current or even fairly current music, and most of it is computer-generated auto-tuned junk. But if you can sing and if you write your own songs, it's cool with me. We figured it out and guess what? It was a blast. Now I'm getting better at the dreaded finger-style claw method and making noises I didn't even realize existed on the guitar.

Above all, just play. And have fun! Learning isn't easy, especially as we get more experienced (code for older). But the wonder and possibilities of six strings and 12 notes are endless.

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