Today a short article about making choices for your guitar playing and how they will help you to speed up your own progress to master the guitar.
Please read the article from the 9th of March 011 which is about setting goals for yourself and how to improve your skills. It can be seen as an additional article to today’s one which will be focussing more on specific choices you need to make for taking your guitarlessons. The clearer you are with these choices, the quicker you can get results.
Any student who takes up the guitar needs to start off with basic general material, basic tools to make music with such as open chords, some basic knowledge how music- and the guitar works and some simple ideas to get the fingers to work. It is very easy to take this task way to serious and to get all too soon too deep about scales and music theory and finger excercises. At this stage it is better to keep things simple, not to ask too many questions and just to go along with playing some basic material such as open chords and some simple melodic ideas. When a student is serious enough and plays enough in between the time of the lessons, this material should soon open up the door for more interesting music.
Once a student can make some basic sounds on the guitar you should soon progress to material you would like to play, bearing in mind that this material will still sound basic, since your experience of the guitar, and playing music in general, is still very fresh.
As a student you need to be honest to yourself, you need to ask yourself what it is you would like to do guitarwise. Many people do not really know what they want at the start of their journey into guitarplaying, because they are completely new to the field of playing music. Just be honest to yourself and keep asking yourself questions: Do I play guitar because I want to play in a band? Do I want to play like Jimi Hendrix? Do I want to entertain my friends with the guitar at parties? Try to break down your questions into really small sections: If you like Blues, then try to learn to play a 12-bar blues, get to play the chords, learn a bit about the chordprogression, learn what a key is, and maybe learn some rhythmic variations in how you can play your chords with regards to this style. Hopefully you have chosen this style because you listen a lot to Blues, so you know the difference between the sound of Bluesartists from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and the more recent artists who play this style. It really helps if you are familiar with the sounds you can make with regards to a particular style. Do not worry at this stage as you will grow in your understanding with all of this, just to make the bold choice that you want to play Blues is good enough for now.
To continue with our example of playing Blues: Once you get to grips with some 12-bar variations, learn some different fingerings for 7th chords in different positions on the fretboard, learn some basic Turn-Arounds, some simple Solo-ideas and Riffs based on the Minor Pentatonic Scale. Once you are familiar with some of these ideas,(and you can actually make it sound like it should!) then it is up to the individual student to get deeper into this style.
The above example could take you up to six months, maybe longer, maybe a lot longer for some of you. Often what happens is that people start to loose interest once they feel they are struggling. Of course it does take time, for example to get the rhythm of your chords right takes an awful long time, but be realistic, once you get a feel for things, keep at it and move on, and keep revisiting what you played before, in that sense you will grow and get better with your playing.
Any good guitar teacher should be able to guide you through the process of learning new material and you should have a sense of progress. You should be able to talk to your teacher about what you want to learn. There may be times you may feel your teacher introduces you to material you may not like. Again, you should be able to discuss the choices your teacher makes for you and you should be able to come to a general understanding of why particular things are being taught to you. There may be occassions where a teacher may teach you just what they know, if this is the case you should be honest with yourself and realise that you may need to look for another teacher.
It is my own personal belief that any good guitarteacher should have a working knowledge of all populair guitarstyles and techniques, but I also know that not every guitarteacher is able to play Classical, FingerStyle Blues, Pop, Ska, Metal ect.
To find the right teacher is an art in itself, you may have to try a few teachers before you find the one who is right for you. On the other hand, anyone who is more experienced with the guitar and music may be right for you, as it all about the personal relation and the inspiration a teacher can offer you.
Once you are more experienced as a guitarplayer you should start to see for yourself what you need in terms of progress and the kind of material you would like to play. How long does it take before you start to feel you are getting more experienced? It all depends on the individual and on what you want to do. Overal you need to keep asking yourself questions about how your guitarplaying is going, this not only applies to students of the guitar, it also applies to experienced players, as there are always new things to learn, and new ways to approach that six string plank.
Hope to see you soon again,