Tennessee

G & R Guitar Lessons

I'm Grant Schinto and I bring infectious PASSION to my guitar teaching! I specialize in classic rock and emphasize creative development & expression. A musician and singer since 1975, I started on guitar in 1978, and began teaching in 1989.

I have one job here at G & R Guitar Lessons.  A calling, really.  That calling is helping people fall in love with playing the guitar and never falling back out.

Beginners are welcome, with the minimum age to start being 7 years old and having finished grade 1 in primary school, though exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis.

I also teach the basics (and even some intermediate to advanced level programs, depending on the genre) of heavy metal, country guitar*, pop, folk, open tunings, alternative, and jazz.

If you're interested in learning how to sing while playing the guitar, or in writing songs, or don't even play the guitar or bass but want to learn theory, I can help you as well.

I am passionate about theory, but I do not jam it down my student's throats. Instead, I use a "show don't tell" approach which I find works much better because it has the students asking for more theory (if not begging for it) because I help them reach the point where they see it as the valuable tool it can be (and because that's how I came to love and appreciate the application of music theory.)

But enough about me. Here's something to ponder:

Are you getting the whole story behind taking guitar lessons? Did you know that many myths exist that keep people from taking guitar lessons and pursuing their musical goals? One of those myths is that one must have "natural talent" to become a good guitar player. Well, having talent certainly helps, but it's only a fraction of what goes into the pie of becoming an awesome guitar player.

Give me a call, and let's get you on the road to fulfilling your musical dreams and goals!

Let's do good things together.

 

Member Elite Guitar Teachers Inner Circle

 

Rebecca S.

WELCOME TO YOUR PRIVATE ACCOUNT PAGE!

Hi Rebecca,

This is your private student account page. It will be used to help supplement your lesson experience as well as be one way that I manage your lesson curriculum. In other words, it's as much FYI as it is FMI. Hopefully never TMI ;)"  Ongoing lists such as your "Goals" will be at the top of this page, and then from time to time you will see the lessons get "journaled" when relevant info is recorded during lessons or copied from other sources when necessary or useful. These lesson notes and tips will be arranged "most recent date at the top" to avoid excessive page scrolling once your lessons begin to add up over time:

GOALS

  • Play without having to look at the fretboard

  • Develop the skills to play acoustic guitar stuff like what's on Sarah McLachlan's album SHINE ON

  • (Magic Wand Question Goal) - To be able to listen to any song with an interesting guitar part and be able to start figuring it out and playing it by ear

GOALS THAT HAVE BEEN MET (OR ARE WELL ON THEIR WAY):

  • Play "Ode To Joy" from the Tom Hess book LEVEL ONE at 120 BPM.

QUESTIONS

THESE ARE SOME OF THE QUESTIONS YOU HAVE ASKED IN THE PAST.  

Q: How can a “3-note” power chord be called a “5th” when you just explained that a 2-note power chord is defined by having the root of the major scale (the “1”) harmonized with the fifth of the major scale (the “5”)?”

A: That is because in the type of power chords we’re learning about right now, the 3rd note added to a power chord to make it a 3-note/3-string power chord (or “5th”) is the same note as the root, but one whole octave higher. So it’s the same note and even though technically the degree of that “added” note is the “8” it still is considered to FUNCTION as the root (the “1”) so it doesn’t affect the name of the chord.

Think of it this way. Sticking to a C5 power chord you can have:

C5 comprised of Do harmonized with Sol (or C and G) = 2 note/string C5 power chord or “5th”.

C5 comprised of Do harmonized with Sol (or C and G but with the “other” —higher’— Do — C — as the highest note of all 3) = 3 note/string C5 power chord or “5th”.

In other words, from low to high, the notes in a 2-note/2-string C5 chord are: C then G.

The notes in a 3-note/3-string C5 chord are: C then G, then another C one octave higher than the first C.

Q: Is there anything I can do that will make my pinky stronger?

A: Yes. For now I would focus on chords, licks and scales/scale fragments that use the 4th finger. ESPECIALLY scales and licks that use the 3rd and 4th finger one after another, such as the 1st 6 notes of the Natural Minor/Aeolian mode.

I can teach you the main finger independence exercise that I learned via Sal Salvador. Ed Nissan and Nick Rudder seem to like it a lot. You can focus on the exercises that use the 4th finger. 

LESSON DATE: 7/20/19 

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

The Rain Song

 Transcribed another "non chord section" and mapped out the next several chords (some with "improvements" adding an open D in the bass, making them "slash" chords.

LESSON DATE: 5/25/19 

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 We did "pop quizzes" on the order of the modes and their degrees, as well as ALL the chord types (and their respective degrees) that are in your Chord Type Inventory.

 After studying each one and taking "Round 2" of each respective quiz you got a PERFECT SCORE BOTH TIMES.

 You're doing GREAT! Try to have a better mindset about this stuff. What you set out to do by purchasing the ticket to the event next month took a LOT of guts.

 Try to remember exactly what we did to get you to those two perfect scores and DUPLICATE those procedures on your own. You can do this in the car on the ride up and you will be totally KICKING ASS in terms of remembering this stuff.

 We then did "note finding" training on the roots of the 4 chords used in yesterday's Pre-Training Video Training: A, E, F# and D.

 We then trained on the same chord progression jam track.

 First we trained on JUST the roots. We used the 1st finger to play each root.

 On the SECOND pass we kept those same roots, but added in the 3 relative to each mode.

 The chords are in the key of A major.

 The chords are:

A The "I" chord

 E The "V" chord

 F#m The "vi" chord

 D The "IV" chord

 We approached our lead playing as if we're thinking, "I'm just going to play over the mode of the key to match the CHORDS in the key. I will figure out what the "3s" are by looking at the modes in the key of A major.

 When you do that, this is what you find:

 A - Ionian Mode - the 3 is major (3)

 E  - Mixolydian Mode - the 3 is major (3)

 F#m - Aeolian Mode the 3 is minor (b3)

 D - Lydian Mode - the 3 is major (3)

 Another way to figure it out is to think, "Okay. I got this. All the chords are major or minor. I know that all major chords have a "3" and all minor chords have a "b3". So all I have to do is figure out what those are and add them to the roots I just trained on." 

LESSON DATE: 5/23/19 

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 Tested what chords you know in terms of degrees / degree functions, that is, what degrees in relation to the root are needed.

 You knew 2 out of the 3 that were already in your chord inventory.

 Learned the rest of of the "basic triads" (diminished and augmented)

 As well as sus 2 and sus 4 chords, as well as the "4 main types of 7th chords"

 The 7th chords you learned today are all diatonic to the major scale/key system.

 No new chords will be learned unless they come up "naturally" between now and the events.

 Just as you worked on memorizing the order and degrees in each mode, you need to do this with all of these chords as well.

  ASSIGNMENT:

 Take a look at the degrees in the modes and the degrees of the 7th chords you learned today.

 What modes "match" which type of 7th chord?

 For example, a major 7 chord has 1 3 5 and 7. So does the Ionian mode. This means you can play a C Ionian scale over a C major 7 chord. This is because none of the notes in the C major scale clash with the notes in the C major 7 chord, because all of the notes in the C major 7 chord "fit inside" the C Ionian/major scale.

 Let that sink in . . .  Don't read into it too deeply. It just mean, "the notes in a major 7 chord are all in the major scale with the same root, therefore there won't be any out of key clashes that sound bad."

 That being the case, can you figure out what modes the OTHER 7th chords "fit safely inside"?

LESSON DATE: 5/19/19 

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 We continued learning how to memorize the degrees in the modes diatonic to the major scale.

 We also discovered that I'd not checked your answer key that you made yesterday. I may have assumed you didn't need me to check it because I was under the impression you already had them in your notes somewhere and were using those for your reference.

 I apologize for this oversight!

 Here are the notes from a Word doc I created during your lesson (yes, it gets cut off and might be a bit confusing--but it helps recap what we did yesterday and today):

 MODES OF THE MAJOR SCALE – MEMORIZING THEIR DEGREES

 By now you should know that the first mode is the Ionian mode. By “first” we mean that it starts with the same note as the major scale (and in fact is the exact same thing as the major scale).

 You should also know that the degrees of the major scale/Ionian mode are:

 1       2       3       4      5       6       7     8

 It would be helpful if you also by now know the order of the modes, that is, the order in which each one is based on the degrees of the major scale. If you don’t yet have them memorized, that’s okay. This lesson is going to help you with that.

 But right now I want to go OUT of order and jump to the 6th mode of the major scale, which is the natural minor scale (Aeolian mode).

 The reason for this will become clearer as we go. But suffice to say for now, the Aeolian mode is very common (it’s all over contemporary music, especially pretty much ALL forms of rock and pop). So there’s strong case to be made for simply memorizing it now.

 The degrees of the Aeolian Mode (Natural Minor Scale) are:

 1    2    b3    4    5    b6    b7    8

 Don’t be concerned if none of this even really makes much sense right now. The focus here is on learning and committing to memory the degrees of each mode.

 *** BREAK*** Do not continue reading until you’ve been trained on the next part of this module. *** BREAK***

 At this point, if you’re reading this you’ve been trained on how to figure out what the degrees of each mode are based on using the Ionian Mode as the “yard stick” and by comparing the 3 NPS patterns “up to the first octave only”. 

 It  WILL be quite some time before you get all of the modes memorized. That said, there are a few things we can do in the meantime to speed up the process.

 Here’s the first way: We are going to make it easier to lessen the effect of feeling overwhelmed by having to learn so much by comparing all of the modes that are “closest” to the major scale in terms of having almost the same order of degrees.

 There are two of them. The Lydian and Mixolydian modes.

 The degrees of the Lydian Mode are:

 1       2       3      #4      5       6       7     8

 If we compare the order of the degrees of Ionian and Lydian, you can see that the only difference is that the Lydian contains a sharp 4:

 Major scale/Ionian mode:

 1       2       3       4      5       6       7     8

 Lydian mode:             

 1       2       3       #4      5       6       7     8

 A very similar line of reasoning can be used to learn the Mixolydian mode, the degrees of which are:

 1       2       3       4      5       6       b7     8

 So again, when you compare Major to Mixolydian, you can see that the only difference is that Mixolydian contains a flat 7:

 Major scale/Ionian mode:        

 1       2       3       4      5       6       7     8

 Mixolydian mode:

 1       2       3       4      5       6       b7     8

 You should put together a quick, easy to recite “rule” about what we just covered here, similar to when you learned about B and C being a half step apart, and E and F also being a half step apart.

 A suggested “mantra” can be something like:

 “There 2 modes that are the easiest to learn after the major scale (Ionian mode) are the Lydian and Mixolydian modes because each one has only one degree different from the Ionian: Lydian has a sharp 4, and Mixolydian as a flat 7.”

 Or:

 “Lydian can be thought of as the Ionian Mode with a sharp 4, and Mixolydian can be thought of as the Ionian with a flat 7.”

 So now you should be reasonably comfortable with the idea of having 3 of the 7 modes committed to memory (even if you retain it for a short while).

 Now we move on to the Aeolian mode. Here we’re just going to go by sheer brute memorization. Because it’s the relative minor scale and so common, and because the REST OF the modes all have a flat 3 (and a flat 7). 

LESSON DATE: 5/18/19 

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 Using the modes diatonic to C major (that you'd already transcribed to a neck diagram sheet) we wrote out all of the modes with C as the tonic (meaning that each one belongs to a different key).

 We then determined the "degree value" of all the notes in each of the modes by comparing all the "non" Ionian mode patters to well, the Ionian pattern.

 When you look at them one string at a time (and deal only with the 3 lowest strings) it becomes possible to determine where all the "flat three" and "flat sevens" (and the like) exist.

 We then drilled on C Ionian and C Dorian (to reinforce their similarities and differences). 

LESSON DATE: 5/14/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Tested your knowledge of the modes and their order. You did GREAT!

 Began training on how to determine the function of the DEGREES of the 7 diatonic modes (diatonic to the major key system).

 We used a "compare and contrast" method for the Dorian mode by comparing it to the Ionian mode.

 You did FINE. This is REALLY hard but it will get easier the more we train on it. It took me over 3 years to memorize this stuff (and I wasn't working full time). I was just a school kid (and not hard working one at that).

 The way we're doing it is WAY MORE valuable than simply being handed a list and saying, "Here are the degrees of each mode. Memorize this." 

LESSON DATE: 5/11/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 Continued training on the "visible" half steps found in the diatonic modes.

 Today we used a jam in the key of E major.  We mainly used the relative minor (C# natural minor/Aeolian) but focus was simply on bending D# to E and G# to A.

 We VERY BRIEFLY touched on the concept of thinking as the modes as various POSITIONS of the major scale . . . Some folks like to think of C# Aolian (starting on the 9th fret of the Low E string) as the "6th position of the E major scale).

 Yes, this is pretty confusing . . .   

LESSON DATE: 5/9/19

Trained on how to do a 4-day callous-building assignment focused on doing "only" bends and vibrato.

 We used an C Ionian A Aeolian modes only.

Today’s assignment was on the HALF STEPS that occur “visually” in the scale patterns. It’s ALWAYS in the “green and blue” 3 NPS fingering shapes.

Watch the bending technique on higher strings so that you’re not letting the other strings get under your nails, and likewise, that you’re not letting the top of your nails push into the other strings.

 This assignment has several main benefits:

 Better callouses

 Better bending and vibrato

 Stronger hands

Better phrasing

Better note and scale knowledge

 Better fretboard knowledge

 A better idea of how many ways you can express a lot with just 2 or 3 notes.

LESSON DATE: 4/20/19

 WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 CHECK-IN ON WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH PRE-TRAINING FOR 2019 CREATIVITY EVENT

 Reviewed the basics of bending whole tones/steps and checking their accuracy

 Reviewed basics about note ornamentation

Tremolo picking vs Trills

 Discussed the basics of understanding what motives are.

 Bohemian Rhapsody

 My Creative Breakouts Module using the A minor pentatonic lick at the end of "Stairway to Heaven" and my "Moore Vivaldi" composition. 

ASSIGNMENT:

 Create a to-do list for ALL OF the pre-training for the June event. We have LESS THAN 2 MONTHS!

 Create a list of the ornaments you understand and can begin playing and apply them to the phrasing exercises in Week 1 of the Pre-Training

 Consider how important it is to get more serious NOW about your guitar playing so you're not regretting putting it off till later when it's MUCH MORE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGING!

LESSON DATE: 3/23/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 Continued worked on Pre-Training Module Week 1 for the Creativity Event 2019

 Today we did the SECOND jam track referenced in the pre-training material.  We still stayed away from the responsibility of having to limit each phrase to one bar and then resting for one bar before the next phrase. We also bagged the idea of having to add an ornament onto the end of each phrase.

 We used A Natural Minor and limited it to the lower octave.

 Yes, you have tremendous potential.  But I'm not sure you've gotten bitten by the bug yet, so to speak. If you were, you'd likely be a lot more enthused about the things you're learning. I don't know.  Not everyone reacts to things the same way. 

LESSON DATE: 3/22/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Worked on Pre-Training Module Week 1 for the Creativity Event 2019

 Basics of phrasing and ornament adding.

 Don't overreact and stop doing things without telling me. I never said to stop using jam tracks. That's one of the best ways to learn phrasing (trust me, you ALREADY HAVE phrasing ideas if you've been using jam tracks to study scales). 

LESSON DATE: 3/16/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 Pulled out ye olde G Major/Ionian scale in 8th note triplets and discussed strategies for coming up with tempo goal(s) and managing it.

 You would do well to stop me from talking from time to time during your lessons and taking some notes to clarify your understanding of things. Even if you were 18 there's no WAY you'd remember half the stuff I'm saying . . .   

Worked on better managing practice items: Created a new and update S/S/T log as well a "Guitar Goals" worksheet (both in same workbook) that I emailed you.

LESSON DATE: 3/15/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 Revisited the discussion about understanding intervals and degrees and some of the confusion that's part and parcel to learning the ropes of guitar, music and improvisation.

 Explored the concept of how you need not necessarily be referring to the root or "1" of a chord or scale to have an interval.  For example, if I play an Am chord, I may like the sound of the notes A and B played over that chord as part of a lick or melody.  The interval from A to B is a major second. In this example it just so happens that we have the root (1) and the 2 of the A minor scale. But I may also like the sound of D and E in the same melody. The interval between D and E is ALSO a major second, but neither D nor E are either the 1 or the 2 of any scale with A as the root (obviously).

 This is difficult stuff. Just do the best you can with it and eventually it will sink in and light bulbs will start going off. That will happen when you play more and have more opportunity to be told about what it is you're playing.

LESSON DATE: 3/9/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 Continued training on how to improvise using chord tones that match the chords being played in the harmony as well as notes that are simply in key.

In other words,  how to play chord tone notes from the chords in a progression using G, D, C and Am in the key of G major.

Today we did the following:

 The 1 2 and 3 of G in the open position over the G chord

 The 1 2 and 3 of D in the open position over the D chord (Kind of looks "exactly the same" as the one over the G chord.)

 The 1 and the 7 (below the root) of C on string 2 and the 3 of C on the high E string  over the C chord

 Am pentatonic stuff (limited to the lower octave in the OPEN position, which is essentially taken from the same configuration in the lower octave of Pattern 1 in Position V) over the Am chord.

LESSON DATE: 3/8/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Continued training on how to improvise using chord tones that match the chords being played in the harmony as well as notes that are simply in key.

In other words,  how to play chord tone notes from the chords in a progression using G, D, C and Am in the key of G major.

 Today we did the following:

 G and B over the G chord

 D and A "power chord style" over the D chord

 A walk down from C to open A over the C chord

Am pentatonic stuff (limited to the lower octave in position V, Pattern 1) over the Am chord. 

LESSON DATE: 3/2/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY: 

Continued training on how to improvise using chord tones that match the chords being played in the harmony as well as notes that are simply in key.

 In other words,  how to play chord tone notes from the chords in a progression using G, D, C and Am in the key of G major.

 Today we also added the b3 of the Am chord and we also switched the positions around some.

 Great job at trusting your instincts and getting a little more creative with it.

 For now we're taking a pretty conservative approach so that some of the concepts can remain on the simple side (and thus more easily retained). This is why on the last part we were sticking pretty conservatively to the G Ionian (Major) pattern, "forcing" you to have to use your 2nd finger to play the A on the 5th fret of the 6th string as opposed to your 3rd finger.

 We also added the 3rd on the G chord (B, which is a MAJOR 3rd above G). 

LESSON DATE: 3/1/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 Began training on how to play chord tones that match the chords being played in the harmony.

 In other words,  how to play chord tone notes from the chords in a progression using G, D, C and Am in the key of G major.

 In addition to the roots of each chord we used leading tones over the G and C chords (notes that are a half step below the roots of each chord) and the 5th degree of the D chord. 

Next time we'll as the b3 of the Am chord as well and take it from there.

LESSON DATE: 2/24/19 

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Today was mainly review so it's easier to eventually improvise using major and minor thirds. More about that later.

Today we focused on helping you better understand what intervals are, how they're not "exactly" the same thing as degrees, and the difference between major and minor chords based on the fact that one has a major 3rd (major chords) and one has minor 3rds (minor chords).

If you can eventually really "get" what I was teaching in the examples of using the 1st 5 notes of the major and natural minor scales (respectively) to figure out the notes needed for major and minor chords (respectively) you will be WELL ON YOUR WAY to being able to improvise over major and minor chords.

LESSON DATE: 2/23/19 

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 MAJOR SCALE INTERVALS - JUST THE BASICS (CHART)

 MINOR SCALE INTERVALS - JUST THE BASICS (CHART)

 For now just focus on wrapping your brain around the concept of what the "basic" difference is between a degree and an interval. Note that both hand outs distinguish between the 2.

Think of degrees as “points along a line” and the intervals are the DISTANCES between those points.

 We began exploring what it means to use "parallel chord tones" in an improvisation. For example, I played 4 chords in the key of G major (the key really isn't relevant).  I played the "relative 1 and 3" from each chord AS THE CHORD WAS OCURRING IN THE HARMONY.

 Think about that and write down any questions you have about it.  It's NORMAL to be confused. This stuff is HARD for most beginners.

 Think about how this approach to improvisation is VERY different from simply picking a scale or mode in a random jam track.  You don't have to understand why--I will explain it. But see how much of it you can figure out for yourself.

LESSON DATE: 2/16/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 Single Octave C Major/Ionian Scales

 Continued learning them and getting them transcribed to neck diagrams. Also learned some  familiar and conventional fingerings that are NOT part of the 3 NSP system, but which I believe are worth learning as well.

 I do however think that you should for now focus 75 of your scale learning to 3 NPS and 3 NPS "derived" fingerings and only 25% to the "non" 3 NPS scales.

 Begin practicing each one. Start with a tempo goal of 60 BPM, all quarter notes.

LESSON DATE: 2/15/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 TOM HESS Beginner Book Level One:  

 Summer Time

 Remember to strive for playing things at the actual tempo you can play the entire piece. Don't play the easier parts any faster than the slower parts when playing through the entire thing. This just messes up your timing and makes it unreliable, inconsistent and unstable.

 Trained on mainly anything having to do with the position shifts, which are the hardest part right now. 

LESSON DATE: 2/8/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 Training on the finished tablature (in Guitar Prol) the outro instrumental from "Knights of Cydonia". Focused on hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Began learning how to find and plot out the single octave 7-tone scales diatonic to the major/minor system. Started with the 1st 2 starting on the Low E string.

This is a long term assignment but one of the immediate benefits of it will be that you’ll be able to more quickly see the “inner workings” of the scales because you’re only dealing w/ them 8 notes at a time as opposed to 18 notes at a time.

LESSON DATE: 2/1/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 Began training on and transcribing to tablature the outro instrumental from "Knights of Cydonia". Get comfortable with what you have and we'll do the rest tomorrow. 

LESSON DATE: 1/26/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 Worked on a 4 - 5 note phrase from A natural minor/Aeolian over a steady Am chord.  Discussed the concept of using familiar spoken phrases as inspiration for creating rhythmic phrasing. 

 Discussed the types of intervals that are in the major and natural minor scales. Intervals are the DISTANCE between notes, where as degrees refer to WHERE notes "sit" in a given scale, chord or arpeggio.

LESSON DATE: 1/25/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 Reviewed the concept of the relative minor as well as how to understand some of the basic idea behind modes.

 To help drive this idea home, we drilled on notes from the C Ionian/Major 3NPS scale. What you were basically doing was playing C Major and then A Natural Minor (both relative to each other).

Once I grasped the concept of the relative minor when I was in high school I was literally ready to have a music career, albeit one with some mediocrity. But you can still go a LONG way with this concept of only knowing how to use the relative minor scale as your "scale of choice" when soloing over something in a given major key. 

LESSON DATE: 1/19/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 Talked about how between now and the events the most important things to focus are are “knowledge” and creative techniques (such as string bending). Today’s “knowledge” focused on knowing where the degrees of major and minor chords are. Once we get you indepenent (in terms of knowing how to work on your own—generally speaking) with E and A-shaped barre chords, we’ll need to focus more on scales, arpeggios and improvisation, as they are going to be front and center of your pre-training for the creativity and guitar solo event.

Anatomy of Major and Minor Chords

Studied E and A-shaped major and minor barre chords.

 Did some exercises where you have to find the notes on different sets of specific strings.

 We noticed with the 2nd example (Gm chord) that there were actually 2 ways to play it, though admittedly the one spanning 4 frets instead of 6 is a lot easier and thus probably more common.

 ASSIGNMENT:

 VERY IMPORTANT:

 Manage the part of today's training re E and A-shaped major and minor barre chords from the Anatomy of Major and Minor Chords module.  You need these 4 basic shapes are REFERENCE POINTS in order to complete the following module: CHORD PROGRESSIONS - A & E SHAPED MAJOR & MINOR BARRE CHORDS. (Reminder: I have to train you on how to do the latter.)

 

 

LESSON DATE: 1/12/19

Did more lessons re the “Anatomy” of major and minor chords. Did chord types in a series to that it’s easier to see how the patterns between chords are similar in terms of the way the FUNCTION of their respective degrees are arranged. This will make a lot more sense later. Right now there are still a lot of missing pieces of information. As with a lot of this stuff, we’re just beginning to give you “brand name recognition”, so DON’T feel bad if a lot of it’s still confusing. Just put your head down and keep doing the work. It takes YEARS for some of these connections to be made and for things to be seen clearly. Think of it as comparing the way an 18-month old toddler talks compared to a 12-year old child (or a 40 year old adult for that matter).

Talked about open tunings, Drop D and open G.

LESSON DATE: 1/11/19

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 NEVER ENDING NOTES - INFINITE SUSTAIN (TEACHING STUDENTS HOW TO GET A NOTE THAT MORE OR LESS SUSTAINS FOREVER ALA JIMI HENDRIX, BRIAN MAY, ET AL)

 Light training on how to use heavy tube saturated overdrive/distortion w/ an electric guitar to get a not to feedback more or less forever until the power goes out or YOU go out.

  

NEW HANDOUT - CHORD PROGRESSIONS - A & E SHAPED MAJOR & MINOR BARRE CHORDS

 Trained on how to find ways to play the difficult A-shaped barre chords until your hands open up more.

I will retrain you on how to do the worksheets and then how to play the chords and how to practice the progressions and how to make them sound more interesting and creative.

LESSON DATE: 12/30/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 3 NPS Modes in the Major Scale System

 Went a bit deeper and wrote out all the scale fingering and "pattern color" names in the margins on all 7 neck diagrams (all 7 modes).

 Improvising over the Blues

 For now, all you have to remember is to match the root of the minor pentatonic scale with the key that the blues pattern is in. For example, the track we trained on today is a slow blues in A. You were using Pattern 5 from the A minor pentatonic scale over the entire blues chord progression.

Minor pentatonic is pretty much the "go to" scale for the blues. And it will keep you busy for a long time. Later on down the road you'll start to get sick of it and realize it's kind of hack, but you have to start somewhere and so this very basic and limited understanding of "blues theory" is fine for now.

 Targeted Notes

 We explored an improvisation technique where you basically target notes in the scale that match the chords (harmony) in the background. In a blues in A you have A7, followed by D7 and eventually an E7 chord. So what we did was play a 2-note lick beginning with A whenever the A7 chord was being played. Then when the chord pattern switched to D7, we targeted D and on other note over THAT chord, and then followed suit whenever the E7 chord came around.

 This is a great way to start sounding more musical when not just learning a scale, but learning how to simply make up ideas using a scale.

 The Minor Pentatonic Scale

 Learned how to "find" Pattern 5 of the minor pentatonic scale "below" Pattern 1.

 ASSIGNMENT:

 Rewrite all of the major scale modes using colored pens or pencils (red, blue and green).  This will turbo charge your mental ability to memorize (or at least play) the scales. 

Remember this is just ONE way of more than a few way of learning these scales (or any scale).

 

LESSON DATE: 12/15/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Read above this entry—I recorded and began answering your latest question.

Addressed the issue of needing to work on ALL the things you’re taught and trained on. If you feel overwhelmed and you feel strongly that some items need to be put on the back burner,  talk to me about them first so that you’re getting coached on the decision making process. You need to avoid a “pick and choose” approach.

This mainly came from the fact that you had not been working on the “E-Shaped Something Something” chords.

Remember that when you’re working the Practice Generator schedule under the “chords” category, over time you need to make sure you’re working on anything related to chords. Again, if you’re getting spread too thin, let’s talk about it. Sooner or later if it’s not already the case, you’re going to have way more to practice than you can realistically get to in a given 8-day schedule.

We need to start more training and moving forward with learning barre chords.

Charted out a bunch of E-shaped A barre chords to make playing the “full blown” version of an E-shaped major barre chord easier.

Reviewed the “push/pull” technique as well as the “sounds good, sounds like crap” method of making chords easier to play by starting in a higher position.

One of the keys here is variety. Have a variety of ways that you attack this challenge. Don’t play through (scary) pain. If you’re getting a burning in that’s more than a basic muscle ache, STOP what you’re doing and do something else.

We established that you’re able to play Am 7, so you’re already off to a good start. 

LESSON DATE: 12/14/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Lesson 9 in Tom Hess book - established tempo goal of 105

Did spot training using “LIFT LEAP LAND” to get rid of string scraping. We didn’t do it long enough for it to manifest itself in the overall playing, but you did well w/ the training we did.

Did some basic note finding over a I - IV - V in G major where you played the root and 3rd of each major chord.

LESSON DATE: 12/9/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Continued to review the basics to the “parts” of all the 5ths/power chords you have been learning.

Quick recap (of sorts) of what we began learning last time w/ the CRASH COURSE - ANATOMY OF MAJOR & MINOR CHORDS

“Diagramed” (or in some cases just gave name to) some creative things you were doing with a “trick” where you basically took a 2-note power chord w/ the root on the A string, the 5 above it on the D string, and a droning open G string.

The chords you ended up playing were (from lowest position to highest) C5    Eb    G5

Suggestion: Make part of your miscellaneous and/or “must do every day” segments of your Practice Generator schedule include reviewing notes and studying concepts and theory so you don’t forget the new things you’re learning during your lessons.

CHORD TYPE INVENTORY

Began a chord type inventory where you start listing the types of chords you know (major, minor, 5ths, etc.) and the REQUIRED degrees for each type (1  3   5,  1   b3   5, etc.)

LESSON DATE: 12/1/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Reviewed the basics to the “parts” of all the 5ths/power chords you have been learning.


FREE BIRD “OUTRO” JAM

Focused on strumming the G5 correctly with more of a “slashing through” motion with the pick as opposed to a “dragging the pick across the strings” approach.  


Reminded you to use the audio of me playing it so you have a better idea how to execute it.

CRASH COURSE - ANATOMY OF MAJOR & MINOR CHORDS

If you completely understand this concept (and “diagram” some major and minor chords on your own from time to time) you will be able to know the notes and FUNCTION of ANY major or minor chord.

Not only that, but you’ll soon start to see how and why there are “so many” variations of the same chords.


Notice for example that the four highest notes of the F# minor chord we “dissected” are the exact same “configuration” of the version of the A minor chord used at the very beginning of “Stairway to Heaven”.

LESSON DATE: 11/16/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:


Reviewed the basics to the “parts” of all the 5ths/power chords you have been learning.

FREE BIRD “OUTRO” JAM

Trained on the chords, rhythm pattern and scale (G minor pentatonic, Position XV (upper octave—mainly) for improvising. Your understanding has improved a LOT over the past couple of lessons.

Made a Voice Memo recording of me playing the rhythm guitar part. Please manage ownership of it and make sure you can find it, use it, bring it up in the future if necessary, etc.

LESSON DATE: 11/10/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

TOM HESS Beginner Book Level One

Trained on Summertime 

Reviewed the concept of harmonized 3rds (major and minor) and how if you concentrate on the difference between the two it’s easier to get through Summertime as all the fingered notes basically create either a major or minor 3rd harmony even though they are “arpeggiated” because of how they are allowed to ring out or “bleed”. 

ASSIGNMENT:

Come up with a final tempo goal for Summertime.

Keep in mind you should always be tweaking the “unexpected and miscellaneous” stuff in your practice generator schedule too, especially if you discover there are things we’ve learned but are soon getting forgotten about, such as the harmonized scales using major and minor 3rds.

LESSON DATE: 11/4/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:


TOM HESS Beginner Book Level One

Worked on knocking out “Joy To The World” using the 1 to 4 Scale rating system after 3 minutes at the same tempo.

POWER CHORD PRIMER

You have finished the main assignment but you still need to be able to play through all of the progressions with some degree of fluidity.

Reviewed how to recognize, understand and recall power chords (aka “5ths”).

PRACTICE GENERATOR SCHEDULE:

Today we made the unpleasant discovery that you’ve been using the “Misc” section of the PG as a mere repetition of other items already in the PG schedule. DON’T DO THIS.

Use this section for other things that don’t “neatly fit” inside the various PG categories you’re already using. The stuff with those Power Chord progressions (or the 2-chord exercise from “My Generation” or the 3-chord jam from the Free Bird outro would ALL have been more productive and better uses of your practice time than merely sticking to things you already feel more comfortable with. If you’re not sure what to practice in this category THEN PLEASE TELL ME AND LET’S FIND SOMETHING for you to do.

Reviewed the power chords in the Free Bird Power Chord Primer for the Outro Jam

-closed vs open.

-Drilled on E5  to G5 and A5 to C5

Try to remember which are open, which are closed, and how they’re all played.

LESSON DATE: 10/20/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Learned “EZ” open chords (all that work in the key of C major by the way). 

Talked a little about how you can alter chords in a given key by limiting whatever you’re doing to ensure the alteration includes notes in the key.  In our example we used the notes C dropping down to B on the 2nd string and had a nice little theme going on.

We began training and exploring how to play the G minor pentatonic scale in a sequential pattern. The one we used was basically thus (in terms of the number assigned to where the scale tones appear in a normal ascending scale, that is, the 1st note in the scale (G), followed by the 2nd note (Bb) followed by the 3rd note (C), etc.

But this was the pattern:

1 , 3, 2, 4, etc.  (G,  C,  Bb,  Bb,  D,  C, etc.)

It will be easier with more training. If you learn to think of it as “Start on the lowest (first) note of the scale, then skip the 2nd one and go to the 3rd one, then go back to the 2nd one (that you skipped the first time around), and then play the 4th note (skipping the 3rd note this time) it will become a lot easier to grasp.

This is an essential skill to learning not only how to be fluent, but how to sound more musical. Over time you will find many, MANY of the scale patterns and sequences you’re learning have a very familiar sound to them because this technique is all OVER classical music (and much classic rock too).

LESSON DATE: 9/15/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

A check-in regarding retention of understanding more about scales, particularly minor pentatonic scales.

The following terms need better understanding:

Root

Degree

Power Chord

“Fifths”  (slang term used to name power chords

In order to better understand the above, we review some of the information covered last time when we studied power chords, specifically the concept of the ROOT of a chord (in order to understand the concept of the root of a SCALE.

Be sure to revisit the Q&A section at the top of your personal page on the website to make sure you retain the information there. This took 2 hours, 45 minutes last Sunday and another 70 minutes today for you to have this MAJOR breakthrough do don’t let it go to waste.

LESSON DATE: 9/9/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

POWER CHORD PRIMER

ASSIGNMENT:

Today you successfully played everything in Progression 1 on the page w/ the “E Root” box highlighted in yellow.

Go through all the rest of the progressions on BOTH SHEETS and do the same. That is, play each progression one time only.

But then go back and do it all over again exactly the same way to a total of 4 COMPLETE RUN-THROUGHS.

LESSON DATE: 9/8/18

AND THEN DO:

We also played around with the “G note to A5” cliché as featured in “Rock And Roll” by Led Zeppelin and “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen, as well as the opening to “Dragon Attack”.

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Went through your SPEED/SCORING/TIMING LOG to see where you’re “really” at with the items and updated the BLT log as much as we could.

-Wrote in pick direction marks for “Roadhouse Blues” and trained on it.  

Remember to not collapse your knuckles while playing (and WHY I said this was important).

-Discussed better picking motion technique when using directional picking. One example of each type (two down picks and later 2 up picks) occur in the lick from “Rock This Town”.  

SUGGESTION:  Make these “song bit” licks part of your warm up routine.

ASSIGNMENT:

Isolate some examples of two directional picking notes (like the 2 in “Rock This Town”—feel free to use them as your example) and spend extra time practicing this “picking right through to the next string without stopping” motion.  This is REALLY IMPORTANT.

LESSON DATE: 9/3/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 

TOM HESS Beginner Book Level One:  

We monitored your latest tempo and found it acceptable (for practicing—your new starting point—of 42 BPM. Good work! You were better at it than you perhaps realized.  It’s okay for it to have a few mistakes so long as you’re aware of them and know how to fix them. That’s part of the whole “rate it on a scale of 1 to 4” system.

Be sure to use the “1 - 4” rating system strategy on this till further notice.

TEACHER NOTE TO SELF: Update student’s record that BLT is 42 BPM.

I didn’t get a chance to mention this during your lesson today, but I’m going to recommend that after you reach your tempo goal for “Joy To The World” that we do one of two things until we get through the Ultimate Creativity Event:

 

  1. Stop using the book and resume use after getting back from the events.

  2. Keep using the book, but have much easier tempo goals that you can revisit at a more challenging tempo goal later on, at some point after the 2019 events. Keep in mind that you’re likely going to attend Guitar Mastery Training Week, which I’m 98% certain will be held in 2019.

 

BARRE CHORD PRIMER - POWER CHORDS

 

Great job so far! Finish this assignment before you forget how to do it.  This is a very popular activity with my students. Even Mark Tucker said, “This is excellent”.

 

LESSON DATE: 9/1/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

TOM HESS Beginner Book Level One:  Let’s keep the momentum going and see if we can increase the BLT.

Established directional picking for the parts where the rhythms start to pick up speed.

Be sure to use the “1 - 4” rating system strategy on this till further notice.

TEACHER NOTE TO SELF: Update student’s record that BLT is 34 BPM.

LESSON DATE: 8/25/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Lesson 6 chord changes.

Lots of training on how to play the chords better

Watch the following when practicing these transitions:

Fingers of fretting hand are arched

Thumb of fretting hand is where it should be based on the chord you’re on at the time

Strum from the wrist, not the elbow

“Test” each chord. Don’t just practice the assignment in front of you all the time. You have to micromanage to discover your weaknesses and then do what you have to do to improve them.

You came really close to passing that chord change pattern we were working on today.

Spend 2 minutes a day artificially developing your callouses.

LESSON DATE: 8/19/18

Minor Pentatonic scale. 

Trained on the “Rate on a scale of 1 to 4” strategy. 

When practicing, take notice from time to time to see what needs extra attention or fixing. 

For example, the 3 main things to look out for are: 

 

  1. move your thumb up and down the back of the neck in conjunction with where your fingers are. For example, if you are playing on the low Estring your thumb should be at the highest position and then as you move up to higher strings let your thumb glide along with them gently so that your hand is not getting all stretched out and causing your fingers to have to have their optimal positioning ability compromised because your thumb is still stuck way up near the low Estring.

  2. make sure you are curling your fingers into a C shape, so that you can play with the tips of your fingers and not the finger print area. Your first finger is doing really well in this regard, but your third and fourth fingers especially near the higher strings is drifting into really using your fingerprint and nowhere near the fingertip.

  3. this is probably the most important tip. You did notice that you kept missing the string with your fretting hand. So what was happening was that you were forgetting to advance your first finger to the next string when you were ascending the scale. So for example, you would play two notes on the A string but then forget to move your first finger up to the D string to play the next note in the scale. These are the kinds of things that you need to slow down and take extra time to notice that are happening. You may even have to literally write down a description of what is happening. When you do this you are identifying a specific problem. Then you can set aside time to focus on that one specific problem alone. Just being aware of the issue and making some sort of cognizant effort to deal with it is usually all it takes. If you are aware of the problem it’s very easy to fix. If you are only vaguely aware of the problem, I can take a lot longer to get better.

 

Today we reached 80 bpm as straight quarter notes and it was fairly clean. Then we trained a very short period of time setting the metronome to 40 bpm but playing straight eighth note using alternate picking. So basically just start on the down pack and end on a down pack and see how far you can get with the metronome doing it that way.

LESSON DATE: 8/18/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Fretboard literacy: we identified the route on the neck diagram for all five positions of the a minor pentatonic scales. Then we re-created the same patterns on a separate neck diagram but circled the sea note indicating the root of the sea major pentatonic scale‘s.

We explored and reviewed the concept of the relative minor scale, that is, how the natural minor (Aeolian) mode is relative to the parent major scale.

From there we reviewed the degrees of the nat. minor scale. From there we identified and reviewed the degrees of the minor pentatonic scale by looking at it as "extracted" from the natural minor scale.

From there we explored how the A minor pentatonic scale is relative to the C major pentatonic scale (similar to how A nat. minor is relative to the C major scale).

By taking the notes from the A minor scale and creating a "continuum" we were then able to figure out the NOTES in the C major pentatonic scale.

Once THAT WAS done we took the notes of the C major pentatonic scale and saw how they relate or "fit inside" the C major scale. 

Once we did THAT we were able to determine the DEGREES of the major pentatonic scale.

This is REALLY heady stuff right now. It will get a lot easier to grasp in time. So keep that in mind and be REALLY patient.

LESSON DATE: 7/28/18

2-Note Diatonic Harmonies

For now  you only should to 3 things:

  1. Practice the harmonized C major scale over the jam track Ballad in C Major (Tom Hess) - Practice it “regular” too.

  2. Practice the harmonized A natural minor scale over the jam track Acoustic in A minor (Tom Hess) - Practice it “regular” too.

  3. Study the notes you took and ask me questions so you understand how to do all this stuff WHEN YOU EVENTUALLY have time to get to is. This is a VERY large and long term assignment, so you really only want to do a small fraction of what you could actually be doing between now and the 2019 events.

LESSON DATE: 7/21/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Learned the “usable” E - Shaped “Something Something” chords and plotted them out on chord grids.

Randomly chose 4 of the chords and came up w/ the following progression that you should practice when you have time. Add it to your chord strumming/transition practice regimen. 

C something (1 bar) D something (1 bar). B something (2 bars). F# something (2 bars) REPEAT

 

LESSON DATE: 7/15/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Created a new Speed/Scoring/Timing Log and added lots of rows for studying the 5 patterns of the minor pentatonic scale as well as each of the 7 modes in the 3 Note Per String (NPS) system (each scale/mode starting on the Low E string with the 1st finger and going across all 6 strings.

LESSON DATE: 6/30/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Finished learning how to “plot out” the other 4 (5 total) forms of the A minor pentatonic scale.

 

ASSIGNMENT:

Without “cheating” and looking at the natural minor scales you “wrote out”, write out the names of the notes and degrees for the following Minor Pentatonic scales:

D

 

G

 

C

 

F

 

Bb

 

D#

 

G#

 

C#

 

F#

 

B

 

E

Instructor’s Note: This is a bonus assignment under Fretboard Literacy 2

LESSON DATE: 6/29/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Picked up on learning how to “plot out” the other 4 (5 total) forms of the A minor pentatonic scale.

Created a practice generator schedule for you to use (8 day cycle).

LESSON DATE: 6/1/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Stopping and muting - how to effectively keep notes from ringing out by default and how to curb unwanted string noise.

LESSON DATE: 5/19/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

New lick - opening single note ideas from “Rumble In Brighton” which you transcribed to tablature.

Worked on maintaining Dragon Attack tempo (BLT) - You moved it up 4 BPM today!

LESSON DATE: 5/18/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Continued incremental training with metronome (as applied to the A minor pentatonic scale).

You’re still a bit too hard on yourself. You clearly played the scale “good” at 62 BPM but ranked yourself at “fair”.  Remember, PERFECT (or extremely close to perfect) is a score of 4.

We trained on a scale fragment because you were having trouble “reaching” the 2nd to last note on the way back down the scale (the 2nd note after starting it—the C on the 8th fret of the Low E string.

Remember that strategy we used where we moved it up a bunch of frets so it was easier to play. You will use that trick pretty much on and off for the rest of your life.

Reverse Pyramid: We itemized the top 5 things you should be working on. If you can’t get to all 5, aim for the top 3 if possible. You have a lot of momentum on the minor pentatonic scale so make that priority # 1. But at this point if you can move the BLT up 2 BPM per week that is more than acceptable at this point. This is a marathon, not a s

LESSON DATE: 5/12/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Incremental training with metronome (as applied to the A minor pentatonic scale).

Make sure you have notes in your notebook based on what was on the white board today. You rate yourself as best as you can on a scale of 1 to 4 and alter your “action” (change the metronome setting) accordingly.

This kind of training works with ether 3 minutes spent doing the same thing (for shorter exercises such as this scale) or for 3 REPETITIONS for longer things, like one of the lessons in the Tom Hess Level One book.

This is a VERY effective practice strategy, so use it as much as possible.

LESSON DATE: 4/27/18

 

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

DRAGON ATTACK - Established more accurate (true to the recording) tempo goal of 80 BPM (16th note feel) and assigned directional picking.

Trained on and improved note attacks w/ left hand to stop unwanted string bending. Really good job fixing this so quickly! :)

ASSIGNMENT:

Work on getting this back up to around 58 to 60 BPM but be patient at first as it will be tricky getting used to the new picking pattern.

LESSON DATE: 3/17/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Down/up chord strumming. Concentrating on the 4-string open D chord.

We started at 80 BPM and worked our way up to 162 BPM

(Playing each string as a quarter note.)

Keep in mind this is not the best way to train on good strumming overall, but it DOES help you get used to “sweeping” across a set amount of strings and it helps make the pick feel more comfortable in your hand.

We also trained on simple quarter note strums (alternate picking). You will notice that in a short matter of minutes it already started to sound better.

We did that at 60 BPM. The trick here is to “dig in” with the pick and in the case of the D chord we were using, to stop the sway of the wrist when coming back up so as to not hit the A string. Obviously when doing a down string you follow through to and including the High E string.  It’s the UP stroke that’s way more demanding.

You can create your own exercises (or just do this one for now) and add it to things you’re studying/training (and even put as part of a warm-up routine).

“Wish You Were Here"

for now just do simple quarter note down strums. Once you’re comfortable doing that, as a bonus you can practice playing it with the same rhythm, but using all UP strokes instead of all down strokes.  Mind the tempo goal for this one.  

TIP: Start taking a look at the chords as taught in Lesson 16 (Chords Part 2) in your lesson book and start studying THOSE versions of the chords. Hint: You ALREADY can play the D chord that way . . . 

 

ASSIGNMENT:

 

Finish the chord progression exercises once and for all.

LESSON DATE: 3/17/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Pick technique and directional picking.

Today was the first time I’ve ever seen you really grasp holding the pick at a 45º angle, so good job with that.

We wrote out a very simple drill to train on the concept of directional picking. By studying the example I had you transcribe into tablature from the white board, you can see how when traveling from a lower string to a higher string, you play 2 down picks in a row.

Likewise (but not manifested in this example), if the last pick motion you play on a higher string is an up pick, and you’re traveling to a LOWER string, you then do ANOTHER up pick.

So to review, direction picking essentially utilizes two down picks in a row when traveling from a lower string to a higher string PROVIDED THAT THE LAST PICK MOTION ON THE LOWER STRING WAS A DOWN PICK.

AND:

Direction picking essentially utilizes two UP picks in a row when traveling from a HIGHER string to a LOWER string PROVIDED THAT THE LAST PICK MOTION ON THE HIGHER STRING WAS AN UP PICK.

This is not a simple concept. Well, it’s actually REALLY simple once you grasp it, but it’s NOT a simple concept for beginners. The fact that you’re learning about it now means that I know you are smart and capable enough to handle it.  I know you’re in this for the long haul, so you can handle being taught more sophisticated concepts sooner than pretty much ALL of our paying clients. :)

We also transcribed the chord shapes from the bridge in “Red Barchetta” to a neck diagram sheet.

Start working on playing those “D shaped” chords in the more staccato manner used in the actual song. It will take while to get the hang of the timing, you I watched you work it out and you’re doing fine with it.

LESSON DATE: 2/11/18

Good progress made on lesson 5 from the book!

Focus on completion, not perfection.   Implement the training tactics we used in the lesson today and you'll nail this in no time.

The cleanness of your left hand articulation will improve with persistence. 

LESSON DATE: 2/3/18

Rebecca: It’s good that you’re practicing these using alternate picking even though normally alternate picking is typically used either for 8th notes (or other rhythms that subdivide the beat into 2 or more notes) or for simply faster tempos.

By the way, with 2-note per string scales such as these (when playing quarter, 8th or 16th notes), there really is no more efficient way to play them than alternate picking.

Just so you’re clear, it’s okay to use all down picking on these when playing them as quarter notes, but you can certainly use alternate picking if you wish. (Others might disagree, but that’s a topic for another time.)

Keep in mind that the training exercises we do during lessons can often and sometimes should be something you replicate on your own.

Today’s overall strategy for this scale was to do some or all of the following (and sometimes in certain sequences and combinations):

Slow the metronome down

Play each note 4 times to give you PLENTY of time to be ready for the next note.

Increase the tempo/speed of the metronome

Decrease the number to 3 times per note 4 times per note 

Decrease the number to 2 times per note from 3 times per note (or even from 4 times—it need not be so regimented—it’s more about learning how to strategize and keep trying different tactics that make sense and that work for you).

We  had to stop due to pain, but keep working your way up towards “clean as quarter notes at 60” and then shoot for 80 to 120 as 8th notes.

LESSON DATE: 1/27/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Monitored some tempo goals and reached new and higher “BLT”s for both of them.

Make sure, whenever possible, you have a tempo for anything you’re studying. If you are not sure what the tempo goal should be either have me find one with or for you, or come up with one and run it by me.

ASSIGNMENT:

Work on getting as many tempo goals in place as possible (hint: if you have access to the song—any song can be found on YouTube—listen to it and see if you can figure it out that way). Start  working extra hard on the stuff already close to being finished  and let’s try to get the number of practice items in your log down closer to 10 items max.

LESSON DATE: 1/13/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

TOM HESS Beginner Book Level One: Big improvements here. Timing is much better and your ability to use the metronome and adjust your tempo when you’re ahead or behind the beat is developing nicely.

PRACTICE STRATEGY TIP:

Don’t be too quick to memorize these things. You are not ready to never look at the printed music until you can pinpoint where mistakes occur. That way you’ll be able to ISOLATE and fix problems.

Whenever you are reasonably fluent with a piece of music, étude or exercise (like you were today with “Irish Song”) but then you make a mistake like you did after the first 4 bars, isolate the problem and spend extra time ironing it out. But here the key ingredient: Don’t just practice the isolated area enough to get it “caught up” with the overall BLT of the entire piece. Practice it enough so that you can play it FASTER that the rest of the piece. This will boost your confidence and make the entire piece easier and more fun to play, and make you reach your final tempo goal much faster.

CHORD TRAINING: LESSON 6 CHORD CHANGES  - I’ve given you the 3rd and final handout. If you can get to some of them and are ready to pass them during your lessons, manage them to the point where you know which ones fit that criteria and let’s finish them.

LESSON DATE: 1/6/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

CHORD TRAINING: LESSON 6 CHORD CHANGES Let’s keep the momentum going and see if we can knock out a few more progressions.    If you don’t have a check mark next to the progression it means you haven’t passed it yet. We skip around a lot to knock out the easier ones. :)

Remember that  EVERYONE has 10 to 30 minutes a day to practice no matter how busy they are.  You need to practice more, even if it's only 3 minutes a day. But commit to putting in SOME work every day and miss maybe two days a week TOPS.

Review earlier notes in here re how to play Lesson 4 Irish Song properly. Sometimes the note duration is unstable.

LESSON DATE: 1/5/18

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Keep up the momentum in the book and w/ the chord change handouts. Those are the next two things I’m likely to check next.

LESSON DATE: 12/31/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Remember that this log is simply a once a week check in. If you know certain items are not getting practiced at all, then instead of simply writing the same number or score every single week, you need to at that point consider marking the item “BB” (for “back burner”) or something similar that conveys this information, such as a question mark (?) or similar.

Remember that your BLT log is where you typically “check in” to get this information that you then carry over once a week to your speed/scoring/timing log.

LESSON DATE: 12/30/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

TOM HESS Beginner Book Level One:

Start using the newly assigned fingerings.

Here are some tips and reminders on how to properly play Irish Song (Lesson 4 in the Level One book):

If the bar/measure has 8 attacks in it, you play all of the attacks (notes) as straight 8th notes.

If the bar/measure has only 6 attacks in it, the first 4 notes are played as straight 8th notes, but the 5th and 6th attacks are to be played as quarter notes.

If the bar/measure has only 5 attacks in it, the first 4 notes are played as straight 8th notes, 5th and final attack should to be played as a half note.

ASSIGNMENT:

Just as we made a commitment and promise to pay the collection agency $50 per month to pay off our debt to Williamson County Medical Center, I want you to figure out between now and next weekend EXACTLY how much time you’re willing to commit to practicing every day in terms of the BARE MINIMUM and tell me what that amount is, and what item (or items) you are going to commit to working on.

Keeping It Fun: You are only human. You need to make this fun. So I want you to designate some of your practice items or practice or playing activity as something that you approach with pleasure and that by definition requires little if any motivation on your part to practice on some kind of regular basic. 

LESSON DATE: 12/23/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

We talked about the idea of scale degrees. What we want to be able to do is “build” any minor pentatonic scale based on being given root note. This is possible once you grasp that the minor pentatonic scale is basically the same as natural minor scale, only with less notes.  You don’t have to be able to read what I just wrote and understand it, but you SHOULD be able to go through your notes and get a better idea of what I’m talking about. If not, this is a sign that you’re not taking enough (or good enough notes) during your lessons.  

CHORD TRAINING: New training handout called:  LESSON 6 CHORD CHANGES

Chord changes: You’re on the 3rd and final page of this assignment. Good job so far.

HOW TO TRAIN YOURSELF ON CHORDS - Handout and audio (emailed) 

Make sure you study this and introduce the training described therein into how you practice and learn new (or difficult) chords.

it will take a while to learn all of this stuff so don’t expect to memorize or master this material any time soon.

LESSON DATE: 12/16/17

Green Onions - Write both guitar parts as separate items in your speed and scoring log and start tracking your tempo.

TECHNIQUE:  Devote some extra time to improving your left hand fingering technique on your 4th finger. It’s not horrible, but it needs to be much better or else you will have a really hard time playing faster and cleaner down the road.

 

Watch that you’re not cutting the fretted notes short, especially in Guitar Part 2.  Everything in this piece is a quarter note and should last the FULL DURATION of their respective beats.

LESSON DATE: 12/15/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

CHORD TRAINING: New training handout called:  LESSON 6 CHORD CHANGES

Still need to clean up the Dm chord

Finish THE REST OF THE NATURAL MINOR SCALES THAT still need tO FILL OUT/COMPUTE

LET’S START HERE NEXT TIME:

LESSON DATE: 11/25/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

CHORD TRAINING: recent training handout called:  LESSON 6 CHORD CHANGES

This is a 3-tiered assignment. I gave you the 2nd sheet so you can work on it but you need to finish the 1st one with me (pass it) before I can pass anything on the 2nd sheet (only 1 bar of rests).

Chord changes: Be sure to remember how to look for common fingerings among chords you’re learning and practicing so that this tactic becomes automatic in your thinking.

LESSON DATE: 11/24/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Chord changes: Be sure to remember how to look for common fingerings among chords you’re learning and practicing so that this tactic becomes automatic in your thinking.

Practice Item Management: You worked on establishing your “BLT” (where applicable) so that you know what is going on with the items you’re learning. This is so you have clear goals established for them (so you know what you’re shooting for) as well as making sure you have (as close as is reasonably possible—I know you don’t have time to practice a lot) an idea of what to use when filling in the Speed/Scoring/Timing log once a week.

I created a new sheet to help you micromanage the tempo goals for certain practice/study items. Because our printer sucks I may have to give it to you later. If I don’t, remind me to check your file folder. Also, I need to train you on how to play Dragon Attack and let’s make sure you have it tabbed out this time.

Don’t be too eager to memorize stuff. Remember, your goal here is to just be able to PLAY it, not memorize it. There will be PLENTY of stuff you need to memorize, so w/ much of this stuff just make sure you’re learning how to use the tablature as “cues” to get you playing it. 

LESSON DATE: 11/18/17

We trained on how to play (and practice) the Minor Pentatonic scale. I have printed out an objectives sheet in XL for you on this.

Make sure you have notes on the note identification training exercise we did as well. Don't just sit in class and expect to absorb stuff. You have to TAKE NOTES and make sure you understand EVERYTHING YOU ARE LEARNING.

LESSON DATE: 11/17/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

 

Learned essentially the 3rd lick from Country Licks for Guitar.

LESSON DATE: 11/4/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

BASIC BLUES BUILDING BLOCKS -

2-note power chord versions (Level 2).    

as STRAIGHT QUARTER NOTES

POWER CHORDS & SUPPLEMENTAL TRAINING EXERCISE/STRATEGY:

We revised the concept of playing power chord movements higher up the neck in order to make them easier to play because of the lowered tension but more significantly, because of the spacing between the frets being easier.

If I haven’t mentioned it before, we basically can/should use the opening chords to “My Generation” by The Who because it’s so incredibly simple and easy to transpose up the neck for easier positioning.

Last time we monitored this we had you playing the change from the 10th position to the 8th position.  See how far down you can get it and basically ping-pong between this and the Blues changes.

LESSON DATE: 11/3/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Aura Lee - remember that every time you’re given a new item of feedback during training or whatever, you have to give yourself permission to stumble over implementing the improvement before you’re able to comfortably play whatever it is were playing before assuming the demand put upon your playing from the new feedback.

Don’t see feedback as a BAD thing. It’s a GOOD thing because it means that you ARE DOING WELL ENOUGH that the trainer is giving you greater responsibility 😃

You’re doing quite well with keeping the fretting hand fingers close to the strings. Keep up the good work.

You went from unable to do it well at 66 BPM to really well at 88 in one lesson. Now do you see why there’s no reason to get stressed out. YOU CAN DO THIS AND YOU ARE DOING IT REALLY WELL.

Recently I coached you about prioritizing when you don’t find a lot of time to practice.  Did your practice between today and last time reflect the following advice:

"If I had to list the 3 most important areas right now I’d say it’s the Blues stuff, the Lesson book and the chord training."

LESSON DATE: 10/28/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

FRETBOARD LITERACY - BEGINNER TO INTERMEDIATE - LESSON TWO - ACCIDENTALS & THE MAJOR SCALE PATTERN

You were given the remaining major scales to complete on paper so that you cover every notes combination, barring enharmonic scales. For example, you computed the F# major scale but not its enharmonic equivalent, the Gb major scale . . . 

We also learned how to play any one octave major scale up and down a single string with the suggested fretting hand fingering.  This need not be a high priority, but if you can work it into your practice it will help you, especially in how it will stretch your fingers for better playing.

We checked, monitored and filed out and updated your speed, scoring and timing log. Overall you’re doing a good job with it, but you need to not confusing recording your BLT with this log. If you had been filling in your BLT for “Aura Lee” in the log every week, you would have a much greater chance of practicing it more and working to blow past your highest recorded speed.

Be thinking in terms of prioritizing when you don’t find a lot of time to practice. Typically speaking, at this point you want to focus on what’s already got the greatest momentum.

If I had to list the 3 most important areas right now I’d say it’s the Blues stuff, the Lesson book and the chord training. 

LET’S START HERE NEXT TIME:

Aura Lee - let’s nail it and move on to Lesson 4. :)

LESSON DATE: 10/27/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

CHORD TRAINING: New training handout called:  LESSON 6 CHORD CHANGES

FRETBOARD LITERACY - BEGINNER TO INTERMEDIATE - LESSON TWO - ACCIDENTALS & THE MAJOR SCALE PATTERN

We wrote out C and G  Will do F and D next time and 8 more . . . 

LESSON DATE: 10/14/17

AT WE DID TODAY:

Blues stuff we’ve been doing . . . 

2-note power chord versions (Level 2). 

Your BLT for quarter notes went down (see Post it) but your technique is much better.

Minor Pentatonic scale. Focus most on the spots that are hardest to do.

LESSON DATE: 10/13/17

Watch that your note articulation with the pick is consistent and that some notes are not too noticeably louder or quieter than others.

Work on Lesson 3 now.

LESSON DATE: 10/7/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Lesson 2 - Prelude in G -  Let’s keep the momentum from 9/29/17 going . . . 

Your tempo goal is 72 (8th note feel). You make some progress today

Review old notes I’ve given you and make sure you’re on top of the proper technique.

CHORD TRAINING:

We continues learning to play all the “full” chords in the lessons sub-named Chords Part 2 and Part 3 respectively.  We will start w/ the full E 7 today.

We also played around with the “G note to A5” cliché as featured in “Rock And Roll” by Led Zeppelin and “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen, as well as the opening to “Dragon Attack”.

LESSON DATE: 10/6/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Blues stuff we’ve been doing . . . 

You’re finished w/ the single note stuff. If you want to bring them back as a warm up that’s your choice. It might be a good idea until you’re more comfortable doing the 2-note power chord versions (Level 2). But I won’t be checking on them anymore. 

Watch that when muting you’re not doing at the expense of the notes that actually do need to be heard.

Lesson 2 - Prelude in G -  Let’s keep the momentum from 9/29/17 going . . . 

Your tempo goal is 72 (8th note feel). Right now your BLT is 66, which is where it was yesterday (it was 56 last time we tested it).  

Watch the following:

Pick angle. Strive for a 45º angle - keep working on it. THIS IS STILL IN HERE BECAUSE IT STILL APPLIES.

Move the left hand thumb w/ the rest of our hand when changing positions and keep it “behind” your 2nd finger. It need not be perfect, but you need to constantly work on it so it becomes more of a habit.

Watch that you’re using the fingertips and not the finger PRINTS on these single note areas. Part of the problem is you’re not bringing the thumb down to the middle of the back of the neck.

Be mindful of where you’re making mistakes and take extra time to smooth them out. Don’t just play from beginning to end every time you are working on a particular piece of music or study item.

LESSON DATE: 9/30/17

Blues stuff we’ve been doing . . . 

We continued training on muting with both hands over single notes as well as the 2-string power chords. 

POWER CHORDS:

Today we learned how to “plot out” chords (power chords specifically in this case) on a chord grid. 

We introduced the concept of playing power chord movements higher up the neck in order to make them easier to play because of the lowered tension but more significantly, because of the spacing between the frets being easier.

Today we had you playing the change from the 10th position to the 8th position.  Try to remember what this means. Otherwise we’ll figure it out again when we get back to this item in the rotation.

Reviewed things about whole and half steps, and accidentals, as well as understanding the open string notes in relation to fretted notes.

Lesson 2 - Prelude in G -  Let’s keep the momentum from 9/29/17 going . . . 

Your tempo goal is 72 (8th note feel). Right now your BLT is 60, which is where it was yesterday (it was 56 last time we tested it).  

Watch the following:

Pick angle. Strive for a 45º angle - keep working on it.

Watch that you’re using the fingertip of the first finger. The other fingers are stronger in this regard right now.

LESSON DATE: 9/29/17

Chord changes . . . 

CHORD TRAINING:

We started learning to play all the “full” chords in the lessons sub-named Chords Part 2 and Part 3 respectively. 

Here are the chord changes you’ve been training on so far (from Lesson 6):

Here are the training parameters we are using right now on the changes below:

2 BARS ALL QUARTER NOTES FOLLOWED BY 2 BARS OF REST BETWEEN CHORDS - Basically play the top line in the handout Rhythm 1

Em     C                    BLT: 72 BPM

 

C     G                         BLT: 72 BPM

 

C     G      Am               BLT: 72 BPM

 

Em      G      A7               BLT: 72 BPM

 

E      A                    BLT:  72 BPM

 

E7     A7     B7            BLT:    Start here - B7 is proving pretty challenging.

 

D    A    E             BLT:

 

Dm    A               BLT:

 

C    Am    Dm    Em      BLT:

 

G     C      D       BLT: 

LESSON DATE: 9/23/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

We revisited the blues stuff we’ve been doing . . . 

We trained on muting with both hands over single notes as well as the 2-string power chords. 

LET’S START HERE NEXT TIME:

Chord changes . . . 

LESSON DATE: 9/22/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Lesson 2 - Prelude in G - 

Your tempo goal is 72 (8th note feel). Right now your BLT is 56 (it was 46 last time we tested it).  Good job with the alternate picking!

Watch the following:

Articulation of up picked notes. They tend to be noticeably weaker than the down picked notes, which is natural but not “good”.

Pick angle. Strive for a 45º angle

Wrist: It’s better bit there’s still a tendency to use the elbow when you can easily do everything from the wrist. Watch your paracord bracelets. If they’re moving too much, it’s a good indication your technique is faulty.

LET’S START HERE NEXT TIME:

Let’s revisit the blues stuff we’ve been doing . . . 

LESSON DATE: 9/16/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

We started learning to play all the “full” chords in the lessons sub-named Chords Part 2 and Part 3 respectively. 

Here are the chord changes you’ve been training on so far (from Lesson 6):

 

Em     C

 

C     G

 

C     G      Am

 

Em      G      A7

 

E      A

 

E7     A7     B7  

 

D    A    E   

 

BLT: 72 BPM (2 BARS ALL QUARTER NOTES FOLLOWED BY 2 BARS OF REST BETWEEN CHORDS) 

 

Dm    A

 

BLT: 60 BPM (2 BARS ALL QUARTER NOTES FOLLOWED BY 2 BARS OF REST BETWEEN CHORDS) 

 

C    Am    Dm    Em          

LESSON DATE: 9/15/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Revisited the blues stuff we’ve been doing . . . 

Be sure to mind your pick accuracy in terms of hitting only the notes required when playing these 5ths (power chords).

LESSON DATE: 9/10/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

BASIC NOTATION AND RHYTHM PART 1 - WHOLE & HALF NOTES & RESTS

GREAT JOB!  So far as I can tell (for now) you’re completely finished doing this one. 

LESSON 6 in the Hess Book 1:

I suggest you stick to simple rhythms like the ones in the Rhythm 1 hand out. If you can play the second line, feel free to practice using that rhythm as well.

Here are some of the chord combinations from Lesson 6 that we used and some more you can use:

Em     C

C     G

C     G      Am

Em      G      A7

E      A

E7     A7     B7     

If you are working on chords that are more challenging, such as D and Dm, I strongly suggest imposing a full measure of rest in between chords until your transitioning between chords gets easier.

If you work on line 2 of the Rhythm 1 hand out, be aware of the difference between strumming through the strings at a rate that’s related to the tempo versus simply strumming through them very briskly (in order to mimic the effect of an instrument like a piano where all the fingers are hitting the keys at the same time to create the chords).

 

REMINDER:  you can take a sneak peak at Lesson 8 and practice those progressions as well.

 

LET’S START HERE NEXT TIME:

 

Let’s revisit the blues stuff we’ve been doing . . . 

LESSON DATE: 9/9/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Lesson 2 - Prelude in G - 

We established the tempo goal of 72. Right now your BLT is 46.  Just remember it’s more or less played with an 8th note feel.  The first note of every bar is played with a down pick. The down beats are all played with a down pick. So whenever the metronome clicks, that’s a down pick.

BASIC NOTATION AND RHYTHM PART 1 - WHOLE & HALF NOTES & RESTS

We need to revisit this and make sure you can play it at 120 to more complex drum patterns.

LESSON DATE: 9/2/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

Ode to Joy - today we used the “5 times per the pickup selector” strategy. Make sure you know what I mean by this. GREAT JOB! You finished it at a very challenging tempo.

Lesson 2 - Prelude in G

Just do what you can with it for now. Once you feel more confident at it we can discuss coming up with a tempo goal.  Just remember it’s more or less played with an 8th note feel.  Great job figuring out how it should be played after being given so little training!

LESSON DATE: 9/1/17

WHAT WE DID TODAY:

BASIC NOTATION AND RHYTHM PART 1 - WHOLE & HALF NOTES & RESTS

 

No need to work more on this, but remind me to tell you the devices used to help memorize the notation.

 

Ode to Joy - you’re only 8 BPM from your goal. Make this top priority.

LESSON DATE: 8/26/17 (2 HOURS)

TODAY’S OBJECTIVES:

Be absolutely sure you understand what we’ve been learning about sharps and flats.  

Accidentals is the word used to denote the whole idea of notes being short or flat. And remember, it can refer to keys as well as chords (not just individual notes).

LESSON 6 in the Hess Book 1:

I suggest you stick to simple rhythms like the ones in the Rhythm 1 hand out. If you can play the second line, feel free to practice using that rhythm as well.

Here are some of the chord combinations from Lesson 6 that we used and some more you can use:

Em     C

C     G

C     G      Am

Em      G      A7

E      A

E7     A7     B7     

And of course you can take a sneak peak at Lesson 8 and practice those progressions, but you might want to prep yourself a LOT doing more of the above to reduce the frustration of trying to take on so much at one time.

LESSON DATE: 8/18/17

TODAY’S OBJECTIVES:

Power chords (from the Blues Building Blocks) training. Training we did =  LIFT FLY LAND back and forth between chords (half step movement) until it gets too hard.

FRETBOARD LITERACY - If you’re taking good notes by now you know (or have the information to help you know) the following:

You can now find any natural note anywhere on the guitar.

You now know the notes of the C major scale.

You can play the C major scale “linearly” (on one single string at a time) up and down the string.

Just to give you an example.

The C major scale is the ONLY major scale with all natural notes.

TODAY WE ENDED WITH: (In the middle of) “Whole, Half or Neither” XL quiz . . . 

LESSON DATE: 8/18/17

TODAY’S OBJECTIVES:

Pick angle- getting better - start shooting for a 45º angle

Power chords (from the Blues Building Blocks) training. Training we did =  LIFT FLY LAND back and forth between chords (half step movement) until it gets too hard.

FRETBOARD LITERACY - Show me the last notes you took and we’ll take it from there.

LESSON DATE: 8/12/17

TODAY’S OBJECTIVES:

Pick angle- any improvements yet?

(Basic blues stuff)  - Swing rhythm - need to work on tendency to shift the accent and basically end up “reversing” the rhythm pattern. 

LESSON DATE: 8/11/17

Pick - need to work on more of a 45º angle . . . Right now it’s basically at 0º . . . 

The practice logs are MANDATORY. If you’re not sure how to use them, ask or use a pencil—we can always correct it.

FROM LAST TIME: Let’s review . . . 

Muting - (Basic blues stuff)  can be done with either hand. Practice both types until you notice one becoming the dominant habit.  It should get to the point where you never even think about it and have to slow down to notice which way you’re muting.

Swing rhythm picking: BIG IMPROVEMENT ON THIS NEXT THING:  I noticed (LAST TIME) your down strokes are very weak compared to your upstrokes. If anything, if they’re not going to be perfectly matched, it should be the opposite. (Downstrokes slightly heavier than the upstrokes.)

LESSON DATE: 8/5/17

Muting - can be done with either hand. Practice both types until you notice one becoming the dominant habit. 

Swing picking: I noticed your down strokes are very weak compared to your upstrokes. If anything, if they’re not going to be perfectly matched, it should be the opposite. (Downstrokes slightly heavier than the upstrokes.)

LESSON DATE: 8/4/17

Figure out a way to remember to update your scoring log once a week.

BLUES BUILDING BLOCKS:

Work on making sure you can do it as 8th notes as well as quarter notes.  Tempo goals aren’t really the emphasis here.

LESSON DATE: 7/29/17 NO SET TIME FOR FORMAT

“Smoke On The Water” - here’s the basic strategy we employed today:

Step 1. Play through lick as written on the tablature 5 time using the pickup selector counting method.

Step 2. Play the first fretted inverted power chord (the one played w/ the 1st finger) for two minutes.

Step 3. Play the 2nd fretted inverted power chord (the one played w/ the 3rd finger) for two minutes.

Step 4. Repeat Steps 1 through 3.

As you develop more strength, endurance and general ability you can feel free to upgrade the intensity.

For example, you can change Step 1 to playing it 10 to 15 times.

Likewise, you can change Steps 2 and 3 to playing each chord for 3, 4, 5 minutes, etc.

TIP: If you notice the chord played with the 1st finger is becoming easier to play than the one w/ the 3rd finger, spend more time on step 3 than on step 2 (or vice-versa if applicable). In other words, always be looking to OPTIMIZE your practice. It’s good to practice. It’s better to implement practice strategies. It’s BEST to consistently be seeking way to MASTER your practice strategies in order to make them as purposeful and effective as possible. (That said, don’t go TOO overboard with this. Next thing you know you’re focusing on efficiency more than you’re actually making real progress.) 😃

BASIC BLUES BUILDING BLOCKS - Single bass notes for now. We will build these into power chords and then full chords later on (and a whole bunch of other stuff).

For now your BLT w/ straight 8th notes is 60 BPM.  GOOD JOB!

If you have time, practice it as quarter and 8th notes, using alternate picking on the 8th notes version. 

LESSON DATE: 7/28/17 NO SET TIME FOR FORMAT

“Rock This Town"

 

Continue drilling like we have been doing. If you have time to work on it, see if you can cut the number of reps down from 8 to 4 (cut it in half). Go from 8 to 4, and then eventually 2 times before moving on to the next note of the lick.

LESSON DATE: 7/22/17 NO SET TIME FOR FORMAT

CREATIVE FREEDOM

Begin thinking in terms of allowing yourself to make discoveries and fool around on the instrument. 

 

I will give you an example. They need not necessarily become something you “have to practice” but it’s good to just be aware of this. Too many guitar students, especially beginners, are ultra conservative in their approach and as a result don’t give themselves permission to do ANYTHING without any supervision. Yes, you want to do what your teacher advises, but you need a healthy dose of allowing yourself some autonomy as well.

ASSIGNMENT (Not for next time, but do it soon): Come up with your own unique idea based on the technique I demonstrated for you today.

Watch the pick technique (wrist).

Watch some of the left hand fingers too. (You can especially pay more attention when you’re not looking at the book to play “Ode to Joy”.) Watch that you’re doing the “C shape”and not the “collapsed banana” on them.

You don’t “have” to use the pickup selector strategy of “5 times looking at the book alternating with 5 times NOT looking at the book” but it’s a strategy you can at least consider.

You want to always be striving to make your practice as purposeful and strategic as is (reasonably) possible.

LESSON DATE: 7/16/17 NO SET TIME FOR FORMAT

It won’t take long before you have a LOT of things which you could be practicing. So the first thing I want you to think about is ORGANIZING your practice items and giving yourself the freedom to prioritize when necessary.

ROLL DIE

Use a die to randomly come up w/ numbers one through six and recreate on your own the training we did today to learn the string names. This is not a high priority item YET, but you want to spend enough time on this so you 1) don’t forget about doing it or how to do it and 2) by the time it IS a high priority item, you’ve already mastered it.

ODE TO JOY - As with pretty much anything, you want to learn how to identify where a lesson or practice item needs extra attention. 

One way to do this is to find an area that you can isolate and then drill over and over. Today we did this with bars 13-14.  For every time you practice the entire piece you should drill these two bars as a “loop” for 2 to 3 minutes, then go back and play it 5 times.

Can you remember what we did as a trick for easily tracking how to play through something 5 times without having to write anything down or even keep count?