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.

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?