Many years ago, when I first started to improvise in a jam session, my musical knowledge and understanding were very poor. I would literally try to locate the key of the tune by placing my first finger over the 6th string (low E string) and then chromatically move it up the fretboard until I would find a fret that was in tune with what I was hearing.
Then I would apply the minor blues scale and show off all my best blues licks! Back then I knew nothing about the underlying harmony, nothing about chord tones and my timing was really not good. But I was having fun!
Contrasting my own past experience. I want you to feel confident about your playing, by learning and understanding musical concepts that can turn you into a better musician on a more fundamental level. This is a long process, it will require that you carefully read, digest and apply the content learned in the lessons. You will need to be persistent and patient, but most importantly understand that it will pay off hugely in the long run!
We don't want to rush anything, but we also don't want to waste our time! Therefore I presented you with my personal learning strategy:
The strategy for monitoring your progress will be based on recorded audio and video of your own playing, along with reflection and analysis on the practice area. After the recording, I will then listen to the performance and assess the piece of work by asking questions such as:
Was the performance clean? Was the timing and accuracy of the performance good? Where there any mistakes?
If yes, then I can watch the video and try to understand what caused the mistake and work on ways to prevent it from happening again.
This is a highly effective way of putting your own playing under the “microscope”, and ultimately this audio and video method can save time, as it prevents you from rehearsing a possible mistake or for instance a “mechanical” right-hand issue on a specific technique.
Scroll down to learn more about the areas we will work on in the lessons.
THEORY / SIGHT-READING / EAR TRAINING
We will focus on looking at music theory from a guitarist's perspective, and understand how music "works" on the fretboard.
Ultimately, you can acquire enough knowledge to understand your favorite songs.
As for sight-reading, we will look at the basics so that you can get your reading skills enhanced.
In Ear-Training, we will look at some ways to improve your aural abilities with the guitar and other methods.
Focus on the execution and mechanics of a variety of techniques that today's modern guitarist ought to know.
We will look into detail on aspects such as the way you hold, angle and use the guitar pick. Left and right-hand muting techniques.
All this, so that you can play with confidence without tension and with a precise, clean and accurate execution.
Techniques covered: Alternate picking, Economy Picking, Sweep Picking, Legato, Tapping, Bending, Vibrato and more.
CHORDS / SCALES / ARPEGGIOS
Chordal vocabulary is the focus here. We will start our studies with the Major, Sevenths, Augmented, Minor, Diminished, Minor seventh flat fifth chords. The chord types will be configured in 5 different positions with its related arpeggios and scales, by the means of THE CAGED SYSTEM. As we progress in your studies we will also be covering the Harmonic minor harmony and the related arpeggios, modes and its application.
Here we will start with the very basics and gradually expand into more demanding concepts.
The focus at the beginning is to make you visualize, where you can find the good sounding notes (chord tones), as well as developing an understanding of the notes to avoid. We will organize chords, scales, arpeggios locally for easy application in different areas of the guitar's fretboard. The idea is to apply the techniques we are covering in your studies, directly in the improvisation studies.
REPERTOIRE (LEARNING YOUR FAVORITE SONGS!).
We will focus a study on an artist that you like, explore his/hers style of playing in details. With your favorite songs in mind, we will understand how to get an appropriate tone for the song and analyze what it takes to play it with accuracy and finesse. Another aspect of this study is to teach you how to learn a song by ear and make your own notations of what you hear. Learning how to recognize different guitar techniques, scales or chords by ear is a valuable skill to have and will only make you a better musician.
RHYTHMIC DEVELOPMENT (DIFFERENT MUSICAL GENRES)
With a focus on different musical styles, we will work on your timing and accuracy with exercises that are focused on key skills from different musical genres. Recording yourself to a metronome will be important in this study. Getting used to playing with a metronome will not only develop your inner timer but also further develop your rhythmic aural skills so you can tell whether something is ahead or behind of the beat. The goal of this study is to prepare you for almost any musical situation. We will be covering many genres including Funk, Rock, Blues, Metal and much more.
CREATING AN EFFECTIVE PRACTICE ROUTINE
I can teach you how to make an effective practice routine that supports your goals as a player. With your goals in mind, we will find what to practice, how to practice and for how long. Using concepts from gym workouts, we will create a routine that will allow your brain to process the information being worked on in a healthy manner, preventing unnecessary injuries from repetitive motion. Your practice will also be constantly updated as your progress in your studies.
AUDIO AND VIDEO CREATION
We will be looking at ways to record your playing and later synchronize it with an HD video. From productions made only with the usage of your smartphone to recording separate audio and video and later merging them into one file, is another key asset to your development as a musician. At some point, the world will need to hear your amazing guitar playing, right? So why not try to make your own advertisement as good as possible with what you have available?