The fastest way to make progress in your guitar playing is with one to one guitar lessons! My main goals as guitar tutor are -
1. To make progress in your guitar playing as fun and stress free as possible!
2. To accurately target which level you're up to in a particular area, then select the most appropriate piece or exercise to get you onto the next rung of the ladder!
3. To assist you in making the most productive use of your practice time outside of the lessons as this is where the real progress is made!
The first question you'll probably ask when beginning guitar is - Where's the best place to start?
If you're completely new to guitar, in the first lesson we'll cover how to read guitar music (tab) and you'll also learn your first song - which, with a bit of practice each day you should be able to play pretty well within a week.
When beginners witness musicians instantly playing along to or transcribing songs and improvising, composing etc. they may have thoughts similar to the following -
- "They must naturally have a really good ear" - This is probably correct a small amount of the time, but usually these abilities are the result of training and practice, they are a honed skill rather than a natural talent.
- "I'm tone deaf, I could never do that" - Incorrect, with the right training and practice - everyone's ear can be improved!
Aural training is really helpful for more advanced areas such as transcription and improvisation, and essential if you want to try your hand at composition. Having studied this extensively himself - I have a wide variety of resources and apps which he can show you how to use and set out a practice routine, in order to maximise your listening abilities.
The cornerstone of most guitar based music. Whilst chords can be a bit daunting at first, the beauty of them is - once they're done, they're done. When your hands can move to and form a G, C or D chord you should be able to play most songs which contain those chords (and believe me - that's a lot of songs!) Of course rhythm guitar can go a lot deeper, and we can cover the rhythm techniques used in any style you wish - funk, heavy metal, reggae, rock, jazz etc.
Lead Guitar and Improvisation
The trick with lead guitar is to start simple, then build things up. And a lot of the time simple is best! Listen to Neil Young's solo on Cinnamon Girl (YouTube link below - solo starts just after the 2 minute mark) for a great example of how sometimes all you need is just one note.
Regarding starting improvisation - I don't believe it's productive to ram your head full of scales, that is a recipe for letting your fingers run away with themselves!
Instead - We start simple - with just a couple of notes and try to make an interesting rhythm and melody. Then we can move things up a notch and try four notes etc. and eventually explore scales and arpeggios more fully - always keeping in mind that being making music is our goal and we let the ear dictate what the hands are doing - not the other way round!
One of the main problems with music theory is it's such a GIANT subject. Where do you start? What are the most important things to learn?
I believe it's helpful to have a basic understanding of certain areas of theory and has created resources and documents which make a good starting point.
Some of the subjects covered -
- Helpful facts about Notes, Intervals and chords
- Terminology and music symbols
- Chord spelling
- Time signatures
- Chord extensions and inversions
- Chords, arpeggios and scales (they can be one big happy family if you understand them properly 🙂
We can then branch out and cover the any of those areas in more detail, or explore any other area you wish.
The big one! You can have all the lessons you want, without backing them up with practice, progress will be minimal at best.
A major source of frustration can be not knowing what to practice, or even how to practice. Sometimes you can feel like you're making no progress no matter how much time you spend practicing and without guidance there's also a possibility you're just reinforcing your errors and turning them into bad habits!
I will help you set out a practice routine and show you the best way to tackle any problems you may encounter.
How long should I practice for? - It really depends on your goals. Beginners should be aiming to practice for 20 to 30 minutes per day. If you're looking to turn professional then you're going to need to do several hours per day at some point.