Since everyone learning to play the guitar will have varying hopes and goals regarding the instrument I believe that you will learn faster and stay more engaged when working on the songs and musical styles that resonate the most with you, the individual student. Customizing lessons to best support your goals is at the core of my teaching approach. That said, there are basic things that all guitar players need to know as a foundation to working on any genre or style.
If you are a total beginner, great! Let’s take a look at how to hold and tune your guitar, good playing posture, finger placement, learn some basic chords, the names of the strings, how to read chord charts and tab and begin to strum through some simple songs that you want to learn. Lessons can be either half hour long or one full hour long, but I find that beginners – especially young beginners – do well with half hour long lessons. Purchase lessons as an 8 week foundational beginners program, significantly discounted from the individual lessons pricing.
Maybe you’ve taken lessons before or have worked up some skills through online classes and tutorials, or maybe you’ve reached a plateau and you’re not sure how to take things a bit further. I’ve worked with many students in this situation. Let’s look at some different chord forms, strumming technique and rhythms, work on timing and smooth transitions from one chord to the next, muscle memory and dexterity, playing songs that you really like and that reflect the kind of playing you want to be able to do.
Music Theory and Improvisation
If you are interested in getting down to how music really works then diving into music theory, especially as it pertains to the guitar, is the way to go. To be sure, I generally weave in bits of theory here and there as I teach, but for an in-depth look at music theory we can personalize a course that will open up great tools for composition, harmony, improvisation, advanced chords and more. Learn scales and modes, how to harmonize the scale for chord building and composition. Learn the modes for improvisational playing, creating solos and melodic lines. Understand note values, timing, how to read and write music on the staff. There’s just so much we can do here and it really depends on your level of interest and commitment. I really enjoy teaching music theory and have experienced many “Eureka!” moments of my own as a result of my own studies of theory.
Genre Specific Approaches
Many students want to focus on a particular style or musical genre. Though there are still many aspects of basic foundation that will continue to apply at this point, here is where we can look at stylistic approaches that are more genre specific. Let’s look at jazz chord voicings and movement, blues chords and progressions, folk music strumming patterns, country/twang licks, classic Rock ‘N Roll, finger picking – all while studying the songs you like in the genres you identify with as a guitarist.
It Doesn’t Hurt To Ask …
The idea here is to personalize lessons for you. Your goals can be as straight forward as wanting to be able to sing a few tunes to your child at bedtime, or to be able to jam on a few tunes with friends. The outlines I’ve provided are strictly to provide an idea of possible courses of study. Please feel free to contact me to discuss your goals and availability so that we can work together to create an approach to learning the guitar the works for you.