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Beginner Guitarists - 5 Things You Should Know
Oct 06

Beginner Guitarists – 5 Things You Should Know

By Monica | News

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, so the saying goes, and this seems objectively true in any walk of life. Learning is a beautiful, sometimes painful process, and there’s really no getting around it.

However, every intermediate or advanced guitarist can reel off a list of things they wish they’d known as beginner guitar players, quicker than you can say “Don’t-worry-the-finger-pain-goes-away-in-about-a-week”.

These aren’t ways to avoid the absolutely necessary processes of learning and practice (there’s really, really no getting around those) but they are little insights, and tricks, and shortcuts, and reassurances that should combine to help you progress faster and happier.

So, beginner guitarists, here are 5 things you really should know, embarking on your instrumental learning journey. And ironically, it could be argued that the 5 points also make pretty good general rules for life. Maybe that’s too deep for now though, so let’s talk guitar:

1 – Rapid Progress Is Around The Corner

Time after time teaching beginner guitarists, we see the same thing play out. It goes like this:

  • Beginner guitarist picks up the instrument
  • Finds it challenging (obviously)
  • Presumes they’re innately ‘not very good at it’ or it’s ‘too hard’
  • Stops playing.

There’s one crucial thing they’re failing to understand here, and it’s the difference between being bad at something, and being new to something.

So the question is – what should you compare yourself to. The answer might be yourself, five minutes ago. Or it might be other people who also only just picked up the instrument. But it certainly isn’t Jimi Hendrix, who – once upon a time, five minutes after picking up the instrument – had exactly the same ability as you have right now.

You are not bad at playing the guitar, and the guitar is not inherently too difficult. You are new to playing the guitar, and it takes a bit of time to make progress.

The good news, though, is that – with little-and-often practice – progress rapidly accelerates, especially at the beginning, where there’s so much space to progress into, and so much to learn.

Do not be deterred by something challenging being challenging. In some sense it’s a test of your commitment and resolve, a wall representing your desire to learn the instrument – beyond which is a world of creative expression and enjoyment. But never forget the difference between being bad at something, and being new to something. 

2 – Your Body Will Adapt

stress relief

The pain-in-the-fingers point in the introductory paragraph has already referenced this idea. Because again, another presumption beginners make all too easily is that playing guitar simply causes painful fingertips, or a sore wrist. 

The truth is – unless you have poor posture and technique – that playing guitar causes painful fingertips, for about a week. After which time this goes away and never returns. 

Your body will adapt. Your fingertips quickly develop calluses – very slightly firmer skin – and then that’s that, you’re all set. No pain, no problem. 

In some ways this is the same overall point as the first point: Don’t presume that how it is in the beginning is how it’s always going to be. It isn’t. Everything improves exponentially if you move beyond the initial obstacles and keep playing.

3 – Try Almost Everything

I mean this in two different ways:

  1. When learning your first riffs, chord patterns and songs, there’s much to be learned from all the usual beginner guitar songs and styles, but don’t stop there. You might just find – if you turn your hand to beginners’ country guitar, or thrash metal, that you one – really enjoy it, and two – have a natural flair for it too.
  2. Of course you’re going to primarily take on beginner level material, and rightly so. It’s important you follow the well-worn paths that have led so many guitarists to advanced levels, success and creative fulfilment. However, trying to play more complex, advanced bits of material gives you an insight into what’s to come, may make you learn something new, is good inspiration, and great fun. Don’t be afraid to try these things once in a while. It’s not about mastery, it’s about testing yourself.

4 – Don’t Avoid Things

If you hit an obstacle, that might feel like a brick wall – and there are some common ones: Barre chords, alternate picking, and so on – it’s so so easy to turn away. You should fight this urge, though, because there’s really only one way forward.

Furthermore, these obstacles are never the monsters they seem, especially when broken down by practice, good teaching, online lessons, repetition, determination, and so on. 

It is in the act of avoiding the challenge that you create the monster. Every time you avoid it, you unconsciously tell yourself that this should be avoided because it is something to fear. The reality is always very different.

Play your barre chords badly, then again, then again, then take on a barre chord song beyond your level, and play it badly, and again, and again, and then click – suddenly you can play barre chords. If you don’t believe me, try it!

5 – Acquire The Tools You Need

A bad workman blames his tools, but a beginner workman often doesn’t have the tools in the first place.

No you don’t need to immediately buy every bit of guitar gear you can get your hands on (that’ll come later) but having a working version of each of the essential accessories is really important.

This might sound very obvious, but perhaps you’d be surprised how many guitarists can find themselves without a pick, tuner, or capo to hand when needed. 

Make sure you have at least one properly functioning version of each of the following to hand:

  • Guitar (the obvious one)
  • A pick
  • A tuner or tuning app
  • A capo
  • A cable and amplifier if playing electric guitar.
  • Spare strings

 

The 5 Stages of Learning to Play A Song
Aug 16

The 5 Stages of Learning to Play A Song

By Monica | News

It’s sometimes said in education that there’s knowing something, then there’s really knowing something. Meaning that the more comprehensively you study and practice something, the more you learn from it, the better you know it, and the more is added to your overall knowledge or repertoire.

With songs specifically, and beginner guitar songs in particular, it can be helpful to deconstruct this sense of learning a song into its component parts.

As such, here’s an article on the 5 stages of learning to play a song. Each stage takes the previous stage(s) and builds on them. Each stage adds something new to a guitarist’s development, and each brings its own value to you as an individual developing musician. Here they are:

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7 of the Most Famous Guitarists in the World
Aug 16

6 of the Most Famous Guitarists in the World

By Monica | News

The guitar remains one of the most popularly played instruments in the world. No matter what the genre of choice and preference, musicians are somehow always drawn to this string instrument and often take their first steps into the world of music-making and playing through it. Many continue to hone their skills and talents over the years and become exceptional at their art, and go down in history as the best of the best.

Many have come and gone, and continue to follow the blazing trails carved out for them by the greats, but some names never lose their place due to their sheer talent, skill, and power. Among the most famous guitarists in the world—there are plenty of noteworthy names—here are a select few.

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What to Know About Learning to Play the Drums
Feb 11

What to Know About Learning to Play the Drums

By Monica | News

Just like learning molecular biology, making soufflé and mastering the one-inch-punch, the more you practice your skills and understanding of drums the better you will be in performance. Browse Roland electric drum kits and read on.

Here are a few important tips that can send you off to a flying start.

Be Patient

The first thing to know in gaining proficiency in any skill is that it will take practice and focus to master your art. It takes many years to become a master musician and you can’t expect to get there without putting in the time. Focused practice and proper guidance are vital to your learning process.

Slow Down

What to Know About Learning to Play the Drums

A common mistake beginners will make when they are starting off is to go as fast as possible. But this makes it harder to learn important patterns of movement later in the learning process. Take the time to go slowly and carefully and you will have a better grasp on the lessons that you are learning. As you gain fluidity of motion and more practice you will feel the unmistakable que to speed things up.

Learn To Read Music

It can seem to be scary to read music at first, but this is not actually as difficult as many people think it is. Furthermore, we believe it is absolutely essential to the understanding of music and have made this a mandatory requisite of our learning program.

Seek & Find Inspiration & Passion

Follow the music that touches your heart and inspires you to be the musician you are inside. Then begin to immerse yourself in this music. Afterall you must remember that playing a musical instrument is about making the music that you feel in your soul. So, don’t waste time playing heavy metal if you really love jazz. If you ask any musician, they will tell you they sourced so much of their inspiration and passion from observing their heroes and trying to emulate them.

So, simply find some good musicians who inspire you and make you want to play music and this will be your starting ground.

Practice as Much as You Can

As mentioned before, you can’t realistically expect to become a great musician overnight. It will take many hours of dedicated practice to become great. Even if you are taking lessons
but show up time after time without doing the required practice, you can’t expect that your
level of proficiency will improve. But by the same measure, if you stick to your daily practice you will find your progress in itself is encouraging. You will eventually get to the point where like any real drummer, you are happiest when you are drumming.

Be Open-Minded

While you will certainly want to follow your passion and play what you love, don’t allow that to limit your experience with all types of music. You may stumble across something that allows you to see your own experience in a whole new way. You can also expect your tastes and passion to evolve as your experience as a drummer also increases. For example, I never thought I was a jazz fan until I became obsessed with the style of music after learning from a special teacher — now I can’t get enough.

Find a Good Teacher You Respect

You can read all the books you want and watch all types of online videos and even progress considerably on your path as a drummer, but you will fare far better if you find yourself a good teacher with whom you share a special connection. Ideally, this teacher will be the type of person you will see in a club and then when you see them, you can only say, “I want to play like that”.

Develop Your Technique

Technique can be one of the hardest things to learn but it will really pay off in the long run when you learn to master your skills as a drummer. If you have taken the time to refine these skills you will find that your capacity to play more advanced music comes easier. As a music lover, I implore you to do this. It will allow you to expand as a musician in countless ways.

Play with Other People

Even though there are many other drummers online and you could get a whole band together there, you would do better to get a band together of like minded musicians and start playing the music you love. Music is a team sport and learning to integrate well with your band can greatly improve your capacity as a drummer.

Nov 24

Top Ten Tips For Effective Piano Practice

By Monica | News

Top Ten Tips For Effective Piano Practice

Wondering how to maximize your piano practice time? The following pointers can help ensure that you get the very most out of every playing experience!

There can be no doubt that practice is crucial to developing further as a pianist. It is important to keep these suggestions in mind whenever you are ready to hone your skills.

1. Goal-Setting Is Key

Simply sitting at the piano bench with the notion of playing for a while is not likely to produce marked results. Rather, you should consider setting a specific goal for each session, such as learning to play a particular section of a piece. Doing this keeps you accountable and helps push you to achieve something every single time.

Remember, however, to set your goals carefully so that they can actually be attained during the period of time you allot for them. Read Piano For All reviews 2020 to keep you focused. Do not bite off more than you can chew during small windows of time, because you may end up feeling discouraged more often than not.

2. Engage In Warm-Up Exercises

We understand that this can seem like a tedious part of practicing, but if you do not limber up the fingers and the wrists, you leave yourself vulnerable to tendonitis and other serious physical complaints that can ultimately derail your progress at the keyboard. The right kind of warm-ups can also get you into the right frame of mind for more concentrated practice, something which will help you build skills as you go.

3. Never Skimp On The Basics

Always a lot no less than 15 minutes or so for working on fundamentals such as scale practice, fingering work, and pacing. The fact of the matter is that repetition is what breeds perfection, and as long as you do this type of practice consistently, you are sure to see dramatic improvement.

4. Slow Down To Speed Up

When it comes to mastering complex pieces, there is a very simple technique that can really help the process along. Simply play these songs slower than they are intended to be played until you have learned every note with precision. Once you can play a piece skillfully at half speed, increase the pace until you are in line with the music as written.

5. Utilize Your Metronome

Metronome
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