Here I am again, round two – the blog of a non-blogger. I don’t know why I am so resistant to technology – it seems to de-humanize, perhaps. I didn’t have a cell phone until 2005. Ok, I admit its convenient, but often I have wondered how many times it could skip across the face of a calm lake before finally disappearing under ripples.
Anyways, I guess the subject today will arbitrarily be on (thirty sided coin flip)… what a student (people interested in guitar lessons, bass lessons, ukulele lessons, improvisation lessons, and theory/composition study) can expect when studying with me.
First off, my main goal is to help the student find their music. (The fact that the student has a major portion of responsibility in all this is a peripheral topic to be covered another time) Different people will have different goals, time contraints, musical interests, musical experiences, etc. If someone who is playing professionally wants to learn how to improvise over jazz tunes, we will definitely do different things than a ukulele student involved in a ukulele choir. The following is a general approach for beginning and less experienced students:
I’m a ‘believer in fundamentals’ kind of guy. I encourage everyone to learn how to read music, and for some I insist. (In a future post I’ll offer an argument about the importance of reading music) Within the first few lessons, we’ll talk about rhythm, music notation, basic musical concepts, and start to play melodies. And contrary to popular belief, reading music is fun! Another subject we’ll cover is called ‘Technique’ and refers to the physical movement needed to play well. For this we start with simple picking and left finger exercises and progress to the point (many years later) of bedazzling acrobatics. Our next subject is beginning music vocabulary, which consists of chords and scales. We’ll play songs pretty much the first time we learn 3 or 4 chords. We can jam (improvise) pretty soon after we learn our first scale. For applying chords to a song, I usually start with a blues progression and some popular selections. There are so many songs, the student definitely gets a say in what songs they want to learn.
Between technique, note reading, chords, scales, and songs, a beginning student can can have a lot of interesting things to work on, progress quickly, and have a blast. I suggest practicing a minimum 25 minutes, three times a week. Remember, great players practice many hours everyday. Until next time, thank you.