What I enjoyed the most when I was learning how to play guitar was the practical skills that enabled me to play along to my favourite songs. It was only years later when I concentrated on more advanced technical skills and music theory that I felt I had become a much more proficient and advanced player. It took many, many hours of concentrated practice to feel like I had mastered all these areas (I am still practicing by the way!), however I still believe to this day that new guitar students should learn real songs straight from the start of their musical journey.
My approach is simple; I provide lessons which are highly structured and do not get bogged down in technical and theoretical detail. Each week my students learn a new technique, scale, chord type etc., which is then put into context by analysing published work from famous artists who use those exact techniques/musical concepts. Too often students spend hours learning about various themes, such as scales, but have no idea why they are learning them. This is what I want to avoid; I emphasise not just on the 'what' and 'how', but also the 'why'.
Without even realising it, I believe my students will feel like they have obtained the creativity to musically express themselves, whilst learning vital technical skills and theoretical knowledge... such as:
- Triad chords (open and barre)
- Major and natural minor, harmonic minor and ascending melodic minor scales
- Pentatonic and blues scales
- 12 bar blues
- Power chords (rock music and other genres)
This list is just a sample of what I teach... in truth there is so much more but hopefully this gives a small glimpse of what you can learn. Seeing this list will be daunting at first for guitar newbies (most of the list will probably not make much sense), but like learning anything that requires time (foreign languages for example), you just need to take one small bit at a time. I believe my approach of learning famous songs and deconstructing the techniques/theory behind them, as well as doing some fun exercises along the way, helps massively to learn and really understand musical performance.