What are the main learning difficulties you encounter in the majority of students that come to your school?
First of all, I must say that all students that attend the Creative Guitar School, either in the classroom context, or through the e-learning program, are all eager to learn, play and immerse themselves into the journey of music. It does not matter whether their goal is to become a songwriter, a blues guitarist, a jazz guitarist or simply a solo musician, as they all wish to enjoy playing their favourite songs on such a beautiful instrument as the guitar, anywhere and at any time.
1.To accept that learning guitar is not an easy task.
The main difficulty I perceive in all beginner guitar students, is overcoming the initial surprise that learning a new instrument is not as easy as they thought.
Students need to understand that when they play the guitar, they are actually speaking a language through an instrument. Therefore, if they are not aware of the musical language, they will not be able to play with much fun and they will start to experience constant frustration.
2. The lack of understanding of the musical language.
Music is an aural language where we create or reproduce a sequence of pitches in relation to a pulse. Students need to develop a competent aural understanding of melody and rhythm and this takes time.
My courses are designed to help students not only physically play the guitar, but to be able to hear and understand what they will play before such occurs. This approach will help reduce your guitar learning problems .
3. Previous internet studying has lead to confusion.
Most of my student’s first understanding of how to play the guitar, comes from the internet. This is a virtual world where they see a lot of guitarists doing a lot of fancy stuff on their own. The stuff they see, generally only lasts a few seconds, and initially it seems cool to follow, listen and also want to do.
4. Learning is not only about playing chords.
Also, most of these guitarists share the impression that playing a song is about playing a set of chords and that is that. When students try to copy what they see, they soon realise they cannot do it right or it does not make sense, and that is when they encounter their first major guitar learning problem.
It is hard to explain initially what should make sense in your guitar learning, but it generally comes down to playing in a group format where you must define your role as melody and accompaniment in sync with others. If your learning allows such, then you are in the right direction. If not, please get a music teacher to show you what the language of music is all about. A teacher will help you overcome initial guitar learning problems.
5. Learning guitar through you tube.
I strongly recommend to avoid learning with any youtube video that does not have the support of a teacher, and any youtube video that does not teach you how to hear what you are playing.
6. Lack of understanding of what a song is.
Also, most guitar youtube videos show you how to play chords and this really is not what you should learn, as the most important aspect of any song is its melody. Do not learn licks, don’t learn chord progressions, learn full songs and learn how to create your own accompaniment, no matter what style you wish to play. You can apply this rule to blues, jazz, funk, rock, classical or flamenco guitar, but please, play full songs. Then, after you can play full songs, you will be ready to learn licks and how to create them.
If you choose to only mimic the movements of others, then your creativity may be blocked and as a consequence, anxiety or anguish may appear at your doorstep.
7. To not be able to hear what they play.
My lessons teach you how to hear and play. With each guitar lesson, the students must consolidate their learning by completing a series of assignments. The final objective of all basic guitar learning is for the guitar student to be able to play a melody, accompaniments and solo of any simple song. You must be able to achieve this in a relatively short period of time, in a musical context where you hear it all happening at once, just like in the real world.
As a guitarist, this will require a lot of practice on your behalf. Music learning is not easy and the guitar learning can be a slow but rewarding experience.
Please consider that music is a relaxing therapy and you will only be able to relax when you express a full musical idea. A full idea includes the melody, the accompaniment and variations from start to end. And, all of these played in a musical context that includes tempo. This last recommendation will greatly help you reduce your guitar learning problems.
8. Not understanding what it means to be creative.
In order to be creative on the guitar as a performer, you need to be skilled in a variety of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic resources that will allow you to develop the chosen composition.
It must be your objective as a performer to tell a story on the guitar with the composition you are playing. The song will always be a repeating structure and as the song progresses you will need to add variations of rhythm, harmony and melody to achieve a flow in the song, and also to strive for a climax, which all songs have.
You will use your creativity to play all these variations on the go.
9. Overcoming boredom of repetition
Guitar students tire quickly from trying to learn something new. This is another major guitar learning problem.
Music is a discipline that requires a lot of repetition to memorise sound and technique. There is no shortcut to this. However, repetition can be fun.
By playing the guitar in tempo and in the context of a song.
The more you practice as if you were playing a full song or playing live with others, the sooner you will overcome the boredom of repetition.
It is good to repeat in the context of a song as this will give you the framework to be creative. A repeating structure is the best scenario to be creative in the long term.
10. Not playing in tempo
If you are playing the groove correctly your ideas will flow effortlessly. The structure is what allows the maximum creativity, it is a frame work with boundaries that will allow you to bounce around endlessly.
In all my guitar courses, both those that I offer in a classroom setting or those that I offer online, the main element which I am always insisting upon, is the pulse, the beat and rhythm. Please also visit my main site to hear examples of my musical productions that reflect all the above concepts.
The more you play to a beat, in tempo, the more relaxing your music will be and as a consequence the better you will feel.