Category Archives: How to play the guitar articles

A list with tips and how 2s to help you play the guitar

How to write your own guitar chords

How to write your own chords

Would you like to know how I came up with this composition?

You’ve just heard the melody, these are the chords and this is the way I play the chords. 

Why do I write the accompaniment?

I love to be lyrical on the guitar, every while and then I like to add some harmony…and I need the accompaniment to support what I do and actually help me play in this manner.

Generally the way we play, with big chords, lack of clarity, obscures my manner of playing, and it makes me want to play in a manner that I really am not comfortable with.

So what I do is, I write out the accompaniment. Let me explain what I have done in this song.

What chord shapes did I choose? 

In the1st four bars we have Em, C, F# dim and B. I chose not to play chords and I chose to define these chords with a bass line.

Perfect… the next 4 chords are E minor, D, C and B. I chose to play them in closed position. The Em, with a pedal tone on top,  which would be the dominant pedal, the b of the key of E minor, and …… I hold it, over the next chord D. I am also playing the chord in closed position.

The b pedal note

And I maintain this b pedal tone on top. I go to the next chord C, following the same sequence of descending thirds and on top I play the pedal.

I reinforce the pedal with the #11. I then resolve to the B chord, that sounds like this.

For the next 4 bars I follow the same pattern. I’ve go on the E minor chord.

Open position chords 

Now for the B, I go from closed position to open position. So instead of playing the B minor, and B major, it sounds nice, I open them up and it sounds like.

It really adds more space to the sound, a bigger sound without adding too much more tension

More chord shapes, 4th chords

On the next chords,  the Am, I chose to follow the melodic line of the B chord, that’s actually descending and I resolve on the 5th of the chord. 

I harmonize this fifth with a third,  and then I create a melodic line over the rest of the chords……. and I harmonize them of fourths,  which actually helps the melody by surrounding it by harmonics. And it doesn’t add harmony to it. 4ths do not add too much harmony. 

Hence the beauty of using such….. So it sounds like.

More chord shapes, combining triads and fourth chords

The G I play with the 3rd in the bass. The C…. now the D chord, I decide to create a succession of fourths, a chord from the C.

Again, it produces a distinct harmony that allows the melody that I play on top, to be played also with thirds.

They don’t clash, and the guitar you can hear it with clarity.  For the next 4 bars, for the Am, Bm, Cm and the D, I hold the pedal.

Allow the performers to develop freely what I have written 

So, once it is written out, and the other musician interprets it, they must do so with a bit of freedom.That way we can actually interact and change on the go.

This is a general guideline, the way I like the accompaniment to be, so I can develop develop my melody with ease.

Please view more of my how to videos on my you tube channel.

how to play the guitar

Do it right from the start

I want you to be able to experience music, with the same enjoyment it inspires in me every day. Let me share with you some tips, on how to learn to play the guitar.

Guitar learning will be your life time adventure. I want to create a track for you,  where you can jump on, follow and learn, but, I want you to avoid the typical mistakes all students fall into, especially now-days, due to mass distribution of meaningless learning on the net. 

how to play the guitar

Follow a structure and succeed

I want you to have fun but also to understand that music learning requires time, work, repetition,  in other words: discipline.   All the hard work is definitely a rewarding experience, if we set a goal with practical exercises, to help us in the process of how to learn to play the guitar.

At the Creative Guitar School I have designed all my courses to help you develop your well being through creativity and self expression.  However, we need structured learning to make sure we learn with fun, and also in a meaningful manner, where we can at the end of each journey, be able to play meaningful music from start to end.

Book a free 30 minute assessment;  discover your guitar skills and the most adequate Guitar Course for you.

Work hard, be patient and enjoy the results

We study guitar to open the door to have more fun in our lives. Personally,  I study guitar because it allows me to have more and more fun everyday, as I am able to express and flow with my feelings, to the utmost satisfaction.

The real joy occurs, when we are to be able to perform a piece of music, from start to finish, with love and especially if we do so, for an audience. Here I include some tips on how to learn to play the guitar.

Avoid frustration

I find that studying can be a frustrating experience, if we do not target, what we need to do, to emulate the final performance. Thus, we must find a learning pathway, that reduces repetition and increases our effectiveness in our goals. We need to have fun by reducing, frustrating learning pathways. 

Read more on all guitar courses offered based upon contemporary structured learning.

Nine tips on how to play the guitar and get results

Nine tips on how to play the guitar and get results

1-Sing

As a general rule, if you can imagine what you wish to play in tempo, and can also sing it, then your learning will be by far, much more efficient, and satisfying, than what students achieve by solely repeating mechanical movements, or in other words,  practicing frustration. Learn more.

2-Emulate the live performance

Only practice in a manner that emulates the final performance. Try to do it right the first time, and at the slowest speed possible. 

3 -Do not think

Do not think while you play, but rather sing the music in your mind. The more you think,  the more non musical, you will play.

4- Feel

Feel what you want to express, and produce the feeling in your music. If you are bored with your playing, it might be because you are bored in wishing to feel good, and have fun.  

Seek the desired articulation, notes, chords and silence, that will allow you to pinpoint, your personal feel for the music. Do not be a spectator of your feelings. Decide and portray. Feel is one the best ,tips on how to learn to play the guitar.

5-Do not judge, but create

Make sure the music, the sound is in your head, before you play and not after. If you do not do this, you will always be judging yourself, and only concentring on the final sound, and not on the enjoyment of the process of creating it.

6-Play soft

Play more soft than loud. In the loud, you will have less room for for increasing intensity. Remember, intensity does not come from playing loud,  but from choice of register, harmonic tension, and also rhythmic density.

If you play loud, you will tire your muscles out soon and will perform poorly; You might feel you are expressing yourself, but in the end you are only shouting. 

7-Practice what you know

Practice what you know and also what you do not know. You practice what you know, to enjoy yourself, and practice what you do not know, to further enjoy yourself in the near future.

Please consider that a new musical concept, will take up to 6 months of learning, before it becomes fluent, and part of your personal expression. So, if you just practice only what you do not know, you will end up on a journey, into the world of frustration.

8- Refresh your repertoire 

Build up a repertoire, but never forget to refresh it. This is fun and rewarding.

9-Do not stop

Once you start playing a song, do not stop. If you do stop, this means you have not imagined what you have to play, the tempo, and how you play in relation to the tempo. 

Personally, I need to have a clear understanding of the beat,  and the subdivision, to make sure I can coordinate efficiently, especially at quick tempos.  This advice, is also one the most important tips on how to learn to play the guitar.


Five common mistakes guitarists make

1- Students learn bits and pieces of music, and not the whole song. 

When a musician plays a song, they will interpret the melody line, with or without accompaniment, from start to finish, of the full structure.  If you can do this, then you are ready to say, that you can play a song.  At the Creative Guitar School you will learn to play full songs, in a group or solo situation and with fun.

2-Students think they know how to play a song because they can play the chords.

A song has a melody,  for example: what the vocalists sings. This is what makes it recognisable.

If you can play the melody, then you are starting to play a song. However,  if you can only play chords, then you are simply playing a progression of chords, that can be found in hundred of others songs.

3 – Students learn the chords, but do not know how to fit them, or sync them to the original track.

Only, if you can play the chords of the song, along with the original recorded version, from start to finish, then you can say to yourself, that you are starting to understand how to play them. 

If you get lost while playing along the track, then you might not be aware of the structure, or be familiar with the melody. You might also have coordination issues. You might not be aware of the tempo , or how to subdivide such. 

If you can play the chords, but when you try to play them with the original track, you get lost, then you do not know how to play the chords.

 Also, If you can only play a verse and not know what comes next, then you do not know the chords.

If you cannot explain how many bars each section of the song has, and how the sections repeat, then you do not know the chords.

At the Creative Guitar School you learn to play songs from start to end. You learn how to play the melody, how to play the chords and develop them to create variations in intensity. You learn how to play in tempo, anticipate and sync your movements with the desired beat.

Book a free 30 minute assessment;  discover your guitar skills and the most adequate Guitar Course for you

4- To learn a solo or lick, with no tempo associated.

Students believe they have learnt a solo,  or a lick of a song, because play it in a sort of recognisable manner.  If you cannot play it, along with the original  track, that you can slow down,  then you have not learnt the solo or the lick, and you have wasted your time.

All learning must be conclusive. Learning fragments of music, without structure, may tend to create more frustration than well being, and have a negative impact, on the method of how to learn to play the guitar .

5 – You think you can play a solo, because you can play a few notes that sound ok .

You will be able to solo, only when you can sing what you want to do, know where you are in relation to the beat and the chords.  If you can play the chords, and sing a solo, even if you sing out of tune , then you are ready to start soloing and have the required skills to develop a good one.

If you have difficulty in understanding what to sing on top of some chords,  then you need to learn the basics. You need to learn full melodies and songs. Also, you need to internalise a musical library, that will be the foundation on which you will base all your creative output.

Consider music as a language.  You need to know the alphabet, words, how to combine them and make sentences, and paragraphs.  How can you do that in music ? Well, you need to learn songs in a efficient manner.

Please read through the six different levels of guitar learning. Throughout each level you will acquire and develop the necessary skills, to be able to play songs, create them and vary them either as lead, rhythm guitar, or in a fingerpicking manner, in all styles of contemporary music.

Give me a call. I would love to share your musical journey with you. 


Romance Anonimo, How to play on the Spanish Guitar

Background on courses

This composition is part of the level 1 guitar course. In each level, at the Creative Guitar School here in Melbourne, we learn to play the guitar in different scenarios or situations.

We learn to play along with the original tracks

We learn to play along to the original videos of songs we love, but focusing on our role as a guitarist. A Guitarist can play rhythm, fills or lead guitar. Throughout all levels, we learn new skills to help us develop our functions, or roles, in live music situations.

We learn to emulate the live context in our study, to increase learning efficiency

However, music has to be learnt in a musical context, that must have a beginning,  end, and a tempo. We need to coordinate, to develop our motor skills, anticipating what we have to do, in relation to a specific time frame.

We learn to sing what we hear, to memorise the sound and note positions more efficiently

How to play Romance Anonimo

We will remember what to do on the guitar at all levels, because we are anticipating the sound of what we will play. The rule is that if you can sing it, you will be able to play it. There fore,  we sing, even if we are out of tune, what we play. We cannot learn to play the guitar by visually memorising what we have to do, which in popular terms in called muscle memory. This is very time consuming and foments dangerous repetitive moments .

We learn to play songs together as in a band situation

In our guitar courses, we also learn to play songs,  together, in groups. That is, since we are learning in groups, we can then distribute the functions of the song between us. In a band there is a bass player, a drummer, a guitarist defining the groove with chords, and the lead vocalist.

In all our group learning , we also play songs,  where one guitarist defines the groove in a manner as a bass player would,  another defines the chords, as a guitarist would do in a band situation, and the other plays what the vocalist would sing. 

That is why the importance of setting the exact context correctly: to learn efficiently and achieve the most satisfactory results in the shortest time possible. This exercise, as detailed later will guide you through this learning process.

We learn to play songs as a solo guitarist

Romance Anonimo falls into the category of playing both the lead, the vocal line and the chords at the same time. Some guitarists call this  classical guitar, and it can also relate to fingerstyle guitar.  This is another form a playing, we learn in all my structured learning courses. 

How to play Romance Anonimo Acoustic Guitar

Romance Anonimo 

This is the sheet we will use to learn this song called Romance Anonimo. The numbers represent the fret, where one of your left hand fingers, must be placed on. The numbers also give the cue:  when to play the note.

We will learn the song slowly,  always at a constant tempo, and singing what we are playing.

If you do not play in tempo, you are learning how to play without tempo. If you do not sing, even if such is out of tune, you will relate the position to a number, to a visual cue, and you will loose the opportunity of memorising sounds, which is what music is about.

Context, what to do , instructions.

The context defines what, and when we play.

  • We will set the metronome at 6o bpm.  This indicates that we have to do something with this pulse. The initial instructions are to say a number every 3 pulses or beats.

Remember, from now on and for the rest of your musical life,  you must establish the beat before you play. This will save you hundreds of hours of learning.

  • Please count three,  and on very one you will say the number, in sequence, as you will hear in the video,  all the way up until, you read the word Am.
  • Now that we have read the numbers, anticipating what comes next, we need to relate these numbers to the fret board.  Please place one of your left hand fingers, on the fret board, on the first string, on the fret indicated.  This first number indicates that we will place our finger on the 7th fret.
  • Let’s count three beats, in sync with the metronome, and play these numbers,  one every three clicks.

Remember, you are creating the sound by both placing your finger on the corresponding fret and hitting the string with your other hand, to actually produce the sound. 

We play Romance Anonimoas follows:

 Please say what you are doing, sing what you doing , and  keep in sync with the metronome. 

The common error is not to for-see the following fret number we have to play. We solve this by looking at the next number, we have to play on the guitar, on the third beat of each bar or click  of the metronome.

Checklist

Use this check list to judge if are you learning Romance Anonimo:

  • Have you counted it in?
  • Are you saying what you have to do ?
  • Are you singing the notes you are playing ?
  • Are you not stopping ? 
  • Are you checking every third beat what you have to do ?

If you are not following these instructions, you will not learn and possibly repeat endlessly with frustration.

If you follow these instructions, you will play the sequence in three repetitions.

However, sometimes we have trained ourselves in our lives,  to not follow a specific thought process and you will find this process hard to achieve.

Do not worry 

Just do it, and only ask yourself the outlined questions .

Distractions

At this stage there is no need to worry to much about the sound , or what fingers to use.  We will work on other variables as we progress. 

I find a lot of students, that when they play in my suggested manner,  get distracted by other thoughts. These other thoughts are valuable, but they should not be a distraction to achieve a goal,

What are we learning

  • With this simple exercise on Romance Anonimo we are learning to think in music, which means to choose what we focus one. 
  • We also learn to play and synchronise to a time frame, which is a beat. 
  • We learn to only develop our skills based upon a time frame.
  • You are also learning to avoid unnecessary repetition.
  • You are also learning to anticipate sounds and their location.

This is the first lesson of how to play Romance Anonimo

In our next lesson, we will learn how to play the second part of this guitar composition, and also learn how to further acquire guitar skills which will make us independent in our learning, and avoid frustration,  with the consequence of developing personal well being, which is the ultimate goal.

How to practice the guitar with joy

How to practice the guitar with joy

Guitar Accuracy

When we are learning a song,  we all try to achieve accuracy in it’s chords and melody;  the what we will do,  when and why, at all levels and at all stages, of our musical life.

However, I believe accuracy is the consequence of hearing the sound before we place our fingers on the guitar fretboard or strings. We must understand the sound, hear it and be able to sing it, before the final finger placement. 

If we miss this step of hearing, singing,  we may engage in a non stop practice schedule. The more you can hear and sing, what you want to play on the guitar, the more satisfying the experience will be, and the quicker you will learn. 

Accuracy in the melody and accompaniment,  is an important goal in our practice routine. Try not to guess where your fingers have to be, but first sing the sound, then find it.   If you cannot sing the sound, you will need to imagine it first. 

When we imagine a sound, we engage in the process of understanding.  This process should be done at a comfortable speed, at which you can accomplish your goal. Once this process flows, then you will be able to apply the accuracy to the tempo, and play the musical phrase on the guitar, or any other instrument, at the desired speed. 

The objective of all practice is to have fun, and avoid unnecessary repetition, to try to emulate what we will do, when we share our performance, and music live, with our beloved audience, that is eager to listen to you.  The how to play the guitar with joy is a constant must in all daily routines,

How to practice the guitar with joy

How much discipline do we need in our guitar training

How about if we needed no discipline, only eagerness to finish a goal in a satisfying manner.  If we are eager to learn, and always ask the right questions, to get to the desired goal, music will be a very enjoyable experience. 

If you feel bored, distracted, then you are learning with no worthy emotion to remember. There fore, you are practising incorrectly and hot having fun.  Always ask your self, how can I play what I wish, as soon as possible, and have fun along the way.  

Generally, if you are not having fun on the guitar, it will be because you are playing with no tempo, your are not able to sing what you can do, you do not understand the groove of the song, and do not understand the harmonic tension of each passage you are playing.

Too much discipline and too much repetition, will create an emotional blockage. It takes a very long time to get over the feeling of disgust, or lack of desire, that this blockage will produce in you. Please learn to place a limit to all your learning, and stop much before you feel: this is to much for me.  Learn how to practice the guitar with joy.

All my tips refer to all styles of guitar including: jazz guitar, blues guitar, flamenco guitar, funk guitar and all other styles.

Structured learning 

A musician needs structure to be able to learn and play all styles of music. A  guitar teacher should share with you the adequate educational structure to help you achieve the desired goals of the music you wish to play at a short term or long term.

Learning structure should target the question how to learn effectively with joy. 

This how to learn should be fun. It must avoid unnecessary repetitions, work with solid tempos, make you sing what you wish to do; compose your own music. Also, create variations of rhythm and melody, understand the why of how to accompany on the guitar, and how emotions are portrayed, as you develop your interpretation in a song. 

Structure and Guitar Improvisation

Music can be great fun when we create constant variations of a given song. However,  we only can fun on the guitar if we know the song very well.

What does it mean to know a song well in any style including blues guitar. If you are able to count a song in, maintain a solid tempo, sing the melody of the whole song, non stop, and play the chords at the same time, then you know the song, and your ready to explore variations .  You are on the right track of how to practice the guitar.

At the Creative Guitar School we learn how to create harmonic, rhythmic variations of the melody and of the accompaniment. We learn over 100 tools to help us create all desired emotions. We must learn to be proficient in the handing of the tools,  so as  to choose correctly on the go, as we in our daily interpretation of given songs.

Once you are at the stage of mastering the creative tools you will, then never want to stop playing. Music and the creative flow is like no other feeling you will experience in your life.  I would describe it as pure peace of mind, as an observer of existence, in motion.

Learn music have fun. Let your self go, and see life  as a viewer of emotions that colour our existence with love and pleasure, 

Upcoming Guitar Courses 

I am very happy that the majority of students finish courses and move on to the next. As they move on, previous levels become empty,  so I schedule courses to start every 10 weeks. The next guitar course will be starting on the first week of July, from Monday to Thursday evenings, between 5 and 9 pm. If you wish to enrol, please get in touch as soon as your can, to organise an interview so I may asses your guitar skills, and put your into the best group for your learning experience, and journey in music. 

As of June I announce a new price increase. However, I maintain present prices for all ongoing students, that do not take breaks in between courses and continue during the whole year. 

Music Production

All guitar students have now included in all guitar courses the opportunity to record in class compositions to achieve proficiency in music production at my recording studio here in Melbourne where I facilitate most of my guitar courses.

I do hope my tips on how to practice the guitar with joy can be helpful on your music journey in life. Please also post my site for all updates on  2018 and 2019 Melbourne Concerts and Tours.

Guitar Technique How to Develop

How to develop guitar technique

Guitar technique is part of the constant coordination we utilise,  to learn how to play sounds on the guitar. You may develop technique by repeating mechanical movements, or you may develop technique by placing fingers on frets and strings, as a consequence of the sound you hear in your head.

The difference between one approach and another, can be that of avoiding boredom, pain and frustration.  It just makes true sense, to put your fingers in a place,  because you can hear the sound in your head and not only guess where the sound is, by visual cues. 

guitar technique lessons

Is this difficult to achieve ?

No it isn’t.  It is actually easier, and more satisfying, to play the guitar this way. But, you must dive into the world of singing.   Don ´t worry, we all can sing. It does not matter if you sing totally in tune. The rule is, if you can sing it,  you can play it. If you can not sing it,  you will be a slave to unnecessary repetition.

Initially, this involves a slow learning process, but the satisfaction you will feel, will be enough to get you practicing hours on end.  You will hear what you are doing, and anticipate where you have to place your fingers, to enjoy the desired sound.

But how do we start singing, if we have never done it before? How can we sing, and then find the sound on the guitar?

It is much easier to sing a sound and then find it, than to actually memorise the sounds as the consequence of putting your fingers on the guitar. 

L.I.S.P

I suggest a simple, but effective manner for learning all melodies. It is called the L.I.S.P approach.

L: Listen 

I : Imagine

S: Sing 

P: Play

With the under-math of a constant tempo, time frame, I teach my students to listen to melodic fragments, to imagine them ( in tempo ), to sing them and to play them.

At the same time, I also teach my guitar students, the necessary pathways on the guitar, where those sounds will be found.

 I  teach the guitar students,  to identify the sounds, in relation to the total center. That is,  we learn to hear sounds, in relation to each other, and to the chords. There fore, we learn to feel the sensation of the sound, where the sounds are. We learn to play the music in tempo, we learn to sing the sound and while all this is going on, we are using mechanical movements, guitar technique, to look for the sounds;  to play and produce the musical passages. 

Articulation

To articulate correctly, is to help deliver with clarity musical passages.  As a guitarist, we must learn to be aware of the lyrical quality of music, and how to relate it to the instrument; guitar technique. Once again, if we can sing the melodic passage, we then have the core ingredient to relate to, to imitate.

When we sing, we can produce long notes, short notes, loud notes and soft notes. In musical terms, we relate this legato , staccato and dynamics.

If you are starting off on the guitar, you should be aware of the lyrical character of music, and immediately try to perform all passages, in this manner. However, only through musical  structured repetition, will you develop the guitar technique to achieve the desired goal. 

You will constantly learn to develop your guitar technique at all guitar courses at my Music School. The technique will also be a consequence of the style , whether you follow  play acoustic guitar lessons, blues guitar lessons , jazz guitar lessons  or flamenco guitar lessons.

A slow start 

Starting off on the guitar is a slow learning process,  but also a personal adventure where we will express our emotions and let go of daily life. I strongly suggest to make music every day, to practice with kindness, never with a harsh judgement , to accept our limitations, and open up to the new unexplored world of music .

How to develop more guitar technique 

The more melodies you know, the more songs you can play, the better your technique will be. 

However, in order to make sense of it all, the guitar student must have a thorough knowledge of chords, scales, chord scale relationships; in triad and seventh harmonic settings.

In all courses and levels at the Creative Guitar School, all students develop a solid guitar technique, either with pick or finger-style.  I gradually will introduce to you exercises, so you may articulate with clarity, fast and slow passages. I will gradually introduce you to solo guitar, where the guitar has no need of accompaniment, and you will play both the accompaniment and the melody of the song, at the same time. 

All students explore blues, jazz, folk and flamenco guitar styles. Once again, since guitar technique is a consequence only of what you can hear,  students quickly grasp the L.I.S P concept and progress swiftly, if they implement a discipline in their learning.

Music learning is a discipline that requires constant daily training and repetition. I strongly recommend never to practice beyond the limit of discomfort, and always to produce music in a manner, where you are able to play a song from beginning to the end on the guitar. 

Group lessons

I impart advanced guitar courses on one on one sessions and through my masterclasses, regularly held in Australia .  I recommend studying levels Levels 1 and 2 in a group environment. As a guitar teacher, I favour group environments as yo will have the opportunity of seeing how others learn and the outcome will be most satisfying.

When you are stating to play the guitar you will achieve great satisfaction but also got through stages of frustration.  If both of these cases, sharing with others your concerns and success, can be a most rewarding musical experience

Melbourne Guitar Concerts

For all those interested in my upcoming  Guitar concerts in Melbourne and Australia please click on the above links.  

 Guitar Learning Solutions

 Guitar Learning Solutions

Do you fit in this profile ?

Are you looking for solutions to any of the following guitar learning problems to play the guitar?

  • So you know how to play some chords, you have learnt some phrases and licks from the internet, you have been playing for years, but still cannot make sense of where to go next.
  • You have a song you love to play, and feel you want to say more with it, but you do not know how.
  • You know a chord is not quite right, in the song, but do not know what other options you have to make it sound right.
  • You have reached the stage that your C, D, Dm, G, and F chords do not do the trick anymore .
  • You have read a lot of guitar theory books,  but still cannot make sense of it.
  • You would love to play with others, but your require skills on how to do it.
  • You ponder on how other guitarists can make a C chord sound so good.
  • You can play on your own, but cannot follow a song for its entire length on you tube.
  • You can figure out, more or less a lick, but cannot figure out how to create your own.
  • You hear some melodies in your head and would like to know how to turn those melodies into a song.
  • You  play in a band and you want to do more than just cover a song. You want to do play your own solo, grooves, riffs and make the song flow with your own emotion.
  • You would like to play on your own, a pop song and play the lyrical line at the same time . How do you play chords and melody at the same time ?
  • You need to sound more bluesy but cannot figure out how.

These are some of the guitar learning problems my intermediate guitar students have. The guitar, at the early stages is fairly easy to learn, since we generally only learn some chords. But all intermediate students face some of the above concerns, when they want more out of their playing.

The guitar learning problems we face, can be a result of internet learning from other guitarists who may also be in the same loop.

What are your guitar learning problems

The solution

The solution, to all the above is, to understand that when we play a song, we must know the melody, the structure and the chords. We must have all the necessary tools to achieve intense emotion both in our interpretation of the melody, or the accompaniment. And last, but not least, only if we have the melody present at all times in our head, we will be able to develop the structure efficiently.

If you can sing it, you can play it 

The less we think about what we are playing,  the more we will be able to perform. The more we are able to hear what is coming next, the more we will be able to enjoy it. No matter how many chords, scales, arpeggios, melody, licks we know, if we are not able to hear the underlining fabrics of the song, we will not be able to play efficiently.

All that you know must fall in sync with a chordal sequence, which in turn generally is  the consequence of a melody.

We will not remember a song by only memorising the chords. We must be able to hear the melody of the song. In order to hear we must be able to sing. In our early stages, it is not necessary to sing in tune, but  we must somehow have the concept in our head, if the sound is going up or down.  The sooner we can, more or less, sing what we want to play, the sooner we will play with ease. No matter how much technique we persist on, if we are not able to hear what we wish to do, we will end up with possible anxiety, muscle cramps, boredom and intense frustration.

You must sync to a tempo

We hear and we remember because the music falls in relation to a time frame. All we play, on our guitar, has to fall in sync with a tempo, with-a  time clock.  We  really do not have to think to much about what we want to do. Thus, the more we concentrate on the tempo, the easier it will become.

Memory and emotional awareness

We will be able le to memorise music, if we are able to understand consciously and classify the emotional intensity of the passage. We generally do not remember chords but  remember the feeling they produce. For example, if you feel a chord with a lot of tension, it will be probably be a dominant.

Also, we all must be aware that chords do not create static emotional categories. When we play a chord, we must create a change in its intensity if not, i will sound boring.

Music make sense when it flows. In the same manner, in nature, water flows because of a difference in pressure, electricity flows between opposite polarities, winds are created by changes of pressure.  Likewie, music comes alive, only we hear and portray these variations in pressure, in emotion or intensity.

All my intermediate and advance guitar lessons and courses, will get the guitar students on the right track,  to pursue their goals.

Styles

In all the above, you will notice that I have not mentioned the concept of style. A style like jazz guitar, blues guitar, flamenco guitar  is just a manner of how we organise the musical vocabulary together.  All of the previous concepts are the same for all styles. Music is like a language . All languages express, communicate and serve the same purpose. What changes between different languages, is how the alphabet is put together and how we use it.

All musical styes share the same concepts of tempo, structure melody, chords and intensity. A style will become easy to learn, once we have all the previous issues resolved, as we then only have to identify the particularity of the style .

Blues, for example, is a structure where we generally try to make major chords sound minor. The more minor we make them sound, the more blues we get. And the more we move away harmonically from the resting point of the song, the more we will need to play more blues sound, so as to maintain the style

In all guitar lessons and courses I develop the fundamentals of learning to help identify the characteristic of each style.

Please refer to the following link to view my music production services  and  music production educational blog.

Guitar Lessons, How to learn effectively?

Guitar Lessons. Enjoyment and self expression

I wish to take you on a journey to explore the secrets of this magnificent instrument, the guitar. Furthermore, open an extended gateway for your ongoing personal development and well being in your life.

Music is the language of emotions and the guitar is the tool we will use to tap into those unique, beautiful, inner feelings, we all have.

I wish to guide you on your journey on how to play the guitar.  Our learning experience will produce a tool box which will give you the skills you need to play whatever you wish, and how you wish. The ultimate goal of your guitar lessons is enjoyment, through self expression.

 Guitar Lessons Courses What will you learn?

The guided pathway

At the Creative Guitar School, I cater for all levels of learning in a  diversity of styles through your guitar lessons. I would now like to address the learning goals of those who are just starting out.

All musicians need to start out. Furthermore, we all deserve the right to reach our goals. However, we may find obstacles along the way and crash into them. When this happens, frustration may settle in and the guitars may end up on our walls.

I want all guitar beginners in a years time, from when you start your guitar lessons, to be able to play, off by heart, the following or similar tracks.

We generally learn three tracks,  per course, of similar material.

Students learn a total of 6 simple songs of their choice in two levels in their guitar lessons.

    • Compose a few songs like the following:

Students compose one song per level

Play three concerts. Please follow this link to see the 2016 and 2017  Guitar students and teacher concerts

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Play along , off by heart  tracks by: Police, Ed Sheeran, Justin Beiber, Paco de Lucia, Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Norah Jones, Bb King, and James Brown.

How to study and progress with joy

We will learn to play on the guitar all the above, off by heart and with joy. I must insist, that you have to feel good about what you do,  every step of the journey. You have to have fun.

A students needs to understand what they know, what they do not know and how to get to the next step of their learning, with care and patience.

The more we are able to feel what we are doing, the quicker we will learn. We will only remember physical movements for a short period of time. But, we will remember a song and how to play it for life, if we  relate movements to specific sound and emotion.

Structure

I assume you have listened briefly to the above material.  How do we go from knowing nothing, to playing all the above material?

We need to first establish that everything we play, must be related to  a structure: it must have a beginning, an end and a tempo.  We learn to play the guitar swiftly, only if we reproduce the same scenario that occurs in the professional world,  in a simple musical context.

In your guitar lessons ,you will start off by learning chords and rhythm. If you follow the exercises correctly,  in 3 weeks time, you will be playing a song from top to bottom.

Aural training

In order to learn efficiently, you must be able to hear what you do , feel it and know where the sound is to be found on the guitar.  You need to memorise melodies and the corresponding harmony associated.

You need to hear the harmony in advance, so as to anticipate the desired emotion. In order to hear, you must sing or mumble and you need to create. Only when you create, will you be able to make sense of melody, harmony, rhythm and structure.

You cannot memorise a mechanical movement outside a musical context. There must be a targeted desired sound and emotion so you may memorise what the movement is for.  I will guide you, with specific exercises to help you hear and find the sound on the guitars.

Goals

In a short period of time,  you will be able to play simple melodies, solo guitar, play in a group setting, play bass lines, counter lines, create diversity in rhythm and have lots of fun.

You  also need to follow discipline which is based on repetition with love and respect for your limits.  There should be no need for frustration or negative thoughts in your learning.

Very soon you will experience positive results and find the joy of sharing music in a group setting, creating your own melodies and hearing how they come life.

Technique

You will notice that I have not mentioned the word technique, as such really is only a consequence of all the above. We need movement to create music and all the above exercises, require solid technique,  for us to be able to feel them and enjoy the experience.

How much do I need to dedicate per day for my guitar practice ?

I have designed the courses so that if you dedicate 20 minutes, every day, during 20 weeks you will have accomplished all goals.

Guitar learning requires constant dedication and work, but the results are extremely rewarding.

Group learning

I have designed a series of exercise to be completed in group settings,  to encourage guitar students to interact and get together outside classroom hours. This will help you in your training .

Concerts

All  guitar students will get a chance to play at the School concerts.  Ee celebrate the events every 10 weeks.

You can do it

There is no secret in learning to play the guitar. We only need dedication and above all, to understand what we are doing and why. Music is not just about playing  chords, it is about playing a song in a tempo, with a beginning, an end, with changes, sections, and intensities.

You tube videos, generally,  show us how to play a songs with chords. But, not what to take into consideration to be able to coordinate all the movements, in a sequence and in relation to a specific tempo.

All songs are glued together by tempo. All the exercises you will enjoy in your guitar lessons are based on playing in tempo. Which would be like feeling a constant heart beat to your playing.

Interview

Please call me to schedule an interview for your guitar lessons. I need to asses your skills and recommend you the appropriate group for your learning, based upon your musical knowledge, aural and visual learning skills.

The next level

Once you have completed your first two levels, you will be ready to understand how to learn any style or music of your choice. You will have all the tools you need to undergo further challenges and the resulting joy of such.

You may read about all guitar lesson levels offer through guitar lessons at the Creative Guitar School through this link.

Times

All courses are scheduled during the evenings. Private guitar lessons are scheduled during  morning and afternoon hours. Please refer to guitar lesson prices and conditions through the following link.

More info

If you would like to learn more about my professional activities, outside the educational scenario, please refer to my Melbourne Concert Latin Flamenco Guitar Site.

Bass lines

Guitar level requirements

At the Melbourne Creative Guitar school, students specialize in contemporary styles of music, that allow their inner voice to flow freely. I believe that it feels good to be able to reinterpret a composition in a different manner, each time we perform it. The interpretation will be a consequence of what was heard before, and of how we choose to feel, when each new note is played.

Music should makes us feel alive and joyful. There fore, if we can create our own pathways of expression, then we will have greater enjoyment In our lives.

Developing Bass lines

One of my favourite bass players is Ron Carter. Bass players create melodic lines that define chords. The more lyrical the bass line is, the richer the overall arrangement of the composition will be. The better it will feel.

Guitarists also play bass lines and therefore we can harmonize them. I would recommend all students to transcribe a bass line of Ron Carter and to harmonize such.  I would suggest the first twelve bars of Billies Bounce, that he performs with George Benson on the album: Blue Benson.

Once you have transcribed,  harmonise the strong beats  with standard blues chords and inversions. Harmonize all passing tones, or those you would like to create the feel of passing, with secondary dominants or substitute chords. Once you have all this down and are able to play it, you will never want to play a blues again in any other manner.

Bass lines on Guitar

More news

I would like to invite you all to my Melbourne flamenco and jazz Concerts. My next concert will be this coming Friday, August 26 at 7pm. It will be held at the Armadale Uniting Church, in Melbourne. For more info and Melbourne concert ticket sales, please follow this link.

 

I am also happy to announce the new release of my first 2016 single. Please follow this link to take a peak at: Tico Tico no Fubà. My new flamenco rumba jazz release.

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on guitar courses, masterclasses, cd releases and upcoming tours.

Please subscribe to my tube tube channel  for regular updates on guitar videos.

How to play guitar songs

How to play guitar songs: The melody

When we learn to play  we generally first learn how to play guitar songs by strumming chords so we can create a foundation of rhythm and harmony to help the vocal line of the song come to life.

The next step in our learning could be that of converting the vocal line into a guitar line so we can be the vocalist but instead of singing the words we play their corresponding pitches, musical notes, on the guitar. This can be great fun !

To accomplish such we generally use tabs or other written notations and we also tend to get lost in the process.

I propose 5 easy steps to permanently learn how to play guitar songs and the melody of our favorite song.

  1. Identify the key
  2. Select a position for playing the melody on the guitar
  3. Write down the lyrics of one verse and chorus
  4. Give each syllable of the lyrics a pitch from the scale
  5. Play these pitches while saying aloud the natural rhythm of the lyrics

How to identify the key?
Listen to the song. Maintain silence for a few seconds. Sing a note that feels the most relaxed in relation to the song. This note will be the tonal center. Once we have identified the tonal center we know what notes the melody is using and what chords the song will be based upon.

How to find the notes of the desired key in one position?
Guitar students need to know a minimum of one pattern of a major scale in two octaves. This generally takes 10 minutes to learn and one hour of private study to understand.

How to identify the pitch of each syllable?
By elimination. We have 7 to choose from in a scale. We try one at a time but first follow these steps.

  • Listen to the target word
  • Imagine it in silence
  • Sing it
  • Find it on guitar within the chosen scale pattern

Generally by the third repetition of the process all students can nail the pitch.

Please refer to Resources for further tips on learning how to play guitar songs and much more.

Notes: Guitar groups and private classes fill up very quick so there is generally a waiting period of 4 weeks before a new slot becomes available once the interview has concluded.

 

Melbourne Guitar Instruction. Improve your ability to learn.

Melbourne Guitar Instruction. Improve your ability to learn.

During the last few years, I have had a great number of students that have achieved proficiency in their playing in a short period of time. It is my objective to immerse  the guitar student in a quick learning process where they take control of how they would like to learn to play the guitar. My students at my Melbourne guitar instruction practice swiftly grasp the essentials of music as a language.

Music is an expression of emotion. Melbourne Guitar Instruction the odd one

All exercises, no matter at what level of expertise, should express emotion. If such is accomplished, the learning process quickens drastically.

Music is a language that can only be understood if it is delivered at an understandable tempo. Notes must be played in time. To play in time we must feel the satisfaction of doing so. All students can play in time , all human beings can play in time if there is feeling of the beat.

Music is a wave of emotion, of strong, weak beats, tension, release; a constant breath. A student must learn to play strong notes and soft notes at a comfortable speed but in a musical context. If such is accomplished, the learning process quickens.

Melbourne Guitar Instruction

A student must be able to hear and feel the degree of tension of what his playing is expressing in relation to the modal or tonal context. If such is accomplished, the learning process quickens.

Music is a language . When a student learns what makes it understandable to others, then he learns to convey emotions to others. We must learn this language in a context similar the way infants learn language. In this process, reading and writing are non essential objectives.

Melbourne Guitar Instruction happiness

Once a student is exposed to what makes music understandable, our brains awaken to our natural comprehension and the barriers found in the learning process quickly fall. Students should not learn music by reading. What good is it too read if we cannot understand what we read? First we must comprehend, talk and play.

Music is vital in our lives. Once we learn how vital it is, all our senses sharpen and the student absorbs all knowledge, hence having more fun.

 My motto: Feel it, imagine it, play it.