Tag Archives: 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.

Pivoting Techniques

Module 1 

Writing on the Guitar

 Songwriter exclusive

Please follow this link for online purchase

Pivoting Techniques 

1. What are you going to learn? 

This course delivers a specific skill set of guitar techniques, the pivoting techniques, to help you develop very creative guitar accompaniments in your songs. It is part of the creative guitar school songwriting modules.

You will learn to make melodies with chords to match the emotional variations of the vocal line, to enjoy yourself even more in music,  and open a pathway that will allow your inner creativity to flow seamlessly and therefore take your songs to a world class level. 

2. What will you be able to do afterwards?

After you have finished the course, the next time you see a Dm chord, you will no longer just strum it, but make it sound like what the pro piano player or orchestra would do, behind the vocalist of a song. 

You will never play a standard chordal shape in the same manner. Your first impulse or option, will no longer be to strum all the strings at the same time, but to choose from other better sounding shapes to create melodic lines that define the groove, the chord and harmonic context.

You will be able  to accompany with more or less intensity, playing chords with one note, two notes or three at a time, with more or less rhythm,  in lower or higher registers, and always creating beautiful melodic lines. 

And, you will also be able to apply the pivoting techniques, in different styles, with different guitar sounds, in different modes and keys.

3.  Does this ever happen to you? 

  • Don’t you get tired of always playing your typical chords in the same manner?
  • Have you ever felt that a song is boring and thought that adding a new section would solve the problem but it didn’t? 
  • Do you ever feel the need to play a second verse with more power but you do not know how to? 
  • Have you ever taken your new song to your band, and when they play it, all the accompaniment sounds like just one big sonic mass of chords, where you cannot hear what you play, and need to crank up your guitar or vocals? 

I must say… all the previous has happened to me a lot, and that is why I developed the pivoting techniques that I will share with you. 

3.1 How can you solve these problems and many more?

So, how can you solve these problems and many more? By applying my pivoting techniques, adding extreme melodic value to your accompaniment, reinventing your selected chords and making them pulsate, come alive. 

As a result, your accompaniment will sound clearer, groovier.  It will make the song sound more interesting. Furthermore, the accompaniment can now be louder in the mix and not have to sit in the boring background.  

You will be able to repeat sections of a song and never get tired of them, as you will learn to create variations, to match the emotional contour of the vocal line in the soft and extreme emotions. 

4. How does the course work?

4.1 What do you need to know to take the course?

This course is for songwriters and guitarists of all levels. The examples are written with tabs and standard notation. But, you will further benefit, if you know how to read standard notation. 

You must have an understanding of basic open string chords.  It will also be beneficial if you can sing songs and play chords at the same time,  and, if you can play along the recorded original tracks of your favourite songs.

Have you taken the prerequisite test to see where you are, and to find out what else you would need to work on before signing up for the course ? If not please do so. 

4.2 The Prerequisite Test

Before we begin, we’d like to learn a bit about your level of guitar playing. 

In order to follow the course and benefit from it you need to have:

  • A basic understanding of how to read, both music written with tabs and standard.
  • A thorough understanding of basic open string chords.  
  • The ability to sing full songs and play chords at the same time.
  • Transcriptions skills: the ability to hear a melody, play it on the guitar and write it in tab or music notation.

To see where you are, and to find out what else you would need to work on before signing up for the course please do the following two assignments:

  • Download this track and pdf file. ( insert link)
  • Learn the melody and chords.
  • Record your own version of both melody and accompaniment, and submit as an mp3 file to info@thomaslorenzo.com.au.
  • Write the melody with tabs and rhythmic notation and submit to  info@thomaslorenzo.com.au.
  • Submit a recording ( mp3 file to info@thomaslorenzo.com.au.) of you playing another song of your choice. You have to decide what the word play a song means to you. 

Thank you, and have fun!

Pivoting techniques

4.2 Course flow

The course lasts twelve weeks and is divided into thirteen video lessons of approximately five minutes duration each. I will deliver the first two lessons in the first week. 

Please follow each video with its transcript in the text section of each lesson. The text version also has the scores and the download links. 

4.2.1 What to do every week ?

Each lesson is unlocked on a weekly basis. 

You need to:

1. Complete all weekly assignments by the deadline, to have active access to the new lesson. 

2. Sign up every week, (check emails, announcements)  for the google hangouts session with the teacher two days prior to the session. There are only ten spaces per session. Please submit your questions via our google group category at least 24 hours before the session. If you cannot make it to the session, do not worry as you will have access to the video of such session, that I will leave in our group google drive folder.

3. Participate in the  group google forum and review your classmates’ questions and assignments.

Please read the course index to understand the specific lesson layout and timetables.

4.3 Assignments

Every weekly lesson has a set of assignments. You must complete them all in a satisfactory manner,  in the same week, to be able to progress and have access to the next lesson. If you do not complete the assignments, you will no longer be able to participate actively in the group. 

There are four types of assignments in each lesson

  1. Skill Test: A quiz of multiple choice questions to help you understand the topic. This assignment is self assessed.
  2. Play along with me:  A selection of examples for you to play along with, to learn and copy a technique. Memorise all chords, shapes, combinations and repeat all the play along examples until you can fluently play with me at the same time. If you struggle,  slow down the tempo using the button on the video settings, but, before moving on to the assignment section, you need to have mastered all play along examples.
  3. Create your own:In this assignment you create your own examples to develop specific techniques. You will need to record them, so you will need access to recording equipment, for example a smartphone. You must submit your recording to our google group forum for peer review and interaction. 
  4. Inspire: And last but most important is the inspire assignment. You will compose your own examples with vocals or lead, to prove your mastery level. You will need to record this assignment, but in this case, you will need a multitrack digital recorder as garage band or similar. You are required to submit to the teacher via our group google drive. Look for your gmail invitation to join. 

4.3.1. Grades

You will only receive grades for the Inspire assignments. These you must submit to the teacher by the group google drive. 

Each completed inspire assignment will grant you a skill certification.Once you have finished them all  you will receive the final certification called Mastery of Pivoting Techniques.

5. How will you learn and master the Pivoting Techniques

You will learn to master these techniques in four stages:

  • Stage 1: In stage one you will learn between four or five different shapes of the seven chords in the C major scale. You will also learn to easily transpose these shapes to other keys as D and E , with the use of a capo. 
  • Stage 2. In stage two, with the objective of creating an accompaniment to the vocal line,  you will learn to create melodies with all these shapes, with the top, middle and bottom notes of the chords.
  • Stage 3.  In stage three you will learn to play the chords with one, two or three notes, ostinatos, pedals, added 7ths, stepped melodic lines, combinations and variations, to match the groove and the desired intensity of your accompaniment.
  • Stage 4. I stage four you will Master this knowledge by combining all tools and creating your own accompaniments. 

6. Steps to take before commencement

1. Sign up for the starting date  

Once you have submitted your prerequisite test and have been accepted, sign up for your desired starting date. ( view announcements or follow this link)

2. Pay

You will then receive confirmation and an invoice for payment of the course. Once you have paid, you will receive an invitation by email to join your google group forum and another email to your introductory video. 

3. Get familiar with 

You will need a gmail account and practice how to use your google group, the google hangout, google calendar for events and how to submit files through google drive before the course starts. Note that you should have the same gmail account for your youtube, google drive, google group and google calendar services. 

7. Help 

7.1 Question and answer sessions

Once a week, (check emails, announcements) sign up for the google hangouts session with the teacher two days prior to the session. There are only ten spaces per session. Please submit your questions via our google group category at least 24 hours before the session. If you cannot make it to the session, do not worry as you will have access to the video of such session, that I will leave in our group google drive folder.

7.2 More help

If you need extra help these are your options:

  1. You will not be left alone in your learning. Please submit all your questions to the google group forum, help category
  2. Premium support: Extra one on one 30 minute paid consultation, available on a weekly basis for all creative examples. (View prices)
  3. Do you need to talk to me? Please send me an email to info@thomaslorenzo.com.au

Lesson 6 – How to subdivide the beat

Lesson 6 – How to subdivide the beat

This is the video transcript of lesson number 6 of the Beginners Guitar Course: How to subdivide a beat.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson one, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson two, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson three, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson four, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson five, here.

What are you going to learn?

  1. To identify the beat of a song, the bar and how to subdivide the beat, to create more intensity.
  2. A new song with the Dm and F chords.  

What will you do differently after completing the assignments for this lesson?

  1. You will have proved to yourself that you are capable of learning on your own a song, by listening and understanding what you hear.
  2. You will be able to listen to music, feel the beat and hear what you need to play, to create the rhythm. 
  3. You will further consolidate your learning, to help you progress quickly towards the song learning goal.

The Beat

What is the beat ? 

The beat of this song is the pulse that all members of the band sync to, to play the melody and accompaniment. You identify the beat by simply tapping your foot to the music.

DO IT WITH ME!

Tap your feet to this song and when you are ready say one! Fill in the gaps between the ones! 

The beats are grouped in units of generally two, three or four beats. We name the unit a bar. 

Have fun with the beat  

You will now learn to talk musically about the beat and start having fun with it. When we play rhythm, we define the beat and we talk about the beat with its subdivision.

Subdivision of the beat

Play with muted strings the following routine to learn to how to subdivide the beat. Read once, then play twice, non stop:

  • 1 2 3 4  
  • 1 & 2 &3&4 
  • 1 potato 2 potato 3 potato 4 potato 
  • 1 potato 2 potato 3 potato 4 potato

Play with your hands the following routine learn to ow to subdivide the beat. Read once, then play twice, non stop:

  • 1 2 3 4  
  • 1 & 2 &3&4 
  • 1 potatoe 2 potato 3 potato 4  potato 
  • 1 potatoe 2 potato 3 potato 4  potato

The beat is constant in this exercise, and when you play more notes per beat, the music feels more intense. When you count 1 and 2 and 3 and 4, you divide the beat in two, the potatoes divide the beat in four.

Feel the intensity

How to subdivide the beat: Intensity

Play with me the C and Am chord with these variations, and feel how the intensity changes.  Learn how how to subdivide the beat

Complete the assignments and submit.

Dm and F Chords

The Goal

Listen to the song you will learn.

Learn the song in steps. 

Step one – Chord Learning routine

Learn the Dm and F chords.

Apply the chord learning routine.

When you have practiced sufficiently complete the assignment of step one. 

Have you submitted it, if so, press play and continue.

Step 2 – Join them 

The chords share this common note that I highlight in red. In order to join them, practice the following routine. 

On your own 

Please stop the video and practice the routine on your own.  Apply the check questions for self assessment and complete the assignment of Step 2. 

Step 3- Play the chords 

The Goal

Your goal in step 3 is to play the chords with potato subdivision, and accents on beat 1 from start to finish. 

How to subdivide the beat: write it

Learn how to do it ?

First of all you need to count how many beats each chord lasts, and then how many times they are repeated from start to finish.

The first chord is a Dm. How many beats does it last?

The second chord is an F. How many beats does it last?

How many times are they repeated?

Download the audio file dmfchordsstep3 and apply the L.I.S.P routine to answer the previous questions and to learn to How to subdivide the beat Practice the chords with the audio file until you are fluent with the accents and structure.

Complete the assignment and send it.

Press play and continue.

Step 4 –  L.I.S.P Melody 1

Download the audio file dmfmelody1. Complete the assignment and send it.

Step 5 – L.I.S.P Melody 2

Download the audio file dmfmelody2. Complete the assignment and send it.

Step 6 – L.I.S.P Melody 3

Download the audiofile dmfmelody3. Complete the assignment and send it.

Step 7- Play the full song

Play along with me the full song. On the screen you will be able to see the choices you have to play.

Chord + melody 1

Play the chords and then melody number 1.

Chord + melody 2

Play the chords and then melody number 2.

Chord + melody 3

Play the chords and then melody number 3.

Assignments 

The Beat Assignment 1 

  • Listen to the songs I have shared with you, clap your hands on one, fill in the rest of the beats and write the answer to the question, how many beats in a bar in each song?, and submit to the forum.
  • Listen to the songs I have shared with you, clap your hands on one, fill in the rest of the beats and sing the most comfortable subdivision the song uses. Write down your replies to what is the subdivision of each song and submit to the forum.
  • Record yourself playing your three combinations of 4 bars of muted rhythms. 

For example: 1st bar one note per beat, next bar 4 notes per beat, next bar two notes per beat, next bar 4 notes per beat.

Before you play your combinations, count in sync with a metronome:

  • 1 2 3 4  
  • 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 
  • 1 potato 2  potato 3 potato 4 potato 
  • 1 potato 2  potato 3 potato 4 potato

Then play your 4 combinations. 

Please choose the slowest tempo you are comfortable with, and apply the corresponding check questions for your own self assessment. Once you are satisfied with your results, please submit your recording to the teacher. Practice your combinations until they sound correct, then record, so you can assess how well you are progressing.

Dm and F Chord 

  • Step one – Record yourself

Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing the Dm and F chord learning routine. Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher.

Check questions 

  • Did you turn on your metronome?
  • Did you tap your feet while recording?
  • Are you in sync with the beat?
  • Did you count it in?
  • Did you sing what you were doing?
  • Did you play the chord for 4 bars non stop ?
  • Step 2 – Record yourself

Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing the routine of Step 2. Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher.

Check questions 

  • Did you turn on your metronome ?
  • Did you tap your feet while recording ?
  • Are you in sync with the beat?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you say when you are changing fingers and have you moved them exactly as you count them ?
  • Did you sing what you were doing?
  • Can you hear every single note with clarity?
  • Step 3 – Record yourself 

Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing along to the backing track called dm f chords step 3.If you are able to do so then you have successfully learnt the chords.Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher. Please proceed to Step 4

  • Step 4 – L.I.S.P melody 1

Write the replies to: 

  • Per Beat: How many notes?
  • Per Note: Same, up or down?

Practice the melody with the track you L.I.S.P to. When you are comfortable that you have learnt it, record yourself in video, with your phone, playing along to the backing track dmfmelody1.

Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher. Please proceed to Step 5

  • Step 5 – L.I.S.P melody 2

Write the replies to: 

  • Per Beat: How many notes?
  • Per Note: Same, up or down?

Practice the melody with the track you have L.I.S.P to. When you are comfortable that you have learnt it, record yourself in video, with your phone, playing along to the backing track called dmmelody2. If you are able to do so then you have successfully learnt Melody 2. Please proceed to Step 6

  • Step 6 – L.I.S.P melody 3

Write the replies to: 

How many bars before the melody starts?

Then 

  • Per Beat: How many notes?
  • Per Note: Same, up or down?

Practice the melody with the track you have L.I.S.P to. When you are comfortable that you have learnt it, record yourself in video, with your phone, playing along to the backing track called dmmelody3. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher. Please proceed to Step 7.

Music Production and Songwriting

Music is fun and the most enjoyable experience is to write your own music. Read some of my articles on how to write a song, record and produce it to your utmost satisfaction .

Lesson 5 How to memorise a melody

Lesson 5: How to memorise a melody

This is the video transcript of lesson number 5 of the Beginners Guitar Course: How to play a melody.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson one, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson two, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson three, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson four, here.

Consolidation exercises 

As mentioned, every week I add one more exercise to your daily 20 minute practice session. The new exercise builds on the previous. Do not practice only the new exercise because you will not learn, and you will feel very frustrated and give up.

You must consolidate all the previous musical examples on a daily basis. The better you know them, the easier it will be to learn new musical material. It will take you10 weeks to consolidate all

I have designed every exercise to help you improve your aural rhythmic and performance skills gradually. You need to work and build on these three skills on a daily basis.  Please practice the program in order, so as you may achieve the learning goals that I established.

Do not concentrate your practice on what you do not know, practice and have fun with what you know and then add new music new every week.  You must practice every exercise exactly the way your learnt it. If you cannot do such please go back to the video to refresh.

How to hear music

L.I.S.P Melody number 3

  • Listen
  • Imagine 
  • Sing 
  • Play – Comprehend 

Before you play, comprehend what happens on each beat of the melody, in order, so as to help you in the how to memorise a melody. Ask your self the following questions, sing and point to your fingers:

  • Per Beat: How many notes?
  • Per Note: Same, up or down?

Beat one 

How many notes are there? One ,it is a C.

Beat two

How many notes are there? It is the same note that starts on beat one as is maintained. 

Beat three

How many notes are there? It is the same note that starts on beat one.  

Beat four 

How many notes are there? One. 

Where does it start ? on 4 &.

Same, up or down? It is the same.  

On your own

The following three bars follow the same pattern as the first.  Stop the video and figure them out  using the same process. Do not worry if you do not get them perfectly right.

Play along with me 

  • Play along with me at half of the original tempo.
  • Play along with me a the original tempo original.
  • Rewind and Repeat full L.I.S.P of Melody 3
How to memorise a melody?

L.I.S.P Melody number 4

  • Listen
  • Imagine 
  • Sing 
  • Play – Comprehend 

Before you play, comprehend what happens on each beat of the melody, in order, so as to help you in the how to memorise a melody. Ask your self the following questions, sing and point to your fingers:

  • Per Beat: How many notes?
  • Per Note: Same, up or down?

Bar 1

Beat one  

How many notes are there? Two.

Are they both the same? Yes they are two Gs.

Beat 2, 3 and 4 

How many notes are there? Two per beat.  

Are they all  the same? Yes they are repeating G notes.  

Bar 2

Beat one  

How many notes are there? Two

Same, up or down? Same, again they are repeating G notes.

Beat two 

How many notes are there? Two.

Are they both the same? No.

  • 1st note, is it same as the previous, does it go up, or down? It is the same note. 
  • 2nd note, is it same as the previous, does it go up, or down? It goes up.

Beat three 

How many notes are there? One. 

Same, up, or down?It goes down.

Beat four

How many notes are there? One.

Same as the previous, does it go up, or down? It goes down. 

On your own 

Apply the routine to bars 3,4,5,6,7 and 8  

Ask yourself: 

  • Per Beat: How many notes?
  • Per Note: Same, up or down?

Sing and point to your fingers to help you understand. 

Play along with me 

  • Play along with me at half of the original tempo.
  • Play along with me a the original tempo original.
  • Rewind and Repeat full L.I.S.P of Melody 4

L.I.S.P Melody Number 5

Listen

  • Imagine 
  • Sing 
  • Play – Comprehend 

Before you play, comprehend what happens on each beat of the melody, in order, so as to help you in the how to memorise a melody. Ask your self the following questions, sing and point to your fingers:

  • Per Beat: How many notes?
  • Per Note: Same, up or down?

Play along with me 

  • Play along with me at half of the original tempo.
  • Play along with me a the original tempo original.
  • Rewind and Repeat full L.I.S.P of Melody 5

Play along with me 

Now it’s time for you to start playing the full song. Please follow the instructions and make sure you have the 5 five melodies clearly memorised, and the chords. On the screen you will see me playing the melodies I want you to target.

  • Play melody 1, 2, 3.
  • Play melody 1, 2, 4. 
  • Play melody 1, 2, 5.
  • Play chords – melody 5.

Assignments

Repeat the video as many times as you need to until you have memorised how to play the scale and melody number 1 and 2.

L.I.S.P  Melody 3, 4, 5 

After you have L.I.S.P the melody, write in detail your replies  to:

  • Per beat: How many notes ?
  • Per note: Same up or down ?

Record yourself

Once you have memorised the melody (pitch and rhythm).  Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing along the corresponding melody track. 

Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher.

Check questions 

  • Did you turn on your metronome ? 
  • Did you tap your feet while recording ?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you sing what you were doing? 

You have access to tabs of all melodies in your drop box folder.

Music Production and Songwriting

Are you interested in the final goal of your learning which should also include the experience of how to write a song, record and produce it to your utmost satisfaction .Read more about how to write a song.

How to FIND notes on the Guitar Fretboard – Video transcript

This is the transcript of lesson 1 of the Beginners Guitar Course. Please follow this link for next available starting times.

What are you going to learn 

To identify by sound and name the notes of C scale, on all strings and frets on the guitar.

You will also learn a song,  a rhyme that you will sing and play, to teach you how to anticipate aurally and visually, the next note of the scale you wish to play.

You will also learn to think in a musical way so as to emulate what goes through the mind of the professionals, when we play.  This will drastically increase the speed and fun of your learning, on how to find notes on the guitar.

Why learn how to find notes on the guitar?

So you can locate visually and by sound, the scales, chords and melodies we will use in our course.

What will you do differently after this lesson

You will be able to create musical phrases of four beats duration, which are one of the basic building blocks of music. As a consequence, this will open up  a pathway for your learning that simulates the real thing. 

You will be able to coordinate your left and right hand to play the C scale in tempo, all over the guitar to help you in your how to find notes on the guitar.

And you will be able to look  for sounds horizontally or vertically,  as  on the guitar ,pitch can increase vertically, decrease vertically, or increase horizontally, or decrease horizontally.

How are you going to learn to find notes on the guitar?

You will learn to find notes on the guitar in four simple steps

  1. First of all , you will learn the names of the strings, that correspond to pitches, musical sounds.
  2. Then you will learn the relationship between the pitches of the C scale, and the frets on the guitar.
  3. In step 3, you will learn a melodic rhyme to help you find all the notes in relation to a beat. 
  4. In step 4, you will create your own practice routine, to develop the skill with fun.

Rules

Apply at all times when you play the following 3 rules:

  • Always sing what you are playing. 
  • Always play in tempo.
  • Always tap your feet or move your body to the beat. 

If you do not, you will not be feeling the context, the music,  therefore you will not learn.

Names of the strings 

The guitar has 6 strings: E A D G B E. Each string is adjusted to produce a specific pitch, a musical sound we can sing. These pitches have defined names. In English, we use the letters of the alphabet C D E F G A B to define them.

The fatter guitar string produces the lowest pitch. As we jump from string to string,  the strings get thinner, they also vibrate more quickly  and the sound increases in pitch.

The fatter string is tuned to a frequency we call E. It is commonly called the E string but please remember that this is relative, as this can change, this is not an E string but a string tightened until it produces this pitch, we call E .

So if I press the string somewhere else, Do I produce a new sound? Yes.
Is this new sound an E?

No . It is not  since it  does not sound like an E. It sounds higher in pitch. There fore it has a different name. It is called the G note .

So what frequencies do we generally tune the open guitar strings to ? 

Starting from fat to thin they coincide with the frequencies  of :

E

Acronym

You can remember the names of the pitches, frequencies of the strings, by using an acronym. I like to use the following: 

E very to remember the name of the E string

A  pe  to remember the name of the A string

D  eserves to remember the name of the D string

G  reen to remember the name of the G string

B ananas to remember the name of the B string

E veryday ( to remember the name of the high E string

Play along with me this acronym

Every, Ape, Deserves, Green, Bananas, Everyday

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Step 2  Find the notes of C scale

Take it easy

All musicians including myself,  struggle with new exercises. This is absolutely normal.  However, music is a discipline where you learn by repetition. Do not expect to fully understand the following new concepts until you have repeated the exercises, a lot. So , just sit back and enjoy the ride and in a few minutes time you will have learnt the C scale all over the guitar.

The C scale has seven notes

The C scale has seven notes: C D E F G A B . After the B we go to C D E F and so on.

So this is a low c and this is a high c. The high C doubles the frequency of the low C. The frequency is the number of times the string vibrates per second.

Therefore, as I go up in pitch, I start  to repeat the same notes, but in a higher octave, a higher pitch,

Frets and notes

In order to answer how to find notes on the guitar,  all you need to understand is that between the notes of E F,  and B C there is only one fret distance and between all the other notes there are two.

How to find the notes on the guitar
How to find the notes on the guitar

This is one fret distance. This is two frets distance.

So let us start with the sixth string.

What is the frequency we tune the 6th string to  ….. E  ? So this is an E sound. 

Play the note

Sing the sound

What is the next letter in the alphabet ?

F

How many frets is F away  from E? 

One 

Play the F  

Sing the sound 

So F is a musical note that is higher in pitch than E, and we produce the sound by shortening the string by one fret. 

Next note

What is the next letter in the alphabet after F  ?

G

How many frets is G away from F  ?

Two

Play the G

Sing the sound

So G is a musical note that is higher in pitch than F, and we produce the sound by shortening the string two more frets.

Next note

The next letter in the alphabet is: 

A

How many frets is it away from G ?

Two

Play the A 

Sing the A 

So A is a musical note that is higher in pitch than G, and we produce the sound by shortening the string two more frets.

Next note B

The next letter in the alphabet is: 

B

How many frets is it away from A ?

Two

Play the B

Sing the B

So B is a musical note that is higher in pitch than A, and we produce the sound by shortening the string two more frets.

Next note C

The next letter in the alphabet is: 

C

How many frets  is C away from B?

One

Play the C

Sing the C

So C is a musical note that is higher in pitch than B, and we produce the sound by shortening the string one more fret.

Next note D

The next letter in the alphabet is:

 D

How many frets  is D away from C?

Play it

Sing it

So D is a musical note that is higher in pitch than C, and we produce the sound by shortening the string  two more frets.

Next note E

The next letter in the alphabet is: 

E, So we are back to the E , but a higher E 

How many frets  is E away from D

Play it

Sing it 

So  E is a musical note that is higher in pitch than D, and we produce the sound by shortening the string by two more frets.

Step 3 The Musical Rhyme

You will now learn a short musical rhyme to play in tempo the notes of the C scale, in a manner that will help you memorise both names and sounds and increase the speed of your learning drastically and ther fore learn how to find notes on the guitar.

The C scale on the 6th string 

Notice: that I sing the sound of the note I play,   and then sing what I will do next with the same sound,
Also notice that the rhyme lasts 4 beats, four taps of your foot.

Play along with me, 6th string

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 6th string.

Play along with me 

Stop the video , rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Play along with me, 5th string 

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 5th string.

What is the frequency we tune the 5th string to  ….. A  ? 

So this is an A sound. 

Play it

Sing it

Play along with me 

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need to.

Play along with me, 4th string

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 4th string.

What is the frequency we tune the 4th string to  ….. D  ? 

So this is a D sound

Play it

Sing it

Play along with me 

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Play along with me, 3rd string

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 3rd string.

What is the frequency we tune the  3rd string to ?

So this is a G sound. 

Play it

Sing it

Play along with me 

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Play along with me, 2nd string 

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 2nd string.

What is the frequency we tune the  2nd string to  …?   B  

So this is a B sound. 

Play it 

Sing it

Play along with me  

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need to.

Play along with me, 1st string 

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 1st string.

What is the frequency we tune the 1st string to  …?  E

 So this is an E sound. 

This is also an E sound,  but this E is higher and this E is lower in pitch.

This low E vibrates exactly four times slower than this E.  They are the same notes, but in different octaves.

Play it 

Sing it

Play along with me  

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Assignments

Now it is time for you to complete the assignments for this lesson on how to find notes on the guitar.

  • Play along 

Repeat twice a day all the play along examples of lesson one.

  • Fill it in 

Fill in the blank sheet with all the notes of the C scale .

  • Quiz

 Please submit your replies to our google group for peer review. 

  • Why are there different Cs on the guitar ?
  • Why are there different As on the guitar?
  • Why do we have two strings tuned to E?
  • Indicate with an X on what two other strings and positions can you play the C note, you create on the B string  when you press the second fret.
  • Record and create

Record yourself singing the rhyme, non stop on 6 different strings and send it to me.

Note: Choose a very slow tempo 

Check questions

  • Are you singing the notes in exact relation to the beat?
  • Are you tapping your foot non stop while singing and playing ?
  • Are you moving to the new note only just before you sing it ?
  • If your answer is no to any of the these questions, repeat 4 more times all the play along examples.

What will you be able to do at the end of the course?

Students that complete the two beginners course will move on directly to Guitar for songwriters focused towards music production.

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. 


Creative Guitar School Concert September 22

On September 22, 2018,  we celebrated our 8th Creative Guitar School Concert.

Congratulations

I must say thank you, to all guitar students that participated and shared with the audience, their love of music and guitar at our Creative Guitar School Concert. It was wonderful to hear so much hard work come to life, with music that touched all our hearts.

I am looking forward to our next concert, and to hear your progress and compositions. Definitel,  I am eager to join your journey, to self discovery, through music and the guitar.

Join us at our next concert, sign up for a interview and learn more about music yourself and playing with others

Concert Objectives

The objective of all Guitar Courses, at our music school,  is for students to interact in group settings, to develop melody, accompaniment and spontaneous compositions, which is referred to as improvisation.

In all courses, we learn to understood the skeleton of a song, and the skills required to create variations in the melody, background and accompaniment. Students play solo, in duos, trios and quartets; we play jazz, pop, funk, flamenco and blues styles.

We understand how songs can be played in different styles as we learn to modify melody and accompaniment, with the appropriate chord scale relationship.

And we have a lot of fun, as we create on the go. This feels good.

 Guitar School Concert Group photo


Every 10 weeks a Creative Guitar School Concert

Guitar courses last for 10 weeks. As a result, at the end of the course, we all get together, have a nice lunch and celebrate a two hour Creative Guitar School concert, at a public venue.

 Guitar School Concert

At the concert, we have performances of present and past guitar students, on electric, nylon and steel strings guitars. The variety of styles performed , reflect common contemporary urban musical expression as Blues guitar, Jazz guitar, Funk, Rock and Flamenco ( Spanish Urban ) 

Live showcase of compositions

As part of the guitar course requirements, all students must compose a song. A composition would be similar to an essay in a written language. This essay is proof of understanding, of the topic, the students has learnt.

Not only will you develop, a deeper understanding of the musical knowledge, when you compose, but,  you will also learn to explain to others how to play your composition. There fore, all students must learn to use the appropriate language to explain the actions; all students must learn to read and write.

Fun and Practice 

This is all great fun, since while you are learning you can hear immediate results of your progress, at our concerts.

But to really enjoy yourself , you are required to practice daily, to develop aural, rhythmic and performance skills, to help you develop further your creativity. These will not come naturally but only through constant practice.

For example: You will not be able to play a song if you cannot hum the melody. If you cannot hum or sing, what you wish to play, you will spend many hours finding your way through the guitar, with the uttermost frustration.

You must sync all movements to a pulse, the beat. Therefore you must practice with this objective, always in mind

Creativity and Well being 

At the Creative Guitar School you will learn the underlining skills required to play songs, develop them and be expressive in your task.  Creativity is the tool of our expression. The final consequence is that you will feel good about your playing,

Sign up

Join us at our next Guitar School concert, sign up for a interview and learn more about music yourself and playing with others  



How to improvise on the guitar

How to improvise on the guitar  

Five reasons why it feels good to learn to improvise on the guitar.

1. Create fresh replenishing emotions

To improvise on the guitar, is a creative way of telling a musical story. Let´ s imagine we have a paragraph of 24 words that we narrate, with the objective of explaining a feeling. Consequently, we may also keep on repeating the paragraph, but with different degrees of variations, to further develop the emotion.

To improvise on the guitar is to create variations of the musical story. It gives you the pathway to extend the interpretation, to modify, adapt and change it to your needs and on the go.  As a result, improvisation on the guitar, can produce extremely satisfying emotions, as I believe it is the true gateway for personal expression. 

2. Interaction with others

We all know how much fun we can have, when we play with others. Music can also be a lot of fun, and improvising can be the ultimate game of enjoyment.  

I relate guitar improvisation to the perfect communion of souls, in all possible conscious dimensions. Furthermore, our musical interaction just fills up the space around us, as we bond with fellow musicians and the audience.

Music and guitar improvisation is another humble path to an experience, where we all come together, to share our beloved human values. When we improvise on the guitar, in any style of music as blues, jazz, funk, rock, flamenco, we create the opportunity to interact emotionally with others, without the need of words, nor values, nor judgements of any kind.

Guitar improvisation will make you feel extremely unique, because you freely express yourself in a context, where you are accompanied and heard.

3. To explore ones inner self

I believe life can feel good when we break the rigidness of daily obligations. Therefore, a bit of controlled chaos feels good; learn to improvise on the guitar and you will enjoy a refreshing musical adventure of colours, sounds and emotions. When we improvise, we take on this adventure our dreams and souls.

When we play music knowing exactly what is ahead, and what we have to do, then it feels like we are on a road, set by others to achieve a boxed goal.  However, if we are able to explore other pathways, other boundaries, other colours along the way, and interact with joy with others,  the creative guitar experience will be emotionally rewarding.  This non programmed road trip will become the real musical adventure. We will arrive at the same destination as the programmed road trip,  but  feeling very satisfied, and eager to wake up the next day to jump on board and explore another pathway. 

4. Satisfaction

From my experience, when I improvise and create variations,  as a consequence of my interaction with my other band members, I feel very satisfied afterwards.  Satisfaction is not an easy feeling to come across, and it is the feeling that most will regenerate my whole body and soul. 

Also, the more I improvise, understanding the emotional goals, choosing the right harmonic melodic tools for the job,  the greater the final satisfaction.

Let’s improvise together. Come and join us at the Creative Guitar School, in Melbourne, and learn to play the guitar, to improvise in contemporary musical styles on electric guitar, acoustic guitar or nylon string Spanish guitar

5. To be unique

Music is not a visual experience, nor a competition, it is an auditive experience, that you can enjoy with your internal rhythm, soul and with your closed eyes, unless you are driving. 

However,  there is a lot of guitar music our there,  that is a reflection of what we can do, and not what the musician is trying to express, tell or convey. Music is the gift we can use to develop a virtue, to share with others; our uniqueness, our story. 

A story is not about how quick you can run, or how much you can scream. A musical story is really about sharing an emotion.  Yes, when we scream we portray an egoistic feeling, but the true virtue would be to make the audience feel the need of this excitement, and get them to scream with you. 

It feels good to improvise on the guitar and to be unique in our story telling,  as we can accomplish a very special human interaction, that no other musical form of expression will allow. 

What tools do we need to improvise effectively 

As a guitarist, you will need to master all the musical tools required to know inside out, the melody and harmonic structure of the song. This means, that at any time and moment, you are playing a song, you can effectively,  switch from the role of the soloist to the accompanist, or vice versa.

Once you have the song mastered,  then you are now ready to start creating variations, to keep the song flowing, based upon the interaction with other band members, the audience and your feel, either as the soloist, or the accompanist of the lead guitar.

In order to improvise on the guitar efficiently, you need to learn specific melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic tools, to create variety in tension, in dramatic intensity, as the song develops.

For example, let ´s say you have played your song once, and you want to be able to play the melody, (the lyrics of the song) with more intensity the second time through. A change of octave,  an increase in rhythmic intensity or harmonic tension, will give you all the desired momentum, to produce your climax. 

There are literally hundreds of tools at your disposal, to help develop your creativity on the go, but all you need is just a few, to get going, and to start feeling the flow of creating music.

Improvisation and Guitar Courses

All students, in all guitar courses, I impart at my Melbourne Creative Guitar School, learn to improvise. At a guitar beginners level, you will learn to create basic variations of melody and harmony. As you progress throughout the levels, you will master a vast array of tools, to accomodate all your emotional needs.

I encourage learning through group interaction. Therefore, I teach all basic courses in Group environments . These classes have a maximum fo 4 students per class.

I further encourage the group interaction with the concerts I schedule throughout the year. All students perform live every 3 months. Before the performance, we also organise a nice barbecue to get the stomachs activated and the energy levels up high.

Students will also have the opportunity to enjoy feedback of all their musical accomplishments, since I hold the classes in my recording studio.  Therefore,  we are able to record the group progression, and enjoy how much we have learnt, at the different stages of the musical journey. 

5 questions Beginner guitar

How to find the notes on the guitar fretboard?

Musical notes represent sounds of definite pitch. When we perform, we are constantly searching for sounds and notes, there fore, we need to learn how to find them on the guitar fretboard.

How to find notes on the guitar fretboard

We generally will not remember, with precision, where they are, by solely memorising, visually the position, or by using any form of logic. You will remember where to find a sound, better said a combination of notes, as no note comes alone, by identifying the sound previous to its location on the guitar fretboard.

Once you are able to sing what you want to play, you will be ready to find the sound on the guitar. All groups of sounds, phrases, melodies, passages, are generally in a specific tonal centre . This means, that the note you are looking for, will be one, of more or less, seven notes to choose from.

Why sing before you play?

At the Creative Guitar School, I will teach you where to find the notes by learning the scale patterns, but above all, how to find the desired note effectively, by recognising its pitch, and singing it before you play it on the guitar fretboard.

Further more, the pitch on the guitar fretboard can increase in different directions. If you first understand that the sound you are looking for, is going up or down in pitch, then you will not be confused, by which direction you take on the guitar, to find this increase of pitch.

In our first lesson, of all beginners guitar courses, we learn all the notes of the C scale, on all strings. We learn them quickly, by singing and naming them in tempo. We quickly identify the distance between notes, and understand the concept of semi tones and tones.

I strongly urge all students, to repeat this exercise daily, in tempo, to get quickly acquainted with the sound, and as a consequence the notes on the guitar fretboard.

When you practice guitar, please keep in mind that all exercises must be repeated daily, to ensure you can properly memorise the task. However, repetition can sometimes be tiring. Do not worry, I am there for you, to give you new weekly challenges, and to modify any exercise, so you may maintain your constant interest in your daily practice routine .

Why do we learn chords on the guitar?

Not all musical instruments can play chords, however, it is presumed that beginner students, first must learn to play chords on the guitar.

A chord is only part of the tools we can use, to create the accompaniment for a song. A song has tempo, groove, melody, background lines, bass lines, harmony and sections. We need to learn all the basic tools, required to play a song from the beginning to the end. A song is really a melody, the vocal line, and all the rest are tools, to help that vocal line come alive.

Chords can be used to define the groove of a song. A drummer definer the groove with sounds that are not specific lyrical pitches, a bass defines the groove by playing melodic lines in the low register, that define the chords.

As a guitarist, when you play a chord, you define the groove of the song, with more than one note at a time, and since the difference in between chords, create changes in intensity, we get a sort of flow, a forward motion in our playing.

However, we also need to learn to play melodies, the vocal line, which is what the song is about. At the Creative Guitar School, you will learn how to play chords, create your own rhythms and especially, learn how to play the melody of the song, and create variations, to keep the flow going.

The melody, the vocal part with no lyrics, is the essence of a song. You need to master how to play melodies immediately, to avoid frustration, and to avoid getting stuck, in what to do on the guitar.

How to create strumming patterns?

At the Creative Guitar School, l I teach you how to develop your own strumming patterns. For such, you only need to know the ingredients of the patterns which are: the subdivisions of the beat , accents, how to identify a groove and reproduce it.

You will be surprised on how quick you are able to create your own powerful grooves and strumming patterns. This is must for all your musical productions.

However, you need constant practice in your daily routine to achieve the musical goal with satisfaction. You must strive to always play in tempo, as such will reduce the time you will take to learn. It helps focus and reduces unnecessary, never ending repetitions. The more you play in tempo, the quicker you will learn .

When should I start concentrating on technique?

In the initial stages of your learning, you must be able to identify melodic values, rhythmic patterns, understand song structure, maintain a tempo, ect.

Once you are efficient in the basic musical knowledge, then you will be ready to develop speed, accuracy and  guitar technique to help you further your expression.

Technique, may come naturally, by completing the exercises and learning of all songs. However, as a teacher, I will quickly identify your learning obstacles, which we all have, and I will give exercises to overcome specific technical difficulties.

In order to improve your technique, you must practice at the slowest speed possible, anticipating position change and sound. You must try to avoid, to place your finger in any position, if your are not sure of the sound you are looking for. Please, have first, the sound you want to reproduce, in your mind, sing it, and then place your finger where you believe that sound is. If you do not have the sound in your head, you will not remember where to find it again.

This obstacle may be overcome by reading, but reading may block our capability of hearing the sound. When we read, we follow placement and tempo instructions, and in the early stages of our guitra learning, we will not hear the sound until we have played it. The process of learning can be daunting and very frustrating.

I already know my scales, what is next?

Scales are groups of 7notes that identify a tonal centre, the resting point of a song. The scale is a tool we use to make melodies, to create bass lines, to improvise, to create variations of chords, to create fill . In other words learn the scale and start playing . The scale will give the location knowledge, where the sounds are, that you are looking for on the guitar.

You will need to learn how to create melodies, bass lines, melodic harmonic groove. At the Creative Guitar School I will teach you how to have never ending fun, with this beautiful instrument in all styles of music, either if it is jazz, rock, blues, funk, flamenco .

Please remember that all students at all levels regularly must compose and record their song at my Recording Studio.

I would like to invite you all to my upcoming concerts in Melbourne and beyond.

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 Improvisation lessons

Guitar Improvisation lessons

What is improvisation

To improvise on the guitar is to create, from simple to complex, melodic and or ,  harmonic variations of a song, or a section.

We always need to create variations in the songs, to match how we feel as we play along. You might vary the melody to achieve the most dramatic climax, we might start the song playing the groove in a sparse manner, and build it up as we play along. We might need to do to the opposite and bring the song down, to less intensity, or we might create even more complex variations as we do in genres as jazz.

Guitar Improvisation lessons

We all have in us, the need to flow, to express ourselves with constant changes of tension. However, we require training,  guitar improvisation lessons to understand how to translate these emotions into music.

How to improvise

The ultimate goal of all guitar improvisation lessons , is to allow us to understand what sounds right, how to hear it, how to sing it and how to play it.

To achieve these goals we need to understand how to compose a song, and the relationship between chords and melody; the scale. We need to be able to play a song, the melody and accompaniment. We need to know our scales and chords, all over the fretboard.

Then we are ready to improvise, to create new melodies, new harmonies. We are ready to explore creating on the go short long-phrases with more or less density. We are ready to explore non harmonic melodic notes, guide tone lines, upper structure triads, chord tone soloing, motive soloing and development, augmentation, diminution, syncopation, double time, tetratonic scales and much more.

Do I need to know all the theory to be able to improvise

Not really. Just sing what you would like to do, and play it .  If you can sing it it will sound good.

However, guitar structured learning will allow you to find new ideas quicker, and also to have more and more ideas, just explode in your mind.

Theory should be a classification of what you can hear and play. I strongly suggest to explore new concepts only, once you have played them and felt them.

For example:
You love the way Stevie Ray Vaughn achieves an extreme climax in the middle of his solo. Your first step is to play it, to memorise it. Then, afterwards, as a teacher, I would give you all the tools in our guitar improvisation lessons,  to choose from,  to create your own; harmonic tension, melodic tension, rhythmic density and register.

I suggest that we learn to improvise,  by expanding on what we hear, and what we like from others.

Generic types of soloing

I distinguish two opposite ways of creating a guitar solo in any style.  We may be lyrical,  like Santana , whose lines are very vocal like. Or we can create phrases , that talk in depth, about the chords, the way a jazz guitarist like George Benson or West Montgomery would play.

Electric guitars have more sustain than acoustic, nylon strings, Spanish or Flamenco guitars. We need to adapt our form of playing to the manner in which the instrument  is created; an electric guitar with saturation or distortion can be even more lyrical.

At all guitar courses and guitar improvisation lessons I offer at the Creative Guitar School in Melbourne, both online and in class, students learn all the required tools to be able to improvise in all styles and with any type of guitar.

Please note that you will learn in my guitar improvisation lessons, to apply creative tools to both the solo, the melody and the accompaniment of such.

The joy of guitar improvisation

Guitar improvisation is one of the biggest thrills you can have in music. The freedom to interact live in concert with other musicians, is a skill that you will want to develop. You must learn how to improvise, from the early stages of your guitar learning.

We develop this freedom of expression, when we are able to master, the guitar tools we need, to create variations on a song. A song, in the majority of cases has a melody that can be sung. The chords accompany that melody to help it come out, and also to help underlay the groove of the song.

When we improvise, we generally maintain the same structure of the song, and the same chords. We always have in our head the melody of the song, and based upon that and the harmonic setting,  we have a reference with which all members of the band, will interact with, to create the constant variations that come with the music flow.

What styles suit best

All styles can allow for varied degrees of improvisation. It will all depend on the skill of the band members, to allow this scenario to come alive.

Jazz is the style that allows most improvisation. Jazz is not a groove but a way of performing any given song.

Styles as blues, pop, funk, flamenco, all allow for improvisation.  This is what  makes the music come alive. The band members interact with each other, and with the audience. We create a constant dialogue based upon the tools of  improvisation; the heart beat of the performance.

Some ideas to help you redevelop your solos.

I assume you have an understanding of scales, arpeggios and harmony, and are ready to get playing on the guitar.

Stretching the time

The next time you play your guitar solo, in a any style as flamenco, latin, blues, pop; try stretching the time. This means that, slightly play ahead or behind of the beat . When you play ahead you can create the feel of rushing the solo, when you play behind the beat, you can create the feeling of dragging the tempo.

To practice this technique, and incorporate it into your guitar tool box, so it automatically pops up when you need this feel,  you must practice extensively.Let me give you an example of how:

  1. Choose a section of 8 bars of a song.
  2. Play over the chord changes, creating phrases that fall right on the centre of the beat.
  3. Then, play over the chord changes, and create phrases that start on the beat; drag behind and then fall back on the beat.
  4. Play over the chord changes; start playing right on tempo and finish your phrase ahead of the beat.
  5. Do the opposite.
  6. Play over the chord changes, start your phrase ahead of time, very accelerated and slowly bring the speed down , to play right on tempo.
  7. Try combinations of the above .

In all styles of music, you will be able to stretch in some manner the time. This will become part fo your expression, only after practicing it on your acoustic, electric, or Spanish guitar until your are able to have fun with it.

Improvisation on the guitar can be great fun. Once we know the chords, scales, arpeggios and how they relate to the harmony form, then we only need to keep on learning new ideas on what to do, understand the why, and we are off to explore a world of surprising textures and musical pleasures.

Improvising in the studio, during recordings sessions.

The most vivid, explosive recordings,  only occur when musicians and guitarists can interact, together, at the same time in the recording session.

A lot of recording sessions do not cater for live interaction of the studio musicians. In my recording studio in Melbourne, I strive to achieve constant improvisation in all guitar tracks and sessions.

A recording should be an audio photograph of what occurs in a concert. Please enjoy my live concerts and studio performances on you tube.