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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 practice 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 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?

  • 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.

Melbourne Creative Guitar School Concerts

Melbourne Creative Guitar School Concert December 9

Every 10 weeks, all  my guitar students get together, enjoy a nice lunch and perform  a memorable concert.

I just love how music lovers can join to share their passion of life through music. As always, it feels just great to see everyone having such a good time with music,  and all our friends.

Guitar lessons and the baby chair

In the picture, we have the baby chair,   which unfortunately did not fit any of our sitting postures.

In the following picture we can see, and really get the feeling of how hard a student has to think, to remember the name of the song they  have to play. memory test with phong guitar lessons

The concert was a great success  and once again I must say thank you for making the Creative Guitar School the place to be.

Melbourne Creative Guitar School Concert September 23

We all came armed with our guitars, marching like true stars!

Congratulations to everyone. What a delightful day having you all play at our regular Creative Guitar School Concert. We held the concert on September 23, at the Armadale Uniting Church Hall.

The warm up lunch and the aftermath, truly justified all the hard work you have put into your guitar.

We all know that guitar playing requires discipline. It is a daily journey exploring,  enjoying aspects of who you are, that are hidden behind layers of our constrained emotional adulthood. Music brings out the child inside of us, who wishes to explore and enjoy life with true happiness.

On September 23, we heard songs from Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Bach,  Paco de Lucia, Beatles, Adele, MGMT and many more. Students played solo, in duos, trios and in quartet.

Guitar Lessons Structured Learning

The objective of the Creative School Music Curriculum is to encourage guitar students to learn songs in a manner where they can play them live, in a group, or an ensemble.

We play all contemporary music styles as: jazz, pop, reggae , blues, funk, and especially flamenco which is one of my guitar passions.

We require all students to understand concepts of structure, harmony, melodic variations, rhythmic variations, improvisation and composition. All students learn to hear a melody and play it on the spot. They also learn to identify the chord sof the songs they wish to play,  by understanding the tonal centre, and the chords derived from such.

Our creative self expression will benefit from structured learning. I also set guidelines to help achieve our musical objetives with true satisfaction.

 

Melbourne Creative Guitar School Concert group ensemble

New Guitar Courses starting October

Updates on upcoming courses

  • Beginners 1 

Wednesdays at 8pm starting October 10.  Two openings left

Tuesdays at 7pm starting October . Two openings left

  • Creative Guitar 2

Mondays at 8pm starting October 8. Two openings left

  • Private lessons available slots left

Mondays at 10 am and Thursdays at 11 am

 Guitar courses

Monday and Tuesday at 7pm

Level 2
For those who have completed level one and need to work on:

  • Left and right hand technique
  • A melodic and harmonic performance understanding of
    • dynamics
    • structure
    • subdivision
    • melodic recognition
    • harmonic recognition

The objective of all learning is to play with ease songs; both chords and melodies.

You will need:

  • 30 minutes of daily practice
  • To get together with your fellow class guitarists at least four times outside class hours;  to prepare more efficiently the concerts.

Tuesday at 8pm

Level 2
For those who have completed level 1, and wish to enjoy playing a selection of songs, have time to study and produce one new song, every two weeks, both chords and melody, in triads and 7th chords.

You will need:

  • 30 minutes daily practice
  • To get together with your fellow class guitarists at least four times outside class hours;  to prepare more efficiently the concerts.

Wednesday at 7pm  

Level 3
Focusing on composing and playing your own songs.

You require knowledge of:

  • Chords in all keys
  • Two scale patterns in all keys
  • Two pentatonic patterns in all keys
  • You must have composed  a song previously
  • You must me able to play at leat two songs; melody and chords off by heart
  • Have completed pages 1 to 23 of Paul Hindemith

You need 30 minutes daily practice

Monday at 6pm

Will be dedicated exclusively to melodic and harmonic ear training. For those who would like to improve  hearing, singing melodies and writing them.

Students will also learn to read and write music.   We will use garage band to help develop melodic and harmonic skills.

September 22 , 2018 School Concert

Attention all guitar lovers

I am very excited about our upcoming major School Concert. I am proud of all of you, for your hard work and continuous dedication, to make music and the guitar, part of your daily lives.

Here it is :
Saturday September 22, 11 am
Armadale Uniting Church
86A Kooyong Rd,  Armadale VIC 3143

We will meet at 11 am and have a light lunch ( please limit cakes and chips and bring a small plate of food.  I will be there at 10 to start setting up and will need help in doing so, and also in packing up.  Please let me know who can help out?

We should start performing at 12.30 and finish by 2.00

Thomas Lorenzo Melbourne Concert Series

A quick reminder to purchase your ticket for my upcoming concerts by clicking on the link.