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Lesson 4 – How to play a melody

This is the video transcript of lesson number 4 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.

Consolidation exercises 

As mentioned, every week I add one more exercise to your daily 20 minute guitar practice session.

The new guitar 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 you 10 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.

The song

This is the new song you will learn, where I combine the C, Am, Em, and G chords. It also has four  eight bar melodies, that I created with the C scale.

What new vocabulary do you need to learn to master, play this song and learn how to play a melody:

  • The C scale with open strings 
  • 4 melodies of 8 bars duration 

How are you going to learn ?

(Step by step + LISP routine + aural comprehension + repetition ) x 4 = Happiness

Step by step, applying the LISP routine with a lot of aural comprehension, then you add quite a few repetitions and you will end playing fluently the song .  

Step one 

In Step one you will learn the C scale, with open strings, the alphabet, with which all these melodies are constructed. In other words, you will practice the pathway, where to find all the melodies. This the first step for how to play a melody.  

Step two

In Step two you will learn to play slowly each of the individual 4 melodies using the L.I.S.P routine.

Step three

In Step 3 you will consolidate with: On your own routine.

Step four

In Step four you will combine all the 8 melodies.

Step 1 – The C scale

I will start on the 6th string and play it from E. Play along with me and sing the sound.  I will now play it descending from the G note. 

C scale first position How to play a melody

Let’s play now two notes per beat.  How do you count two notes per beat ? You add the word and, in between.  In order to play each note two times per beat you will need to alternate your index and middle fingers as in the video.

Play along with me. 

Play along with me descending from G.

Rewind and repeat.

Step 2 – L.I.S.P Melody 1

  • Listen
  • Imagine 
  • Sing 
  • Play Comprehend 

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

How to play a melody on the guitar?

Per Beat

How many notes?

Per Note: 

Same, up or down?

Beat one  

How many notes are there? None.

Beat two

How many notes are there? Two. 

Are they both the same? Yes. 

Beat three  

How many notes are there? Two.

Are they both the same? Yes. 

Beat four 

How many notes are there? Two.

Are they both the same? No.

1st note, same, up or down?It goes up. 

2nd note, same, up, or down? It goes up. 

Next bar 

Beat one

How many notes are there? One. 

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

Beat two

How many notes are there? One.

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

Beat three

How many notes are there? One. 

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

Beat four 

How many notes are there? One. 

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

Note: These two bars are repeated twice.

On your own 

Stop the video and play the two bars on your own. Consolidate your how to play a melody.

Play along with me 

Play along with me at half the tempo.   

Play along with me at the original tempo 

Rewind and Repeat full L.I.S.P of Melody 1

L.I.S.P. Melody Number 2

  • Listen
  • Imagine 
  • Sing 
  • Play Comprehend 

Before you play, comprehend what happens on each beat of the melody, in order. Ask your self the following questions, sing and point to your fingers. This will help you learn to play a melody.

Per Beat: How many notes?

Per Note: Same, up or down?

Beat one 

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

Beat two

How many notes are there? One.

Where does the note start? On beat 2 and. 

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

Beat three and four 

Same as one and two.

Next Bar 

Beat one and two  

Same as previous  beats one, two, three and four.

Beat three

How many notes are there? Two.

Are they both the same?No

1st note, same, up or down?It goes down. 

2nd note, 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 

Stop the video and play the two bars on your own. 

Play along with me 

Play along with me at half the tempo.   

Play along with me at the original tempo. 

Rewind and Repeat full L.I.S.P of Melody 2

Practice the song 

  • Play along with me Melody one and two 4 times. 
  • Play along with me the chords of Melody one, 4 times. They are the same as you have played in Song number one and two. 


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 1, 2 

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 trac.k

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

A thorough understanding of how to hear and play a melody will help you write your songs matching closely your emotions and words to the appropriate chord and melody. Read more about how to write a song.

How to play The Em and G chord, Beginners Guitar

Lesson 3 – How to play the Em and G chord.

This is the transcript of lesson 3 of the Beginners course

Click on the link for the transcript of lesson 1 of the Beginners course: How to find notes on the guitar fretboard

Click on the link for the transcript of lesson 1 of the Beginners course. How to play the C and Am chord

1 Introduction 

 1. 1 What will you learn 

In this lesson, you will learn to play a new section of our final song, and how to play the Em and G chord. 

Once you master this new section you will have further musical vocabulary,  better right and left hand coordination and improved finger picking technique.

You will also build on the song from lesson 2, and start exploring different styles of guitar playing

1. 2 What will happen after this lesson 

You will feel positive that you can learn to play the guitar with fun, as you will have understood that you are able to target all goals, by dividing the learning process into manageable, satisfying  steps.

2 Warm up 

Warm up with the following phrase:

Learn it slowly.

Count it in. 

  • Listen
  • Imagine  what I have  just done. 
  • Sing  what I have  just done.
  • Play with me. 

Play the notes on the 6th string with your thumb. Play the notes on the 4th string alternating  between the index, and middle finger. I will play the phrase 4 times. Notice that I play louder the ands

Play it with me a bit faster.

Now play it with the recording.

3 The Song

Learn this song with the Em and G chords. Learn how to play the Em and G chord

3.1   The Goal

In order to  learn how to play the Em and G chord and play this song you will need to practice:

1 Each chord on its own

2 How to join them and create the groove 

3 The melody

4 The song from start to finish.


This practice routine breaks up your learning of   how to play the Em and G chord, into manageable steps. If you jump any step , for example practice directly step 4,  you most probably will end up playing the song very poorly, and feeling very frustrated. So, practice the full routine in order.

3.2 Step one Practice each chord on its own 

3.2.1 Chord Learning Routine on Em

Apply the chord learning routine to the Em Chord.

  • Place your fingers in order
  • Name the bass   
  • Play one string at a time from the bass 
  • Clarity Check. Adjust your hands
  • Repeat and Play one string at a time from the bass 

3.2.2 Chord Learning Routine on G

Apply the chord learning routine to the G Chord.

  • Place your fingers in order
  • Name the bass   
  • Play one string at a time from the bass 
  • Clarity Check. Adjust your hands
  • Repeat and Play one string at a time from the bass  

3.3 Step two- Join them 

4/4  |Em | G  | Em | G| 

This is a visual representation of what you have to do. Each chord, between the brackets, lasts  a specific number of beats, or taps with your foot.

The symbol 4/4, indicates four taps of your foot between brackets, hence, each chord has a duration of 4 counts. Join them and learn   how to play the Em and G chord.

3.3.1 The goal

Your goal will be to play: 

 4/4  |Em | G  | Em | G|

likes this:

Get ready

  • Place your fingers in order
  • Name the bass
  • Play the bass

3.3.2 Slow it down 

In order to learn how to play the Em and G chord fluently, you first need to practice it slowly. I suggest you first play it numerous times without tempo striving for clarity of sound as follows.

Get ready

Play along with me.

  • Place your fingers in order
  • Name the bass
  • Play the bass


1 and 2 and 3 and strum 23, make sure you place your fingers down exactly when you say 23,  

now check for clarity and reposition your hand, 

and 1 and 2 and 3 and strum, move, make sure you lift your fingers 2 and 3 when you say move, 

and , place your first finger down, make sure you place it exactly  when you say one, 

now check for clarity and reposition your hand,

and 1 and  2 and 3 and strum 23, 1 and 2 and  3 and strum.

Rewind and repeat this routine 10 times.

3.3.4 Play the goal 

Now you should be ready to play it in tempo non stop. Play along with me. 

3.5.5 On your own 

Stop the video and do it on your own. After each repetition ask yourself the following:

Check questions

  • Did you turn on your metronome?
  • Did you tap always your foot while playing?
  • Did you count it in?
  • Did you sing or say what you where doing?
  • Did you play non stop?


Repeat this exercise as many times as you need to, until you can answer with a yes all the check  questions.

Still not able to jump between chords ? 

It would be quite normal,  at this stage, if your are still not fluent in the chord change. If so, rewind and repeat step two a few times, and you will soon notice improvement. 

4 Step Three – The Melody

The Goal

Your goal is to play this melody.

4.1 Apply the LISP routine

Learn the melody slowly and effectively, by applying the LISP routine: Listen, imagine, sing, play.

How to hear music

Get ready

Get the Em chord in place.

  • Place your fingers in order
  • Name the bass
  • Play the bass
  • Listen to what you have to do. 
  • Imagine what you have to do. 
  • Sing what you have to do.
  • Play what you have to do.

Notice that I play the lalalala with the index and annular fingers alternating between them on each note . Also to play the lalalala on the G chord, I lift the 3rd finger up and place it on the D note.

4.2 On your own

Now Stop the video and do it on your own. After each repetition ask yourself the following:

Check questions

  • Did you turn on your metronome ?
  • Did you tap always your foot while playing ?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you sing or say what you where doing ?
  • Did you play it non stop ?

If your answer is no to any of the questions, Repeat the full LISP routine 

5 Step Four – Play the song 

Play the full song with me.

Get your Em chord in place

  • Name the bass 
  • Play the bass 
  • Clarity check 
  • and play along with me. 

Repeat this step a few times before moving on.

5.1 On your own

Now Stop the video and play the song on your own. After each repetition ask yourself the following:

Check questions

  • Did you turn on your metronome ?
  • Did you tap always your foot while playing ?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you sing or say what you where doing ?
  • Did you play it non stop ?

If your answer is no to any of the questions, repeat this whole video from the beginning. Have fun. 

6 Consolidation exercises

As mentioned,  in each lesson you will learn a new section of the full final song of this course. This final song, brings to life all the musical objectives of this course. If you can play it and have fun at the same time, will mean that you have learnt effectively. 

Therefore, I will ask you in every new lesson, to consolidate all you have previously learnt, but,

Please make sure you have completed all previous assignments, in a satisfactory manner, as they are designed to break up the learning process into fun, and comfortable steps.

Play along with me song number one but at a quicker tempo. 

6.1 On your own

Stop the video, and play the song on your own, at your comfortable tempo, which is the slowest tempo you can do it at.  After each play ask yourself the following:

Check questions

  • Did you turn on your metronome ?
  • Did you tap always your foot while playing ?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you sing or say what you where doing ?
  • Did you play it non stop ?

If your answer is no to any of these questions, repeat the exercise until you only have yes answers.

If after a few repeats, you still cannot play it right, and start feeling frustrated, stop and repeat lesson 2, to further consolidate this song, by practicing it in more manageable steps.

7 Assignments 


What does lisp stand for?

Why learn a melody with the lisp routine? 

How many bars does 2, (warm up), have?

How many bars does the Song 3 have ? The new song of this lesson

On what bar of the Song 3 does the melody section start?


Draw on the fretboard the C scale, then draw 6 shapes of the C, Am Em and G chords.

7.1 Record yourself

Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing 2. ( the Warm Up.) Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording.

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? 
  • Did you play it non stop ?

7.2 Record yourself

Record the song in video, with your phone, playing 6 ( The song for the first lesson at a quicker speed ). Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording.

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? 
  • Did you play it non stop ?

7.3 Record yourself

Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing 3 ( The song in this lesson with the Em and G chords). Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording.

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? 
  • Did you play it non stop ?

8 Recommended Listening 

Follow these links to my you tube channel and listen to a selection of guitarists in jazz, blues, rock and flamenco styles. 

Recommended listening Jazz Guitar

Recommended listening Blues and Rock Guitar

Recommended listening Flamenco Guitar

Creative Guitar School Concert September 22

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


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  

Romance Anonimo, How to play on the Spanish Guitar

Background on courses

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

We learn to play along with the original tracks

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

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

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

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

How to play Romance Anonimo

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

We learn to play songs together as in a band situation

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

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

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

We learn to play songs as a solo guitarist

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

How to play Romance Anonimo Acoustic Guitar

Romance Anonimo

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

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

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

Context, what to do , instructions.

The context defines what, and when we play.

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

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

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

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

We play Romance Anonimoas follows:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Do not worry

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


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

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

What are we learning

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

This is the first lesson of how to play Romance Anonimo

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

How to 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. 

Blues Guitar Lessons- The Essence

The Joy of Playing Blues Guitar

I love my blues. I adore playing blues on the guitar, as the feel it produces, will make my day.

When I started playing blues, my guitar teachers introduced me directly to contemporary blues, with a lot of chord changes, and did not focus on the origin of the blues.

Due to my thirst for the true feel, I started listening to the classics as Muddy Waters,  and asked myself how these original artists were able to achieve such clarity in the blues feel.

This way of approaching melody and chords has inspired and laid foundation for most contemporary music. In Level 2, all Creative Guitar students start mastering the beauty of blues  and the joy it produces, as part of our daily playing . Blues guitar lessons are incorporated in level 2, 3 and 4 courses .

The Secret of Blues

I believe that there is more than a secret in blues guitar playing; there is a realm of delicate harmonic tension balance that we must caress to keep the magic flowing.

Blues is like a cloud of sound that floats on top of our chords.  Blues comes alive when we create the contrast between the blues sound and the harmony of our tune.

The first step we must take, to feel this sound cloud, is to understand what key we are in, or the tonal center of our song. The first chord of our blues will define our tonal center. If our first chord is a G, then we can assume that we are playing a major blues in G.

Note: I assume you are aware of the blues progressions and the blues scale.

Blues Guitar lessons Melbourne

Have you ever felt that when you move away from the G chord, you need to play something else that you cannot find?

Have you ever felt that the blues cloud, the blues feel ,disappears as you play other chords?

If you do not have this feeling, then I must assume you are playing the blues correctly. However, if  you do, then consider that the more you move away from the G chord, the more you will need to play the blues sound, and the less you will need to play the other chords completely.

How do we keep the feel

If you are loosing the G blues sound, when you play the C chord, then only play the root and add more G blues sound to your playing. In the same manner, when you play the D chord, avoid playing the full chord and add more blues sound to it. ( the G Blues )

In all blues styles, you will hear that the magic occurs when we contrast the sound of the chord with the tonal center blues scale.

At the Creative Guitar School, in your blues guitar lessons,  I will guide you through the different blues styes and how the relationship of harmony- melody and blues scales, interact to achieve the desired sound.

Can I play the blues sound over any chord progression ?

Yes. For example; if your song is in C , you can play the C blues scale over any chord, and if done right, it will work.

As I mentioned,  blues does form part of most contemporary music, we enjoy in our daily lives. In your guitar lessons,  I would strongly suggest learning more of this style, as it will give you a natural advantage in achieving a unique sound in your playing. Blues is a colour that creates a special contrast, that can add harmonic and melodic richness to your playing

What to learn ?

In terms of knowledge, in your blues guitar lessons, you will learn how to define the rhythm guitar or the lead solo guitar, in various keys, 8 or 12 bar progressions, and styles.

You will also learn,  in your blues guitar lessons, where to find the notes that sound blues all over the guitar neck; in various keys. And how to play a solo that creates contrast between the chords and the blues.

You will learn to create phrases, based upon logical melodic questions and answers; call and response.

You will learn to talk with authentic blues phrases; by acquiring vocabulary used by the classics.

You will learn the major pentatonic scales of all chords, the mixolydian scale, major minor arpeggios, and all  harmonic- melodic tensions available.

In summary,  a whole set of musical tools, to tap into , to give you unlimited resources for all your creative needs.

Your ideas will not stop popping up, and soon you will be able to find them and play them on the guitar.

As a professional session guitarist,  I also heavily rely on these skills, so to be able to develop diversity and quickly tap into the different musical genres I am asked to play on .


I do not recommend, a beginner guitarist, should start off only with blues guitar lessons. All guitar students need to have developed a sense of rhythm, harmony, melody and technique, before immersing themselves in this beautiful language.

That is why,  at the Creative Guitar School, students must complete level one of their learning, before moving into this style. You need a good sense of rhythm , melody and harmony to enjoy the beauty of blues.

Extended listening

These are some of my favourite blues players I listen to.  The list will take you through a variety of styles in this musical language.

Magic Sam Style Blues Son House, Muddy Waters, and and John Lee Hooker Styles

Elizabeth Cotton,, Tampa Red, Robert Johnson, Blind Blake,  Big Bill Broonzy, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, Corey Harris, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Lightnin Hopkins, Tommy Johnson, , Tampa Red, Blind Lemon Jefferson, BB King

School Concert

Students love to perform at our frequent concerts. I also enjoy to see how students work together, play together, and develop their musical expertise; socially.  It is fun , engaging and above all very satisfying.


Music requires discipline in our learning. All my guitar courses are based on structured learning. There fore, in order to complete the guitar courses, to your own satisfaction, please allocate 20 minutes every day, during 10 weeks, for all your guitar exercises.

Group effort

All guitar courses, that develop the basic level of learning, require that the student commits to a daily practice routine so as to keep up with the rest of the group courses,

Groups also get together outside class hours ,to help each other  in their  musical adventure and to prepare for the concerts.

I hope to see you at one of our next Guitar Concerts . Sign up to get the latest news on all our events , courses  and my specialized Melbourne Concerts.

 Blues Guitar Lessons and Basic Improvisation

B. B. King The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.

Blues Guitar lessons in Melbourn

Here a the Creative Guitar School in Melbourne I offer a selection of courses  and masterclasses geared towards the achievement of your personal goals as a musician or artist.

Basic Improvisation

We will approach basic improvisation by applying to the twelve bar blues form the pentatonic scale, riffs that we will memorize and transcribe from master blues players, and our own riffs and melodies that we will learn to create.

We will learn:

  • to vary riffs both rhythmically and melodically.
  • how to  structure solos in relation to the form of the blues and to create tension and release.
  •  to create solos with chordal tones.
  •  how to combine chordal sounds with pentatonic major and minor sounds.

We will have a lot of fun.

 Course Content Blues guitar lessons and basic improvisation

  • Blues Soloing
  • Improvising and creating melodies
  • Improvising and thinking rhythmically
  • Minor blues
  • Creating melodic variations
  • Solo length and creating climax
  • Playing chord tones
  • Chord scale soloing
  • Chromatic approach shapes that help define chordal movement

The blues sound is a major influence in contemporary styles of music.  This sound is defined both by chord progressions and by specific scales.  These chords and scales can be taken out of a blues context and incorporated into other styles of music in order to add the blues touch we might require.  My blues guitar lessons  students will learn to understand what makes the blues sound, how to create blues melodies and how to play chords in a very unique and special manner that only blues players master.

I personally adore Muddy Waters, BB King and Steve Ray Vaughn . Let´s understand how they play the blues and what makes there playing so special. Let´s make our blues playing also sound special.

Guitar Lessons, How to learn effectively?

Guitar Lessons. Enjoyment and self expression

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

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

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

 Guitar Lessons Courses What will you learn?

The guided pathway

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

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

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

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

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

    • Compose a few songs like the following:

Students compose one song per level

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


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

How to study and progress with joy

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

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

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


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

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

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

Aural training

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Group learning

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


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

You can do it

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

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

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


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

The next level

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

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


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

More info

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

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

Writing on the Guitar-Songwriter Exclusive


I am currently finalising my new online course for songwriters and guitarists who need more emotion from their songs and music productions, and uniqueness in their melodic and harmonic choices.  Especially, for those who wish to deliver the most powerful live performance of their song  and  record it with others.

What do you need to know to get the most out of a song  ?

Module 1 Harmony

  • What chords do I have to work with the song I have in my head ?
  • What other chords can I use for variety ?
  • What chords can I choose to create more excitement?
  • Is my voice shining ? Do I need to transpose?


Module 2 Structure

  • How can I choose a flowing structure ?
  • How to add a surprise to the structure?

Module3 Groove

  • What is the groove of my song ?
  • How to make even it more groovy, especially in the most exciting parts?

Module 4 Intensity

  • What and where is the climax of the song ?
  • What rhythmic, melodic, harmonic tools do I have  to create intensity and feel that uplifting energy surge ?

Module 5 Variety in the melody 

  • How can I make my melody more interesting ?
  • How can it stand out more ?
  • Does my melody reflect the emotional content of the words ?
  • What tools do I have to achieve the desired emotion?

Module 6 Variety in the accompaniment

  • Do I hear backing vocals?
  • Can they help my melody stand out ?
  • What type of vocals lines do I have to choose from ?
  • Do I hear background lines? How can I translate them to the guitar?

Module 7 Enhancing bass lines 

Can I make the bass line more interesting and therefore make the harmony even more powerful? And the melody more emotional ?

Module 8

Decide how the song is be played by others to enhance the final product. Think and define the roles of each section and how you would like them to play, to accompany your desired emotional goal.

  • What is the outline of bass I need to define the chords and the groove of the song  in each section? And the climax ?
  • What is the rhythm I need, to  define the groove and pulse in each section, and the climax?
  • How should the accompaniment be played in each section ?
  • What is the background line of the accompaniment in each section and the climax ?

This course is to take your music to the next level and make it sound totally professional.