Here are two more interesting emails I have got lately regarding DVDs and the “Break Blast” method. I hope you find the emails and my thoughts useful… 


Email #1…

 In regard to the email I sent out Monday, asking you all what you would like to learn next, “Amazing Grace” or “House of the Rising Sun”, this is what Linda replied…

“Hi Dan,

Either song would be nice, but if I had to choose, I would pick Amazing Grace due to the broad knowledge of the song. I have restarted my course (had to break off because of a project that is now done).

My satellite internet service is slow and constantly buffers for videos, so it is frustrating at times and time consuming to get the entire instructional message from online courses. I can play DVDs at home, so it would be nice to have the option of buying physical DVDs for smoother instruction. I love your style of teaching, so I plan to stick with you through it all.

I live in a rural area with no other option for internet service unless I buy a hotspot or something. My phone hotspot runs out for the month if I use it too much.

Anyhow, physical DVDs would be a nice option for those of us with slooooow internet service. Just a thought.

Keep up the good work. Being in my 60s, I am very happy you target our age group. Thank you.”



There are a couple of things there that are interesting.

First, DVDs… For this new course, putting it on DVD is a possibility. It’s not something I’ve thought about too much before, but the course will be pretty short and right to the point, so it should fit on one DVD…

…So, if this is something you would like, do let me know and I’ll certainly look into it.


Secondly, the song. I love both “House of the Rising Sun” and “Amazing Grace”. Both are special songs that can be arranged in a multitude of ways. Although votes are still coming in for both, it’s very close.

Both have proved very popular and there’s a lot of passion behind the choices too, which is nice. I might even film both at some point for various other projects and courses, as well as doing the winner for this course.


Thirdly, glad to know that Linda feels at home here. A small bit of background. I never initially went out of my way to appeal to any group when I started my blog about 10 years ago. It’s funny really, within a year or two I was getting a whole host of emails from people like Linda, who were excited to find my lessons. It was the same in the teaching studio too.

I guess my style resonates with this demographic, and to me that’s wonderful. I always loved teaching folk of any age, but it especially makes my day when someone who has been itching or trying to learn guitar for decades finds me and tells me how a book, course, or even blog post or video has helped them.


So, a big thank you to you all who send in kind words. I’ve had quite a few emails like this lately and it means a lot.

Anyway, before I get too soppy, let’s move on to email 2…


On to Email #2

Last week I talked about my disdain for “hacks” and here’s an email from Mike who shares his thoughts on this…

“Here is a “learning hack” that is based on science and definitely works – at least for me. It goes by several names, my wife who knows a lot about skill teaching, calls it “speed bursts” because you go fast-rest-fast-rest but there are loads of different names for it and different ways to apply it in music learning. The basic idea is to give the brain a breather every few notes while you practice. 

Exactly why it works is not entirely obvious. We know that baby steps work best when learning anything, so it may just be that the pause gives the brain time to encode the learning. Or it may be that, with songs or scales, it forces the brain to encode the finger movements separately from the time so makes it more easily reusable. Whatever it is, fast-rest seems to work.” 



I’m a fan of learning like this and there are lots of ways to apply this methodology.

One way I like to use is what I call…


This is where you play something very slowly and precisely and then every now and then you double or even triple the speed and play it fast.


The switching between going slowly and methodically, again and again, helps you learn the fine motor movements but also what it feels like, and the thrill of playing it fast.

The brain is interesting and although there is more and more research coming out all the time about how we learn best, one thing is pretty clear to me…

You need some consistency where you’re methodical and precise (about 90% of the time I’d say) …

…But also have moments where you shake things up and challenge your brain.


Try the above with just one bar of one piece of music at first.

It’s good fun.


Anyway, speaking of workouts, I hope you’re enjoying your new DTAA lessons…

Have you tried the 2-minute 49 seconds workout yet?

One thing we do inside is apply a version of this brake/blast idea with a Travis picking pattern where we play it slow and then fast. The whole workout is good fun.

(ACCESS) The DTAA 2:49 Fingerpickers’ Workout


Enjoy your Wednesday

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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