Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including friendship, the trickiness of ear training, and more.
Here we go…
#1 – Mastery
I got asked about the word “mastery” the other day by a student in the Fingerstyle 101 group.
I was talking about mastering the C Major scale and why it’s a good idea to do so. (That’s because it’s far better to master one scale than learn 10 half-heartedly).
Anyway, the student was asking me exactly what I meant by “mastering” a scale.
I wanted to be clear on this.
For 99% of my students, when I say things like “mastery”…
I’m not talking about mastering the scale like Clapton or Segovia or those who spend 1000s of hours playing it.
Mastery for most of my students is this…
…Being able to play the Major scale smoothly, knowing what the notes are you are playing, being able to jam the scale, change key with the scale, and being comfortable using the scale.
Is that true mastery at an epic elite level?
No, it’s mastery in the context of what I want all beginners to be able to do to take them to the intermediate and beyond level.
It’s one simple word, but I thought it’s worth clearing up what I mean by that.
Anyway, when you do learn a scale or two, doing the above and mastering the basics like this is super useful.
#2 – What a hero
The other week I talked about the wedding of one of my best friends.
Well, here’s a little story of what a top bloke he is.
Back in 2005, a few of us had bought tickets for the Reading music festival.
The tickets from the official site sold out in hours, so we bought our tickets from an online reseller (paying almost twice as much).
Well, the day before the festival, we contacted the reseller as we still hadn’t got the tickets.
They told us we weren’t getting them, and they were giving us a refund.
We were gutted.
Some of our favourite bands were playing and most of our friends were going to be there.
So, we resigned ourselves to a boring weekend at home.
…But there was hope.
Someone said the festival keeps a few hundred tickets to sell at the gate.
We were sceptical and wondered why they would do this.
You had to get there very early to get them.
Two of us couldn’t go early enough to get them because of work…
…But like a real trooper, my mate (the groom) volunteered to go down on the train, meet with the others and queue to get the tickets.
He queued from about midnight till eight in the morning to get the tickets.
And guess what, he pulled it off.
He called us up and broke the news.
We were going to the festival!
We went and had an absolute blast.
Foo Fighters, Pixies, Kings of Leon, Iggy Pop, and many others all played.
(I bought him a crate of beer that day and have thanked him with many pints since).
Anyway, this shows how wonderful friends are, how great live music is, and how together the two are like dynamite for having a great time.
A little nostalgia there, but a story about a top guy and a magical weekend I’ll never forget.
#3 – Ear training is hard
I’m really enjoying creating the Acoustic Asylum podcast.
I’ve heard some lovely words about it so far.
In case you missed it, we’re on Episode 6 already.
…But today, I want to talk briefly about the fourth episode.
In that episode, I gave you a 10-question ear training quiz. (You can find it and listen to it from this page HERE).
Students loved it, but some said they only got a few of the ten questions correct.
I told them that is okay.
If you got one, two, or even zero correct, do not worry.
Taking any sort of ear training test is hard at first.
…And if you’re like most, I bet you haven’t done many ear training tests before.
It’s difficult to test yourself on this sort of thing and most guitar teachers don’t do much of it from what I’ve found…
So, it’s actually very common for people to not get many right when doing any ear training tests in the beginning.
So, if you got a high score, well done, and if you got a low score, well done as well.
The fact you took the test is fantastic and a good start.
Remember, our skills are like muscles, we need to keep training them.
The more you do, the better you will get – with ear training especially.
Keep at it and keep enjoying your playing.
For more help with mastering the basics and having more fun on the guitar, you may want to check this out.
Have a great week!
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.