Welcome to a new post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life.
It’s a day later than usual as yesterday was Boxing Day, so I took the day off.
I hope you had an amazing Christmas and here we go…
#1 – Musical games
Christmas day was one of my favourite ones ever.
In the evening, we hosted for the first time.
This was nice as we were in our new house.
One of the highlights for me was playing a simple music quiz game.
One round consisted of reading the name of a song off a card and humming the tune out loud.
The other players had to guess the tune.
To be able to hum the tune accurately is not easy.
It takes some good musical skills which people don’t always realise.
I mean, just try humming the intro riff to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses and seeing if anyone can recognise it – that’s not easy for sure!
Taking this further, a good game you can do to test and improve your musical “ear” is this…
Take any song you are learning on the guitar and try to hum the melody.
That can be the vocal melody, guitar riff, or any other standout part of the song.
See if you can hum it so it sounds like the tune.
It’s a great way to test your own musical ear.
You don’t have to do it for anyone else and with practice, you’ll get better at doing this.
…And that’s one of those little things that can improve your ear and therefore make you a more musical guitarist in the long run.
Plus, it’s a fun little way to see how well you know a song!
#2 – It really is a wonderful life
I mentioned this movie last week.
…But I will mention it again because the movie It’s a Wonderful Life is so powerful in many ways.
…Especially for me as a guitar teacher.
I watched the movie again the other day and one bit at the beginning really stood out.
Clarence (the guardian angel) is talking with a senior angel in Heaven about the hero of the story, George Bailey.
Clarence says to the angel.
“What’s wrong with George – is he sick?”
“No,” replies the angel, “Worse, he’s discouraged.”
Now, as a guitar teacher for over 10 years, that line struck a chord with me (pun alert!).
That’s because there’s nothing that would upset me more than seeing a student discouraged.
Thankfully, it didn’t happen very often.
…But the truth is, every single guitarist feels discouraged at some point.
We all have moments of feeling a little lost.
So I want to remind you if you ever feel discouraged, there are lots of things you can do to get a shot of motivation on guitar.
You can think about how far you’ve come since you started.
You can learn something super simple on the guitar that doesn’t necessarily use chords (easy riffs and melodies are great for this).
…But most of all, give yourself time.
Getting good at guitar doesn’t happen overnight.
Patience and playing with a smile on your face are absolutely key to success.
There’s a natural ebb and flow where sometimes we feel super motivated and other times not so much.
The key when you feel discouraged is to change things up a little, try new things, and get back to having fun.
Most of all, never quit.
Keep working at it, and as it’s almost a new year, it’s worth thinking ahead about how you can make the new year something special for you on your musical journey.
#3 – A student’s transformation
In the Fingerstyle 101 Facebook group, a student called Peter did something very cool the other day.
On Christmas day, he posted a video of himself playing a fingerstyle version of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.
He played it in true festive spirit too, wearing a Santa hat!
It was great fun and an excellent performance.
What’s wonderful is that if we go back about a year, Peter posted a video in the group which was good.
For a beginner, the piece was played nicely, and it was a success.
There were, however, a few things he knew he needed to work on to improve.
…And my word, over the last year, he did work on them.
Peter’s playing is now smoother, cleaner, tidier, and much more musical than it was a year ago.
…Because he put the hours in, worked hard on the things that needed to be worked on, and kept fine-tuning his playing.
As a member of the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy, Peter’s probably used to hearing me preach about how all the small things add up over time to make the big picture.
Peter put this advice into practice.
So, I want to take my hat off to him, but also encourage you to do the same.
…Because if you do, you can make some wonderful progress, especially throughout 2023 and beyond.
I hope you enjoyed those three random thoughts.
Speaking of the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy, we’re not far from releasing the new lessons for January.
There are going to be some very exciting lessons and a completely new lesson, which I’ll share more about this week.
In the meantime, to check out the sort of things you’ll get inside the academy, you can go to the link below.
I hope you’re enjoying the festive period and happy holidays!
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.