Here is another of the weekly posts with 3 thoughts about guitar, music, and life. As it was my son Archie’s 5th birthday yesterday, this week’s post is a special one based around 3 useful things I have learnt from him, including how to inspire others, how to develop musical skills, and more.
#1 – Keyboards are great
I get asked a fair bit if Archie is interested in learning guitar.
Not really at the moment, but he does like a blast on the keyboard I bought him about a year or so ago.
He only plays it about once per week but enjoys tinkling along playing Happy Birthday.
The keyboard is far easier for him than a half-sized guitar or ukulele.
As well as being easier to play notes on, the keyboard is easier for him to see the notes, and many adults find this too.
The guitar is essentially an X and Y axis where notes change in pitch, up and down the strings and when moving across them too.
This used to confuse the hell out of me at first.
On a keyboard, the notes move up and down in pitch in a very linear, left-to-right manner.
This can make developing pitch recognition, visualising notes, and even just playing melodies easier.
If you have a keyboard around, it can be good fun to play it here and there.
You can play a simple piece on it or you can learn something you can play on guitar and on the keyboard too.
Doing so will only help you become a better musician, understand music more, and have a little extracurricular fun.
#2 – Almost anything you do in music is good practice.
Even though he is not too fussed about playing an instrument yet (which is cool with me), I do enjoy it when Archie gets involved with music.
He is often singing, dancing, and tapping out the beats to songs he hears.
We sometimes play the copycat game where I clap my hands, and he copies the rhythm.
Sometimes he plays air guitar.
All of this is good stuff.
Not just for his brain right now, but also if he ever wants to play an instrument.
Developing musical skills like this is often one of the reasons why some so-called “naturals” can make progress on an instrument in quick time.
Most of my students who have made quick progress on guitar have been singers, dancers, or very musical in some sort of way.
The reason why is because musical skills cross over.
Therefore, keep practising being as musical as you can even when your guitar is not around.
I never did any of this before I played an instrument, and this meant I had zero rhythm and a poor ear at first.
Tapping beats, singing more, dancing, etc., would have helped as these things all add up in little ways.
#3 – Inspiration is key
I have taught a lot of guitarists who were once musicians when they were kids, but who got burnt out by their instrument or just gave up and forgot everything.
Usually, this is due to pressure, or losing inspiration, yet…
Inspiration is key.
To inspire Archie, I sometimes grab the guitar and strum and sing Old MacDonald or play a fingerpicked version of the Star Wars theme, or something else he likes.
Sometimes he will shush me if he’s watching T.V. (five-year-olds make for tough crowds!)
Other times he will grab his ukulele or keyboard and play.
As a teacher, I find it far easier to get a student to do something if I show them, and hopefully inspire them and fill them with the belief they can do it too.
That is way more powerful than saying, “do this”.
It’s a good tip if you ever want to teach your kids or grandkids guitar, but also…
When learning, it is key to keep looking for a teacher that inspires you too.
We are all eternal students, so that’s what I look for too when learning.
Anyway, I hope you found that useful, and you have a great Tuesday!
P.S. For more guitar help and inspiration with your guitar playing, including much more in-depth and specific advice, check out my book bundle where there is a massive wealth of lessons inside.
P.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.