one-year plan

If you want a long-term plan for your guitar playing, this should prove useful.


Back in the early days of me teaching guitar, in lesson #1, I’d show my new student the ropes of the guitar and give them something fun to play.

I abstained from metronome or scale practice and kept things fun!

After all, I wanted to light a fire in their enthusiasm to play, not snuff it out.

As well as this, I’d also give them confidence by letting them know that I have a one-year plan for them.

So, each week, we would build upon what we’d previously learnt, recap the fundamentals, and go through this plan at a pace that suited them.

Many students came to me because they were plain fed up with random YouTube lessons, or unprepared teachers who would “wing it” each lesson.

Of course, not all guitar teachers were like that, but that was the main reason many students hopped across town to see me.

So I had this one-year plan for students, which I would constantly tweak and refine until it was as strong as possible.


Want to know what was in the plan?

Well, in some ways it was nothing revolutionary, but no one else out there seemed to do it, at least not in this way (which I’ll explain).

…But it was a great roadmap for me to help guide the student and keep them from off-roading on their journey (and without overwhelming them with gazillions of random things to learn).

Basically, the plan started off with the absolute basics of “Core Fundamental Technique” and some simple “party pieces”.


We’d develop the above, and each week, work through getting their first chords clean, getting faster chord changes, smoother strumming, and we’d work on how to put it together to play some real songs.

Plus, later we would develop key stuff such as dexterity, rhythm, timing, memory, and aural skills.

Those were things that helped them add a strong sense of musicality.

Accounting for holidays and stuff, a year’s worth of lessons would average around 45 lessons for the student.

…But we wouldn’t go through a new lesson each week.

No way!

That would have been insane and very overwhelming.

Imagine learning something new each week and never recapping it!


In fact, there were about 15-25 lessons I had in the plan (the latter parts were adaptable for each student where they could learn fun stuff such as blues, fingerpicking, and Travis picking).

Being adaptable was key.

And that’s where I differed from most teachers, I think.

It seemed some had no plan; some had a rigid plan.

I realised it’s wise to have a plan but be adaptable.

…Because sometimes you’re going on a long journey but you need to take a small detour here and there.

No plan means you’ll get lost.

A rigid plan means you won’t take turns and you’ll be stuck in “traffic” when you don’t need to be.

It’s the same with the guitar.


Anyway, if you ever feel lost by the sheer number of lessons out there, you may want to check out my In Focus Essentials course inside my membership programme.

It’s the course which contains this plan I’d take new students through in their first year of playing and that went a long way to helping them succeed.

Some people ask, “How should I best use this course?”

I tell them to go through one lesson per week and they’ll see big progress without overwhelming themselves.

You can check it out as part of the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. One key thing to do is recap what you learn. I made that a big part of my teaching with students and it helped. Keep in mind that when you learn anything new and useful, you want to recap it at the very least a few times each week.


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.

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