Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including thoughts on recording yourself, how I chose the songs for my new course, and some secret bonuses.
Here we go…
#1 – I do this too…
I like to encourage students to record themselves playing on video.
I often say, try to do this once per week.
I know it’s not always easy to do, but it is worth it.
I’m lucky I have a studio room where the cameras and lighting are all set up and ready to go for when I record new lessons.
I often watch back my playing for the little things…
Small movements that look like they could be smoother…
Slight technical things that can be improved upon…
Making sure my fingers don’t travel too far from the string, etc.
…These are things that no matter how good you or I get on the guitar, we can always work on.
Top musicians are always looking to improve the fine details.
Just like elite-level athletes, artists, actors, etc. all do the same.
If you ever wanted to film yourself, but haven’t yet done it, getting yourself a little tripod for your smartphone can be a great investment.
#2 – Why I chose these carols
Speaking of filming, this week I’m promoting my new Christmas Crackers course.
It was a huge amount of fun getting this course together.
A few people have asked what made me choose these songs over certain others.
Well, the short answer is that although I’d like to record dozens of songs for each course, there is only so much time one has.
So, when prepping this course, I whittled the song choices down from around 15 to these five.
I chose these five songs specifically because they all fit my ‘No Chord Fingerstyle’ method.
(This is where we avoid big, full chords and instead, we focus on the melody and bass notes, with the occasional two-finger partial chord voicing).
All five of these songs fit this style, but all are also what I call “emotive carols”.
You have the warmth of “Silent Night”, the beautiful “First Noel”, the joy of Good King Wenceslas, the passion of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”, and the power of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”.
Some carols and Christmas songs are a bit “jolly”, way too long, or just too complex.
Those did not make the “cut” so to speak.
I wanted each of these carols to really capture the spirit of Christmas, allow you to play with passion, and improve your playing at the same time.
To me, that is what music is all about – passion, emotion, and joy.
#3 – Secret bonuses
Originally with the Christmas Crackers course, I was going to teach just the songs and keep it at that.
Then I thought I’d add some warm-up stuff, technical tips, mistakes to avoid, and other important background lessons.
And then, I thought some cool bonus lessons would be fun too.
So, I added some quick bonuses on playing embellishments, a little fretboard and theory background behind these specific carols, and more.
As you can see, there are some good extras.
…But one more thing I decided to do last week was to add two more bonus lessons.
Well, they are now ready and here they are:
1 – Silent Night: The “Intermediate” Version (TAB/notation and audio). This is a fun but challenging arrangement that takes the style of chord-based fingerpicking as taught in my Fingerstyle 101 book and course and puts it into a beautiful version of this song.
2 – How to Create Beautiful Fingerstyle Arrangements of Your Own (PDF and audio). I wrote this about five years ago but decided to dust it off and give it a quick tweak. It’s very short but very useful. Inside, we take one of the most popular melodies of all time and I show you my 6-step process to taking that melody and making a fancy solo fingerstyle version of it. You can take the ideas from this PDF to help you create your own arrangements if you ever want to.
If you already have the course, just check the “bonuses” section inside and you will see these two new bonuses added to the page. I hope you enjoy them.
Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful week.
Today I heard Wham’s “Last Christmas” on the radio for the first time this year and some of the neighbours have their Christmas lights up.
That’s a little early for me, but as a musician, it’s never too early to be prepared for Christmas.
So, if you want to check out the course, you can below…
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.