One thing I realised many years ago is that treating all students the same is futile.

I’d get a lot of new students coming through my door who wanted a personal approach to lessons.


Some would complain that previous tutors had a “one size fits all” way of teaching.

They would get the students to learn the same scales, chords, and songs in the same order – with zero flexibility.

That just frustrates people and rightly so.


For me, it just made sense to give students a clear plan but allow them to go at their own pace and have some flexibility in what they wanted to learn.

It was the “best of both worlds” as I saw it.

If I gave all students the same plan, I’d just be like everyone else.

If I only taught students the things they wanted to learn, they wouldn’t make progress on the key things, such as proper technique.

I wasn’t perfect at doing this, and it took time to get just the right balance.

Every student is different, after all, and I was a ‘raw’ teacher at the time.


The thing is, we all lead busy lives in one way or another.

Be it work, family commitments, kids, grandkids, hobbies, etc.

Life is busy.

That’s why I’m a big fan of giving students little two-minute challenges.


These are basically little challenges that help students to practise the things they need to make progress and keep the momentum going but in a shorter space of time.

These challenges were great for when students were extra busy in life, and they could give them a blast of inspiration and help them if their motivation ever dropped.

One thing you can do is to make a list of about 10-20 things that you practise on a regular basis…

…And then streamline these things into bite-size mini lessons or challenges that you can use when time is short.


For example, if you’ve spent months working on your fingerpicking, why not give yourself a little challenge of being able to play a certain fingerpicking pattern with just two chords…

Or a mini challenge where you practise three strumming patterns one after the other to keep them topped up in the “memory bank”.

There are countless challenges like this you can do.

If you want a range of “done for you” challenges like this, you can check out the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy.


If you join, you get 50 videos where the gauntlet is thrown down and the challenges await – in a light-hearted way though, ha-ha.

These challenges come with TAB where necessary too.

And every month in the Academy, I release a new challenge.


Today, I’ve just released the new Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy lessons for October.

One of these is the challenge of “Countdown Strumming”.

This is where we swap back and forth between two chords in a fun little way.

Basically, each time we play the chord, we strum for fewer and fewer beats – making it gradually harder.

You can do the challenge along with me and you can even speed up or slow down the video to increase or decrease the difficulty level too.


These challenges are like a bit of a hidden gem of the Academy, but they are mighty effective.

Anyway, light-hearted challenges are fun and they add a different take to your practice routine.

You can either create your own, but if you want a whole bunch already created for you, you can check out the Academy below.

The Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy



Have a great Sunday

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. On Tuesday, I’ll be closing the cart for new members, so if you want this lesson, plus my other new lessons on rhythm, and the brand new 12-bar blues piece, then do check out the Academy before then.


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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