Welcome to a new weekly post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including thoughts on pushing yourself, strumming improvements, and more.
Here we go…
#1 – Pushing yourself
Me and Archie had a little trip to a theme park over the weekend.
That’s why I’m writing my usual three random thoughts on a Tuesday rather than on a Monday.
The weekend was epic.
We went to a place called Alton Towers, we went on lots of rides, played crazy golf, queued for a crazy amount of time, and went to the waterpark.
Archie is not a massive thrill seeker, but he conquered a few fears and went on some rides he was not up for initially.
I encouraged him a little without being over the top, and he loved it.
For an 8-year-old like him, taking the chance of going on a wild waterslide or a pirate ship is a big deal.
…But once he did it, he loved it.
In some ways, I think we all have 8-year-olds inside of us – especially when we play guitar.
Learning guitar is a journey often full of doubt, curiosity, and excitement.
…And those feelings are more prevalent the more we push ourselves.
I find that for many, with the guitar, the more they push it, the more joy they get.
When I was learning, that meant “going for it” more in terms of performing, jamming with others, and trying new things and situations.
I think it’s always good to embrace that childlike curiosity and push yourself a little out of your comfort zone.
It’s often so worth it.
What I don’t always recommend though, is going to the outdoor part of a waterpark in February just because the slides were cool – just as we did. (It was fun though).
#2 – Bitter folk
The other day I got an email full of sarcasm.
It was all about the winner of the ear training challenge from my podcast last week.
In case you missed it, last week, I released an episode of the Acoustic Asylum podcast.
In that episode, I asked you to work out how to play a piece of music.
There were quite a few entries, and the winner was Dave.
He was very close to getting it correct on his first attempt, but then he nailed it on his second attempt.
That was very pleasing…
But someone emailed in to say this…
“Took him tll the end of the day. Possibly all day and all of the night. He’s definitely a superman with a rock n’ roll fantasy.”
Ah, wow, some jealousy there, I think.
The fact is, this was a hard little challenge if you’ve never done much ear training.
Anyway, I wanted to share that sarcastic reply as they happen in the guitar world sometimes.
Instead of saying, “Well done” like that chap could have said, he chose to be bitter.
There will always be someone a bit bitter and jealous of what you can do.
Often those folks think they can do better, but they never actually show they can do better.
I mean, where was this guy’s reply showing how he could work out the notes and had completed the challenge?
Instead of embracing the challenge, he chose to be sarcastic.
I’ve seen a few folks like that in my time and it’s quite sad really.
Most people are supportive, but there will always be folks who are jealous of what you can do on the guitar.
If you ever come across them, ignore them.
#3 – What do you want to improve with your strumming?
These days I teach and play a lot of fingerpicking.
It’s my bread and butter and my main passion, whether that be fingerpicking pop, rock, folk, blues, or classical.
You’ll know this if you’ve been around these parts for a while, or you have my Fingerstyle 101 course, or you’ve checked out my free Super Mini Songbook I released last week.
Yes, I still do use a pick, and I do love to strum too.
In fact, the other week, when I sent out an email asking, “What’s your biggest hurdle on the guitar?”, it got lots of replies.
There was a decent chunk of replies that were about strumming.
For that reason, I thought it would be good fun to do a new course on strumming.
This is going to be super exciting.
In the course, I’ll be teaching some intermediate strumming techniques I’ve either never taught or not really touched on before.
The course outline is created, but I want to make sure I cover your strumming queries or issues.
This may be a bonus or part of the main course.
So, if you have anything you’d like to know more about or improve with your strumming, do email me and let me know.
I’ll be sure to cover it in the course.
P.S. If you want more help with pushing your fingerpicking, strumming, ear training, and lots of other key skills to the next level, then you may want to check this out.
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.