Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including thoughts on taking a break, an interesting composer, and more.


#1 – The rock and roll composer

I got in the car heading home from the gym the other day.

I was skipping through a few radio stations and stopped on BBC Radio 4.

There was an interesting interview that grabbed my attention.

It was with the modern, great American classical composer, John Adams.


He was talking about his experiences of being at Harvard in the ‘60s and studying music.

It was a strange time for him, he said, and his Harvard studies left him feeling “frustrated and depressed”.

…So he would go home and turn on AM radio and hear countless rock songs that were breaking the norm.

He described how hearing the music of Clapton and Hendrix made him realise “there’s something wrong with the picture” at Harvard.


Adams talked of how the world of rock music helped him realise he didn’t have to follow the norm in his chosen field of classical music.

As a guitarist, I found this very cool because it goes to show the power of guitar music.

…And I loved how even though John Adams is from a different world to Hendrix and Clapton, they still inspired him.


#2 – Breaks are good!

Next weekend me, Archie, and my family are going away for a long weekend break.

We will hopefully be getting some sunshine as we head to Weymouth on the south coast of England.

I’ve not been there myself since I was a kid.

Some students ask me every now and then about the topic of holidays and vacations.


Many get a little concerned or guilty about going away and leaving their guitar at home.

That’s natural, but more often than not, having a short little break from the guitar can be a good thing.

I don’t plan on taking my guitar with me as I very much doubt I’ll get much time to play.

Plus, it’s only a shortish break.

If I was going away for a few weeks, I’d take my guitar with me.


Anyway, I find it’s what you do day in and day out for the rest of the year that really counts.

If you practise with focus every day and you aim to make progress on something each day, then breaks can be a good thing.

…Because if you do practise as described above, switching off from the guitar for a little bit can help you recharge your batteries when you next go back to it.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” as they say.


#3 – Crude oil and randomness

I get all sorts of bizarre emails to my work email address.

Just the other day, I got a random email from someone trying to sell me, of all things… crude oil.

That was very random!

“Well, that’s a new one,” I thought. “What would I do with that?”

Well, I guess I could make a gazillion guitar picks, haha.


It reminds me of how random guitar tuition can be.

For instance, I can’t begin to tell you the number of times in the past I got sucked into the vortex of varying guitar lessons.

Somehow, I’d managed to spend time learning about modes, discovering weird scales, and complex chords that only really get used in jazz music.

Yes, some of it was fun to play about with, but I could have spent that time far better elsewhere.

My advice is to learn what you want and need to learn.

For most guitarists, that means working on getting better Core Fundamental Technique, improving the way they practise, and having more fun.

Ignore the randomness. Focus is key.


Anyway, I hope the above was helpful and that you have a great week ahead!

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. Not everyone will want to learn to Travis pick, and if it’s not your thing, ignore this below…

…but if Travis picking excites you, then you might like to check out my course on the subject.

Travis Picking: The Tom Dooley Mini Masterclass


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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