Here are two more interesting emails I have got lately. I hope you find the emails and my thoughts useful…
“I have wanted to learn to play for years and went to the only place close that offers both merchandise and lessons. The gentleman that I ended up with was a very accomplished player.
Although he could play, he did not remember the hurdles a new, older adult may encounter when learning. In short, it was a complete waste of time and some money.
Just learning songs is not necessarily the best way to progress, especially when there is no focus on good technique, and you pick up poor processes.
I love the layout for learning (in regard to the DTAA membership) and I am looking forward to becoming a better player – even if it is just for my enjoyment!
Mike pretty much hit the nail on the head of what I have talked about for years.
There are so many folks out there just teaching pure songs and not teaching students how to play them well.
In the very first lesson I ever taught, with a chap called Andy, it was clear as day to me that he had tried learning songs for a long time, but what he needed was the tools to be able to play them well.
I was lucky in that he represented most students out there I would come to teach ever since.
It made me realise the importance of teaching the basics, right from day 1.
Even for experienced players, this is true.
No matter how good a player is, there is nearly always some small fundamental bit of technique that can be improved and will make their playing more enjoyable and more musical.
Improving your technique is an ongoing process and something we should look to do each day.
Doing so will help you, just like Mike, on the journey of having more fun and having songs that sound better and are more enjoyable to play.
Onto Email #2
What a welcome! Thank you. Appreciate the support.
Important question. How to relax more while playing?
Why learn? I’m 67.
Although I have always loved music, I didn’t really have a go at playing any instrument until recently. I first had a go with a ukulele but have now settled for the guitar.
I am enjoying learning to play the guitar and am chuffed when I can get something near a tune out of it! I hope in the future to be able to play some songs for my grandchildren.
Being relaxed when playing is something that is super important, and it is something I have touched upon above.
If you play with a “death grip” this is even more important!
(First, I should point out, being relaxed doesn’t mean slouching back or lazing about when playing of course, but it is always worth clarifying that point).
Instead, we need good posture and a precise playing position. Then, it is important to take deep breaths as you play.
If you find you tense up, you can set a timer every two minutes, stop playing for a moment and check your posture…
Take 5 deep breaths, relax the shoulders so they are not hunched, and start playing again with a focus on using the lightest touch possible when fretting notes.
If Steve follows that advice, he will have a great start with impressing his grandkids – but…
He may have to get prepared to learn all the dodgy kids’ tunes out there (Baby Shark, the Peppa Pig theme tune, etc!!!)…
For more help with technique, playing more musically, and learning the fun things on guitar, you can check out my new course on sale this week.
It is a fun, step-by-step fingerpicking course, and you can read and hear what is inside it at the link below:
Have a fun day of practice!
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.