Here are two more interesting emails I have got lately. I hope you find the emails and my thoughts useful…


Email #1… 

“Dan, just thinking you are great at motivating about the whole subject of learning and the fun in learning.

I used to run with a well-known running club, I was the worst of the best. I am now just as bad with the guitar. But there are so many similarities. Running meant running every day, sometimes twice, you had to follow a training plan, long runs, short runs, hills, intervals, repetitions, parlaufs, performance assessments. And every so often you were allowed a ‘fartlek’ session.

It’s supposed to be Swedish for free running, it was just ‘go out and run, however you like, just for your fun’.

What was key was making each of those mind-blowing sessions also fun, the races came easy after that.

It was three years before I got to 337th in the Great North Run!!!

Best regards”



An inspiring story from Alan.

It is one that shows motivation and learning crosses many boundaries.

Most people learn something new and see it as a totally alien skill.


It is worse if a student has never played an instrument before or feels like they are not musical in any way. (I hear stories of how people got mocked singing a tune in front of someone once and this destroyed their musical self-confidence).

Anyway, for anyone who feels like they cannot do it, I always tell them, you can learn guitar.


No doubt in life you learnt many other skills – driving, woodwork, sailing, golf, cooking, lifting weights, yoga, etc.

I bet everyone reading this has learnt some pretty intricate and special skills before.

Running as Alan mentioned is another.


It isn’t just running – it’s planning, preparation, desire, motivation during the cold winter nights, teamwork when in a running club, diet, discipline to follow the diet, etc.

Skills like this transfer and it’s always good to keep that in mind if the going ever gets tough.

By the way, great work Alan on the Great North Run! I was never a distance runner but a decent sprinter, so I can only imagine the hard work needed!


Anyway, Onto Email #2


I received my Fingerstyle 101 book yesterday.  I have already found many helpful tips and good explanations that are going to benefit me. 

I’m going to focus for a few days on the minimal pressure exercise you laid out.  Also, using the capo to make it easier to learn the chord shapes is brilliant!

Also, I am a training designer or instructional designer.  I see you using some ideas I am going to use as examples with my customers.  A personal follow up to a new person is so simple, but a great practice.

Here is a list of ideals for adult learning. You hit several of these. Congratulations.


  1. Encourages contact between students and instructor (Done by personal contact)
  2. Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students.  (Facebook group)
  3. Encourages active learning. (Telling us how to hold this or that, how to improve chords, how to do it for ourselves)
  4. Gives prompt feedback.  (Not really possible in this format)
  5. Emphasizes time on task. (Instructs people to play 20 minutes minimum per day)
  6. Communicates high expectations.  (You tell people they can achieve it in an encouraging way.)
  7. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning. ”   



The Woodlands, Texas


The book has had many positive comments and feedback over the last year since it’s been out, all of which I am very grateful for.

This though, is a really interesting analytical take on it.

Firstly, it is great to hear Greg is making progress with it right away.

Secondly, I am glad he saw things he mentioned in terms of what is ideal for an adult learner.

This is all intentional, so it was nice that other teachers see this.

Those are the things I have always tried to focus on in private lessons for years and I wanted to get across those ideas in the book (as well as making things fun).


Anyway, wherever you go for your tuition, the above 7 things are what I highly recommend you look for in a teacher.

Keep the above in mind and I hope you enjoyed those two emails.


If you want to find out more about the Fingerstyle 101 book, you can below:

Fingerstyle 101 – a step-by-step guide to beautiful fingerpicking guitar playing


Have a fab day

Dan Thorpe
Guitar Domination


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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