Each Wednesday I share two of the most interesting emails I received over the past week with you.
Here are this week’s delightful treats…
Thanks for your kind welcome. I am looking forward to learning from you.
I previously worked with two guitar teachers.
The first one I contacted on his website in 2017 after watching his performance of one of my favourite childhood songs. The teacher would email me links to individual web pages with sets of exercises. I was working with him for about 8 weeks working on my right-hand technique exclusively. On the positive side, I felt more confident with my right hand playing.
On the other side, it was getting very tedious playing on open strings. He made it clear that we would not even get to the left-hand technique exercises before he was satisfied with my right-hand technique. I came to realize that we would not attempt to play music for some time. Another thing was he played classical guitar only.
About 2 years later, my wife purchased a three-lesson pack with our neighbourhood guitar teacher as a birthday present to me. We met 3 times over a couple of months. The most fun part of these lessons was that we got to play together – I would strum some chord progressions and he would play along on bass.
Other than that, I cannot think of anything positive to say: the lessons did not have any direction or plan, he was not a fingerstyle player and had nothing to teach me on the subject. He would give me a bunch of printouts of songs’ lyrics with chords and ask me to ‘work’ on those. We parted after the three lessons.
A bit about myself. I’m 55. I used to play guitar for pleasure from about 14 until about 30. 5 years ago, as my older daughter was getting older and more interested in music, I picked up the guitar again only to find that I lost whatever skills I used to have. Since then, it was a very slow process to get some of the skills back.
I am very excited about your academy, and I want to thank you for making such a thing available for people who want to give guitar another try.
This summarises a LOT of what I have seen and heard over the years about students’ experiences.
Some teachers will either bore you to tears with non-stop exercises OR they have zero plan.
Stories like this exaggerate the stereotype of stuffy classical teachers drilling students for years before letting them attempt music. Sure, it helps to give them good technique, but what use is good technique if you give up playing guitar from sheer boredom?
On the other side of the coin, non-classical, contemporary teachers often get accused of being lazy, having no plan, and just winging it with students.
Not all teachers are like this, of course, but unfortunately, Sergei’s experience is too common.
I much prefer a hybrid style – the organisation, technique, precision, and methodical nature of the classical world, but with the fun, laid-back, much more musical approach of the contemporary world.
Things are much more fun that way.
Anyway, onto #2…
I’ve had guitars for the last 30 years and over the years have taken lessons, but still have nothing you’d recognize as a song. Some days are better. I’ve dabbled with fingerstyle to no avail.
I guess my timing and accuracy suck the most. I’ve tried the fiddle, banjo, and mandolin from time to time. Really, I have had no progress for years.
Emails like this make me feel a touch of sadness.
30 years of frustrations is not what it should be about.
I wonder how many frustrated days Lee had where he doubted himself and his ability – thinking he was just not good enough.
Sadly, this is too common.
It’s not all bad though, as no matter what has happened before, Lee has no doubt learnt quite a few things.
Now can be a fresh start.
It is all about him improving his musicality and confidence to bring what he has learnt to the fore.
This all starts with technique and building new habits.
Things like “Minimum Pressure Required”, relaxing and breathing properly, using precise fretting hand technique, smoothing out chords, etc.
The good news is, with the right focus, knowledge, and dedication, these things can be fixed, and in a decent time frame too.
To learn more about basic technique in 19 simple steps, check out my Essential Guitar Technique guide.
It is in my eBook bundle with a series of other eBooks (which will help to improve your strumming, rhythm, chord changes, etc).
You can check it below…
I hope you enjoyed those emails and 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.