Have you ever wanted to be able to play your favorite songs? Most people who don’t play an instrument fantasize about how fun it would be to pull out a guitar and play their favorite tunes. This actually may not be as far away as people think. With a few months of guitar lessons from an instructor that knows how to present information properly, fantasies might finally become a reality. Here are five ways that a beginning guitarist can get the most out of their guitar lessons:
Learn to sing while playing guitar
Unlike other instruments such as the piano or violin, the guitar is usually best in the beginning stages as an accompanying instrument. This means that playing the melody of your favorite song on the guitar takes quite a bit more skill, and it’s much easier to learn the chords, also called harmonies, and strum away. By learning to sing your favorite songs in correlation with learning the guitar, you will have a more satisfying experience. Believe it or not, learning to sing and play guitar at the same time is not as hard as it might seem. As with learning anything, the key is to break it down into small pieces. Practice just a small part of the vocal line until it feels comfortable. Then practice the chords of the song on the guitar until it is second nature. To do this, first get used to fingering the chords, then add a strumming pattern. At this point, it’s possible to put the two together, and it may be easier without strumming at first. Learn two or three significant chords in the song first. Pay attention to where the chords fall in relation to the lyrics; sometimes the chord will strike on a word, but often in popular music it will strike between words. Take your time and go slowly, and soon you will be able to note the subtle intricacies that make the song special.
Learn how to play the most common chords in your guitar lessons
You have probably heard it said that almost all popular music can be played using just four chords. This is great news for the budding guitar student! Your guitar instructor will begin by showing you how to press your fingers into the frets and strings to produce each of these four chords. The challenge of playing the four chords is knowing where your fingers should go to find each one. A great way to practice speeding up this process is to play between one chord and another as rapidly as possible, gradually adding more chords. It is also great to mix the order of the chords so that the student becomes great on their toes.
Learn to play over 500 songs with this one trick
During your guitar lesson, be sure to ask your instructor about great websites for guitar chords. Your instructor may know many more, but one leading site is https://www.ultimate-guitar.com.
This is a great site because it allows you to change the key of your favorite song to whatever is most comfortable for you. In music, there are 12 keys that you can play in. Beginning students often get disappointed when they look up their favorite Beatles tune and find that it’s in a key with chords they’ve never played before, such as B-flat major. They may only have a small library of chords, such as C major, F major, G major, and A minor. What they might be surprised to discover is that if you change the key of that Beatles song from B-flat major to C major, that the chords of this song are the same four the student knows so well. If you are singing along, many songs will still sound great in the key of C, but some may be harder to sing because they are too low or too high for the vocalist. A great solution to this problem is to learn the four most common chords for G major (G major, C major, D major, B minor), so that you have an alternative option if the vocal range does not feel right. Often if the range is impossible in C major, it may be much better in G major.
Join a band
Creating or joining a band can be an exhilarating experience for those who may not feel ready to sing in front of others, and those who enjoy music as a community experience, rather than a solo one. We have seen adult students get three of their friends together and create a small band. Each of them took private lessons, and worked on the music they learned together for their weekly rehearsals. This sped up their process of learning the music, as they had a weekly goal to shoot for, and gave them the added social pressure of needing to be ready with the material in order to continue the band. The work done in the private guitar lessons was focused on the immediate goal for the week, rather than a rotating list of repertoire and technique. Consider adding some ensemble experience to get the most out of your guitar lessons.
Get the right guitar instructor
As we have mentioned in many other blogs, great instructors for any instrument possess some of the same qualities. The teacher must be able to break down information into small pieces, and must be empathetic with wherever the student is in their musical journey. A great instructor is sensitive to the moods and emotions of the student, and can sense when the student is becoming overwhelmed, or is lacking challenge. It can be hard for students to assess if they have a great teacher or not, because we always look at everything through the filter of our own thinking, fears, and insecurities. That said, if you feel like this process is going to be fun and easy rather than tedious and challenging, the chances are that your teacher has done a good job to motivate you and to break down the information in a way that keeps it fun and exciting.