Goals

Guitar Student Profile #2 : Gareth

Hello and welcome to GUITAR STUDENT PROFILE #2

It’s always interesting and inspiring to read about other peoples journeys, especially in a pursuit you may be interested in yourself…..in this case learning to play guitar..

Gareth is an adult learner with a very demanding and often unruly profession.  He has a great love of music as a wind down and always puts time aside to play his guitar.  This really comes across in our guitar lessons and makes him very easy to work and chat music with!  In the time we have been having lessons together we have covered a lot of finger-picking songs such as Breathe by Pearl Jam, Who Says by John Meyer,  a few Steve Earle songs….the list goes on!  The current development is to build some Music Theory knowledge by working through some of the RGT Grade books.

Here’s what Gareth has to say about his journey and his guitar lessons……

Student:  Gareth

1) How long have you been playing the guitar?

I originally started playing the guitar at senior school learning to play the electric guitar. I passed my GCSE Music but unfortunately gave up. Fast forward 22 years and I decided to start learning again. I have been learning to play again for just over one year.

 

2) Why did you begin guitar lessons?

I began learning guitar as I have always enjoyed listening to music at home and love live music. I listen to many different genres and when I was younger I grew up listening to music my older brother liked which was predominantly rock and metal. I originally started to learn rock songs etc. More recently (as I have grown up) I enjoy a variety of music however recently enjoy music based around acoustic guitar. I would always look in the window of my local guitar shop at the acoustic guitars and one day decided I wanted to learn again. I am learning for personal enjoyment and as a hobby, I find practicing and playing a way to relax. It would be nice to reach a level whereby one day I could play fluently with confidence and possibly to play for friends or with other musicians however I am aware I’m still very much a beginner.

 

3) What do you enjoy most about lessons and playing the guitar?

I currently have one lesson weekly. I enjoy my lesson as Jo helps to tailor the lesson to suit my needs and current playing ability. In the time spent with Jo she has worked out some of my favourite songs / pieces. With practice I have managed to play some songs I would have struggled with or not even known where to start with this time last year. I particularly enjoy and started to listen to pieces using finger picking techniques, although I have only learnt basic techniques I find when playing on your own and practicing it can be rewarding as I think it produces a much more interesting sound. (When I get it right that is!) Jo is a very patient teacher and has always made lessons interesting, helping to break songs down so it’s manageable to learn and not overwhelming. I even enjoy lessons to have a chat with Jo about different types of music / artists. More recently I have decided to learn some basic theory and currently working towards Grade 1 Acoustic RGT. Again Jo is very supportive and knowledgeable and has helped to explain some basic theory aspects which I have found interesting and will hopefully help develop my overall playing and knowledge.

 

4) What do you find most challenging about the lessons and playing guitar?

I think learning any new skill can be challenging, it can be frustrating to know the sound you need to produce however learning the technique to accomplish it can be difficult. I struggle with-new chords and techniques that are unfamiliar.

 

5) Do you have any advice for people who may be thinking about having lessons and playing guitar?

As an adult beginner it can be hard to find the time to put in some serious practice with day to day life commitments, but don’t let it put you off beginning. Don’t go into it with the expectation it is easy, but at the same time it can be very rewarding even learning some basic chords and playing along to simple songs. Everybody has different learning styles / musical tastes and skill level, but personally have a think about what you are realistically looking to achieve from learning and tailor your lessons to this. Set small goals, don’t be disheartened when you listen to some of your favourite artists and instantly want to replicate the sound / song. It may sound obvious but try not to pick songs that are too advanced, I have done this but I hope to return to them in the future. You will get frustrated, I do at times, but don’t be at war with it or you won’t enjoy it. Keep your guitar out if you can, and even if you can’t find set time to practice, even just picking it up for 5-10 minutes and playing keeps you familiar with it. There is no need to buy expensive instruments to learn, pick up a decent lower end to mid-range guitar to start. Always consider a second hand guitar from a reputable shop. If it isn’t for you then you haven’t lost out a great deal on expensive instruments. I would definitely recommend Jo as a tutor if you are considering lessons as an adult or for children. Jo has always been flexible when I have had to rearrange a lesson and just one half hour lesson weekly can really help you to improve. Above all have fun with it, practice and play when time allows, stop thinking about and go do it!

Guitar Lessons Liverpool Gareth

 

Thanks Gareth!

Categories: Advice and checklists, Goals, Guitar / Theory Grades, Learning, Lessons, Music Theory, RGT, Student Profiles, students | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The power and beauty in learning

I love teaching guitar and I especially love it when people smile BIG after learning riffs, chords, songs or solos they thought were unattainable.

I was given this gift recently after my student Jamie got his head and his fingers around the riff to Sweet Child of Mine.   It took a while because he was 8 when he first wanted to learn it and it was slow going.  He’s now going to High School and we can jam this riff around together and it sounds great.  Now time to learn the solo 🙂

This is the kind of thing that makes it worth it,  not the gift necessarily (even though it’s awesome….!) but that a thought was spared to say thanks and that what might feel like the smallest achievement to one person can mean the world to someone else.  This always acts as a catalyst to spur people onto new goals…. enjoy learning!

 

Jo x

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Categories: Accompanying, children's lessons, Goals, Jamming, Learning, Lessons, Playing Skills, students | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

News!

This week I would like to congratulate Mal on the near birth of his first child.  Mal has been having guitar lessons with me for 3 years.  We have covered some great songs and playing techniques, mostly electric guitar – based and rock style.  The most recent being the guitar solo and riffs from Whiskey in the Jar by Thin Lizzy.   Great solo!   Lots of fun.    Mal will be having a couple months break to become a new dad.

Here is his recent testimonial regards our lessons.

To anyone thinking of taking guitar lessons I’d strongly recommend Jo. I have found her one-to-one instruction and advice about my own guitar playing invaluable – much easier than trying to learn from a book or You-Tube video. 

Before taking lessons, I muddled on and off for years by myself without making any real progress beyond a few basic chords. I got into a bad habit of settling for easy to play songs and abandoning anything I found difficult.

 Learning songs I really want to play with Jo has made a huge difference to my playing. It has given me the confidence to attempt more challenging pieces which I previously thought were beyond my reach. When I’ve been struggling Jo has managed to work her magic with different suggestions and approaches. I wouldn’t describe myself as a natural guitar player, but Jo has the patience of a saint and has really helped me to steadily improve over the last three years. 

 

Another recent event and acheivement is the success of one of my other students Jamie in attaining a Merit of 78% for his Rockschool Electric Guitar Grade 2 exam.   I’m happy and proud and looking forward to starting his Grade 3 journey after the Summer. In the meantime we are spending some fun time polishing up Sweet Child of Mine and Enter Sandman!

 

Jo

Categories: children's lessons, Goals, Guitar / Theory Grades, Jamming, Lessons, Playing Skills, rockschool, students, Testimonials | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

New Grade Success!

I’m very happy to belatedly congratulate my student Jamie on achieving an 80% Merit in his Rockschool Grade 1 guitar exam in December!

Jamie started having lessons with me 2 years ago after deciding the life of a rock star was calling.. now aged 10 with a nice list of benchmark riffs under his fingers (Sunshine of Your Love and Sweet Child of Mine firm favourites…) he’s on the quest of Rockschool Grades.

It’s really amazing for me to see this progress and smiles when young students are talking and getting excited about guitar. Even better when they put the work in and see themselves playing riffs they didn’t think they would be able to a few months ago.

The stage is calling! Turn up the amp….

Jo x

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Categories: children's lessons, Goals, Guitar / Theory Grades, Learning, Lessons, Playing Skills, rockschool, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year, Achievements & Guitar Goals

Hi All,

Happy New Year from me!

2016 was a fantastic year in terms of teaching and creativity. I had students I’m very proud of head off to University and achieve successful Guitar Grades.  I also had an influx of new students to get to know and work with.

I love the freshness of the New Year to take stock and decide what’s important and to get some new goals in place..

With learning to play guitar one of my big lessons came after I had been playing for quite a few years and that was to just pick something, practice, get good at it and learn how to use it.

For me one of those choices was when I started learning to play slide guitar.  I had always been overwhelmed with the amount of routes you can take in guitar playing and often  that would slow me down as I dabbled and didn’t really feel like I was progressing.  I struggled to know my identity and direction as a player.

I learned to make decisions through writing songs. When you write songs you have to make a decision on where to go otherwise the song never gets finished.  This is how I learned slide.  I picked a slide, a few artists and a song and began to learn.

I then began to experiment with the slide once I had some techniques and understandings down.  Then I decided to write songs using my slide.That’s how I came to play slide guitar.

One step at a time. Always.

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So my point is this when you’re on your journey of learning…  Pick something, however small and do it. This will get you somewhere.  Oh, and enjoy…(required!).

So. HAPPY NEW YEAR.  Choose a couple of goals and get stuck in.  Don’t be put off by the fact that if you set a time limit you may not be ready,   this is often the case.  You will definitely be closer than you were when you began and that should be enough motivation to keep going.   It’s also allowed for you to change your goal if it no longer fits, but, keep moving….

And

Periodically take a moment to look back at what you now can do.  This can be really inspiring!

Best of Luck

Jo x

 

 

 

 

Categories: Goals, Learning, Lessons, Playing Skills, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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