What’s your opinion on how beginners should learn?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by skitched, Mar 24, 2020 at 3:30 PM.

Which method do you see as being better in the long run?

  1. Learn chords and play along with popular songs from the first lesson

    67.1%
  2. Learn to play individual notes and melodies

    9.2%
  3. Other

    23.7%
  1. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    I knew how to read basic sheet music stuff from playing piano/taking piano lessons. Sight reading is hugely emphasized there. The stuff I learned on piano transferred over a little, but not actually that much because sheet music has quite a few weaknesses for guitar.

    I am not really that sure I think the way we learn by tab + ear is all that bad. I think you can go back to working on sight reading later after you have more fundamentals. My guitar teacher has certainly said there has been no real importance in emphasizing sight reading without tabs early on. He is quite good at it but didn't focus on it till he was studying for a music degrees.

    I think building your "internal metronome" is every bit as important as any of this other stuff.. time spent on sight reading vs single line melodies and all the other stuff is futile if your not playing a steady tempo... learning to strum in time is super important to build that internal sense of rhythm. This has been a big focus of my first 3 years of lessons. This was one of the biggest weaknesses when I was taking piano FWIW. Piano lessons with multiple teachers had a huge emphasis on sight reading + playing the melody + accompaniment at the same time that I ended up always being off with rhythm.. I could play the melody + accompaniment at the same time with "free rhythm/time" but as soon as the metronome came on I'd be a disaster. When you practice guitar we have much more of a learning system around just playing accompaniment/rhythm and learning to play that one part locked into the rhythm.. I think it's a huge positive about the way guitar gets taught.
     
  2. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Get a looper...35$ donner will do. Record a 3 chord sequence and play rhythm along with it with barre chords and open chords. Stomp on the one beat for beginning and end. Learn barre chord forms!
     
  3. DuckDodgers

    DuckDodgers Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Learn chords, learn major, minor, and pentatonic scale forms, and stat trying to copy what you hear from your favorite bands.
     
  4. Mike SS

    Mike SS Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Learned chords from song books, the two most prominent were both Lennon/McCartney collections. From these I graduated to listening to other artists on records, and trying to duplicate what I heard. This is when I came to the realization that scales were present in the chord forms, and I could pick them individually. Practice, practice, practice.
    Sitting around playing individual notes, learning to read music, is in itself BORING. I am currently forcing myself to learn to read bass clef, and the beginning lessons are beyond tedious, but I force myself to do it as best as I can. Noodling takes over eventually and I find myself using my ears and knowledge of the fretboard to entertain myself.
     
  5. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If those chord blocks showed an F bar chord... that's what we used.

    we got used to them as quick as we got used to all the other chords.... CCR songs were good to learn from.... also we used the G/A bar chords sliding up, too easy..

    I'm not that good at thumb over type bars and use a full/partial bar with my index finger still...

    F's.. never been a problem... :)
     
  6. TwangToInfinity

    TwangToInfinity Tele-Holic

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    it seems when people just start up on thier own they do oddball things.

    later on those oddball things become distinctive on of a kind signature techniques and sounds!
     
  7. Brad Pittiful

    Brad Pittiful Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    the way i taught my self was to learn the chords as in remembering them and placing them on the proper strings and strumming the chord to make sure it sounded right...doing that gets boring after an hour...so i slid my index finger along the low E to make something that sounded like a tune...then i did the open chords again...with the sliding finger i made a barre chord...when i was able to move that around...i was achieving something

    always back to the open chords...and the barres...once i was able to do those confidently everything now was open to me to learn


    by doing open chords and the barres it took the boring learning of just chording and made it seem like i was progressing with great strides...now if i only had talent
     
  8. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Exactly Trev. Get 'em motivated first , see the relationship that keys and chords have, then notes and theory .I am a stickler for theory but getting a youngster, anyone, turned on to playing is essential to their continuing and some small success initially is one way to achieve that.
    I learnt the hard way, theory first, then a musical scholarship after twp years of theory study and only one error in exams ( Adagio- Funerally slow- also the name of the piece of music in Gm at the end of that great movie "Gallipoli.")
     
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  9. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I was doing my guitar group for the first timers one morning, mostly starting kids off with Am and Em chords, and one of the quieter kids asks,,,

    What makes it a minor chord?... why is it a minor chord?... kinda question, very well considered it was too... not being a smarty...

    kinda stumped me for a second.. I mean, I knew physically what to do on the fretboard to play minor chords... but putting it into words that a young kid could grasp was new for me...

    I had to look at my fingering and think.. ok one note is 1/2 step lower maybe that's it?, it softens the chord a bit... see/hear...

    he seemed happy with that answer and seeing the chord shape change....

    I wasn't convinced and went home and read up on it....
     
  10. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I voted songs, but that's not exactly how I learned.

    I do well with a bit of theory, but not too dry. I like to see a map of how it all fits together, but I want to be hands on with it.

    While Justin helped me get my cowboy chord changes down, what really helped was a printed book series. Blues You Can Use, and More Blues You Can Use, by John Ganapes. There's also Blues You Can Use Guitar Chords. Note: despite the name, it's not only for blues players. Blues is a fundamental thing to understand, that helps with many other styles.

    The two main BYCU books are organized into 'weekly' lessons. Relatively short, each consists of some scales instruction, some stuff about chords and progressions, and finally a 12-bar etude for you to learn and practice on. The studies are very interesting to play. Each lesson builds on the last.

    The chord book teaches how chords are constructed, and other critical theory, in easy to understand fashion. Ironically, it's filled in the back with grids of every chord known to man. Ironic, because after reading through the instruction, you know how chords are built, and will never need one of those stupid catalogs. I get the feeling his publisher wanted a fatter book...


    I spent over a year with these books. Each has 20+ chapters, and at one per week, that's nearly a year, but that pace is aggressive, IMO. Take your time, really work the stuff. Don't move on until you're comfortable.

    I learned so much from these books. Can't recommend them highly enough. They're readily available on Amazon, for cheap.
     
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  11. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Trev, here's a tip, a simple one for kids to understand. Simply count three whole notes down the major key and you have the relative minor . So C goes down what the Yanks call steps. C,B A and Am is relative to C major.
    Your method of dropping a note on a major chord also is a good one. You can teach your kids to go all the way up the neck and learn the relative minors. So the very common D, A , Bm and E are a good way of showing this. A song like Hurts So Good by J C Melloncamp or The Police Every Breath You Take are simple teaching songs for the use of relative minor chord use.
    That was a good question from that student.
     
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  12. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    the kid was a gr3 er... I was impressed with his query... none of the other kids asked anything as deep.... :)
     
  13. JKPickin

    JKPickin Tele-Meister

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    I used (still use) the Justin Guitar Beginner Course app on my iPad. It has built in exercises that the web course doesn’t have. It’s a mix of his videos and supporting practice exercises. Kind of one stop shopping really. Plus he adds new songs quite regularly. I tried unsuccessfully to learn to play for a long time using instructors, tabs, other web courses and books, always ended in frustration. After I completed the course on the app I felt like I accomplished something and can actually play quite a few songs. Now I need to learn how to play and sing simultaneously.
     
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  14. teletail

    teletail Tele-Meister

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    Get a good teacher. You'll cut years off of your learning curve. The problem with being self-taught is that you don't get any feedback. Books and youtube videos can't tell you what you're doing wrong.
     
  15. koolaide

    koolaide Tele-Holic

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    I have been playing for 0ver 40 years, and The real players that I know(not me) that are really good all have 3 things-
    1. great ears
    2. great timing
    3. great since of melody

    I am fortunate to know a few really good professional musicians, they all know tons of songs and have the above noted abilities. Over the years of talking with them- They all spent years doing two things to develop their ability.
    1. Learning songs by ear from recordings
    2. Playing with others.

    I believe Learning from recordings gets a lot of the job done, and playing with others is what really solidifies things.

    Just MHO.
     
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  16. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Find others to play/learn with... nothing improves your sense of music/timing more than when playing with others..

    showing them what you know and finding out what they know... how it was done in the past before this theory stuff came along...:twisted::D
     
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  17. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

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    With full grown adults, I like to start out with a good dose rhythm guitar skills. The problem with that tends to be that people go home after a lesson and start trying to strum a G chord and it sounds nothing like "Brown Eyed Girl" and they get discouraged. You can't whistle a rhythm guitar part and if you aren't keen to that distinction...between rhythm and lead instrumentation, it can be confusing. Ya gotta come up with simple chord progressions that are easy to make in time. Think cowboy chords E minor to A sus2.

    I somewhat disagree with people who think that you must learn to read music. I think learning to read music is helpful while someone's hands are adjusting to maneuvering around a fretboard. I am happy to teach note reading, but some people simply don't give a sh*t... in fact it is my experience that the vast majority of people that take guitar lessons don't. Teaching someone to read along 1 string each week is a great chance to slow down and dial in the muscle coordination. But... I think sometimes people are quick to overestimate those benefits in the long run. I can read music...but the vast majority of gigs I've played in my life haven't required me to. Most of my friends don't read music but play a lot. When you sit down with the chart to rock tunes that people tend to want to learn, you begin to realize how clunky standard notation is for rock guitar. Even easy classic rock tunes can be intimidating as crap to try to decypher with all the bends/vibrato/ambiguous fingering. Besides, if I'm reading something intense I want tabs AND standard notation. There are simply too many route finding options on the guitar fretboard for me to be expected decipher at the same rate that a sax player does, when those notes indicate an absolute position on that instrument. We've got like 4 middle Cs. The best guitarists I've known have been pretty mediocre readers compared to horn players or pianists or other instrumentalists at their generally acknowledged level.

    Ya definitely don't want to start out with something like those "Guitar Aerobics" books (or online courses like that either). Playing granular speed licks in isolation is not in the realm of the beginner. Also, sometimes I'll look through a book *cough* guitar grimoire *cough* that is so much like an encyclopedia that it isn't remotely helpful. Noone cares about the Altered Hungarian Dominant Pentatonic scale, man! Resist the urge buy an instruction book just because it looks impressively thorough...you need something you can systematically engage in. Something that is inviting and builds up a general musical proficiency as well as specific guitar skills. You wanna eventually be able to play music with other people no matter how casually. That truly is a goal worth keeping in mind because it can be a blast.

    The big 3 of music instruction publishing books are Mel Bay, Hal Leonard and Alfreds. Mel Bay was first. It is old-timey but it is well written, especially if you don't mind classical music. Alfreds tried to make Mel Bay's material seem cool to youth by contriving a bunch of similar exercises with "Rock" in the title. I still use it for certain things but I don't love it. I think Hal Leonard does a decent job of modernizing and expanding but you'll still be playing f'n Ode to Joy and Au Claire De La Lune.

    Regarding instructors, some instructors have only experienced music through the lens of academia and will be prone to teaching lessons that are very heavy on the theory. I'd try to avoid that, it gets to be very boring. On the other side of the spectrum ,some instructors are stubbornly "street" for lack of a better word...I'd try to avoid that as well, lol.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 8:33 AM
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  18. GEECEE

    GEECEE TDPRI Member

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    Great insights and "thanks" to all for adding their perspective. I've been screwing around "playing" fits and starts for 3 years... Lot of truth here re staying enthused and not getting side-tracked. FWIW - I played clarinet back eons ago and actually remember more than I'd have thought about theory, reading music. I also attempted guitar as a teen but didn't stick with it -- those were pre-internet days... This time I picked up Hal Leonard, adding a few others - Alfreds and Blues You Can Use. Been all over the internet too and there's so much there it's like drinking from a fire hose. Kinda settled on Justin as the one that seems most helpful to me. Took lessons for a while and learned a few things, but mostly didn't find it too helpful. Will likely try again after making more progress on my own. So... I'm chipping away at chords, notes/reading, and scales. Picking up what theory is there and that I can comprehend - which sometimes isn't that much. What I'm finding is if I take my time working through the lessons and rehashing songs I've learned rather than pushing it trying to learn quickly, I make more progress and actually get better. Repetition and familiarity work for me. So for those teachers here, that's my grown adult perspective.
     
  19. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    A real live instructor can be worse than no instructor at all if you have a personality conflict.

    In my era we had all these jazz guys with miles deep chops. I'm just an old timey three chord rocker.

    Instructors who teach little kids try to teach them rhythm first. When we get old enough we regress. I'm at the point where I can sit and chong one chord all day long.

    Which is cool. It helps me relate to little kids who are just starting out.

    :cool: :cool: :cool:


    Seriously, here is

    The meaning of Life

    Find joy in your music, whatever that is. Don't ever lose sight of that and don't ever give that up.


    That's three chords from the heart sung through the nose down south.


    Or learn twelve bar blues. If you feel it really feel it.


    Don't get distracted by a carrot on a stick. With very few exceptions there will always be someone who plays different material than you do, "better" and / or faster.

    Lotta shredders forgot why they're here.
     
  20. Allan Allan

    Allan Allan Tele-Meister

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    Sometimes you can get a bad teacher that's true. Sometimes I can burn my toast, I'm not about to give up eating.
     
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