Fade to Black Intro Guitar Lesson

This is a continuation of my experiments with making videos for students to practice with during the week.  It’s not so much a lesson, but rather a way for the student to play along with me at a slow and full tempo.


Beginner’s Guitar Course Intro Video

This course is designed for the beginning guitarist.

It consists of four lessons and you will receive one lesson per week.  At the end of each lesson, you will clearly understand and be able to perform a new musical skill.

Course Outline

Lesson 1: One Step At a Time

  • Step 1: Using the Pick/Plectrum
  • Step 2: Playing the Notes
  • Step 3: Putting It All Together
  • Step 4: Getting Faster

Lesson 2: First Batch of Chords

  • Step 1: The Chord Chart
  • Step 2: Playing the Chords
  • Step 3: Sounding Great Before Strumming

Lesson 3: Connecting the Chords

  • Step 1: The Chord Groups
  • Step 2: A Clean Getaway
  • Step 3: Strumming On the One

Lesson 4: Strumming Everywhere

  • Step 1: Playing All Four Beats
  • Step 2: The In-Between Bits
  • Step 3: Syncopation
  • Step 4: Now Go Find a Song to Play

Who is this course for?

This course is designed to give the beginning guitarist a proper start, and to fill in some gaps in the intermediate player’s foundation.


You will not need any experience.  If you did, you wouldn’t be a beginner, now would you?

You will need a guitar, of course, and it can be an electric or acoustic guitar.  If you use an electric guitar, be sure to have a clean sound.  Distortion, while tons of fun, can mask some problems that affect all beginning players.

Once you know your playing is clear, you can crank your amp up to eviction level!


Skype Guitar Lessons

In the last month, I have given a few guitar lessons on Skype. What I have discovered, is that there are certain students who would benefit just as well from the Skype lessons as they would lessons in person.

Most beginning students, however, would not. The reasons are: 1. I cannot shape the student’s fingers, arms, shoulders, legs, etc. over a streaming video; and 2. We cannot play together.

For the advanced player with tools such as a looper and some device or software with which a rhythm recording can be made, Skype lessons seem to work really well. It all depends on how much control over the students actual movements I need to retain to give them the best experience; an experience as close to in person lessons as possible.



Practice for the Performing Musician

If the end result of our efforts is to perform a list of songs to a preferred level of achievement, what do we do regularly to achieve this ability?

Would one attend a performance of musicians playing scales in the same manner that many of us ‘practice’ them?  Would we attend a performance of musicians stopping and starting at unintended points in the songs; much like we all do early in our learning of new material?

A new student of mine is quite capable of performing fingerstyle blues and told me that he only plays for his own enjoyment.  Playing for our own enjoyment is necessary for us to develop a long-term relationship with music and our instruments.  This student is interested in lessons to further his ability to understand more about music theory and to learn how to read and sight-play written music.

Frankly, I wanted to ask him why he wanted to ruin his achievement by filling his time with things to do that the lack thereof has not prevented him from becoming a great player, but I thought better of it and figured he must already have his priorities in order.

I, however, still have a great deal of difficulty organizing my efforts in a preferred priority.  I should ask myself why I would fill my time with ‘things-to-do’ that are not bringing me closer to my actual goals as a musician.

A current goal for me is to perform as much as possible.  Over the years I have discovered that it is better to book gigs and then develop a setlist, thus preventing me from frustrating myself by learning a stack of songs then discovering that nobody wants to hear them.



Quiet Gigs

Often I have commented that patrons of the usual venue are all talking at once with a great deal of dish/glass noise. Perhaps my mind is weak and unable to effectively filter this noise from my performing process; but performing is often difficult under this common circumstance.

I started performing online recently, my first being on Cafe Noodle, which I wrote about in a previous post. The format of that post was intended as a timeline, but I should have used time/date stamps or some such to make that more clear.


I was thinking the other day about how to find an audience for these performances. One point that really stood out in my mind was the fact that most people cannot refrain from talking during a performance; the other was that most musicians would prefer an attentive audience and most of the talking that occurs is not about the performance or the musicians.

With online gigs, the musicians can have the atmosphere anyway they want it, and the listener can have whichever atmosphere they want. If the listener wants to hear the artists and watch a basketball game and talk on the phone at the same time; no problem. It will have no effect on the artist because during a video-streaming gig because we cannot see or hear you. Our only means of communication are from the Chat window.

I love win-win!