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The Best Way To Learn To Play Guitar For Everyone
09:17, 22/12/2007 .. Link
There are as many reasons why people want to play guitar as there are guitar players. The best way to learn how to play the guitar for everyone who wants to play, is going to be a course of study that targets each person's own musical aspirations.
The first step to learning how to play the guitar, is to decide what one wants to do or accomplish by learning how to play. Once a person knows what they want to accomplish by learning to play the guitar, then they can target a specific course of study to help them reach their musical goals.
To simplify things, I will separate people who want to learn how to play the guitar into four groups, A through D. I will then offer suggestions for what approach each group should take to reach their goals.
Group A - Amateur. People in this group are those who want to play for fun and recreation. Included in this group are those who just want to strum chords and play songs.
Group A - Suggested course of study. First, choose an acoustic guitar rather than an electric guitar. A beginner guitar that plays well and stays in tune can be purchased new for about $300. Only a basic knowledge of music theory is required to learn how to strum chords and play simple tunes. One year of lessons is plenty for people in Group A. One year should be enough to learn how to string, tune, and play the common chords one needs to know to begin playing songs. On average, guitar lessons will cost about $15. for a thirty minute lesson.
It should be noted that learning a handful of the most commonly used chords will allow one to learn thousands of songs. There is enough easy guitar music available to keep a person busy for a lifetime of learning simple tunes. If a person cannot afford lessons or a teacher is not available, then online instruction is the next best thing. I still highly recommend that a new player get at least a few lessons from a teacher to make sure that they are pointed in the right direction and not developing bad habits and incorrect technique. A live teacher is always going to be better than a book or video because a teacher can be asked a question, and a teacher can tailor a course of study that meets the needs of each individual student.
Group B - Semi-Professional. This group includes people who want to get to the semi-professional level. People in Group B are those who want to play acoustic and electric guitar. This group consist of those who want to play some lead guitar in styles such as blues, pop, rock, and country. People in this group may want to perform solo or play in a band to have fun and make some extra money playing parties or clubs on weekends.
Group B - Suggested course of study. People in this group should also choose an acoustic guitar to begin learning, however to play lead styles an electric guitar will probably be helpful once one has a basic grasp on making chords, strumming, and picking. Those in this group only need a basic knowledge of theory, however more emphasis should be placed on chord and scale theory than those in group A. People in group B should learn how to read guitar tablature. One year of lessons should be fine for this group, however some online courses will be helpful in addition to formal lessons with a teacher.
Group C - Professional without a music degree. This group would include those who want to be professional guitar players. These are people who want to make a living playing guitar. Players in this group are those who are mostly self taught, have little or no formal training, play by ear, and read tablature but not music notes. Most of the people in this group want to perform and or record music as a solo artist or as a member of a band.
Group C - Suggested course of study. People in this group should get at least one year of formal music study with a teacher. A basic grasp on music theory is essential for Group C, and a thorough knowledge of chord and scale theory as well. Those in this group will benefit by being very good with tablature and lead sheets. Because people in Group C are not music readers, they will need to develop their "play by ear" capabilities to a very high level. Players in this group need to polish their playing. Polish comes from concentrated practice sessions for a minimum of two hours a day. Many professional guitar players practice six hours a day or more.
Stage performance and business savvy are required skills at the professional level, and in many cases can be the difference between those who crack the big time and those who do not.
Group D - Professional guitarist / musician. People in this group want to become professional guitarist and musicians. This group would include those who want to play and perform complex forms of music such as classical and jazz. People in this group may want to play in the symphony orchestra, become session musicians, or perform and record as a solo artist or as part of a band. People in group D are those who want to pursue a classical musical education and gain a music degree. People in this group would have a thorough understanding of music theory and would be able to read traditional music notes flawlessly. People in this group will likely be proficient with a second instrument, most often piano.
Group D - Suggested course of study - Those who fall into this group need a solid foundation of music theory and composition, so traditional music study with a teacher is imperative. Those in this group need to be excellent music readers and the training should start at an early age, elementary school age or younger would be best. A working knowledge of piano is recommended for those in Group D, because most major music programs require piano as a primary or secondary instrument as a prerequisite for acceptance into their programs.
Many musicians in this category continue concentrated areas of specialized study with master instructors after college. For people in this group the study of music and their instrument never really ends. It should go without saying that a major commitment is required for anyone looking to become part of this group.
Well, I hope this article helps those looking for the best way to learn how to play the guitar to know the best course of action to take to realize their musical goals. with all of these groups it is important to practice everyday. It is better to practice thirty minutes every day then to practice for hours one day and then not to pick up your instrument for a day or a few days. It is daily repetitions that produce the desired results and eventual success in learning how to play the guitar.
Visualization is a powerful tool and should be used by everyone.
Finally, associating with other players who are at or slightly above one's own level is a great way to learn regardless of skill level. More discussion on this topic can be found at my blog at http;//hillbillyadvocat.blogspot.com Good luck everybody!
Michael Allard is a fitness trainer and consultant. He is also a performing musician and former guitarist of the band Crystal Axxe. Michael served four years in the military, and is currently completing a B.S. in political science at the Univ. of Cincinnati. Michael has published numerous cutting edge articles, authored three books and host a blog discussing music, fitness, politics, and art. his blog is at http://hillbillyadvocat.blogspot.com
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