Ideas for guitar lessons

Motterpaul

Tone is in the Ears
Messages
13,681
I am giving lessons to a few people and actually starting to like it. I think it's because I am starting to see what I need to teach them.

Most learning guitarists seem to struggle the most with tempo; keeping time. You can explain it to them but not all of them understand the importance of keeping it going constantly. I have one guy who has come a long way and can play some really complicated songs (solo to Hit Me with Your Best Shot, for example), but he can't do it consistently. Sometimes he is almost spot on, sometimes he gets off by two beats and never catches up.

What are some of the most simple concepts you have ever tried to explain to a student, and have you ever left feeling like they didn't understand a single thing you said?

OTOH: what are some of the most basic topics you have picked that actually gave you the best results with a student?
 

Low Watts

Member
Messages
843
Have you tried having him practice rhythm in isolation ? Like, for instance setting the click on 60bpm and, starting from the low E string, playing all the note up the neck. Quarter note, then triplet, then 8th note.

This way there're no scale pattern or riffs to focus on it's just about feeling the sub-divisions and keeping time.
 

vintagelove

Member
Messages
3,201
One of the most important things I did in my teaching was create a lesson CD for students. It was basically 10 of the most common chord progressions you see in Songs, spread out through various keys so that they learned all of their basic chords. This insured that they were practicing with good timing (because they're playing with a drum machine which is basically a metronome). I also have a method of teaching how to change chords in rhythm in a manner which adds strums until you reach four strums per chord, which from there you learn basic rhythm patterns. That also develops the proper psychological feeling like you have all the Time in the world between chord changes, instead of feeling like the upcoming change is impending doom.


Lastly, you absolutely must have a system. You start at A, and you end at Z. If you don't have a clear plan for the student, no one will.
 

Buduranus2

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,682
From another thread on a related topic:

My two cents FWIW. Tapping your toes gives you the "idea" of the beat. Tapping your heel gives you the "feel" of the beat. It's more natural, more solid and more relaxed. As an experiment, try tapping your toes quickly and see how soon your shin tightens up. Now tap your heel. You can go all day. Remember, when we walk down the street our heel strikes first, and we maintain an nice even consistent "groove" without thinking about it. The other consideration I'd add to the mix is that not all beats are created equal. 1 and 4 are the strongest beats: 1 because it's the downbeat and 4 because that's "reserved" for the snare drum. 2 and 3 are the weakest beats in a measure. Everybody has their own preferences, but to me it seems uncomfortable to ignore the downbeat. So I count every beat. Like I said, my two cents FWIW.
 

Motterpaul

Tone is in the Ears
Messages
13,681
From another thread on a related topic:

It's funny because I played in a band with a different guitarist and we both always rocked the opposite directions when playing - he was right to left and I was left to right. I couldn't change how I moved even if I tried.

As far as having specific criteria or plans - I find every student to be too unique to have a one-size-fits-all approach. Most of my students already have a little playing experience, but they have certain things they need to fix. One thing I don't like to do is to teach guitarists how to read scores. I understand some parents want that so the kid can change instruments someday - but I see the guitar as more of an accompaniment instrument, not a band instrument. So I focus on how to play songs, make fast chord changes, and understanding some theory, tempo and how to play most of the chords.
 

Stephen0351

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
481
MUTING! I wish I would have learned the importance of muting when I started, now I have to learn to play all over again when I turn the amp up
 

Jon C

Member
Messages
17,877
At NGSW best instructors consistently noted that they still practice regularly with a metronome. Not necessarily massive time, but consistently and with intention. I think it’s good advice.

Keeping time.... very personal thing imo. I have a bad knee, using my heel would be a disaster ... toe when I use it, though I luckily have good internal time generally.

My childhood teacher was the great (late) Lou Pallo. Each 60-minute lesson was 30 minutes of Mel Bay, and 30 minutes of what I wanted to learn, things he used to teach me harmony, melody, rhythm, and ensemble playing ... “House of the rising Sun”, “Day Tripper”, etc. (it was 1966). He had me playing arpeggios (“HOTRS”) within 2 weeks (combined the drier pieces of Mel Bay into current tunes (double stops, etc, for ex.). He was a great teacher.

Good luck.
 
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ChipOnly

Member
Messages
2,345
Dyads are easy and ultra useful. If I have a lesson that I'm not sure what to do with - "I didn't have a chance to practice the material from last time" - dyads are a great detour for a standalone lesson or topic in their own right.

I typically show them the major scale in thirds, usually C major on the top two strings. Then drop the third down an octave for very useful voicings you hear all over pop, blues, and country tunes. Then I show them how you can do those same dyads shapes on either the G+E or the D+B. Plus hearing the scale with the third is warming their ears up for hearing triads and ultimately diatonic harmony, and you can actually see WWHWWWH moving horizontally on either string, but especially on the B. So it's laying some groundwork too.

Another way to go is what I think of as Hendrix-y dyad stuff, the kind of moves you hear on little wing etc, hammer ons, pull-offs, slides around dyad shapes.
 

Motterpaul

Tone is in the Ears
Messages
13,681
MUTING! I wish I would have learned the importance of muting when I started, now I have to learn to play all over again when I turn the amp up

I gave my student ( I do have more than one but he's been with me awhile now) a lesson in muting. I started with that Robben Ford video where he says " you have to learn to mute, I can't show you how to do it, you just have to figure it out."

But there is another YouTube where a guy does a really good job f showing how to do it. I also just expressed to him the importance of precision, especially when learning a song. How to avoid hitting the wrong strings, etc.

Here is that video:

 

ChipOnly

Member
Messages
2,345
My childhood teacher was the great (late) Lou Pallo. Each 60-minute lesson was 30 minutes of Mel Bay, and 30 minutes of what I wanted to learn, things he used to teach me harmony, melody, rhythm, and ensemble playing ... “House of the rising Sun”, “Day Tripper”, etc. (it was 1966).

I was glad to read this because this is basically what I end up doing this with a lot of my students, especially the young ones. I put it to them as a pretty much "eat your veggies and you can have dessert" thing. We do some stuff we gotta so we can do some stuff we wanna in balanced proportion.
 

Motterpaul

Tone is in the Ears
Messages
13,681
Dyads are easy and ultra useful. If I have a lesson that I'm not sure what to do with - "I didn't have a chance to practice the material from last time" - dyads are a great detour for a standalone lesson or topic in their own right.

I typically show them the major scale in thirds, usually C major on the top two strings. Then drop the third down an octave for very useful voicings you hear all over pop, blues, and country tunes. Then I show them how you can do those same dyads shapes on either the G+E or the D+B. Plus hearing the scale with the third is warming their ears up for hearing triads and ultimately diatonic harmony, and you can actually see WWHWWWH moving horizontally on either string, but especially on the B. So it's laying some groundwork too.

Another way to go is what I think of as Hendrix-y dyad stuff, the kind of moves you hear on little wing etc, hammer ons, pull-offs, slides around dyad shapes.

Yes, I know this technique very well, but I do find that a lot of learner's eyes glaze over when I talk about major 3rds. I wish this did not happen because it opens a lot of doors (major/minor, etc), but unfortunately it does.
 




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