Posted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 11:15 pm Post subject: Teaching Guitar
Hey, i'm probably guessing quite a lot of people give guitar lessons here. So I thought i'd share with you this little Gem.
I had a guy come to me today who wanted to learn sweep picking. At first I thought "fair enough" but after listening to him waffling on about playing quarter notes at obsene speeds on his Jackson guitar - I started to have doubts.
Anyway, he shows up and within a few mins starts waffling and waffling....
He explains to me he wants to learn sweep picking and alternate picking patterns, and when I say patterns - I literally mean patterns.
The guy was trying to shred out on various "shapes" when it suddenly became obvious he didn't know how to play barr chords (of any type) OR most of the open chords.
I was trying to explain to him that if he wanted to learn any shapes (sweeping or not) it would probably be a use to him if he knew how they were applied to actual music. The response I got was along the lines of - "i know you have an idea of what/how you want to teach me, but I want to do it this way"
Currently i'm at a stage where i'm considering getting a shitty full time job, or teaching guitar part time and making do. So I went with what this guy wanted, also making it clear that if he wants "shapes" - i'll give him shapes, but he will regret it when he eventually wants to apply it in a productive manner.
A nice bit of cash for me, but also making slightly pissed off afterwards - but hey, i guess thats how things go.
I don't know how people go about leaning things these days, but I remember learning my first shapes to sweep, but i was more interested on how it sounded over chords. Its starting to seem to me, that a lot of young people think these are just shapes you can play anywhere on the fretboard! and the even more scary thing is - they can't tell it sounds like shit.
I don't mean to be harsh, but some people make my head almost explode - if I didn't need the money, I think i'd choose more carefully who I decide to teach.
Hey! I was that moron in 1992.. be careful he doesn't start blaming his ignorance on you yes I was bitter when I realised I'd sped along a cul-de-sac. I still use all that stuff but I've broken out of the rut, it was more work than just learning in a sensible fashion, I now have a lot of interest in chords and melodic stuff.
You could give him a taster of exercises to help him think about what he's playing like making him use other fingers or learn it in different positions.. see if he realises he's missing the big picture.. then when he does wise up, he can see you tried to help out.
My advice is get a whole heap of students and then you can be picky. It'll work best by word of mouth so aim for teenagers who want to be in bands and will talk to their friends at school and at other clubs..
All the best with the teaching. _________________ Fabulous powers were revealed to me the day I held my magic Suhr(d) aloft and said "by the power of great scale!"
Joined: 10 Sep 2004 Posts: 2783 Location: Chino, CA
Posted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 5:01 am Post subject:
I can imagine it being quite frustrating. As you can imagine, I get to see all kinds of players here at the shop and the type of playing that makes me cringe the most is sloppy and unmusical shredding. Speed without accuracy (sloppy with other extraneous notes or strings ringing out) is unbearable to me. And there are always guys who are not playing in time or not even in tune and that just makes me shut the office door and use ear plugs. Kids who think they're sweeping are just raking chord shapes up and down the neck and it's amongst the most unmusical things I could think of played on the guitar. Yuk!
To me, even accomplished well-known shredders sound bad when they sweep like that. A lot of them do it to just show off: "Look ma, I can really sweep!" Guthrie really uses it to a good effect to accentuate lines. To my ears, Guthrie's sweeps really sound like individual notes played one at a time - very clean and the notes have a musical purpose.
Good luck with your teaching. Can't say I envy your position at all when it comes to dealing with student like that. _________________ Ed Yoon
Certified Guthrie Fan-atic
BOING Music LLC - Managing Partner
.strandberg* Guitars USA
Ed Yoon Consulting & Management
Guitar Center Inc.
Joined: 22 Sep 2004 Posts: 122 Location: chair, in front of desk
Posted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 8:26 am Post subject:
Assuming you don't just tell him to piss off I think the best thing you can do is show him the stuff he wants, but keep subtly alluding to the importance of musical context. For instance, you could give him a minor arpeggio and a major arpeggio, but rather than having him play both of them from the same root, give him (for instance) D major and G minor at the 10th fret. When he plays the two together and hears something on an aesthetic level, he might just start to come round.
That's one aspect of teaching where I never really decided what to think. You get people who are clearly going about things in totally the wrong way, and you feel it's your responsibility to advise them, but the risk is they'll go somewhere else.
it turns out he already knows the major shape, but he didn't know how to apply it to anything.
What I found frightening was that guy wasn't that bad at sweeping and alternate picking (apart from using almost ALL of the pick surface to get that horrid scratchy pulling sound) But he didn't know any chords at all apart from A minor. Odd...
Anyway, i was thinking of showing him a couple of standard minor and major arpeggios, and some picking patterns. Then printing off a diagram of the notes on the neck, so he could find the root note for any chord and find the positions. Then I could play him a song such as "brown eyed girl" and let him work out where he can apply the shapes.
At least this way he might learn a few notes (he doesn't know ANY, anywhere on the fretboard apart from open strings)
ive been playing for 6 years now.(im only 18 so thats long for me). ive been studying jazz theory for 3 years and playing fusion for two years. i study with a guy who attended Berklee and i gotta say he has put up with alot of my shit over the years.
in the beginning it was all about ripping up the fretboard and playing SRV tunes.... i didnt pay any attention to what he showed me: the 7 modes, pentatonic scales, arpeggios and triads, i never took any of it to heart...
I was only into playing one form of minor pentatonic and granted, with all the practice i was doing i got really good with the blues thing, but then i found myself in a rut and went back to lane and finally asked him to show me something....i was surprised at the patience he possessed, i figured...well yeah, im paying him so it doesnt matter to him, but he mentioned that he knew i would come around, that is the only reason he continued lessons with me.
regarding sweeping...i only play three string minor 7ths because to me they have the greatest sound and when played ascending or descending the fretboard they sound exceptional...IE jimmy herring's ability to do so.
Just thought id share a memory about a great guitar teacher.
Yeah, I was provoking that response, by being deliberately obtuse
I reckon a good musician will know theory whether they know it or not. I'm assuming KNOWing music, involves some sort of theoretical basis. I'd argue that KNOWing music is being able to hold a set of sounds in your head, in the same way that knowing how to fly, involves an awareness of physics for pilots, but instinct for birds.
The manner in which I acquire musical knowledge is subjective and irrelevant to the end result. You can see this in the way that some people play C lydian dominant over C7, some play a hybrid of C lydian and C Mixolydian, or play a mix of F major and G major scales, others play G jazz minor or a C dominant 7th arpeggio with a #11 ... the list goes on, for just one theoretic principal there are loads of ways of doing it. What determines why those notes will get used in this way? One would hope it was the discerning ear of the musician.
So it's not crazily heretical to think that some musicians employ the "that thing that Joe Pass does in ..." or "that thing Wes does in ... " they might not ever learn the thinking behind it. They might extend it without sullying the notes involved with labels. Whilst I can't do this, it is part of the tradition of learning blues guitar.
I personally love learning the theory, but it's a tool that serves a purpose. Playing theory because "it's right" isn't going to make me a good musician, whereas playing some notes because "I know they'll sound cool to me" will. I experiment with the theory to expand my repetoire, not to employ a theory with confidence, robots can already do that. _________________ Fabulous powers were revealed to me the day I held my magic Suhr(d) aloft and said "by the power of great scale!"
theory, for me, is useful to a point...when im improvising its the greatest tool i have to make each and every note sing. as for writing music based on chordal progressions, i tend not to follow the rule of staying in one key. i find it too limiting. although i do enjoy playing standards. my favorite: Autumn Leaves.
with there being an infinite amount of ways to approach a solo...i agree 100% with you. for the c7 chord, i like to begin the run with a diminished run to throw some tension in early on.
Hi guys, I'm new here, first of all, I'm sorry for my english, I don't practice it very much as I practice guitar , I' d like to share my opinion.
I've been playing guitar for 17 years, and teaching for 9 years, I can tell that almost 70% of my students in those 9 years, just want to learn some tunes or some licks, like "can you show me the begginning of "sweet child o' mine"?, "can you show me two-hand tapping licks?", they just want something they can show to their parents/friends/girlfriends/themselves;
the great majority just want something they can relate to, they know the song from the radio/MTV/CD's, now, they want to play it; it doesn't matter what mode it is written in, what scale/arpeggio/mode the guitar dude use, they just want to PLAY it.
A couple of weeks ago a student came wanting to learn something from Paganini, just because some friend told him that John Petrucci played some Paganini's caprice on a solo. I don't know if Petrucci played it, and for that matter, I don't care, but this guy here wants to learn it, and he's PAYING for it, so I went to some pf my school days books, and got Paganini's caprice No.24, this guy doesn't know how to play "La Bamba", or "Jailhouse Rock", he doesn't know a C open-chord, from a Fm13, know what I mean???
So, what I'm doing is: Present him the whole song, teach him the licks from the song, he does realize he might not be able to play it, so I begin to teach him some arpeggio shapes, how they relate to each other, and he's begginning to soak it in, he's excited with all there is to learn (not just one song/riff), a lot of students that just want some licks have become serious about learning guitar when they realize there is a universe of things to learn. There have been times when a guy is really "obtuse" about it, he/she just wants the riff/song/etc. so.....teach it, itll be a couple of bucks to you.
This is my work, as I guess is your work too, to teach him what he wants; I give a main course twice a week about theory principles, improvisation, harmony on guitar, and ther's where the guys who really wants to learn music, and guitar are; but with "Licks-guys" like this or the guy you're speaking about, I have the rest of the week.
I'm a full-time musician, I give lessons from monday-saturday, 9:00 a.m.
to 7:00 p.m., I have a wife and children, so I have to put bread on the table (and buy gear, you know ) so, I'm willing to show any student anything they want, the trick to make them want more is to let them know there are more things, like, if someone just wants pentatonic scales because thats the scales Mr. GuitarGod use, teach them the blues scale, it's just a pentatonic with one more note, that way they don't feel like they're going to have to learn a lot more, just "one note". This has worked to me.
Teaching has been really good for me, it has opened my eyes to how people feel about music, how they react to it, and how important it is to some; make it important to those who want it to be important to them. _________________ "you are what you is"...F. Zappa.
You said he already knew the major shapes. Then I would explain to him the difference between major and minor by using E/A and em/am as examples. I use the CAGED system when I teach barré chords, as it makes sense and it's fairly easy to grasp. I try not to spell everything out, but give some clues here and there, and if the student is practicing he/she should sooner or later start to ask questions related to what they have found. That's when it's rewarding - for me.
I've only been playing for 16 years, and I'm a teacher as well as I teach guitar. I wouldn't accept the students interest being limited to some areas, it's me they are paying and it's my responsibility to teach them something useful. That's the way I see it. Other methods may just as well work.
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