Music editor Jason Sidwell introduces another demi-semi-tastic lessons section.
Practising guitar is not a ‘one size fits all’ pursuit. One hour a day, divided up into four 15-minute segments of warm-up exercises, scale, arpeggio, chord practice, repertoire and improvisation is not going to work for everyone. This scenario, while logical and balanced, assumes every guitarist wants the same results. They don’t, as we’re all different. If you’re a classical guitarist, improvisation may not factor into your playing. If you’re a songwriter, scale practice could fall away in order to extend your time improvising with chord progressions and melodies. If you’re dead set on soloing over Giant Step changes, broad repertoire study won’t factor large; you’re digging down deep into one piece’s slalom of chord changes.
Practising is a hot topic with many; we get a lot of correspondence about it and how best to invest your time. Our usual reply is; begin with the end in mind. Where do you want to go with your playing? When you’re starting out, ‘Getting good’ is a typical reply as you don’t know what you require yet. With a little more playing experience, issues such as ‘Playing nice licks over a Minor blues’, ‘nailing the intro to Sweet Child O’ Mine’, ‘soloing with the Mixolydian mode’ and ‘improving frettinghand finger independence for better legato’ become realised. With specifics like these, you’re then better focused. Specific requirements are hugely useful if receiving guitar tuition, as your tutor will have your issues and their own observations to drive the lessons. Furthermore, your musical savvy will enhance your engagement with GT; sure it’s great to peruse each issue and tackle what looks interesting, but if your observations are fuelled by specifics too (nailing that mode, improving fretting-hand legato, etc) you’ll find yourself much more fulfilled. As GT is crammed with so much great music, across many styles and various ability levels, developing and maintaining a filtering process based on ‘interest’ and ‘benefit’ is imperative to producing noticeable results. Enjoy the issue!