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A Good Student/Teacher Relationship



You’re early into your learning experience as a guitarist, and it’s time to either be teaching yourself, or more commonly, looking for a good teacher. A good teacher is always critical at this point, even if you, as we mostly do, end up teaching yourself. Even though I am a completely self-taught guitar player, there was a period in the beginning where I got the guidance of a wonderful classical guitar teacher. I was very young, only ten, but I found that her lessons gave me a deep respect for the guitar, especially as the result of so much classical and very stringent technique. I also found that her attitude towards me, which was so supportive, was extremely helpful. She was very tuned into my good ear, and I learned so easily from her just by watching and listening. This encouraged me no end, as I could see that she was quite proud of my natural abilities, and always nurtured them.

This is certainly what I always try to do with any really gifted students of my own, and if you’re looking for a teacher, always be aware of their supportiveness, and also be on the lookout for impatience, and someone who is just too critical. This is important, because at this stage of your development, you must always be encouraged! You never know when a student may finally “blossom”, and it takes a good student/teacher relationship to help the process along. I have noticed that a lot of my early and very young students’ development seems to move right along with their growth development too. It really seems that when a student’s hands are finally large enough, they are also suddenly much more capable of finally tackling the more difficult techniques. So don’t be too discouraged when starting early, especially if you are still growing; your ability will surely grow right with you!

Also, if you are a parent taking your child to lessons, always be on the lookout for what he or she may have to say about how the teacher treats them. Even better, try to “sit in” on some of the teaching sessions if you can, without being too disruptive to the lesson itself. I often welcome a parent who likes to be there during the lesson, but I can’t stand when they try to “take over” the lesson, and totally disrupt my rhythm. In the end, they’re doing much more to hurt their child’s learning process than to help it!

So, always try to find a good student/teacher relationship, and make sure the teacher takes a truly relaxed, yet professional approach throughout all stages of the learning process. You’ll be glad you did, and it will pay off for your entire musical life!


Posted: 4/8/2010 7:23:12 PM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink

Putting in Good Playing Time

Okay, so now we assume you may have a decent guitar that feels good to play, and you’re ready to start really learning! This is an incredibly exciting time for you, as the world of guitar is wide open to you, and to all you will want to discover. One of the most important things will be for you to be able to find the time to devote to playing the guitar as much as possible. You will need to build up the toughness of the tips of your fretting fingers, so it won’t be so painful to you in the beginning. This is critical, as many are turned off by playing the guitar in the beginning by it simply hurting too much! So, play a little each day in the beginning, as you don’t want to develop blisters too soon, which will really hurt. As you build up the callous on your fingers, you can then “step up” your daily playing regimen into more and more time.

Once you’re really into playing, it’s important to keep it a happy time for you. I never considered it to be “practice”, as the pure joy I was getting from the guitar just made me have to “play” rather than “practice” each and every day. This is what you must keep in mind; it’s always meant to be fun to play the guitar, and this is a stage where each new discovery on the instrument is meant to be a positive experience. If you have a private teacher who is just giving you a bunch of uninteresting material and telling you to practice it hard and to have it ready by the next lesson, I’d suggest that you change teachers. A good teacher should always have you feel like you’re making real music right from the start, because after all, that’s why you started playing in the first place, right?!

I can remember that I loved to play so much when I used to come home from school that my parents would always find me asleep, with my guitar in my arms, with the record I was playing to skipping at the end! This was a regular occurrence, as I always couldn’t wait to get home and play what I was dreaming up in my head! So be sure to make all those wonderful guitar fantasies of yours come true, every chance you get, and be sure to learn something new every day. Also, make sure you always dedicate some time each day to play, you’ll be so glad you did!


Posted: 4/6/2010 4:34:40 PM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink

More About Shopping for a Guitar



Hi, everyone, and welcome back to my new blog entries for my “basics” series. I am so happy to be adding another dimension to my Gibson lessons by offering a lot more material for the “beginners” and “newcomers” out there who have lots of needs ad questions to be addressed!

In this entry, I am continuing the discussion I started last time about hunting for your first guitar, and how critical that can be. This is a “once in a lifetime” experience that really is full of memories, as well as potential “bumps in the road” as you find your way to that perfect “first” instrument! I know that back in my early days, my father was so encouraging about me getting into the guitar, that he took an active role in looking for guitars with me, as well as falling in love with the sheer beauty of them, both electric as well as acoustic. We always passionately went from store to store, looking at vintage pieces, as well as looking into whatever was available at that time that we could get on a budget. I ended up buying a cheap Japanese-made guitar called an “Ideal” along with a real beginner’s amp. It certainly looked cool, had lots of chrome, four (count ‘em) four pickups, and lots of slider switches! I already had a good classical guitar at that point, which was really well-made, but the electric turned out to be a mistake, and within a year, I was already looking for, and falling in love many other more expensive guitars.


Posted: 4/1/2010 4:08:43 PM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink

Choosing the Right Guitar!

Hi, and welcome to my new “blog” section, devoted to the more “beginner” players out there. I certainly hope you gain a lot of insight from both my new lessons, as well as these blogs!

Today, we start with the simple or not-so-simpletask of choosing the right guitar for you. Keep in mind that if you’re not really playing yet at all, buying a guitar is a vast, uncharted frontier to navigate! The first thing you’ll always be attracted to is how the instrument “looks,” since how it actually plays and sounds is barely of consequence to you; and even if it was, you wouldn’t have the tools to really check it out properly for yourself yet. I know that I always look forward to helping my beginner students get their first instruments, as I take great pride in making sure the right guitar is in their hands! There’s nothing like a clean slate with which to work, and the new guitar is a wonderful experience that goes hand in hand with the new learning. For god’s sake, I can still remember how my first couple of guitars’ cases smelled when I opened them up! Come to think of it…I can recall how every guitar’s case smelled that I’ve ever owned! But I digress…

Anyway, many times you may get a really good salesman who will take the time with you to make sure that you really get the right guitar for you, as opposed to just getting what you’re most attracted to.

Of course, the physical attraction must be there as well. It’s kind of like buying a car; no matter what we really care and feel about in terms of safety, gas mileage, reliability etc., it still has to totally look cool to us, and suit our personalities. This is very true of guitars, as well, and if we like the way it looks, it’s already saying a lot about us. Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of time to start collecting later on, and realizing that there can never be enough guitars that we think look or sound cool! As our music becomes more complex and eclectic, so shall our taste in guitars, as we will find all kinds of excuses as to why we may need “just one more”!



But first, make sure that your introductory instrument is something that doesn’t fight you, plays easily, fits your hands well, isn’t too heavy, and of course, is attractive to you. We never want something that makes us not want to pick it up, but we always want something that makes us have to pick it up! It’ll only make us better players, and faster learners, too! Happy guitar hunting! Stay tuned for more advice!


Posted: 3/31/2010 7:48:55 PM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink

Welcome to My "Basics" Blog!



Hi everyone, and welcome to my new Blog, which will focus much more on the “basics” of guitar, the music business and much more. In the course of these Blogs, which are also going to accompany my line of more “basic” Gibson lessons, we’ll be talking about taking you from “Guitar Hero” to you first gig and beyond! Maybe even to being a real guitar hero! Regardless, I’ll be focusing on the real nitty-gritty of what it takes for you to really make your way in this world as a guitarist, whether it’s for your own personal pleasure, or if you, like I did, intend to make it your life. The guitar, and music in general, is such a continuing learning experience, and with myself being a self-taught musician I have countless stories, “words to the wise” and many other tips and pointers I can impart to really help you navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of a musical career.

We’ll be discussing everything, from buying your first guitar to copywriting and publishing songs. All that you’ll need to know will be passed on to you, by me, someone who has learned it all in the real “school of life,” and who knows how to pass it on. I also must say, that I welcome your comments and questions always, so please do not hesitate to write to me, and I will try as hard as I can to answer all of them!

So, please be sure to stay tuned, as you’ll never know what new ideas and inspiration you’ll be able to draw from these Blogs I’ll be posting! I truly hope you enjoy them!


Posted: 3/29/2010 7:31:54 PM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink
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