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Guitar Progress

I have made a lot of progress on this goal since I started taking lessons a couple of months ago. Sadly, yesterday was the last lesson I’ll be having (for a while, anyway), since we’ll be moving from the area in a couple of weeks. Still, I think my instructor gave me plenty that I can work with on my own until I get to a place where I might want to take lessons again.

The one area where I’ve improved the most is in reading musical notation. It’s not the reading music that was the problem; I’ve been able to do that since I was about four years old. But I never learned where the notes are on the guitar, and it seemed like something I never would be able to learn. Not true, apparently. My instructor forced me to start reading from notation (without looking at the tab; I actually have to cover it up in order to do this, or my eyes can’t help but drift down and look at it, because it really is SO much easier), and slowly but surely, I figured it out. YAY! I now know all the notes in first position, and can sight-read (sight-play?) simple songs. In fact, I prefer it to tab now; tab is for wusses. ;) I am pleased and proud about learning to do this. :)

Another thing I’ve worked on are partial chords. A few of them, anyway. I figured I wouldn’t have to learn anything like that – I can play full barre chords, after all. Turns out that sometimes partial chords are actually better, especially in classical style playing. A full “F” uses up all my fingers; the partial leaves me with fingers left over to do other things. So, that was fun, too.

I’ve also achieved one-third of my original goal. I wanted to learn three new songs, and just this afternoon I finally “mastered” all of “Blackbird” by the Beatles. (I still need a bit of practice to be able to play it without really thinking about what I’m doing, but I can play the whole thing AND sing along. That was tricky at first). So, one down, two to go. Even though I’m not taking lessons, I still intend to play regularly. In fact, knowing me, I’ll probably play MORE often now that I don’t “have” to practice for my lessons. :D

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
gwendolyngrace
Oct. 24th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
I meant to talk to you about guitar, too!

I've been working off and on on guitar, too, as a means of self-accompaniment (and especially while my harp was being repaired), but I'm finding it really difficult both to find time to practice and to feel like I'm getting anywhere.

I have a chord chart; but sometimes it's hard to hear the chord that's in my head and find it on the guitar. I'm glad your progress is better.
here_be_dragons
Nov. 4th, 2007 02:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, I wish we'd thought of it while you were here; I could have shown you a few things. Guitar is a GREAT instrument or self-accompaniment, in part because with a relatively low-level skill set, you can do just fine. When the focus is meant to be on your singing anyway, no one will care if you're just accompanying yourself with simple chords. Then, over time, you can build on the basic knowledge and get into other things. Since you play harp, I'd guess that fingerpicking will come fairly easily, but you still need to get the chords down first.

I'll see if I can think of any particular hints - actually, I have a book that I'll send you. It was Connor's guitar book, but I don't think he's going to use it. Just e-mail me your addy, and I'll pop it in the mail. It comes with a CD and everything. :)
momof2girls
Oct. 25th, 2007 10:26 am (UTC)
Guitar is one thing I've never learned. You should be very proud of yourself for the progress you have made.

And "Blackbird" - great choice!
here_be_dragons
Nov. 4th, 2007 02:03 pm (UTC)
Hee! I knew you'd approve of "Blackbird." I thought of you while I was learning it. :)
(Anonymous)
Oct. 26th, 2007 05:37 pm (UTC)
Well done with your guitar studies. Actually, I really can't use tab at all, haven'y been able to for years. Once you get to read music I think you will prefer to do it that way, the rythym of the piece is not a thing easy to grasp using tab.

Beatles songs come over well on solo guitar. I arranged "If I Fell", one day I might get round to posting it to youtube.

In the case of Barred chords, it helps to realise that you don't have to keep full pressure down on ALL strings. Example, F major calls for strings 3,4 and 5 fingered not using the barre, only the top 2 and bottom strings do you need the barre pressure. If you are consious of where EXACTLY you need the pressure, less likely your left hand gets tired, which is a common occurence with barred chords. Hope that helps!

Mark, http://digital-newworld.com/blog.
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