The path is…
- a strategy
- a process-centered learning sequence for guitar practice
- an order to learn things
- an organizational system for exploring & mapping our harmonic & melodic sonic terrain
When we get the process right, positive results are a natural outcome.
Explore Music at the Base Level
A core idea here to study and play music from the base level…ongoing experimentation with the elements of music. The information/skills can be applied to any style [some styles are included here - making sounds on a guitar registers as known things], yet we are focusing most on the development of our own music.
These maps on the path are bridges; we experiment – giving ourselves a chance to see what happens. Hopefully, we get lost in it…get into some non-reference jam space [the zone, groove, flow].
What type of guitar is this designed for?
This is an acoustic guitar learning path. Many [even most] of the sessions currently live on the site, can be done on any type of guitar – nylon, electric, or acoustic. Our focus is acoustic/steel string.
I’m an 80’s metalhead, with a degree in Classical guitar, who currently plays mostly acoustic. So, the path’s content is the middle ground. All of our video uses an acoustic [guitar's middle ground].
I work with beginners weekly, and the best starter guitar for little people are 3/4 size classicals. They are well built, easy to play, affordable, and stay in tune pretty well.
As the path develops, we will move deeper into acoustic guitar, primarily.
Just because you are going to learn a bunch of cool and ‘complex’ things, you can apply it in simple ways. As a player & teacher, I thrive with simplicity; applying deep knowledge to acheive simple outcomes.
Where do I start?
At the beginning. Stuff that you may already know will go fast. And, you may pick up new ideas & tips for given topics; patch holes that may exist in your knowledge base.
Stand-alone modules, pages, & print resources are available. I encourage you to print maps [and blanks! - worksheets, staff, tab] to take with you. As a life-long student of the instrument, I’ve always carried papers with me – what I’m currently working on. Sometimes, a single page could keep me busy for a month; in the bag for a year.
I only hope that any of these lessons can be that type of bridge for you.
Playing& listening to music is a life-long experience. There are too many instruments to actually get to play all of them. To go deep, we have to choose some primary ones. Guitar is a good choice. I’ve found that by mastering it [or any? - I know guitar for sure], I now have a basis to play any instrument and to play any type of music.
What are we doing?
Our goal is informational and experiential musical integration. We are opening up to our own creativity by working with the materials of music, applying them in ways which ‘make them our own’.
First, we get 3 basic skills happening → 1. figuring out melodies by ear 2. strumming songs 3. reading music. Our ability to read music [including interpreting chord/scale symbols] opens up worlds of music [learn how!].
We continue evolving these essential skills as we map chords and scales by key, training & jamming, to create a sonic palette for song playing and writing.
We build our skills, we build our repertoire [songs ready to 'perform', even if improvisatory frameworks], & get creative.
Who is this for?
- My students. This is a great way for existing students to ‘get ahead’ through self-study. This is a money/time saving way to move through what we would work on during lessons.
- It’s also designed for guitarists who are looking to teach, or are currently teaching & are looking for new materials.
- Open to starters/restarters that might be looking for a new approach to learning to play the guitar.
I think of all my students as future teachers. Each is their first student. So I ask everyone to be a good teacher. Be good to yourself.
And, I’m also always learning from them. So the common student/teacher boundary does dissolve. In a 1-to-1 setting: 2 students, 2 teachers
Once you teach yourself well, you are in a position to teach others.
We are our own best teachers.
Are there resources to track my progress?
The first 4 tiers have checklists. Checklists are added once the group of lessons is completed.
Checkout tier one’s checklist. Each tier’s checklist is downloadable on the main contents page for it.
Does learning music theory inhibit creativity?
It can if it’s all we know and talk, while we are supposed to be playing music.
It’s one dynamic topic among many. If our goal is piecing it all together, wouldn’t this include one extremely interesting way to communicate about it? I think so. It can be sidelined or transcended, just like many other topics. It can lead to interesting conversations with others who are studying the same thing.
Do you use grids, and is grid learning bad for my brain?
For some things, yes, we do use grids. They work.
It isn’t ‘bad’ when used with consideration and perspective. And, that it isn’t the only way we learn to play guitar & get to know our fretboard. A balanced playing system will naturally include free jamming/exploring, reading, interpreting other types of visual systems/symbols, etc.
Grids or any type of written symbols are scaffolding to meaning. Once the meaning is there, we take down the structures which helped us build the experience, and move to permanent structures. The experience itself is the target.
Grids also get us functional in all keys quickly, even if we may not know the whole story. I rarely see grids in mind when actually playing [unless in D flat!].
Tablature is really our primary presentation system. It’s been around just about as long as notation. It’s solid. And, we provide some ideas for mapping other types of tunings, using pictures. They work really well for some folks.
How many videos?
There are currently over 40 videos on the site.
Video is hands/guitar only. You won’t see me as a talking head.
I’m starting to see more varied & functional uses for video. Look for more specific types of video from this site, in the coming years.
Will I learn specific songs?
There are some charts for popular tunes. The real goal is to learn all of them. When you hear a song, you understand what it would take to play it. You have enough information and playing experience to make it happen.
When we build a framework which includes all sonic material + an understanding of how things work, any song is accessible. You will gain the ability to create strategies for playing specific things, even if those things themselves, by name, are not on this site.
If you can’t figure out songs yet, and want to, you are on the correct site. If you want to learn exactly how to play a specific song, find that resource [it's not here], and use this site as an investment in your own music.
Types are the primaries, sub-types are secondary classification.
Next & Previous links thread the path.
To watch all video, select Video from the sub-types.
If you’d like to be notified when new path content is up, please add your email to get path updates. The updates include new lessons only, and not stand alone sub-systems/pages.
Tier 1 and 2 are starter/restarter blocks. From there, we train and experiment our way through chords and scales by key, expanding our sonic palette. Reading music is included in each tier, starting at 2. Learn to read.
Designed for self study. This path is based on ‘if we know these things, we know 1000’s of things’. Yet, it’s not about how much we know, but how we put the information to work [we have music to share].
I’ve worked with over 1000 students over 20+ years and we all have same goals: put it all together, jam with/for others, have good musical experiences.
If you happen to be a teacher, I don’t mind printing content for students, but please keep it fair use. Have a student sign-up if the content is working for them. I’ve had at least 20 solid teachers; inspired people that communicated so much insight into the instrument.