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Promoted Post: Declare One Day a Fun Day

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
This entry was written by one of our students on our guitar forum and promoted to our blog. The author's views below are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Legacy Learning Systems, Inc.

Author: Kevin DSee the original thread...

This may not work for everyone, but it works for me. As we all know - learning guitar is a lot of work. Sometimes the same repetitive string exercises become dry, simple songs become mundane, and simple chords played over and over again, no matter how much better they become tone wise turn into drudgery.

As our great teacher says, "Success is all about staying in the game" and the best way to stay in the game is to avoid boredom, drudgery and giving up.

I've decided for myself to declare Saturday FUN day - no lessons, no drills (except for warming up), but instead I've made it "guitar discovery day."  I suppose I have a bit of an advantage here being a keyboard player by ear for many years and taking this skill on the road during weekends as a gigging musician. I don't know too much about the guitar only being in Session 4 of Gibson's Learn & Master Guitar, but I know enough about music at this point that I have a little latitude in my discovery.

Fun day can take many forms. For me it's listening to a song I'm familiar with (and for me that's in the Rock and Blues genre - Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, etc.), and learning it by ear or tab (word to the wise - many tabs I've found on the internet were put together by people who must be either tone deaf and/or don't know how to play guitar very well. Take them with a grain of salt and begin learning to use your ears), and then trying to hack it out on my own. Last week it was "Sweet Emotion" by Aerosmith, this week it was "Crossroads" by Eric Clapton. I learned probably some advanced techniques (pull-offs, bends) and some of the minor Pentatonic scale as a soloing tool (though on the suck-meter the needle is likely quite high). That's not the point. I'm learning something NEW and having FUN while doing it! 

For an acoustic player it might be the chords to their favorite acoustic guitar song in a position on the fretboard that's in-line with the session they're currently working on in Gibson's Learn & Master Guitar.

Or for others, it might be a pop hit from a Fake Book, lead sheet or something similar.

After about an hour or so of this I found I could reasonably hack through my chosen fun, learn something and emerge refreshed to begin another week of getting through the session. Having been on Session 4 for some time now, I decided today it's time to stop complaining, stop procrastinating, push through it and Git 'Er Done!

Guitar is supposed to be fun, and declaring a FUN day and acting on it does wonders for your disposition.

I've worked with many guitarists, bass players, drummers and other instrumentalists in my young and later musical career who didn't have lessons, or any sort of formal training, decades before the days of DVD and Internet, and we all became gigging musicians and got paid for it. How you may ask? Well it started with making the statement "I wanna be a ___(fill in the blank)___ player" and going out and buying an instrument, then came the hard work, learning songs by ear and reading music, but I have to admit that besides the work, there was a large element of pure FUN to what we were doing.

I remember only a year or so after learning the keyboard enough to make money in a 4-set, 4-hour hour gig (at age 16), that our drummer's brother and his buddy who were seasoned guitar players asked us one night (the drummer, bass player and I) if we could help them entertain for a "Rock & Oldies" dance that was in a weekthey committed to. We reluctantly said, "Sure, when?" and they said, "Next weekend". They told us not to worry, that they would just tell us the key the song was in and if there were any funky chord changes they'd call them out as the song progressed. Most of Rock and Oldies is based on 12-bar blues. Know that pattern and you can play a large amount of music in just about any key if you know the key - the guitarists were also the singers. If you know the blues scale all the better. We pulled off a 4 hour gig with seasoned musicians we'd never played with before and no on in the audience was the wiser. Everyone had fun, and at the same time it was a learning experience. Fun goes a long way toward pushing your musical envelope.

Now here I am 37 years later, saying, "I wanna be a guitar player" and bought myself an axe and an amp and I'm starting over with so many great tools to learn at my disposal and Gibson's Learn & Master Guitar at the top of that list. How cool is that??!!

Hope this helps some of you getting stuck. Throw an element of fun into it one day a week, do something different and use that to recharge your learning batteries - you may be pleasantly surprised!
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