One of the more discouraging issues I have come across is the enormous number of students who are totally unwilling to even consider learning standard musical notation. I can’t say that this is necessarily the case for students of the classical guitar, but it seems far more so for the steel string player or for the individual who just likes to ‘play by ear’. By closing off this channel to learning musical notation, a plethora of tunes that are yearning to be played are simply never attempted. Learning Tablature, in addition to music notation, does come in handy, no doubt, since attempting to interpret an open tuning composition with a presentation of merely standard notation would seem as ludicrous as underwater bowling!

My intent with this CD-ROM release, slated to be filmed in St. Petersburg, Florida in March 2009, is to open a roadway for many potential students by triggering their ‘I think I get it’ nerve before that fearful obstruction gets an opportunity to build up. Once there is dissipation or ideally an obliteration of that apprehension, I believe the trick for keeping it at bay is to never let there be a chance for the student to even sense that their cruising speed will falter. There is no need for the student to even be aware of that open door potentially slamming on his or her toes, ears, nose, or…fingers. (Ok. I know ‘fears’ would have rhymed, but hopefully you get the point!)

One way to maintain that continuing progress is to offer not just another new approach, but an alternative method, by making concepts simpler by minimizing them. For example, on the front end of the process, why bother to attempt to learn every key or key signature in which the guitar can be played? Take the time to master or at least acknowledge just a few. And why limit this notion to only the guitar? I have worked with many new students who have prior training in other instruments. Part of their success has been my ability to tap into what they already know, transfer it, and apply it to the guitar. And above all, make the lesson enjoyable, which includes proper pacing of the presentation of new material.

Originally posted 2009-04-08 03:38:06.