As I’m writing this, it is the start of a new year, full of resolutions for change and improvement. But setting goals isn’t just for January. I’ve used goal setting year-round to make major improvements in my own musicianship and I’d like to share how you benefit from setting goals.

As a younger guitarist, I wanted to explore many styles of music. Some of these, like playing leads for Country music, seemed really daunting. While I loved the music, I knew almost nothing about how those guitarists made it seem SO COOL. And easy. This was going to be a big job.

So I took this really big goal and divided it into small parts. Many small parts. I started by listing all the songs I wished I could play. I made the list in a big spreadsheet (because I’m geeky like that) and it was about 40 songs. Then, I started transcribing each song, one at a time. Every time I finished learning a song, I’d mark it down on my spreadsheet.

I called it my “Summer of Shed” because I gave myself all Summer to finish learning the list of songs and “Shed” because “woodshedding” is an old-time musicians term for practicing. (I guess they used to do a lot of practicing out in their woodsheds? Now that I think of it, it probably sounded really good in there, surrounded by all that firewood!) At the end of the Summer, I had a huge vocabulary of Country music licks and solos and the playing confidence that I’d always wanted.

You don’t have to be a fan of spreadsheets, but I do recommend you write down your goals so you can watch your success happen. It is super-motivating when you see a list of all the things you’ve learned and can now play.

So, set a timeline, break a big goal into lots of little ones and then take note of your progress. My e-book ” 9 Things You Must Know Before Teaching Yourself Guitar ” details even more about goal setting and helps you take action and enjoy success when learning the guitar. I want you to see real improvement in your playing and confidence soon, so I made it free.  Download the book here.

Leave a comment and let me and other guitarists know what goals you’re setting.

-Andy Schneider

From the eBook, “9 Things You Must Know Before Teaching Yourself Guitar”. Download it for free.

 

Maybe you have some Holiday cash in your pocket and are shopping for a new guitar or maybe you’re happy with your trusty ol’ 6-string buddy, but do you know all the features available on a guitar? While most acoustics or electrics are basically similar, the variety of options to the player are astounding. And, they can impact the playability and value greatly.

Below is a diagram of the parts and features of one acoustic guitar. As detailed in the buyer’s guide in “Beginners Guitar Jumpstart“, not all of these features are found on every guitar. For example, the cutaway provides access to the upper frets but also changes the sound slightly. The guitar shown here also has built-in volume and tone controls, indicating a pre-amp on-board that is a great feature when hooking up to a PA system. Virtually every item mentioned on the diagram below has different options available which impact the quality of sound, the usability and the value. 

Every musician should feel confident about their musical knowledge and have the tools to propel their own education. This is what Seeing Music books are all about. They meet you, the learner where you are at in your musical journey, providing solid no-nonsense methods to learning. If you’re just beginning, have a look at “Beginners Guitar Jumpstart“, a complete method for learning the guitar from Day 1. If you’ve had some experience on the guitar and are now wanting to grow your musical understanding “Seeing Music on the Guitar” covers basic music theory and teaches how to build more advanced chords, as well. Both books use the Seeing Music visual method to propel your learning in a brand new way using the power of the human visual learning system.

Leave a comment, and let me know how you see music!

– Andy Schneider

Know Your Guitar diagram
From Beginner’s Guitar Jumpstart, guitar features diagram

Being a guitar player has it’s advantages. Among them, we’re uniquely able to use our visual skills to organize music on our instrument. That’s what our books mean by “Seeing Music”. Let’s have a look.

Below are two chords, A Major and B Major. One employs the open A string and one does not use any open strings. Notice the similar the shape of the two chords. See how both have a few notes adjacent, the same fret on different strings? Imagine drawing a line between those notes, like a connect-the-dot puzzle. Both chords kind of make an “L” shape, right?

These are both barre chords and this is one of the awesome things about barre chords: they can be moved up and down the neck to create new chords. Give it a try, playing these two chords, and listen for their similarity. Notice that each note of this B Major is exactly two frets higher from a note in A Major. That makes both chords easy to remember. Pretty sweet!

This method of understanding the principles of guitar music is what Seeing Music books are all about. We identify with our world in a visual way and now you can learn guitar in a visual way, too. Two great books that will teach you this method are “Beginners Guitar Jumpstart” and “Seeing Music on the Guitar“. The first one is a complete method for learning guitar from Day 1. The second, “Seeing Music on the Guitar” covers basic music theory and teaches how to build more advanced chords, as well.

Leave a comment, and let us know how you see music.

A and B Major Barre Chords
From Beginners Guitar Jumpstart, playing A Major and B Major barre chords