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Building a Better Guitar Course with Your Input
Guitar Noises #32: May 11, 2022
When I started writing this newsletter my original plan was to help the self-taught guitarist find the best free guitar lessons. After receiving lots of feedback and having many great conversations with readers my focus shifted to reviewing specific guitar courses. Now thanks to your regular input I’ve spent the better part of the past year reviewing premium guitar sites.
I’ve been teaching guitar online since 1999, and never seriously considered creating my own premium course. Until now, that is.
While there are many excellent courses you can buy online (see the archives for examples), I feel there is room for a few more. I still haven’t found a course that makes me say “I wish they had this when I was at that level.”
A common conversation I have with readers is about how they’ve been stuck at the same level for a long time. For whatever reason they struggle to get past their plateau. The range of topics online provides endless choices but not much guidance. If only there were someone who understood their predicament and could spell out exactly what to learn and in what order. I’d like to make a guitar course that does just that.
The course I have in mind is called “From Beginner to Intermediate.” It would be a comprehensive course that takes people who’ve played guitar for a while but not progressed very far from Point A to Point B.
It doesn’t require a ton of knowledge. You shouldn’t need to take lessons for the rest of your life. You just need to master the right things and go about it in the right order. I think a lot of students need a map to follow, with step by step directions showing them where to focus their time and energy. It needs to be comprehensive and practical, but not overly complicated. There aren’t any shortcuts that make learning quick and easy, but you can shorten the learning curve.
I’ve given it a lot of thought and have a pretty good outline prepared. But for now I want to turn things over to you. What do you want to learn? What is hardest part about playing guitar for you? What do you think a good guitar course should include? What features would you like to see (progress tracker, app, forums… ?)
Any feedback you can share by email or in the comments below will help me narrow my focus.
My Philosophy on teaching and learning guitar
Online guitar lessons should do more than entertain us. People spend money on lessons to gain lasting skills and knowledge. Too often self-taught guitarists fumble around with concepts only to switch to something entirely new when things get difficult.
My teaching approach looks like this:
Don’t make simple ideas complicated
Only use theory and memorization when there is a real purpose
Stick to approaches that lead to musical development
Challenge students to work on things they aren’t good at
Confidence comes from knowing/understanding what you’re doing
Caring mentors and a supporting environment are important
Every student is an individual
A teacher who draws attention to themselves is drawing it away from the students
Passion for the subject is infectious
Don’t promise to be fast, fun or easy
What the lessons would look like:
Step by step format
High quality writing with clear explanations
Concise presentation, the writing is mixed with practical examples
Contains clear charts and diagrams
Tabs and sheet music
Play through videos
Downloadable PDF workbooks and exercises
Downloadable MP3 jam tracks
A certain amount of growth is required to complete each step. The time it takes to complete the course would be different for each student.
My aim is to make sure:
Concepts are taught in a strategic and systematic way
Goals are ordered step by step, taking you from A to B
It’s a guided approach that levels up skills and knowledge
Students move at their own pace
Students follow the lessons in order instead of jumping around or skipping sections
If all of this sounds ambitious I agree with you. I don’t expect to do all this work by myself. In fact, I’m already searching for musicians and teachers to team up with. It’s not easy to find the right people with a background in education, music and writing. So I’d like to put out a general call here. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in making guitar courses for a living we should talk.
There is still a lot of work ahead. As always, I appreciate you taking the time to read the newsletter all the way to the end.