5 Resources That Will Enhance Practice Outside of Your Lesson

By Wilson Harwood, Guitar, Banjo & Bass Instructor at The Lesson Studio

Wilson Harwood, Guitar, Banjo & Bass Instructor at The Lesson Studio

Wilson Harwood

 

Many ambitious musicians choose to save a few dollars by teaching themselves.  I, myself, fall into this category as a banjo player. I currently take lessons for classical guitar, but cannot afford/find time for banjo lessons. As a teacher and student I am a huge advocate of learning from a teacher because it speeds up the learning process while also keeping you focused.  However, I also know that due to finances and time, many people choose to teach themselves at some point or another.  Below is a list of five resources that will enhance your lessons or help guide you if your not currently taking lessons.

 

1) Youtube:

 

At the top of the list is everyone’s best friend, Youtube. If you haven’t used it as a tool yet then do a search of your favorite song. Chances are you will find a lesson along with the recording of the song. Youtube is also a great way to get inspired.

 

2) UltimateGuitarTab:

 

Everyone has heard or experienced finding tab online only to realize something just doesn’t sound right.  I recommend this resource with a bit of caution.  I find tab to really speed up the learning process and can help you navigate the fret board when learning by ear fails you.  Use tab as an aid, but not the sole source for learning a song.  Try using the tab to help you while also learning by ear or on Youtube.

 

3) Books, Books, and More Books.

 

It feels overwhelming to step into a music shop and browse the books they have. Many seem either to easy, to hard, or simply don’t make sense.  Some guidelines when choosing a book are:

a)     Look for concise wording with out to much clutter on the pages.

b)     Look for books with CD’s or DVD’s. They really do help.

c)      Hal Leonard and Mel Bay are good beginner publishers, but may seem boring to the advancing musician.

d)     Try to stay away from books with extensive chord diagrams. I find many songbooks derive from piano parts not guitar parts.

 

4) Jam Sessions, Friends, Neighbors, Ensembles

 

Here at the lesson studio we teach ensembles to give students experience playing with others.  Private lessons are great instructional tools, but they will not give you experience playing with people.  Go to jams or open mic nights to play or simply watch.  You might meet others who would like to play on a regular basis.  If you have friends or family that also play, ask them if they would like to start a group or a regular jam session.  Mainly, until you play with others you will not feel the immense improvement it will bring to your playing.

 

5) Blogs and Music Subscription Services:

 

Hey, look, you are reading this blog and learning about some new techniques. Check out some other blogs such as http://www.banjohangout.org/, http://www.bluegrasscollege.org/, http://www.classicalguitarblog.net/. Blogs will introduce you to new music, ideas, and musicians. They are a great way to get connected to the musical style you like.

 

Lastly, if time is your problem than maybe online lessons are the right choice.  More and more teachers are selling tab or full videos online.  I have come across a great site for metal guitarist at http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/. Kristofer Dahl is from Sweden and is a bit of a character, but also a great teacher.

 

Remember, these resources are helpful in enhancing your lessons with a teacher face to face.  I cannot emphasize enough the value in taking regular lessons.  If you have to take a break from lessons, use this advice to help keep you on track until you start lessons again.

 

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