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sixesandsevens

Tips on teaching a beginner to play guitar

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(cross-posted at TGP)

My son (13) is interested in learning guitar, but wants to learn from me instead of taking lessons. I'm hoping he'll turn around on that eventually, but I'm not picking that battle today.

I'm a pretty good player with some decent theory knowledge, but I've been playing so long that I wouldn't have a clue how to teach a beginner with limited patience, let alone my own son. :D. 

Based on his musical tastes, he's on a trajectory to be more of a multi-instrumentalist pop producer type than a guitar hero, so my gut says rhythm and harmony/musicianship should be the focus.

Any suggestions on how to approach this?  In particular any book or video series to use as a basis?

Thanks!

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Posted (edited)

My initial response to this question is always the same;

"I really like https://www.justinguitar.com/ and https://truefire.com/ "

They both allow me to progress in any direction I want to go and at my own pace.

But then I realize how much my playing has improved since I started using those sites and I have to say.

"Find him a good local teacher who will teach the basics, discipline and theory. Then let him do his own Internet searches for specifics."

EDIT: Nothing I said above should be construed as disparaging remarks toward either Justinguitar or Truefire. Both are excellent sites with great lessons.

 

Edited by Hbom
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Posted (edited)

I don't know if this will help you or not, but whenever anyone asks me what the best advice I ever got about practicing, it's this:

Never practice wrong.

We’ve all done it. Let’s say there a song you’re learning. Our natural tendency is to play the easy parts fast and the hard parts slow. Or you try to play the whole thing at the correct tempo and keep messing up the hard parts.

Don’t do it.

You’re training yourself to play it wrong.

Slow the whole thing down to the point where you can’t possibly make a mistake. Use a metronome. It doesn’t matter if the speed you want to play it at is 120 BPM and you have to slow it down to 20. Go slow, slow, slow. Gradually, over a period of days (weeks? months?), gradually increase the tempo. Be patient. If you find yourself making mistakes, slow the tempo down again. The idea is to never, ever, play it wrong. This way you are training yourself to play it correctly. When you finally reach your target tempo, you will have only ever played it correctly.

Bonus: Keep increasing the metronome speed beyond your target tempo. This way, when you play it at the correct tempo, you’ll feel like you’re just cruising.

Also: Break up you practice time. If you have, say, an hour to practice, break it up into four fifteen-minute segments and concentrate on different areas in each of them.

 

Edited by Dana_V
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Posted (edited)

My son wanted me to teach him and I really didn't want to just because my lack of theory and being a hack guitar player.  What we ended up doing was finding a good teacher. I asked around and one guy's name kept popping up at every store. I called him and he was very understanding and said that it is not unusual situation at all. So what we did was booked two 1/2 hour times back to back the first 1/2 hour it was his lesson the 2nd 1/2 hour was mine. We were able to listen to each other's lessons and afterward's we would hit the music store or pizza place and kind of have guy's night out. I would know what he was learning and what he should be working on for that weeks lesson.  

Edited by Carl.B
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I would point him towards chords and scales number one , but to keep the interest mix in songs that he likes connects with . That was my drive in the beginning I heard Jimmy Page , Paul Kossoff, and that was it ! I had to learn it or die trying ! 

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On 3/1/2019 at 9:18 AM, Hbom said:

"Find him a good local teacher who will teach the basics, discipline and theory. Then let him do his own Internet searches for specifics."

This. Especially the discipline. Wish I'd done this.

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It's always dicey when dad teaches their kid. It's the old adage that small children are always better behaved for other people than they are for their mum and dad. I think your biggest issue will be overcoming the over familiarity that there will inevitability be between you two that perhaps may lead him to think that you're just dad and what you two are doing at lesson time, is not serious, that will be much more important that what website you chose.

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You have to teach him songs if you want him to stick with it.  Find dumbed down versions of songs he'd like to play on YouTube or or tab sites, then demonstrate to him how to play them.   If in a few months he wants to progress, then begin explaining the theory and such.  

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Posted (edited)

Why not pick a youtube video of a song he likes?  Work through it together.  You can show/explain to him theory ,chord shapes, progressions, rifs, etc. all in a context that may be less sterile than going through a book. If he's vested in it, he'll be more likely to stick with it. 

As he learns more songs, he can decide if he wants to go more theory, drills, etc. 

If you're dead set on a book, the beginner stuff is all the same to me.  Might as well just go with a Hal Leonard:

https://www.halleonard.com/product/viewproduct.action?itemid=699027&subsiteid=1

Here's another way to get some more music theory in:

http://learnmusictheory.net/

Once you progress to point of drills and speedwork.  I liked this from an HFCr from the past: 

https://www.amazon.com/Intelli-Shred-Thinking-Musicians-Incredible-Soloing/dp/0739047450/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1551718342&refinements=p_27%3AKevin+Dillard&s=books&sr=1-1&text=Kevin+Dillard

https://www.amazon.com/Arpeggio-Madness-Book-Kevin-Dillard/dp/0739060155/ref=sr_1_2?qid=1551718317&refinements=p_27%3AKevin+Dillard&s=books&sr=1-2&text=Kevin+Dillard

I love the internet.  Sure beats playing Strutter on a turntable, stopping it, lifting the needle, moving the needle back, dropping the needle, starting it up again to double check that what you thought you heard is actually what's playing and doing that over and over and over again.  Or Running with the Devil on a cassette and hitting the rewind button 1/4 of the way just enough for you to move that tape 10 counts back so you can pick up that riff.  Over and over. 

 

Edited by BubbaVO
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On 3/1/2019 at 12:33 PM, sixesandsevens said:

(cross-posted at TGP)

My son (13) is interested in learning guitar, but wants to learn from me instead of taking lessons. I'm hoping he'll turn around on that eventually, but I'm not picking that battle today.

I'm a pretty good player with some decent theory knowledge, but I've been playing so long that I wouldn't have a clue how to teach a beginner with limited patience, let alone my own son. :D. 

Based on his musical tastes, he's on a trajectory to be more of a multi-instrumentalist pop producer type than a guitar hero, so my gut says rhythm and harmony/musicianship should be the focus.

Any suggestions on how to approach this?  In particular any book or video series to use as a basis?

Thanks!

First things first, draw up a pre signed contract that says whatever he'll earn by playing guitar when he's older, you are entitled to 25% of, then that will keep you motivated.

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On 3/3/2019 at 1:25 PM, fasteddie said:

It's always dicey when dad teaches their kid. It's the old adage that small children are always better behaved for other people than they are for their mum and dad. I think your biggest issue will be overcoming the over familiarity that there will inevitability be between you two that perhaps may lead him to think that you're just dad and what you two are doing at lesson time, is not serious, that will be much more important that what website you chose.

Oh I know it.  I remember reading all about it when I was really into climbing.  One of the books I had had a whole section about how "coach" shouldn't be mom and dad.  Sadly, he's not still resisting having a teacher at the moment.  I'm guessing it's 50/50 over feeling like music teachers won't "get him" vs. not really being serious about it, but not being mature enough to come out and say "Dad, I'm not gonna take this seriously right now, so I don't want to commit time and money to it".  

So my goal at this point is just to get the kindling started in a way that won't strain our relationship. All the tips about songs he likes are well taken.  :)  The magic 8-ball tells me I'm off to learn some Michael Jackson.  Ironically Tim Pierce played on "Black or White" and has a video he posted on youtube about it.  :) 

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