I’ve heard it said that anyone who knows anything is self-taught. There’s some truth to this statement. If you’re a self-taught guitarist, this post will provide a 4 step process for deeply learning any new musical concept.
Of the dozens of students I’ve taught over the years, the ones who are successful are the ones who take the information I give them and explore all of its possibilities and implications on their own time.
I’ve had other students who would come to their lesson every week, but show extremely slow progress. These students lacked the discipline to work out new musical concepts on their own time between lessons.
Are you ready for the secret of how to become your own guitar teacher? Are you ready to make musical progress regardless of whether you take formal lessons? Keep reading for my 4 step process to deeply learn new musical ideas.
The first step is to analyze your current skills. For instance, if you’re working on chord voicings you could test your knowledge of a particular chord across all the strings and up and down the neck. This will make you aware of any gaps in your knowledge. Are there any inversions you need to work out? Unfamiliar string sets where you have trouble locating the chord? Entire portions of the fretboard that are unfamiliar to you?
Take some time to hone in on the problem areas you face with the topic you’re studying.
2. ask why
Now you’re ready for step 2, ask why. Why are you struggling with chord knowledge? Do you not know all your inversions? Fuzzy on all the notes on all the strings? Take your analyzation a step further and get specific.
3. Ask how
Step 3 is easy: ask how you can solve the problem. To stick with our example, if you need help with your chord inversions, you could make an exercise where you play all your triad inversions both up and down the neck and across the strings in a single position. Once you’ve done that, apply these voicings to chord progressions. The final step would be plugging them into a song you know or are learning.
4. Do the work
The 4th and final step is to do the work. Once you’ve found an area you need to work on, figured out why the problem exists and what to do to fix it, you simply have to follow through and do the work.
The good news is that by following this process, you can be assured that everything you practice is necessary and helpful to a specific area of your playing. No more spinning your wheels on exercises that have no real benifit to your particular playing style.
Of course, a great teacher can help you out with this process, but is not absolutely essential. Case in point…Guthrie Govan.