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Beginner Guitar Players

We get a lot of inquiries for guitar lessons… I would say that 80% of those inquiries are potential students who have never played before, or who have little experience on the instrument.  I have taught hundreds of beginner guitar lessons and they are at times the most rewarding lessons to teach.  This is because you get to witness progress first hand.

As a teacher you have many different obstacles to overcome.  Each student learns differently and it is up to me as a guitar instructor to find a way to get the information to sink in.  This is easier said than done.  I can literally exhaust every teaching method know to man but if the student does not spend the appropriate amount of time practicing on his or her own time it will not sink in. I suggest that beginner students practice a minimum of 5 days a week at no less than 20 minutes during each session.  No, you cannot count the amount of time it takes the student to tune the guitar.  Tuning can take beginner students quite a while to figure out.  My advice to parents is to learn to tune a guitar with your student.  This way you can help them get to practicing quicker.  There are endless Youtube tutorials on tuning.  Once the guitar is tuned the student should run through the assigned exercises until he or she can play them with some confidence.  Always continue to encourage your young student to keep trying.  Eventually the hard work will pay off. Beginner students will always end up complaining about their fingers hurting.  If they do, allow them to take a break.  Always encourage them to keep practicing.  There is no substitute for spending time with the guitar in your hands.  The payoff from practicing is well worth the work put in.

Playing the guitar is a skill that can bring the player a lifetime of joy.  Who knows where it will lead you… Whether it’s strumming your favorite songs on the back porch or rocking out on stage in front tons of people, the guitar will always be your friend.  Now go practice!!

Elixir String Review

There are literally endless brands of guitar strings. Not all are created equal and not everyone likes the same strings.  In this review we will discuss Elixir Acoustic (nanoweb) strings. These are not the cheapest strings out there.  At around $16.00 a box they are on the higher priced side of acoustic guitar strings. With that being said we believe they are some of the nicest sounding strings on the market.  They also have an extended life span because of the thin nanoweb coating on each string.  The phosphor bronze strings also make for a brighter tone.  Not everyone will like the brightness but it will greatly depend on the tone woods your guitar might be made of.  We tried these out on a Taylor 714CE  and they were fantastic.  This particular guitar is a rosewood back and sides and a red cedar top.  We are certain these would sound good on almost any acoustic guitar on the market.  Keep in mind that they are a little bright so they may help even out a darker voiced guitar like a Martin D-18. We cannot say enough great things about these strings.  They are articulate and balanced.  On the Taylor they had a good amount of low end with a beautiful crispness throughout the high end. The strings sounded great when strumming open chords and super clear when playing lead lines.  The thing that stuck out the most with this particular set of strings was the lifespan.  They tone of the strings remained intact for longer than any other set of acoustic strings we have ever tried.  Believe me when I say we’ve tried them all.  You can play 3 or 4 gigs on this guitar before you notice any tone loss.  That is the truth.  String choice is always a personal taste type of thing so do yourself a favor and try as many different brands as necessary. You will end up landing on your favorite.  Overall these strings are a home run and we would recommend them to any acoustic player out there.  Happy string hunting.

Brett Blakemore

To improve you must…

Yes, this post is in regards to practicing.  Without a diligent practice schedule there is little chance that you improve much on the guitar.  Having a designated place to practice is the first step, assuming you have a guitar already. Find a quiet place that you can set up everything that you need to have a productive practice.  Some things I always have at my disposal are:

– guitar (duh)

-tuner

-picks

-an amp if you are playing electric

-Music stand

-A computer or tablet with an external speaker  (to hear your metronome or song you may be working on)

-Lava lamp (if you need some extra vibes lol!)

Practice materials–

If your taking lessons from a qualified private instructor you should have a head start on a good practice routine.  Your teacher should give you at the most basic level a good routine to go through when practicing.  If you are learning on your own you will have to develop your own routine or find an outline that works for you on the internet.  Here is a sample practice routine that will hopefully help you out.  This is a very basic plan. Depending on your skill level there can be way more to practice and maybe even way less to practice.

  1. Warm up- Play basic scales and or finger exercises with a metronome for several minutes until your fingers feel warmed up. You can gradually increase the tempo/speed and try different picking techniques if you are more of an intermediate player.
  2. Technique practice-  If you are working on a song or riff that has a technique you have never mastered you may want to isolate that technique.  For example, if you are having trouble with slides or hammer ons, ask your teacher for some exercises that focus on those techniques.  If you don’t have a teacher you can find some exercises online.  Just be sure to always practice these techniques with metronome at a slow tempo at the beginning.  Once you begin to improve on the technique you can start increasing the tempo.
  3. Ear training- This can be done a bunch of different ways.  You can try learning a song or a riff by ear or you can go more formal.  Try something like Easy Ear Training and just spend a few minutes each day working on memorizing intervals.
  4. Songs- You need to build a repertoire of songs that are at your current skill level. The more songs you learn the better you will become.  You must learn the entire song. If you are only capable of learning the rhythm parts because of your current skill level, great!  You still need to learn every rhythm part there is and finish each song.  Over time you will apply ear training, technique practice, scale, and music theory practice to each song.

There are many more aspects to a practice routine and a good instructor can completely customize one for your specific needs and skill level. If you have any questions send us an email and we can set up an online lesson to get you started down the right path.

Thanks

Brett Blakemore

 

 

 

2017 Spring Showcase

The Summit Guitar School 2017 Spring Showcase was a great success.  I am so proud of all the hard work and dedication that the students exhibited.  We will be having a another showcase in the fall so stay tuned!!

Thank you Journey Church International for the use of your building and thank you parents and families for your continued support.

Rock on 2017!

 

Spring Student Showcase

This Saturday will be our annual Spring Student Showcase.  We have some great students performing. They have all been working hard on this music it will be fun to see them get up on stage to perform. The showcase will be at Journey Church International here in Lee’s Summit from 1230-230. For directions follow this link.  Directions to Journey Church  We believe that performing helps our students to become better musicians. It gives them something to work towards.  There is nothing like the pressure of having to perform in front of family and friends to motivate students to practice!  We want to thank you for supporting our students!  As always we strive to offer the best music lessons in the Kansas City area.

Thanks, and we hope to see you all on Saturday!