I like to initially give students a simple and solid foundation on which they can build. This requires learning to play half a dozen chords and a few different simple strumming rhythms . We look at playing simple songs by artists such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Oasis, Bowie, Paul Weller, Bob Marley and many others. I also like to teach Blues and Major scales right from the start, and concentrate on playing them clearly and confidently.
As the student gains in confidence we vary the right hand rhythms to more complex patterns, learn more chords including bar chords, slash chords and chord extensions. We study more complex songs with changes of tempo, dynamics and rhythms. Scale knowledge increases to include modes of scales, triplets, playing, pentatonic bends, varying keys and starting to improvise melodies over different backings.
When the student has gained a solid foundation, they have the option to study the National Rockschool guitar syllabus all the way up to grade 8, or the Trinity/Guildhall Classical Guitar syllabus up to grade 4. To gain a performance certificate with Rockschool, students have to learn and perform 5 pieces up to a high standard for each grade. Grades 6 to 8 will also give the student UCAS points for higher education.
Subsequently students can learn to play in different styles such as finger picking and classical technique, improve their improvisational skills learning to play solos, slide, bend and vibrato notes .Students can learn to transcribe songs themselves, speed picking and to train with a metronome. I also encourage students to experiment with their own chord arrangements and two track melody/harmony writing. We look at many different great artists and emulate their playing including; Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmi Page, BB King, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, David Gilmour and Stevie Ray Vaughan. In addition we learn finger picking and classical standards. I write and create my own backing tracks, which my students can use as well as the backing tracks provided by the Rockschool syllabus. I am a fan of structured learning using top quality teaching resources, which is why I use the grade syllabuses for Rock and Classical. However many people prefer to learn to play their favorite songs, or have specific things they wish to learn. I am therefore happy to adapt the lessons to suit my students needs and enjoyment. I have a large database of material ranging from simple to complex, including chords, scales and theory.