March 2022 Learning Log
Life on the farm continues apace. March is lambing time and the newborn lambs early in the month are a sign that spring is just around the corner. Now at the end of the month new life is budding everywhere.
Spring is always an optimistic time and this optimism has filtered through to my guitar practice.
My practice is now song based. I’ve written out the chord progressions for 5 songs. I’m also practicing the two remaining chords C and G. I already knew all these Grade1 chords from years ago, apart from Dm, so it’s a case of perfecting them and working on the changes. Between them, these songs use all the chords.
Mull of Kyntyre - Simple A D E song but with key change to D G A. 3/4 time and bass strum style. I can do the bass strum when I watch the pick but only about 70% when I don’t watch. It’s improving though. There’s some chord melody to come later for the Bagpipes….!
Old Time Rock and Roll -Another A D E song but a faster tempo. A good song and there’s some great rhythm to come when I learn more skills.
Ain’t No Sunshine - Am Dm Em- Nice contrast being all minor.
That’ll Be The Day - G D A E- I’ve taken this one from an old learning book. I like the swing/shuffle rhythm and there’s a challenging bar of 4 triplets. I can play the triplets but not up to tempo yet.
Brown Eyed Girl - G C D Em- I like this song. It’s my C chord workout and nice intro riff to add later.
I usually practice 1 or 2 of these songs a night and break up the songs with little chord exercises or strumming exercises or riffs or finger stretch and sometimes a bit of theory.
Chords- I can play all the chords perfectly but playing them perfectly in songs is a another matter. I play through the songs slowly, building the speed up over time
Strumming - I practice various strum patterns, rhythms, accents and dynamics when I’m playing through the songs. Not always the right one for the song but it’s all practice.
Riffs- I know all the riffs from memory and play them in my warm up exercise.
Finger stretch- I can reach the 4 fret stretch from the 1st fret but my fingers are at an angle. I can do the 5 fret stretch from the 5th fret and the 6 fret stretch from the 8th fret. I don’t have big hands or long fingers so it’ll be interesting to see how near the nut I will eventually get with the 5 and 6 fret stretches.
Theory- I’ve found that the theory in the first two grades of the Theory Course is all stuff that I’ve learned over the years. I like the idea of learning theory practically on the guitar. I can name all the notes on the fretboard by counting up from the nut or up/down from the 12th fret. I’m learning the notes on the first 5 frets and when I’ve cracked that I intend to subscribe to the full course.
So that’s where I’m at now- practicing songs and practicing the chords and rhythms that go with them. I start new songs off at a slow tempo and gradually build up over time. I’m looking at Grade1 as a whole now, consolidating in Module7 but also going back over earlier lessons to see if I’ve missed anything. I’m not at the end of the grade yet though, I need more practice with the songs. That said, I can see that at some point there will be overlap between the grades.
On into April then- I’ll continue developing and learning these songs.