Happy New Year everybody!
In the last 2 weeks, I got a good handle on the basics of the Elvis song, “Merry Christmas Baby.” It didn’t make it to performance level for a number of reasons. I did have some fun improvising over the original, and I improved my ability to maintain the 12 bar sequence while talking, singing, etc. I don’t see myself updating this log too frequently, so I’m making a fairly long post now. I think it’s a good time to assess my progress and sketch out a plan for moving forward in 2023.
2022 progress summary
I took in-person lessons for about 6 months. This was very helpful because I had someone to note and correct bad habits I’ve picked up by being “self-taught,” like pressing too hard on the strings. I now have a voice in my head that says, “Relax/Loosen up!” I also have a tendency to leave my thumb behind when shifting position along the neck. I’m still working on that one.
With my teacher Herb, I learned the CAGED positions for the pentatonic scales. I’m not great at it, but I also learned to move between positions while improvising over a song. I got a much better understanding of where the notes are and how they relate to each other. This year, I’m going to need to use this knowledge in more ways so I don’t forget what I’ve learned! Herb also helped me to develop my ability to keep a steady rhythm by setting me up with a riff or fingerstyle pattern, and then proceeding to hold conversation with me.
I spent a good bit of time with Justin’s Music Theory Course. I loved learning about triads. In fact, I wrote a song using some of them. I’ll need to practice the song a bit more before recording it, but it’s one of my more ambitious projects. I was having trouble with B chords, so I wrote a song in the key of B! Of course I continued to develop my repertoire of songs to play for family and friends. I’m so glad I was able to participate in the year-end OM here. It was scary but so much fun! I look forward to doing it again soon.
I worked on a few new-to-me techniques as well:
^Hammer/Flick pentatonic exercises (per JG lessons)
^Mini Sweep picking
And now for 2023!
My main plan is to go through the Beginner Course again. I hope to pick up things I missed the first time and to add a new level of difficulty to “easy” activities. I’m currently on Grade 1 module 3. I’m working on improving my strumming and experimenting with the alternate tuning for “Cortez the Killer.” I’m not sure the Neil Young version is my sort of song, but I can learn a lot from it –so, we’ll see. One nice thing about repeating lessons is I can easily see how far I’ve come. A couple of years ago, I remember seeing the lesson, “All About Up Strums,” and thinking, “Wait- there are up strums?” That’s how much I knew about playing guitar!
^Continue to develop my understanding of music theory
^Continue learning “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”
– clean D chords!
–bending strings using hand
– harmonic analysis of solos
^more blues lessons, and practice
^Use licks and repertoire songs to build confidence in finding and playing individual strings.
^Choose projects to
-experiment with recording and layering music
^Take some risks, as in playing in front of others and/or participating in OMs and AVOYP threads here.