JokuMuu's Learning Log

Aaah… More winter and cold wind. I have enough of that here :cold_face:

But, yes, I can proudly say, I know the song. Kind of funny actually. There is an external partner at work with whom I’m often on the phone. For some reason we occasionally end up talking about music. So, he mentioned NMA and I just had said “wait, that’s some 80’s synthesizer music, isn’t it?” :grin: Needless to say, I ended up checking and was positively surprised. Very impressive lyrics for the most part…


Naaaah, don’t worry. I don’t mind crying at all, actually it’s something good for me. I appreciate if people are not afraid of showing how they feel. :slight_smile:

I like how encouraging your husband is even in this situation, that’s adorable. :smiley:

Sometimes these things can happen surprisingly fast when creativity kicks in. Some great songs were written in just a few mins according to some greats of songwriting.

100 % correct assumption, Nicole. We have to find our own ways to do so, as it’s a truly individual thing, based on preferences. Even sometimes it changes from song to song. Experimenting is always a good idea, though. I will try to wrap up the essentials of the workshop and my main take-aways in a seperate thread and will tag you, once done. Hope I’ll manage to do so by today or the weekend. The darn work always interfering with the things I love doing. :rofl:

I guess, this is so significant that I have to make a note here…

For the first time in weeks and weeks I have been playing for a longer time. And although there obviously were many mistakes, I loved it. I absolutely loved it.

@TheMadman_tobyjenner had shared a chord progression sheet and the sheet is like wonderland for me (yes, yes, I should continue the theory course, where I’m somewhere at the beginning of part 3… Thus, wonderland it is for now).

I played around with the various chord progressions in G - well, the ones without Bm of course - and it was magic. Experiencing how the characteristics of the music changed based on the different progressions, BPM, strumming patterns, picking patterns. Magic. Heaven.

It might take ages still until I will formally consider myself to have passed Grade 1. But in the end it does not matter.

In the end, what matters are magical moments like this.


Keep at it. Play around with chord progressions and different picking patterns inside those chords.
As long as it gives you joy, that is all that matters.
Try to do some focused excersize as well, and it will lead to greatness in no time :rofl:


Maybe that’s the trouble with me. I don’t strive for greatness :joy: :joy: :joy:

But of course you are right, discipline is what I need. Let’s see I will ever get better at that.

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It seems that Toby sharing the common progression chord sheet in combination with @LievenDV 's so useful post

plus all links Lieven included there, are my lifeline when developing more discipline and patience with guitar.

Prior to being many weeks away from guitar, I was stuck with consolidating Grade 1 and learning to play and sing five songs by heart. While that developed quite nicely, my playing never sounded as good as I would have liked it to be. After reading Lieven’s post(s) I understand why. I often had been playing many hours per day on the weekends and during vacation time. But there have been way too many days when I have been to stressed and tired from work and wouldn’t touch my guitar at all. Easy with practicing habits like this that life came in the way, so to say, that my playing grew less and less until it stopped completely for weeks and weeks.

What I will try now is this:

For the rest of the month. I will reserve half an hour every morning before I have to go to work for practicing common chord progressions in G and C. The practicing sessions will include strumming in “Old faithful”, a 6:8 strumming pattern, a simple 6:8 fingerpicking pattern, a simple 4:4 fingerpicking pattern.

Especially the fingerpicking practicing minutes will motivate me to improve my fingerplacement, as well as hopefully induce more simultaneous chord changes, in addition I want to experiment with how lightly I can place my fingers on the strings and still having chords ring out clearly.

If this means discovering that I can change to the mini-F fast enough not to interrupt the rhythm of my 6:8 fingerpicking pattern, and if that means that in 10 or 15 % of the cases all strings of the mini-F even ring out nicely enough, as happened today. Then the added discipline will hopefully pay off in the long run :blush:

Ah yes … I’ll try to add another 30 min practicing in the evenings after work, which will.then be reserved exclusively for practicing my 5 Grade 1 consolidation songs.


Meanwhile, give the Full barre another chance. a first step could be doing the shape between frets 5 and 8 instead of fret 1 (Fmaj). Just moving up the barre shape a few frets in the middle of the string is already a useful exercise. Some fumbled notes don’t matter in the first step; transporting that shape is what counts. When you start lifting wheights, you start with the little ones as well and just in line with that analogy, you WILL build your first strength.

Mini F is useful, even later on but don’t grow too fond of it if it remains to be the ersatz-barre chord :wink:

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What, my old archenemy from more than 25 years back? :woozy_face: :nauseated_face: :flushed:

Your idea sounds good however. I might just add 5 min full-barre-F torture to my ambitious morning routine plan…

Merci, monsieur :slightly_smiling_face:

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Don’t be too hard on yourself and keep the efforts balanced; no matter what, rhythm is king :wink:

I’ll be doing a Live Club in a couple of weeks to convince people WHY barre chords are and excellent investment of time, effort (and frustration)

As said; Don’t approach it as anF but as a Amaj on the 5th fret or a Bmaj on the 7th fret. It’s easier than an F because of the string tension (less tension in the middle of the string)

sliding the shape up and down alone is a great start!


Now I’m really, really curious to try this :grinning: well, still bit of work time etc ahead, but then…

It would be great if you could add me to the list of attendees for this live course :slightly_smiling_face:

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“Just five more minutes”

… That’s what I said this morning, when I actually would have had to rush into the shower and to get ready for work soon. Just five more minutes of practicing. So five more minutes of guitar practice time it was. That I would ever say something like that on a workday morning at 6:30 :slightly_smiling_face:

I have now been playing for half an hour on every work day morning and of course longer on the weekend for nine days if I counted correctly. No more excuses on workdays - and I am amazed how well this works compared to having long breaks between practice sessions. I am actually beginning to notice slow but steady improvement.

Each and every morning I am still playing around with open chord progressions in G, C, A and D. I’m still using Old Faithful and my go to 8th note up down strumming pattern with accents on beats 2 and 4.

I can memorize the easy chord progression of “Leaving on a jet plane” and finally have an idea in how far I want to play verses, pre-chorus and chorus differently. Nothing earthshattering really, but I finally made a decision and will go with it.

While my mornings are reserved for repetition, chord progressions and strumming patterns, I decided that - if I still want to play in the evenings - I will have free playing time and I can do whatever comes to mind. That might be playing these chord progressions with very simple and very slow fingerpicking… Or …

Or … I may start learning a new song. That’s what I did this evening. Justin had recently published a lesson on Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful world”. … And now… Something like 2 hours after starting, I can say I know the song structure including the slightly different chord progressions for verse, chorus and bridge by heart. I can easily play along to the original without referring to my written down chord progression When I am playing the song on my own, without Sam Cooke in the background, I can rely on my ears only to tell me what chord comes next.

Granted, I know " Wonderful world" very well, because I have heard it countless of times on the radio years and years back when I was still listening to the radio. Granted, this song is not difficult - but still… this feels a bit like cheating :slightly_smiling_face:


There is a small milestone to be celebrated. @Bsmooth Bruce, by now I do agree that the guitar is a great stress reliever and it makes me happy that I have finally reached this point.

Tomorrow it will be exactly 28 days that I will have practiced each and every day. Approx half an hour on workday mornings and an additional half an hour or hour on workday evenings if somehow possible. Longer, significantly longer on weekends.

This week, my weekend started already on Thursday, since - like many other unions in Finland - my union had called for a strike on Thursday and Friday. Thus I have (had) luxuriously much time for guitar in what would have otherwise been a regular work week.

Meanwhile, I can play and sing four songs entirely by heart (“The one I love”, “(What a) Wonderful world”, “Brown- eyed girl”, “Leaving on a jet plane”). So, in the very foreseeable future my Grade 1 consolidation phase will be over. It has to be.

Of course there are many improvements to be made e.g. the transition to the 8th note strumming build (and back from it ) in “Brown-eyed girl” is by far not as smooth as I would like it to be (I did not even try the intro), in addition my version of “Leaving on a jet plane” still sounds far too jingly-jangly and not as bittersweet as I would like it to be … - but this will have to do for now.

I guess “Hold on” will be my fifth Grade 1 graduation song. Maybe it will be “Downtown train” … So far the accents on 1, on the and after 2 and on 4 still throw me off the strumming pattern however. So let’s see what the fifth song will be in the end.

I do have another song in mind that I love very much, but which perhaps is not well suited as a Grade 1 graduation song but will stay a “dreamer song” for now rather. It’s a song I want to take with me through the grades because I like it so much. I really would like to be able to transcribe and to play the melody at some point.

Here it is:

For now a simple beginner version of the song might be in reach. I tried playing along (it’s ok) and I have tried to analyze what the two guitars are doing most every morning while listening to the song at work. I doubt that I will ever be able to really sing this song as well as it should be sung, but perhaps that’s not so important…


Good to see you making progress Nicole and getting into the habit of consistent practice, it really pays dividends. Sounds like time to move on to Grade 2 and get stuck in. As to the Sadurn song, nothing wrong with a simplified version, make it your own, whilst working towards a more original sounding cover. What’s important is to have fun with it and stripping a song back to its basic parts can be just as rewarding and less hard work ! :sunglasses:

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Thank you, Toby :slightly_smiling_face: Yes, the Sadurn song will be an ongoing project with several stages… just thinking about it makes me happy.

Before “officially” graduating to Grade 2. There is the fifth song to be done. Just realized that it won’t be Tom Waits but a bit chansonlike song in German language that I had been getting desperate with before my break. It’s starting to fall into place now after I realized that F Major 7 with a C bass actually sounds fantastic in the song… Maybe I’ll get into to a shape that’s worth publishing in AVOYP… But…

… but come what may … There will be more strike days from 14.2. to 16.2… Thus the absolute deadline is set: Come what may 16.2.24 (and hopefully earlier than that) will be my last day in Grade 1.


Great update to your log, Nicole. Read it yesterday night and was already to tired (and still am :woozy_face:) to think about any helpful comments, but hey: Please take my cheerleading like encouragement instead! :smiley:

Loved the Sadurn song instantly. Never heard before, but could immediately relate, so thanks for sharing this gem here! It’s a good one to work on as you grow as a guitarist. Even better it already makes you happy. :slight_smile:

Hah, now I’m really curious what that one will be - already looking forward to it. No matter if posted here or as an AVOYP. :slight_smile:

It’s great you’ll be entering Grade 2 quite soon, to my feeling you’re ready for this. But also good to stick to the rule of 5 songs on the other hand. By learning songs you can extract so many things that will help you along the way, it is totally rewarding and helps to build a very solid foundation to put more skills on. All the best for your graduation! :four_leaf_clover: :slight_smile:

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I had a feeling, you would like the Sadurn song :slightly_smiling_face:

If I wanted to, I could move on two Grade 2 immediately, I know. I have watched (or at least have listened to) all of the Grade 2 videos once and (to) half of them two or three times. So, I know what will be ahead.

Still, I want the fifth song to be special. A song that I actually want to play. A bit silly, I know. But then…

Hmm… Curious? :slightly_smiling_face: Ok. I’ll give a few hints. Element of Crime. Their album from 2009. The original features prominent finger picking (I’ll stick to strumming, not gonna go that rabbit down now), occasional violins and something that sounds like a slide guitar in the background. The lyrics quite prominently feature strawberry ice-cream :strawberry: :ice_cream: :strawberry:

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Confession time: I’m not familiar with EoC that much, so I had to google it (thanks for the clues!).

Beautiful song, great choice. :smiley:

Yes, definitely. And I think there’s also a Banjo involved, maybe even a Mandolin. If you give me 10 to 20 years, I can feature those for the background. :nerd_face: :rofl:

Now I’m looking forward to that rehearsal even more! :smiley:

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Glad you like it. I love the lyrics of that song… and, hey, why not simply write lyrics that feature a “word monster” (and ugly colour) such as metallikbraun.

I will take you up on that offer. In 20 years, I will be in my guitar prime and technology will maybe be that much advanced that we can easily play together in holographic forms or something :slightly_smiling_face:

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you wanna turn into abba ?

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Well… Why not…gotta embrace.the positive opportunities technology will offer at some point :smiley:

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