JokuMuu's Learning Log

Hi Nicole, I really love reading through your log updates! I like the way you write about your daily impressions and how you wear your heart on your sleeve!
It’s not always easy to practice on exhausting days, but I tend very much to the 5 minutes or one song approach. Thanks god, I don’t have lacks of motivation very often, only when I’m a little discouraged, but mostly those 5 minute session turn into some longer practice.


Thank you :slightly_smiling_face: It’s maybe a bit excessive for some, but I find that it really helps me putting down my thoughts.

Okay, I will try the 5 min, stimulating my guitar brain, one song per day idea.

I am so happy that I joined this great community, and I very much appreciate all the valuable feedback given. Without it, I guess, I would be lost at this stage.

So once again a huge heartfelt thank you to you, @TonyHS , @socio and @nzmetal :heart:


Nicole this was a big accomplishment to have your first song memorised and what a classic song to have in your kit bag. There are always things to improve for everyone so whilst it’s obviously good to know what those things are, do not let them get in the way of being proud of what you have achieved!

I’ll echo James’ comments above that even a handful of minutes each day makes a difference to add to the work you do at the weekend. Either way, things are clearly going well, bravo!

Thank you :slightly_smiling_face:. Yes, things are going well in that sense at least that I am trying to manage my impatience and I am trying to give myself time. The old me would have long since been stuck in module 9 and would have decided to give up after endless full Barre F- chord frustrations.

Not this time though. This has become too precious to me and that’s for a big part due to this respectful and knowledgeable community :slightly_smiling_face:

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A short update. The “just one song” suggestion worked fine last evening. I had meant to play just the one song… :smile: Did that… Ended up doing fast perfect chord changes for the song and trying to incorporate weak finger G into the song. I can play this chord l, relatively well even and in theory the change from C to weak finger G is so much more effective. My muscle memory thinks differently though, consequently when playing a song I automatically play the old standard G, I have learned many many years ago…

Something to work on this evening :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi Nicole,

just checked out your latest updates and - as always - it was an interesting read! Thanks for sharing your journey from all aspects and let us take part in your reflections as well. This is inspiring, at least for me, and it helps to relate. A lot of us share bits and parts of our journeys and immediately feel “less alone”. :slight_smile:

I really liked your rendition of REM, you did very well on this milestone! :clap:

I think you’re a little too harsh on yourself, your time feeling is pretty good and your rhythm seemed solid to me. Also singing was very good, this tune isn’t to easy from a range perspective with the low verse in contrast to the chorus. At least for me it was a struggle sometimes. Your voice fits in decently, liked it. :slight_smile: And sometimes, it’s perfectly fine to get carried away while making music - that’s what it’s all about sometimes.

You’re making great progress. Thanks for sharing it with us. Also, glad the “just 5 minutes”-part seems to be working for you. Fingers crossed it will become a habit. :smiley:

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Thank you Lisa, I am delighted you took the time to comment :slightly_smiling_face: I am not skilled at playing guitar or singing, but I do have a naturally good ear for rhythm and tone resp. “flavour” of singing voices, so I guessed that Michael Stipe’s range would suit mine.
You are absolutely right, the chorus is a pain to sing :laughing: I am glad that none of the neighbours called the fire bregade with me screaming “fire” over and over again :fire::fire::fire:

I made a promise to myself that if I manage to stick to playing guitar I will take singing lessons next year. Not sure if in person or remotely, but that works as a great motivational tool nonetheless :slightly_smiling_face:

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Ey, Nicole, you WILL stick to playing guitar for sure! What a question! My impression is, that you have a certain natural approach to the instrument and singing, you shouldn’t doubt yourself. Everyones learning path is different and I think, most of us would like to press the ffw button to get to another skill level… as long as you stay patient and have perseverance, your time will come. Your playing and singing is very enjoyable and will develop over the time.
I totally forgot to comment on your latest video :see_no_evil:. I’m getting old and forgetful :see_no_evil:. It seems as if you could shoot such a video out of the hip (gibt es den Ausdruck in Englisch überhaupt? :joy:), that’s great. You’re keeping steady rhythm and you “transported” the vibe of the song. Your voice is a great basis to develop from, so keep on doing what you are doing, there is no right or wrong as long as you are satisfied.
As speaking of singing lessons, Toby @TheMadman_tobyjenner and others did courses from Chris Liepe. Maybe they have some useful tips.
Have a good and not too boring workday!


All I can say from my experience, singing is a skill that can be learnt but like playing guitar, you need an appropriate structured course or suitable environment and a good teacher. Some of us in our very young years learn to sing at infant school. For me that all went south once my voice broke and I discovered cigarettes and beer ! Then 40 years of thinking I was tone deaf ! Chris Liepe’s Discover Your Voice course opened up the voice I had as a child, just way deeper ! :sunglasses:

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Andrea, now I finally have enough time to send you an as thoughtful reply as your lovely comment deserves :two_hearts:

In fact, today, I was busy. It almost felt like a normal work day, no time to feel sorry for myself :smile:

I have no intentions to give up on guitar any time soon, but knowing myself, I know that I will need a carrot (or several :carrot::carrot::carrot:) when the dreaded Barre F- chord wall will hit (and it will sooner rather than later) to keep me going. That’s the idea of a Telecaster as a Christmas present for myself, or a better amp… And the idea of singing lessons ( which I know I will hate and love at the same time).

And you are hitting the nail right on the head ( does that one exist in English ?:nerd_face:) Straight into the Pudels Kern. It all used to come too easy to me. More than 25 years back when I started learning guitar for the first time, I think I played and sang the first two chord song after one day or maybe after two days. I had no idea that it was supposed to be difficult. Some time later easy fingerstyle and singing? No idea that it was supposed to be difficult. And it worked, far, far, far from good - seen objectively - but good enough for me. And then I hit the Barre chords and wasn’t used to having to fight for something. Tried for a short time, went for a mediocre version of mini-F and stumbled on, only to realize that in order to play really interesting songs, I would have to be able to play Barre chords. Didnt invest time or any kind of patience or trust in myself.

The same thing seems to be happening now. Yes, I do have a naturally good ear for rhythm and music. I don’t know why, it just is like that. This does make certain things easier, but it does also make certain things more difficult. The most critical aspect is the fact that I am impatient. Singing (badly) and playing at the same time is not an issue even now. I can still even now play some simple fingerstyle (with terrible lags between chord changes) and sing to it.
Meaning, there is again the risk that this will keep me from improving the basics - and looking at things objectively, that’s what I would have to do :smile:

So once the big F- chord wall will hit, the shock will be bigger than it should be, since I never really had to fight for anything when it comes to my super low beginner level playing. I have always been complacent, always played easy songs only and never really practiced … much at least. I mainly played songs and I am still doing that now. I lack the fundamental discipline to repeat and practice things that I am not good at.

So it’s the F- chord and Barre chords in general, wo sich bei mir die Nackenhaare aufstellen (let’s spam the forum with German idioms and make people think, what on earth is this :grinning::grinning::grinning:).

But no, I have no intentions to give up. This time, I am not doing it alone. And that’s why I am really, really fond of this great community I found here :star_struck::star_struck::star_struck:


You are surely right :slightly_smiling_face: Though there is a saying that everyone CAN sing, it also requires the correct technique etc. to “really” sing.

I might do some research on the Chris Liepe and his course tomorrow when the boredom nightmare is set to continue at work :slightly_smiling_face:

Have fun. Some free lessons with Chris.

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Hmm… I skimmed the text and my subconscious made me read “but it is a trap” instead of “But it is trapped!!” :laughing::laughing::laughing:

So … Are there any obligations after the free trial? I mean surely there will be a mountain of marketing spam… But anything else?

No, obligations just the usual marketing spam which you can unsubscribe. You could also check out his YouTube channel and the lessons he has available on the JustinGuitar website to check out the fit. All I would say is if you check out the lessons go in with an open mind :wink:

Thank you. I will check. Marketing spam can be handled. That’s not a big issue :slightly_smiling_face:

Yet, I do sense a subtle warning…

@Helen0609 @TheMadman_tobyjenner @Socio

Thank you all so much :slightly_smiling_face: I meanwhile checked out out several of Chris Liepe’s YouTube videos, and I have to say, I am sold. His style is just fine for me, and I am sold.

The only experience with singing lessons was in a group setting led by a female opera singer… and that was extremely horrible. I left the course after one lesson :grin:

This one seems more down to earth, and more approachable - and the idea of finding my own voice resonates with me quite much… I have no aspirations to sound like somebody else.

So, the free lessons it is and let’s see where it will go from there.

The adventure continues :sun_with_face::sun_with_face::sun_with_face:

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Good Morning, Nicole, thanks for your nice reply. I’m happy to read, that giving up insn’t an option any more!

That’s the downside, when things come very easily, you aren’t used to fight. But be assured, so many people have their problems with this damned chord. I’m working on it since months, never had any problems to grab it (so first thought at beginning was: no problem) but my changes are still too slow, in particular on acoustic). Can do a progression at 80 bpm, but that’s it for now. But I’m sure the F isn’t a wall that can’t be torn down. Takes time, maybe a lot of time, but it will come.
I don’t think, that you have a general lack of discipline when it comes to practice. The point is, that we all are well conditioned to make rapid success with everything we are doing. We asssume, that guitar is one of the easier instruments to learn and are completely overwhelmed, when we realize the complexity of playing guitar. We judge ourselves in how much time we reach our goals. But does that always lead to success? Isn’t it sometimes very disfunctioal and takes us to the point to reach out for the low hanging fruit to realise a quick moment of supposed success instead of dealing with struggles?
I see the advantages of following the course structure, it gives me the guidelines and builds up step by step. Sometimes it is exhausting, but skipping the basics won’t pay off in the long run.
For me, the time alone with my guitar, practicing, is kind of meditation. Even when I’m really tired, the practice structure keeps me on track. “Every step you take” is a step ahead. As I started, I had a inner timetable, when I should have finished the Beginner Course. I had to slow down, due to life issues, but I’m enjoying every minute with my guitars. Enjoy the way, try to be patient (gets easier when you get older…).
And by the way, if you can’t overcome a problem at all, you always can ask for help or support or contact one of the approved teachers here. Yes, this time, you are not allone :wink:.

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Andrea, if we would know each other in person, and we would live close by, I would go to visit and hug you now :kissing_heart: Thank you so much.

Time for a short update… Two weeks have passed again already. Time flies it seems.

Where am I?

  • I tried to be more disciplined and did play guitar every evening last week, if only for a short moment. This good habit did not have time to take root this week, since there were significant news about soon to be expected changes and insecurities at work. This cloud or rainbow hanging over my head (whatever it might turn out to be in the end) ate most of my mojo and energy, thus no guitar playing on most of the work days this week.

  • I noticed that I might be stretching myself too thin. I am still consolidating Beginner Grade 1; am at the beginning of Practical Music Theory 3, have installed the app “Perfect Ear” (since most of Justin’s apps are not compatible with my phone) and have played around and learned with it with good success; I am still in the middle of the first Strumming SOS course; and I have started the “real” Chris Liepe “Discover your voice” course.

  • I am having too much fun with playing guitar and I am probably not disciplined enough. For example, I have had so much fun with practicing my simple 6/8 fingerstyle pattern for “This year’s love” and playing around with and practicing “Brown-eyed girl”. But maybe this is what the consolidation phase is supposed to be like - and for me that means a lot of fun without any timepressure.

  • I took to practicing a lot with my old Yamaha, since it’s most difficult to play and probably has the highest action. Interestingly, this actually seems to be beneficial, since - when I decided to grab my semi-acoustic Epiphone today, it felt so much easier and more comfortable to play.

  • I started paying more attention to my thumb placement, when I am doing “chord perfect”-exercises or when I am practicing better finger-placement, when changing between chords. As soon as I am playing songs however, my thumb immediately leaves its disciplined “middle of the back”- placement and goes back to where it feels most comfortable.

  • After my “once in a lifetime”- achievement of playing a full F barre chord with all strings ringing clearly weeks ago, I managed to play Bm twice or thrice with all strings ringing out clearly.

  • A long, long time ago, I was able to play a trainwreck-version of Mini-F in songs. I don’t think that all strings have ever rung out clearly back then. Today, I played around with Mini-F just for fun and more often than not all strings were ringing out clearly, when practicing the simple 6/8 fingerstyle pattern. No fingerstyle “House of the rising sun” to be expected from me any time soon though. Changing to a mini-F with all strings ringing out clearly is trial and error mainly

Where do I want to go next?

  • Interestingly, I am very structured, analytical and disciplined at work. Not so, when it comes to guitar it seems. So once again I will have to try to be more disciplined.

  • After next week, I will have three weeks vacation. Originally, my plan was to finish Grade 1 consolidation at the end of this vacation period. Meanwhile, I have decided that I don’t need any set date. Grade 1 will end when I know my five songs completely by heart and when I am able to play and sing them at a level that sounds acceptable to me.

  • I will allow myself to have sneakpeaks at chords that are not part of Beginner Grade 1, when I need them in a song I would like to play.


Hi Nicole,
I read somewhere in between about your work stress and now again… so that is a big and very annoying thing that seems to be able to eat you up and indeed at least your energy… I wish you the best of luck and sincerely hope that it turns out in the right direction… :sunflower: (this had to be a picture of my view from behind my computer/guitar playing/leather dining table…but the phone is still upstairs :upside_down_face:)

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