Lisa's Learning Log

Hi Lisa,
Good story and very structured path that you are walking :sunglasses:, I’m also quite curious how well you play, your songs are not all the easiest and given your experience and your writing the expectation is raised quite a bit :grinning:, have fun and greetings,

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Hi Lisa, I watched the video of Elizabeth Cotten playing Freight Train that you were referring to. Very interesting. Hopefully when the time comes I can play a decent version without having to play it left handed on a right handed guitar put upside down. Just wondering how to replicate the thumb expression on the thinnest strings.

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Thanks very much, Tjeerd. I hope to keep it that structured at least for the defined practice time. Of course there should be room for noodling around and just enjoy playing.

I would be curious what you think of Wolfgang’s tune. It’s so different to the more famous songs of his. There’s also a nice version from Johannes Oerding. :slight_smile:


Thanks a lot, JK! Glad you liked the read and thanks for the nice words on my writing.

I feel a little pressure! :smiley: I plan for either this weekend or the one after.


Thanks a lot, Rogier! Happy you liked the story.

Now I feel pressure increasing a lot! :rofl: I shouldn’t have built any expectation, so there would be no room for disappointments. :joy: Haha, just kidding - I will just enjoy myself and try to not overthink it, then it’ll be ok - at least I hope so. :sunglasses:


Hi Andrés, it’s simply stunning how she plays it!

Maybe we should start simple with our preferred way of holding the guitar. :sweat_smile: Everything else might be… challenging. :woozy_face:
Regarding thumb-mimicking on thinnest stringt, I guess it comes with experience in this kind of style. Also Banjo-players have the ability of emphasizing melody notes while playing a billion others around. So yeah, that’ll be a long way to go, but there’s also still a lot of time until then. :slight_smile:


Hello Lisa :wave:
Your log entry and updates have been a very interesting read! Your enthusiasm for learning really shines through!
You already have a super cool campfire repertoire :heart_eyes: with quite many songs for my standard :see_no_evil: That inspires me to try to work more on my personal songbook…

Not singing…It’s sooo challenging :see_no_evil:…why do we always need to sing?! :laughing::innocent:

What I do is choosing my practice items starting from the songs I want to learn…so it happens that I start a song, focus on a couple of techniques required with the timer and metronome, avoiding the singing,…then the song turns out to be too much complex anyway, requiring more skills that I still have to develop, it won’t sound how I wish it sounded and I give it up until I feel again inspired to learn it…and that’s how my songbook list is so very short :see_no_evil::joy:
Nevermind…I love the process anyway and always feel fully engaged in it :blush:

Back to you…now you really have to break the ice with the AVOYP! I’m sure the supportive atmosphere we breath here in JGCommunity will help you in this - it’s the good vibes we connect with, not how perfectly a song is performed :blush: It really helped me not to be an harsh judge of myself.

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Ciao Silvia! :wave:

Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging post. It’s very much appreciated - grazie mille! :blush:

Yeah, this is soooo hard, but probably we just like to sing? :joy:

Yes, that’s also the way I try to approach new songs. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I think it will start working out more often, the bigger our technique and skill repertoire will be. We just need to be patient and a little more forgiving with ourselves. :sweat_smile:

I completely relate to this feeling, because it’s about the vision in my head of how I will be able to play a certain song - that normally does not match reality at all. :joy: Of course, it’s frustrating, but what I then try to do is breaking it down, simplify and still work on the song, so it is in my repertoire, but has room to grow. :slight_smile: But must admit, it does not work with every song though.

I really admire you for going two paths at the same time with classical guitar in addition! :clap:

I’m reading your log as well as many of other peeps here whenever time permits, it is really inspiring and so much to extract out of these. This community is just awesome! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Either today or tomorrow I’ll do it - promised! :sweat_smile:

Hello LIsa, it was interesting to read what you have written in your learning log. It was definitely not too long for a learning log intro. Look at some others learning logs and you will see even longer intros.

I also had a lot of years strumming the guitar with open chords before I started Justin’s course and I also went through Grades 1 and 2 a little too quickly, starting in July 2022. I have purposely slowed down my progress in Grade 3, so that I am taking about 2 months to finish a Grade 3 module and have just started module 18, but I have been working on Grade 2 consolidation at the same time and leaning to record and post my recordings in the AVOYP section and trying to learn a lot of new songs.

Best of luck with singing and playing. I find that I have to use simple chords and strumming to accompany myself singing and I started my recordings of singing and playing by using a Grade 1 song, since it had simple chords. If you want to play and sing, keep practicing and it will soon become natural. Also record as often as you are able and you’ll become less camera shy. Of course, I can give advice, but I still suffer from the “red light syndrome” and still working on overcoming it. :slight_smile:

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Hi Steve,

thanks a lot for your kind words and going through my log. :slight_smile: Very much appreciated.

It’s always helpful to actually hear and see of other people with quite a similar background - of course there are a lot, but sometimes we just don’t know of each other. Your approach of slowing it down during Grade 3 sounds reasonable - I was just too impatient to do so myself. That’s why we are here now. :sweat_smile:

I’ll take a look - as well as for the most of the postings there, it’s one of the most valuable sections here. And it perfectly reflects the supportive and encouraging character of the folks here. :slight_smile:

100 % true - it will take time. But today I also faced RLS very badly (results will be posted tomorrow probably). And the revisiting of the outcome was even more awkward, but I managed and after few mins it felt less creepy, at least a little. :crazy_face: <<< my face while playing. :joy:

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Triple L - third entry :slight_smile:

Another week passed by with a lot of things going on - and one big milestone being met! :partying_face:

The past days, I did the self assessment topic wise and that’s what I came up with:

Chords & Scales

Chords going quite well, but identified that I could do a few Power Chord Songs to make actually use of them. Also, B7 is still a little less smooth as is mini-F. So I will dedicate them some special practice time and try to find songs that use these a lot. Barre Chords are sounding ok, only chord changing speed could be increased, especially for A-Major-shapes.
One area to revisit a lot is linking chords with scale notes. Except Am ↔ C and C ↔ G they are not yet under my fingers.

Scales are going good, all 4 being touched so far I know by heart and can play them between 105 - 120 bpm with 2 notes per click. Aim for end of consolidation is all being up at 160 bpm with 2 notes per click.


Basic 8th notes strumming patterns are good and regularly used. Switching them within one song for dynamic reasons could be an area of improvement. 16th note patterns still could use a little more routine, especially the accenting on backbeat.
Picking individual strings while struming is an ongoing task. But the most painful area is definitely strumming with thumb and finger along with the back beat hit. This needs practice, practice and even more practice. Basic fingerstyle patterns are fluent for those 5 or 6 suggested during Justin’s course.

Other techniques

For remaining skills I see Triads, Palm Muting on the electric and Vibrato techniques that need to be ingrained a little more.


This area is an ongoing task with regards to music theory, chord progression etc. I revisit these things outside of practice routines regularly and will keep doing so. :slight_smile:


Also an ongoing To-Do. I plan on at least one sitting per month to get these things done. :slight_smile:

Riffs and Pieces

A few of the Riffs and Pieces suggested during Grade 1, 2 and 3 will be revisited from time to time: Happy Birthday, Green Sleeves and the Blues-related pieces. Else was either fine already or nothing I feel the urge to have in my repertoire now. :smiley:

Aaaaaaaaand, I finally did it:

Still feeling so overwhelmed and grateful for the kind and supportive feedback being given. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

For futurue updates I plan to include maybe small recordings of my country style pieces as progress tracker for me and post the songs I transcribed to increase the pressure for me a little more to finally do it.

Cheers - Lisa


That looks like a fabulous plan. Best of luck with it. I rushed through the first two grades and now consolidating before grade 3. Well worth taking a step back now and again. :smiling_face:

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Thanks for taking your time to check in here, Emma! :slight_smile:

Couldn’t agree more with you! We should take our time to build solid ground to build on. If we progress too quickly and not taking time for consolidation, every new skill will get wobblier and eventually, all falls apart. This should not happen, though. :sweat_smile:
So good we both had the idea of slowing down and taking our time now. Best of luck and lots of fun for your guitar-journey as well! :blush:

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Time for a bigger update, I guess. Long time no read. :sweat_smile:

Two months passed by so fast since my last update here. A lot of real life stuff counteracted my well designed plan a little. :rofl: Especially extensive extra hours for work killed my time and energy during the past months and I’m longing for this situation to change. Let’s hope for the best on this.

But nevertheless, I picked up my guitar everyday - this is excellent and helped to calm down. But I couldn’t quite stick to the plan I made, I was checking in here and there a little bit, but for most of the things, never got somewhere with a few exceptions during my consolidations. Inspired by a) JK’s Learning Log and b) Chris Liepe’s “Discover your voice”-course (yes, I’m enrolled and enjoy it a lot, moving slowly though), I decided to start a hand written journal for guitar practice as well, but not yet started. Probably will try it during the next days/weeks.

Also, I had to drastically shift my focus during practice towards songs for some amazing reason I will get back to soon. :smiley:

What I achieved/did during the past 2 months:

  • re-checked all the lesson material where I felt I had a need and identified further areas for improvement (16th note strumming, chord links, TRANSCRIBING :roll_eyes:, Blues related stuff and some others)
  • made improvement on thumb-and-finger-strumming, even started to use it in songs
  • constant, slow progress on country guitar studies
  • open scales at 150 bpm, two notes per click
  • song repertoire grows (but not the ones I was working on though with one exception)

So for the upcoming weeks I want to revisit the remaining improvement points, pick up the songs I was working on and finally get them into a state where I can play them confidently (room for growth is always there, though :slightly_smiling_face:) and continue with my voice programm as well. If time, energy and creativity permit, I want to get back to songwriting in some way. Probably I start by dusting off my old originals and see, what is of use. Let’s see. Also, I need to get this transcribing stuff going again - no more excuses!

But now I need to come back to the reason I had to focus more on songs again: On the past Saturday, my Mom had a belated party for her 60th B-Day and my gift was 2 songs performed on stage for her. One of the songs was the above mention “Nichts von alledem” which was the big surprise. :smiley: But as this one is a little tough and I knew a) I would have to play at least one more and b) better something easier in the first place, because you know: stage freight and all those peeps there. So I grabbed old song sheets and checked, which songs might work well and came along with a set of 6-7 additional songs and practiced all of them thoroughly the last weeks.

In the end, I performed 2 (Nena - Leuchtturm and Nichts von alledem) and learned a lot from the progress and the actual event:

  • playing songs is what it’s all about and I found some true gems I loved to play formerly and will get my hands back on soon
  • practice playing standing up when you prepare for a gig :rofl: :sweat_smile:
  • better be around for sound check (living several hundreds of km apart from parents, this was impossible :-/) if you need to borrow band’s PA/Mic for the gig. Those peeps were so kind though! Amazing
  • get an own mic and stuff to practice this kind of situation before, it’s so awkward to sing to a mic if you’re not doing it regularly, my voice was all over the place :rofl:
  • I still have nerve issues a lot, but I managed to keep my cool even through some horrible playing mistakes :smiley:
  • despite all the nerves, I enjoyed it a lot and the most important thing: So did my Mom! She was so happy, that was the icing on the cake! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I thought about sharing a video of the second song, but to be honest, it was such an emotional and personal thing (a lot of happy tears, even from my Dad :sweat_smile:), I’d rather not to do so. Hope you folks understand. :slight_smile: If the quality of the first song is ok, I opt for sharing this instead. But I need to check this first and see, if no other peeps run through the recording. :sweat_smile:

Thanks for checking in here! Have a great day/night/week! :smiley:

Cheers - Lisa


Hi Lisa,
Ooo, how very clear and structured it`s all going even in a busy time :sunglasses:(makes the update of my LL what I’m going to do this week even more…kuch kuch :see_no_evil: ).

Good to read that you had a wonderful party :partying_face: :sunglasses:


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Hi Rogier,

No pressure, take it easy… it’s coming when it’s coming. :smiley: :sunglasses:

To be honest, the post sounds much more structured than it felt, actually. I sometimes really miss the well structured, guided practice routines of the early modules. sigh But I’m a guitar-grown-up now, I need to manage this myself. :rofl:

Thanks Rogier, it was a wonderful evening, especially for my Mom. :smiley: :blush:

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Hi Lisa,
Interesting update to your learning log. Sounds like a fabulous occasion for your Mums birthday celebration. Bravo to you that you were able to perform to a live audience and without much insitu rehearsal. Great accomplishment, I’m sure you will benefit a lot from the experience and it will help in your development as a performer.
Best wishes,

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Hi Lisa, So glad the birthday party went well. Playing in front of an audience really does give you a buzz doesn’t it. You will be looking forward to the next one very soon :wink:

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Hi Alan,
thanks for checking in here! :smiley:

Indeed, so much to take out of this, even though this was not the primary intention of it. But whenever we decide to step out of our comfort zone, it will be rewarding most of the times. I must admit, that doing it for my Mom was the key. Out of self-motivation, I probably wouldn’t have entered a stage again (yet).

Thanks for your kind words, Alan. :slight_smile:


Hi Tony,

thanks for your kind words - we’re all glad the party went well. :slight_smile:

Yes, that’s true. But I would need a few more to really have the feeling of looking forward to it. :sweat_smile: Maybe by then I also look like I enjoy what I’m doing, as you do when performing with your buddy! For that your a good role model, Tony! :slight_smile:

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Hi Lisa,
The beginning was made yesterday … I can be quick :grin: :sunglasses:… now a little neater, it will probably never be with me :roll_eyes:, I accepted it here a long time ago :blush:

O yes you are :sunglasses:

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Bravo on your live performance, Lisa. What a wonderful moment for you and your parents.

I did the same ie moved slowly. I had a chuckle at it being structured as a 12 week course. It took me a year, during which time guitar was very much on the back-burner.

Keep doing what you are doing!

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Hi Rogier,

I must have missed this… Good to know there’s something new to read. :smiley:


Thanks for checking in here and leaving some kind words, David. :slight_smile:

Haha, same for me. I’m still in week 5 or so, but could have already finished the whole thing. But learning and developing skill is nothing I want to rush anymore, so I’ll take my time as well. :slight_smile:

Cheers - Lisa


Hey Lisa,

Good to hear that you are making lots of memories to treasure with the guitar. Performing for your mother on her 60th birthday party is something you and your family will never forget. It seems like a sensible thing to do to shift more focus to songs especially when your working your way through the singing course and trying to juggle work life too. Interesting to read that you’ve also been dabbling in some blues related stuff. Look forward to finding out more about that as I’m still dabbling away trying to learn to play the blues.

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