Mad World - Grade 1 consolidation

Hey all!

I made a recording of Mad World as part of my grade 1 consolidation, and would love some feedback of things to improve (timing, posture, … ).

I have serious stage fright which causes me to make a lot of mistakes I normally don’t make (as mentioned in some of my previous posts on this forum) but I am doing my best to work on this. The recording still has a lot of mistakes and I’m not 100% happy with the results, but since I am sure it will take a few more weeks to get over the stress factor I decided to post the AVOYP anyways.

Does it sound like I am ready for grade 2 based on this video? I tried to incorporate different thing to make the strumming more interesting (small changes in the strumming pattern, dynamics, … ) but this may not have been a good idea combined with the stage fright. I can pull it off when not recording, but it may have been a bit too much when under the stress I was feeling when making the video.

I plan to keep redoing this song as stage fright therapy, and will post at least one recording per week in this topic to show the progress.


Hey Gertjan that was a good showing given all your stated nerves and own perceived fumbles.
I was trying to watch your left and right hands but the blinding light of the sun behind you made that really difficult at times. Can I ask you to situate yourself differently for future videos?
You have Old Faithful going on pretty well and consistently.
Your arm has a good constant motion - except when you revert to one strum per bar. Even when you drop the dynamic in that way I suggest keeping a down and up motion going in your arm, even just a slight one to keep your regular with the underlying beat.
Overall, signs of good progress through grade 1 and for sure, take your next step.

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Hi Gertjan
I’d say you’re ready to move to grade 2.
You’ve presumably looked at this lesson.

You just have to be honest with yourself and say “can I do all these things?”

Blinding sunlight. You should be so lucky! :smiley:

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Yeah the sunlight is indeed an issue. If I knew I could do an okay recording in 5-6 attempts at most I would’ve redone it, but it takes me 10-20 attempts and that wasn’t worth it to me. I’ll make sure to keep the curtains closed for my future recordings :wink:

I tried to keep the movement going when I did the 1 strum per bar, but the single strum I do is done quite a bit slower than when I do the normal strumming pattern which made this really hard.

How should I handle this? Should I do the single strum at the normal speed or are there other tricks that may help with this?

Hi Gertjan,
:man_student:That was grade 1, :partying_face:…the teacher above has spoken,. :sunglasses:

You do that strumming really much better than when i finished grade 1…(that doesn’t mean anything of course :blush:)…have fun and i look forward to your further progress :sunglasses:



Man you are definitely ready to move on, that was rock solid to me! Sure some technique improvements to be made but that will iron itself out while you learn new stuff, not worth running around in circles and practicing same thing all over again as this will become boring to you quickly. Out of curiosity how many songs can you play to that level of knowledge? Clean changes, solid rhythm etc throughout? I think Justin has a number of tunes he recommends having under your fingers before moving on, if you have this number you are all good my friend :wink:

What a good question.
I did notice that you slowed the down strum but wasn"t sure if deliberately. Hence I didn’t comment.

If you are deliberately doing that as a dynamic / rhythmic device you want the downstrum duration to last a measured time span.
For slower, you could:
A] change the duration of the down strum to a quarter. You come back up for the count of 2. Down then up again twice to hold the eighths groove.

1 2 3 + 4 +

B] Change the duration of the down strum to a dotted quarter (equivalent to three eighths so counted the same duration as 1 + 2), come back up on the + after 2, Continue silent down and up on 3 + 4 +.

1 + 3 + 4 +

I hope that makes sense.



Lots of constructive comments already but I would say you are definitely ready to move on.
The more recording you do the more comfortable you will be. I won’t say the old RBS (Recording Button Syndrome) goes away completely and some nerves are always good to keep you sharp but the process does get better and less stressful for sure.
Off to Grade 2 with you !


Doing great, that was good. Grade 2 here you come!


I actively learned 3 songs so far (all from later modules), which is less than the 5 Justin suggested.

The main thing holding me back from learning more is a lack of motivation. Most songs in these modules feel like exercises and things to check off to pass to the next grade, and not actual songs I want to learn.

I checked ahead in grade 2, and it’s clear that I won’t have the same issue there. The contrary will be true even, there are too many songs I’m interested in which will keep me “stuck” on modules for ages :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the advice! I just did what felt “right” for the slower strum, but adding a method behind the madness will surely cause it to sound better more consistently.

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Amazing job Gertjan! I really enjoyed your performance.

I suffer from “red light syndrome” too. I think most of us do to varying degrees. I have found the best way to combat it is to do exactly what you are doing. The more you record, the easier it gets! I have also found that the mistakes that you feel are glaringly obvious aren’t as visible to others when they watch it. Don’t sweat it, just keep playing :grinning:

Great job and enjoy grade 2!

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I definitely recommend learning more songs. Playing and remembering songs by their sounds is an important skill. You don’t have to memorise all the words or anything. What have you learned?

So far I’ve learned Mad World, Wild Thing and What’s up.

Since my last reply I also learned Three Little Birds (simple progression and I remembered most of it from playing it over and over again with the video when I started out in October. I just never actively memorized it to play without a chord chart back then). One more to go to meet the criteria of 5 :wink:

To make things clear: I can play a lot more songs than these 3, for all modules I used Justin his practice schedule and played along with the songs in his song practice videos that were included (some only doing simple down strums though), I just didn’t bother memorizing them since I saw them more as a technical exercise than a song I want to play.

Hello Gertjan, congratulations on your first AVOYP :clap::+1::star_struck:.
Although I know from your other post how much you struggle with stage fright, I couldn’t really see it in the video. You definitely did fine :smiley:.
I also enjoyed your playing. What a great idea to incorporate different strumming patterns and dynamics. I really liked it.
One tiny thing I recognized, is the high position of your thumb of your left hand. To strenghten the muscle between thumb and index finger, Justin recommends to keep it at the back of the neck. (Later on, it makes sense to place it as you did, for muting the low E string.)
Regarding your question: If you feel ready, move on and have fun at grade 2 :smiley:.

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Sound great man :exclamation:

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Great, didn’t think it would take you long. Hey Joe and Wish You Were Here are other good ones. Both have little riffs you can add if you feel inclined.

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And that makes 5.

Thanks for suggesting Hey Joe!

The simple and slow strumming pattern means that it literally took less time than the duration of the song to learn to play it, especially since it were all chord changes I practiced during my consolidation.

It was as easy as reading what the progression is and just doing it

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Just came across this on the web Gertjan. You can see how Justin plays the slowed down strum part in Mad World.