Philsmith's Learning Log

Hi Phil

That’s a great way to building your repertoire. I’m not sure why Justin leaves it until Module 5 to introduce. A physical printout version helps you remember them and great for revisiting them. As you knowledge and skills develop you can go back to your song book and develop them further.

It is good that you are going back through Grade 2. Remember practice what you can’t do and not what you can do. As @jkahn says once you are reasonably comfortable with that particular chord, technique etc practice it through a song that way you are not only consolidating but developing your repertoire.

Welcome Phil and thanks for the share. Reviewing what you have learnt so far and going back over lessons does no harm at all. There maybe things you missed or skipped at the time and now feel you are ready for. Things you misunderstood that has led to problems or bad habits. Easily done as there is a lot to take in. When I went through the old classic Beginners Course, which was effectively Grade 1 and 2 with the bells and whistles, I went back to the start three times for various reasons and I don’t regret that I had to do that. Looking forward to how you get on !

Nice update Phil and enjoy the vacation time, even more so with the guitar alongside you!

I think you’re on a good plan there with regards Grade 2, even if you’re only on a module for a few days. With that approach you can use the practice schedules in the modules to give you the structure and work in general song playing alongside it. The inbuilt practice routines are very good imo.

The song book, or even a list of songs in each of Justin’s categories is well worth the effort.

Enjoyable update, thanks for sharing and again have a lovely vacation!

A strange thing happened last night. I have been working my way slowly again through grade 2. I can tell that I am improving, and need to keep on working on things to ensure I get the fundamentals down… I also am working on my song for the OM IX, which has been a bit up and down, a few weeks ago I had it nailed and was really happy, then the wheels fell off and I struggled to even play the song. I have stuck with it and am getting back on track, more work hopefully will help.
Now to the strange thing, I am using songs to consolidate the grade 2 lessons, and tried using House of the rising sun to implement F Barre Chord changes. All of a sudden I started singing, it was really subconscious. It is a bit like a pet that escaped, if you chase it , it runs away, if you ignore it it comes back. I played and sang a few times, then quit for the evening. Today I decided to have another go and record. I used my phone as I didn’t want to try to set up a lot. Some of the chords were messed up, and it isn’t a song, that I know the words by heart. On this recording I messed up a bit in the 3rd verse, but thought I would post it here for posterity. I also had to try to learn how to edit videos in youtube, so more learning.

I am still putting together my lists of songs, I also noticed my evening practice sessions are now getting longer.


Well done Phil glad it is all starting to fit together for you and you are able to tackle singing while playing. It is hugely rewarding if you can sing and play your favourite songs and you are heading into right direction for sure :slight_smile:

As for the recording I think you did well, kept the hand moving and it was rhythmically correct as well so kudos for that. You are aware of few bumps so nothing left here to comment on, just keeping fingers crossed for you to polish it out :wink: all the best Phil and will be interesting to see your next OM performance in couple weeks time :slight_smile:

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Nice progress Phil. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for the OM!

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:clap: :clap: :clap:
Well done, Phil. You are making good progress. Good strategy to limit the number of strums. You had a vibe going which is the key.

Loved your description with the escaped pet. The more relaxed we are, the better it sounds.

Keep on keeping on!

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Well I figured it was about time I updated my learning log, came back to find it has been over a month. I have been faithful to my playing and practicing every day.
I think I find myself in a place a lot of us have got to. I have finished the Grade 2 lessons and am in the consolidation phase. I am eager to move on, BUT I have not got a good handle on all the things taught in grade 2. I am in the process of trying to create a few practice routines that I can rotate through. I am thinking categories like Power Chords, Pentatonic scale and Blues, Fingerstyle. I think I need to be a little more formal that I have been as I end up just playing songs that I can do, rather than working on what I struggle with. Need to keep the balance to maintain motivation. I also took delivery yesterday of a Focusrite 2i2 Studio, so the rabbit hole of recording is opening in front of me.
When I first saw Justin recommend 3 months consolidation of grade 2, I thought it sounded excessive, but after a few weeks, I think it may not be long enough. I know I need to focus on

  1. perfect chords and faster transitions to F chord to make it useful.
  2. I also need to get to grips with the shuffle groove
  3. Better timing and use of looper/Trio+

I started writing down the songs I want to learn and improve, not sorted into any order yet, I am thinking in the end I may try to have a recording of each.
Mad World
House of the Rising Sun
Highway to Hell
Stand by Me
Keep your hands to yourself
Wagon Wheel
What’s Up
Everybody Hurts
Losing my Religion
Iron Man
Solisbury Hill
Seven Nation Army
Wicked Game
All I want is you
Ring of Fire.
Anarchy in the UK
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Every Rose has its thorn

Of course he list keeps getting longer, going to see local bands whenever we can which gets me to add more. I do feel I am improving, but have to curb the impatient part of my brain. Wifey keeps asking for more Johnny Cash.
The one thing I am finding is that exposure to more types of music is leading to diversions.
As happens to a lot of folks, I am getting hooked by blues solos, even though that isn’t the type of music I normally listen to.
There is so much going on in this community that it is hard to keep up and comment on a lot of things, so letting that slide.

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I struggle to do these yearly!! :slight_smile:

If being able to do the F barre chord and changes I know that I will be on grade 2 for a very long time.

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Hi Phil congratulations on completing Grade 2. Likewise I am in the consolidation phase at the moment. You’ve made some good observations in your update especially about keeping that balance to maintain motivation. Yes, when Justin recommends 3-6 months for consolidation your initial reaction is like is he for real but when you breakdown everything that you’ve learned its amazing how much ground you have covered. I’m just about to go into my third month of consolidation, I’m starting to see the horizon but its still seems far away. The way I see it now is as long as I am enjoying it and still learning then why rush. That’s a mighty fine list of songs that you’ve been working on.

Yes, there is something addictive about them.

Good luck with the consolidation and have fun with your new toys.

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your learning log was one of those I have been following for inspiration

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Hi Phil, enjoy your consolidation time. Good you are assessing your current skills and devising how to improve where needed. Good also you started singing in a natural way just because you got carried by a song. You can keep doing it just like that, basic singing of songs that you feel inspired or comfortable with them, and later you can work to enhance your vocal skills.