Should I move on before I feel completely confident with grade 2?

Hi everyone! This community has been extremely helpful so far, so your advice is once again needed:)

I finished grade 2 late May and have been practicing all summer (along with some theory and ear training).
I currently feel like I’ve hit a wall and can’t perfect certain things (eg faster F chord changes, muting strings in power chords all the time, having a consistent performance with songs I’ve been working on for a long time etc). As a result practicing these things can feel a little overwhelming and discouraging sometimes.

Learning new things always inspires me to keep going and quitting is definitely not an option (I dream of a band one day) so starting grade 3 feels super exciting. However, I wonder whether I should move on to grade 3 feeling like this or I should stay in grade 2 until I feel completely confident with its learning material.

Thanks a lot!

Personally think that you have to strike a balance. You shouldn’t move on too early for sure but at the same time you don’t want to get discouraged enough to drop the guitar all together. I’d go by Justin’s advise in his Grade 2 consolidation video: “Don’t be in a rush to move on…unless you’re bored”

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I’ll keep that in mind, thanks!

I’m on grade 3. Having experienced a few modules of it I would encourage you to consolidate what you’ve learned based on what you’re describing.

Grade 3 is kind of a bridge to being an intermediate guitarist. It’s far less prescriptive than grade 2 and you set your own practice. Pretty early on exercises would require you to be good at F chord and quick on changes. Eg when picking individual strings while strumming, your changes would need to be fast and clean. Definitely to F.

IMHO grade 3 feels very different than the earlier grades. Techniques are more difficult and take more practice. Overall it feels a lot more like a continual consolidation vs the grade 1 and 2 feeling of learning a lot, quickly, from videos.

If you’re getting bored there is nothing wrong with taking a peek. Other than that, keep learning new songs, particularly ones with higher end grade 2 techniques and F!

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Thank you for sharing your experience, it helps a lot!

Helen, some sound advice already shared.

One thing that can be tricky is self-assessment … how good is good enough. People self-assessing can do so in a continuum ranging from super self-critical to very much rose-coloured glasses.

So it may help to post a couple of recordings of you playing some of the songs you mention with F, some power chords etc. That doesn’t necessarily need to be full songs (though grade 1 completion criteria does include playing 5 songs from memory, start to finish) posted in AVOYP. Some short clips in a Learning Log in #community-hub:learning-logs would solicit some objective feedback which may help you to calibrate your level with a reasonable expectation.

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Self-assessment is indeed quite tricky. Posting recordings sounds great and I’ll get to it as soon as possible! Thank you!

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Helen, I am in a very similar space as you. I have been consolidating since around May. I started in on lesson 15 relatively soon after completing Beg 2. As stated previously, Beg 3 is much more self-directed. My practice for lesson 15 includes practice items such as ‘Work on techniques that need it’ (I focus on a different technique each day of the week) ‘Repertoire - Songs from Beg 1 & 2 that still need work’, (again working on a different song every day of the week) ‘Feel good strumming’ (various strumming patterns found in the Rut Busters videos in the Playground). In addition, I have practice items that are new with L15. This so far as kept boredom at bay and I am improving in areas I need to improve. Also I carve out time to practice the songs I know and the songs I wish to record in the future. I want to have 10 songs solidly in my repertoire before I head to L16.
When Justin said that consolidation would probably take 2-3 months, I thought he was joking. Alas, it will probably take me 3-5 months; however, at the end of my consolidation I should possess the skills that will enable me to make the most of the remaining lessons for Beg 3.
Did you happen to read Justin’s monthly newsletter that just came out? In it he talks about mental plasticity. Based on that, I have incorporated a balance routine ahead of my actual practice. Definitely not bored now! :rofl:

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I see no harm in moving forward. Just do it slowly and in the context of what you are continuing to work on. I found (and still find) myself moving a little forward only to then go back and work on further consolidation so I can do actually then work on what I had advanced to.

Sometimes it is good to have something drive you to do the consolidation and actually gain a bit of competence in the earlier skills.

Just don’t abandon the basics, they are and always will be a work in progress.

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It’s always good to know there are others feeling the same way! I’ll probably wait till September and then move on to strike this balance between consolidation and boredom. Thanks!

Good to know this constant consolidation approach. I’ll give it a shot, thank you!

Hi Helen,

I am in the same situation as well. I finished grade 2 and didn’t feel quite confident enough to move on right away. After staying in limbo for several months I felt there is nothing to lose by giving grade 3 a go and learning something new. I can always take a step back to grade 2 or even grade 1 for that matter, if there is something I want to review again. That is the beauty of Justin’s system-everything is there as a reference to review as needed. We all have different experiences, unique things we do well, and different things to improve on. The best advice is to keep it moving and learn something new. Level 3 is no joke though. There are a lot of lessons that take time to master and I personally am not quite ready for everything there, but if I take things 1 day at a time I will get there. Best of luck to you.


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Thank you for being so open and honest with your journey, it really helps a lot!

I am pretty much exactly where you are finishing Grade 2 consolidation (3 months of daily practice). My F chord changes are ok but not “perfect” every time, etc.

I decided to move on to Grade 3 as I am becoming a bit bored. I know I will continue to work on previous skills and can always revisit past lessons if need be.

Do whatever you need to stay motivated and playing :guitar: :guitar: :guitar:

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OK I am on grade 3/Module 17 after staring in January BUT I have played before and had a solid grasp of basic chords, strumming, and a lot of technique, I was previously probably quite a solid beginner level guitarist, and am still currently mostly consolidating rather than pushing on with lessons

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Glad to hear it’s not an either-or situation but a both-and. Thanks for sharing!

I’ll keep that in mind, thanks!