Socio's Learning Log

Thanks for getting back to me. I feel I’ve managed to get through the first 3 lesson stages of Justine’s course with what I have, but, in process what suited for me at the beginning might hold me back.I,lol contact jamolay and run it by him. Cheers Kev

Tried to get onto Joshua but as soon as I start typing the screen wants to refresh . I’ll keep trying.

December 2022

The past month has been a musical blast. I’ve dipped my toes into some of the Grade 3 material but still have not jumped into the grade head first.

I think this is the first grade that I won’t follow in a systematic manner and will develop my own practice routines incorporating the lessons in no set order as I work my way towards intermediary level.

For example my current practice routine incorporates the finger gym exercise and the double strumming technique (as I require it for a song I’m learning).

I’ve reached the 70% mark on the beginner’s fingerstyle course that I have been working on. I feel that I have learned a lot so far and have been making good progress.
I’ve really enjoyed learning to strum without a pick (the different techniques to change dynamics) and to strum and pick at the same time.
This was something that felt completely alien to me as I was so used to strumming with a pick. Now it feels more natural, though, I’ve still got a lot of work to do on it to really embed the various techniques.
I’ve enjoyed learning to play solo fingerstyle guitar and finding it to really help with the development of the little finger which I now have a bit more control over. It’s also helped with playing the weak finger G chord.
Though the one chord that really needs more focus on is the Asus4 using fingers 2, 3 and 4. I find this fingering to be a bit challenging.

I’ve really enjoyed the introduction to playing the blues in Grade 2. Therefore, it is something that I want to explore and develop further.
Therefore, I’m now progressing with developing my knowledge and playing of blues rhythm guitar and blues/blues-rock soloing. All at a beginners level of course.
The blues also ties in quite nicely with the beginner’s fingerstyle course as I’ll be covering fingerstyle blues in the next module.
This should develop my skills and knowledge nicely for when I reach the blues material in the intermediary grades.

With all the work that I have been doing learning fingerstyle recently I felt that I was neglecting my strumming techniques using a pick. I feel that my strumming is OK but I would like to take it up a level. Therefore, I plan on investing further work on strumming techniques over the next few months.

Practical Music Theory
I’ve still not progressed further than Grade 2. Now that I’m back working in the office a couple of days a week the plan is to progress with the music theory course on the commute. This way I’m making best use of my time.

Ear Training and Transcribing
This is something that I’ll spend a few hours every fortnight on the weekends working on when I’ve got no distractions and can really focus. During the working week I just want to enjoy every minute of my practice sessions with guitar in my hands learning techniques and songs.

Discover Your Voice
I’ve still to get around to progressing with this course with all my free music time being focused on learning guitar and consolidating grade 2. Now that I’ve decided to develop my own structured practice routines as I work towards intermediary level this is something that will be incorporated.

Last month I did two more cover songs which I learned a lot from both learning the songs but also from the feedback from the community:
Lost in Fingerstyle
Writing To Reach You

Songs and Melodies
I’m currently working on two songs and a couple of melodies. One of the songs I plan on playing on the electric but having practiced it also on the acoustic, I’m thinking I may actually record both an electric (with backing track) and a stripped-back acoustic version.
For the melodies that I will be learning as part of my beginner fingerstyle consolidation I will likely post them on my learning log rather than individual topics on the AVoYP section depending yon the complexity.
For the blues studies that I will be working on soon I’m thinking of just creating a single topic on the AVoYP section ‘Socio’s Blues Studies’ and then anyone interested can follow that topic.


It’s very interesting to read how other people plan their practice time. It’s very good that you can be this structured and also that you can see what your individual needs are at this point. I have to do some planning myself. I’m thinking to take this as an example and start my learning log, it seems like a useful thing to do with many pros.


I’m impressed by your focus and structure here James. Well done.


You should definitely start a learning log. I find it helps drive and manage the learning process including adapting and making the most of your practice routines. As I have progressed through the course I’ve found that not everything in the practice routine gets mastered at same time and where I’ve enjoyed something in particular I have an inclination to explore further.

Without structure there would be anarchy. There is far too much stuff to learn and paths to be explored. More importantly practice sessions have to be fun. Apart from the bitter cold weather this week’s practice sessions have been so enjoyable developing blues rhythm and lead to professional backing tracks and working on applying rests in 16th note strumming patterns.


Great update, James. You’ve made wonderful progress through this year, showcased in a number of AVOYPs. I admire your discipline and organisation, will serve you well as you progress further.

Keep on keeping on!

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Love reading you. Make me think about starting a learning log… Inspiring.


Thanks, David, hopefully I can continue to make good progress next year as I work my way through advanced beginner material towards the door to intermediate level.

Thanks Luc. I’m glad to have inspired you to think about starting a learning log. No time like the present to start one listing out your short term, mid term and long term guitar goals for 2023.


January 2023

A happy new year to everyone reading this first entry of 2023 in my learning log. This year I have decided to make my learning log a bit more musical. Rather than providing an update of my goals and progress I’ve decided to post short clips of the things that I am learned throughout the year and provide updates where I have achieved my learning goals for 2023.

I’m now on the penultimate module of the Master Fingerstyle Beginner’s Course. I am enjoying this module very much as its an introduction to fingerstyle blues. I’ve been working through this course since August 2022. I am looking forward to completing the course and consolidating the techniques learned in the coming months before commencing with my Fingerstyle Goal for 2023 which is to complete the Master Fingerstyle Intermediate Course.

Blues Rhythm
I’m currently working on developing my blues chords, rhythm, strumming patterns, riffs and techniques to help build a solid foundation for for playing blues rhythm guitar. I’m enjoying very much the process of learning and practicing these skills particularly playing along with backing tracks. My Blues Rhythm Goal for 2023 is to learn a full length blues song.

Blues Solo
I’m currently working on developing the building blocks for soloing over a blues. From learning techniques including bending, vibrato, slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs to building a vocabulary of licks and learning how to connect the licks into full solos. My Blues Solo Goal for 2023 is to learn a blues solo incorporating these techniques and improvise over my own blues rhythm backing track.

This is something that has kind of slipped by the wayside as I have focused my recent efforts on fingerstyle and blues. Now that its back on my radar my Rock Goal for 2023 is to master rock power chords and further develop rock rhythms, muting, picking techniques and lead fundamentals. To build a solid foundation for when I move onto the intermediate grades. I aim to learn to play a couple of rock songs and riffs over the next 12 months. I would also like to explore acoustic rock playing.

I’m currently working on developing further my 16th note strumming and application of dynamics. For 2023 I aim to explore taken my acoustic playing to another level by learning to incorporate licks and fills into my rhythm playing. This is something that Justin touches on in Grade 3 that I would like to build upon.

Ear Training and Transcribing
Now that I have reached the point where Justin starts teaching transcribing I’m going to set aside some time to work my way through the ear training and transcribing modules. For 2023 I aim to have successfully completed both the ear training course and Beginner’s Course Grade 3.

Music Theory
So far I have completed Grades 1 and 2 of the Practical, Fast & Fun Music Theory Course. For 2023 I aim to complete Grade 3 of the course.

Discover Your Voice
I enrolled in this course last year but have not made any real progress. For 2023 I aim to look at it freshly and gradually work my way through the course.

I may not complete all my guitar goals by the end of 2023 but as long as I make progress and have fun along the way in achieving them is all that matters.


Hi James,
So,…another clear story, :sunglasses: you’re going to be busy :sweat_smile:
Have fun and a fantastic year of learning :sunglasses:


Here’s wishing you well, James, as you continue the adventure in 2023.

A diverse set of goals as you’ve highlighted. I assume you have considered available practice time, plus setting aside time for musical fun (all practice and no play may make James a dull boy, to bastardise a phrase), and the different study, learning, and practice required to make progress).

It may work to pick 2 or 3 things to give focus to over a shorter given period of time. Spending more time on fewer things may be more effective and lead to better overall progress than shorter time dedicated to each goal all the time.

That aside, I’m with you that as long as you progress towards the goals and have fun along the way, actually achieving the goal by the end of 2023 is of secondary importance.


Thanks Rogier. I tried to be much clearer than the new gibson guitar story :wink: As they say idle hands are the devils playground. So to keep myself out of trouble and from wandering to far off the beaten path I figured it would be best to at least set some form of goals for this year.

Thanks David. Very wise words indeed. That’s something that I will definitely be focusing on; ensuring that my practice sessions continue to be fun and rewarding. The good thing is that I have now reached the stage in the beginners fingerstyle course where it feels more like play than practice, if that makes sense. I’m currently learning songs to consolidate the techniques learned alongside the fingerstyle blues examples and bonus material. I plan to post the fingerstyle blues examples and some easy major and minor progressions on my learning log as I learn them. They are rather basic pieces.


Look forward to all you share as you progress, James.

I am also drawn to finger-style. I too have finger-style blues aspirations as well as being able to play and sing more songs with fancier picking patterns than the most basic of finger-picking that I do currently (though not putting myself down here, if the vocal is half decent then even the simple picked guitar seems to go down quite well with the listeners).

So once you’ve shared those basic blues pieces I may be asking for the tab. Some time back I started on Justin’s Solo Blues. Even the first one, which should theoretically be the easiest piece to get the party started was pretty darn challenging for me. Then I got side-tracked and went down the vocal path with Chris Liepe for a year.

That course is worth its weight in gold in my opinion. My singing was way poorer than mediocre before I started and working through DYV, which made a big difference. I think my singing is now much closer to mediocre and Brian tells me I am no longer frequently off key and out of tune, even if I am not matching original melodies. The folk at my local OM also ‘compliment’ me on my personalised melodies :rofl:

If you get into DYV, then feel free to take your time. I think once one got past the first couple of weeks, I was taking more like a month or so to work through the lesson, do the practice, and produce something for Chris’s critique. He was totally engaged and responded to every comment I posted within 24-48 hours, be it a question answered or feedback on an exercise shared.


Certainly, David. The introductory pieces I’m currently learning tie in quite nicely with the Beginner’s Grade 2 Course. The thumb is outlining the 12 Bar Blues and the fingers play the melodic notes using for example the Em Pentatonic Scale, Blues Scale or Arpeggios. I’m thinking that it would be a nice little exercise to come up with my own arrangement (improv) after I’ve completed the course.

I have been debating with myself whether to continue on to the intermediate course or commence the fingerstyle blues volume 1 course that goes from novice to accomplished intermediate level where it focuses more on 12BB studies, turn arounds etc.

As you know I did the prerequisite piece for Justin’s Solo Blues Course and then went on to purchase the full course. I completely agree with you the first piece was extremely challenging. It’s a big step up, It felt like ‘advanced’ studies. It was way beyond my play grade and got parked to the side.

With the DYV course, I plan on taking my time working through the course to make the most of it rather than squeeze it in with all the guitar material I’m learning at the moment to build solid foundation.


Good update James I am in progress of writing down one myself as well :wink: your list is very complex and challenging I would say! I like what David said which is focus on smaller amount of things on the list rather than learning everything all at once. My preference is to have something ticked off rather than everything at WIP stage as this is more rewarding that way in my opinion if we reach the destination we gave ourselves earlier on. I do however know you keep your feet on the ground and you won’t get carried away :wink: really looking forward to video updates sounds super cool!

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Thanks Adrian. I’ll try my best to keep my feet on the ground whilst shooting for the stars. It’s all beginner level material and I’ll probably focus on small wins at a time.

To kick things off with this learning log being more of a musical record of progress I recorded a couple of fingerstyle songs that I’m currently working on. That way I can look back in comparison when I fully learn them and record a complete AVoYP version for feedback to help take my playing of them to the next level. Hopefully it will also drive me to complete them.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
The Scientist

As always any feedback is much appreciated.


I really like that you are listening to your playing and not looking at it. Your stating with good technique the only think I see sometimes your crowding the finger on your fretting hand. With finger style it’s really important to keep the fingers as close to the frets as possible.

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Good stuff James. I particularly liked The Scientist. It sounds awesome in finger style, and you sounded great playing it. My finger style experience is limited only to the grade 2 module so can’t comment on technique. Every time I hear someone play a finger style song though I get the itch. It’s a beautiful sound, especially when played on an acoustic.

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