Steve L’s Learning Log

@stitch and @Richard_close2u A quick followup. My recent misstep with the lesson discussion posts was just the nudge I needed to start a journal or learning log: Steve L’s Learning Log.

I have examined all the Grade 1 and 2 lesson discussions and edited my posts when appropriate and where I still have an edit function. I deleted a few posts which had no likes or responses and seemed to be more about me and not adding much to the discussion. I copied those deleted posts to the hidden JG course section of my Learning Log header post.

I have recently added a single post to each of the first two lesson discussions in Module 16 Grade 3, which I hope show that i have learned to create discussion posts that are brief, clear and relevant. :slight_smile:

I admire your collection of gear and materials! I’ve got two of Justin’s songbooks so far, the first Beginner book and the Christmas book. I want to get some more, though! I’m just trying to decide witch to get! Maybe the second Beginner book would be a good place to start.

Best Wishes,

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@SocratesDiedTrolling Todd, The second beginner guitar book is a good choice, but you may also want to consider another songbook - The JustinGuitar Easy Guitar Songbook: 101 Awesome Easy Songs You Can Play with Up to 8 Open Chords. For some reason Justin Guitar does not include it in the list of books for sale, but you can find it on Amazon.

The Easy Songbook only has songs from Grade 1 and includes a few songs suggested in the Grade 1 song lists. Also, since it is a newer book, the songs are arranged by modules instead of stages. So for complete beginners, I think this songbook is actually the best first book to get. I was already in Grade 2, so I got a Kindle version but occasionally look at it to review some new Grader 1 songs. Take a look at the online description, though, for the songs in the Easy Guitar song book and notice that there are some songs that are in the original beginner book, whereas the second songbook only has new songs.

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Thanks! I’ll check out the Easy Guitar Songbook! I’ve added it to my wish list. :slight_smile:

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15 Nov. 2022
I added the lessons from Strumming Techniques 1 DVD to my practice schedule this morning. I probably can already play all of the RUST patterns in this DVD, after going through all the Grade 1 and 2 song lessons, but want to finally finish these lessons for a good foundation for my strumming.
I am using the JG Metronome app at 80 BPM as suggested.

I get a little bored playing the patterns so I usually have to add a little something to keep me awake.

For RUST 1 - I just played the suggested E chord
For RUST 2 - Played E chord for beats 1 2 3 - played E7 for + 4
For RUST 3 - Played E chord for 1 2, Esus4 for + 3 4 , E for final +
For RUST 4 - Played D chord for 1 2, played Dsus4 D Dsis2 D on the 3 + 4 + beats

I usually play the rhythm with a single chord for a while before add any chord changes.

16 Nov 2022

RUST 5,6,7 and 8 - nothing fancy with the chords. I have enough rhythms (8) to switch between rhythms and call out the beats in time to the metronome to keep me occupied.

17 Nov 2022

RUST 9, 10, 11 and 12 - tied rhythms. Now that the rhythms are getting more interesting, I can spend some time practicing these rhythms to make the strumming automatic. Rhythm 9 is already automatic. If I strum without thinking about the rhythm, that is the rhythm that I play, although I tend to include an up strum after beat 4 as a “no chord” strum, which gives the rhythm a little more flow. My problem is the tendency to play that rhythm for all songs.


20 Nov 2022

I recently posted a request in the Module 15 practice discussion page for help in setting up a practice routine with the 1 hour of practice split over 3 days. I deleted after realizing that at the Grade 3 level Justin is suggesting that we take up the task of creating our own practice routine using his general suggestions.

I have been practicing module 15 for several weeks but following the default Module 15 practice app routine sporadically since I am only able to practice 40 minutes each day in the early morning. I also was trying to include Strumming Technique 1 exercises and Grade 3 theory.

I have finally tried to put together practice routines in the practice app - 3 different routines called 15a, 15b and 15c to be used in a 3 day rotation over 6 days. The practice routine is split over 3 days and an additional 10 minutes of learning new Grade 3 song(s) and 10 minutes of review (or revision) of grade 2 and 3 songs is included for half the time spent in fun activities as Justin suggested.

Here is a figure showing how the 5 minutes category intervals are arranged:

I didn’t try to create a different routine in the practice app for each of the 6 practice days of the week because it was just too much trouble, but I might change my mind as I use this for future modules (one change I made right away was putting the easy song for review (or revision) at the beginning for warmup),

Usually on day 7 I take a break and just play songs.

Disclaimer: While this practice schedule looks good on paper, I couldn’t follow it for more than 1 week. It is just too detailed for my needs. I couldn’t bring myself to try and repeat this for module 16. See below (6 Dec) for my simplified plan.


21 Nov 2022 - After using the new Module 15a practice routine, I realized that I need to create 3 practice folders with a list of specific songs, techniques that are used for that routine, including the chord charts, tabs, etc. needed for the exercises. With just 5 min per time slot I don’t have a lot of time to be looking for songs or deciding what to do next.

Also, I am way overdue on recording my playing, so I should spend all my song review on practicing a song for me to record. The next song is probably California Dreamin’

26 Nov 2022 - I added a new video recording - Morning Has Broken - Cat Stevens version - played fingerstyle

3 Dec. 2022

I just completed the Practical Music Theory Grade 3 test. I’m not sure if I will work on Grade 4 theory while I finish the Grade 3 modules or work on ear training and other lessons and save the Grade 4 theory for a later time.

I continued with strumming techniques 1 with lesson on extended ties and RUST patterns 13-15.

I finished learning the Stage 9 songs (almost all Grade 3 songs) in the Beginner songbook 1 using the JG song lesson tutorial videos. I am gradually adding songs to my potential repertoire list and will return to some songs for more intensive study later.

I have been following the Module 15 practice schedule for over 1 month, practicing 6 days/week but spreading the 1 hour routine over 3 days, so I think I am ready to move on the module 16. I had been holding off moving on because I was not making much progress on the finger gym exercises. Then I noticed that the exercises continue into module 16 so I can move forward. I just have to enter the module 16 practice sessions into the practice app.


Hey Steve, congratulations on completing Grade 3 PMT. If you have the free time then I would continue with your progress of the PMT course. If time is limited then maybe best to focus on the practical side of things. It’s good to read that you’re progressing through the strumming techniques course, I found it to make a significant improvement in my rhythm and strumming. That’s a lot of songs you’ve been learning, @Richard_close2u will be extremely proud of you as his motto (which is the best motto on the forum) is learn songs, learn songs, learn songs. I can’t really comment on the progression from Grade 15 to 16 as I decided to do things differently but I would say progress when you feel ready to progress even if that means keeping things in you’re practice sessions to really embed. All the best, Socio :sunglasses:


Hi Steve, for me also makes sense that if someone gets fluency with some of the proposed exercises for a module (or level [or stage]) earlier than with others, he or she can start incorporating exercises from the next module in lieu of the ones he or she has achieved fluency.

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6 Dec. 2022

I finally realized that my detailed practice schedule was not going to work for me. Some mornings I was just able to finish practicing an old song and learning a new song and some of the practice elements just didn’t appeal to me or my goals.

I realized that I needed to follow the KISS principle (not the band, but the principle of Keep It Simple Stupid, original version or the less harsh version, Keep It Short & Simple)

I thought of an old saying that stuck in my head that applies:

My praciice schedule should follow the general principle of:

Something OLD
Something NEW
Something BORROWED
Something BLUE

Replace play with wear and you have the old wedding tradition for brides that my wife followed in our wedding. It’s very old (see “something old”, Wikipedia) and kind of hard to forget.

the something old is songs from my In Progress practice list and new is new song lesson videos. The borrowed is some technical exercises from Justin’s practrice routine and later from all the exercises and riffs available from other sources. The blue reminds me to include some blues in every week, since that is why it got back into guitar in 1999.

I’ll divide my practice time available and spend 25% on each part.

Keeping the plan simple makes it easier to modify as needed. I’ll probably alternate days for learning new songs as they become more complex moving to intermediate level and work on other practice elements on alternate days along with blues practice.


10 Dec. 2022. I set up a generic 4-part practice routine in the practice app, but then I decided to set the Module 16 practice routine as default for now to remind me to try some of the different technical studies for module 16. I am alternating between strumming techniques 1 lessons and blues on alternate days and continuing to learn new songs. I had momentarily considered using some of the blues studies from Grade 4, but saw there was a good blues study two modules ahead. I never recorded the blues lessons from module 13, so that might be a good first step. I have finished playing through the songs in stage 9 Beginner book II. I also did the RUST 16 and 17 strumming lessons from the old DVD.

11 Dec 2022 - I just got my Scarlett 2i2 audio interface so I have some studying and learning to do. Now I can do the Module 14 home recording lesson for real.

14 Dec 2022 - I’ve finished the Strumming Techniques I course - I found that I had already mastered percussive strumming in the regular beginner course and while recording songs, so percussive strumming patterns RUST 19 and 20 were easy. Finishing the strumming techniques 1 course will give me more time to practice my AVOYP songs. I am playing through the Bonus Songs in the Beginner’s Songbooks I and II.


29 Dec 2022 - I finally finished playing through all of the songs in the Beginning Songbook II. So I have now played (but not memorized or performed) all of the songs with song lesson videos in the two beginner songbooks. Now I will go back and complete my list of songs to practice for creating videos of myself playing. Also going forward, new songs will be from the 4 intermediate songbooks - pop, vintage, acoustic and rock which have additional consolidation songs at the beginning of each of the songbooks. I’ll slow down the pace of learning new songs to allow more time to practice older songs for performance and later to allow for more complicated songs.

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30 Dec 2022 - I want to keep myself honest during the consolidation phase. I don’t want to look back and realized that I had left topics uncompleted in my haste to advance to a higher grade level. I did a thorough review of all the Grade 1 and 2 lessons and identified some lessons that have not been completed:

Beginning Guitar course - uncompleted topics that should be completed during the consolidation period

Grade 1:

Module 5: YOUR OWN SONGBOOK - I haven’t done enough on this, just a couple of songs

Module 7: MEMORIZE EASY SONGS - definately deficit in this area. Only have a couple of songs memorized.

Grade 2

Module 8: MUTING STRINGS DELIBERATELY - review this entire lesson, not good at this technique, mostly I use precise strumming

Module 9: YOUR CHORD BOOK - haven’t done this. Starting to use One Minute changes chord dictionary.

Module 10: Practice 5 common chord progressions: until you have the progressions memorized

Module 11: INTRODUCTION TO DICE SONGWRITING -should actually try to do this exercise

Module 12: CREATE YOUR OWN GUITAR RIFF - try to do this exercise

Module 13: BEGINNER BLUES SOLO - need to download Guitar Pro version of Blues Solo since I purchased but haven’t used.

Module 13: BLUES IMPROV - need to record an improve and annotate in Guitar Pro.

Module 13: 12 BAR SHUFFLE RIFF - play and record on video for critique

Module 14: DEVELOPING REPERTOIRE - need to work on this - don’t have 10 songs and do open mic.

Module 14: HOME RECORDING - finish setting up DAW and make new recording with DAW

While I am working on completing these lessons, I can also work on active listening and transcribing by playing through all of the songs in the Beginner Songbooks 1 and 2 that do not have a song lesson video. I can listen to the original recording and work out the rhythm and any embellishments myself by active listening and transcribing. This should be somewhat easy since I already have the chords (and therefore the key) and performance notes. I just need to listen to the recorded song to create my own lessons.

I am also playing some songs from the Complete Guitar Player Songbook (Omnibus Second Editions with books 1,2 and 3). I had got it a few years back to go with the Complete Guitar Player book by Russ Shipton which I had gone through but skipped over a few more difficult sections. I kept using the songbook since it had some songs which were not in the list of songs on Justin guitar and until recently was my go to book for Bob Dylan songs. It is mostly grade 1 and 2 level songs, so it gives another source for songs such as Morning Has Broken.


2 Jan2023 - when I started trying to play the songs in the 2 beginner songbooks without song lesson videos, I realized that I have not played along to the original recordings for any of the songs I have learned. I have played along with Justin in the song lesson videos and played with the app, but the true test of my ear is playing along with the original recording. My resolution is to make more use of the original recordings and listen and play along beginning with the easier songs and working up beginning some grade 4 songs this year.

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4 Jan2023 - with all of the review and consolidation and song practice, it is easy to forgot to also focus on Grade 3 practice material. I have decided the best plan at this point, until I have completed the items identified above from grade 2, is to alternate days that I work on grade 2 completion items and Grade 3 practice exercises.

I can see that going forward in this course I will probably have the mindset of using lessons and songs from 3 grades. So for instance, I am reviewing Grade 2, I am actively working on Grade 3 and I will occasionally look ahead and find challenge lessons or songs from Grade 4.

One last thing. My wife and I just adapted a couple of small rescue dogs 3 week ago, so my morning practice schedule had to be adjusted. Due to walking the dogs first thing in the morning, the early morning practice routine suddenly shrunk from 40 minutes to 30 minutes. But it still continues every day. Life intrudes, but you just have to adjust. I am trying to find other time during the day to listen to songs, work on music knowledge activities and listen to lesson videos.


Bravo Steve, good reflection and planning that is sure to set you up for continued progress. I look forward to hearing the further recordings as you consolidate in Gr2.

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