Todd's Learning Log

Today, I have completed Practical Music Theory - Grade 2. I actually completed the lessons quite a while ago. I decided to take the test today, to continue on to Grade 3. I passed. :slight_smile:

I did have to re-take it the exam, as a 100% is required, and I missed one question. The question asked for a “group of notes that works well together.” I did not choose “Scale” as the answer. Scales are notes that work well together, but I didn’t think of that as definitional of a scale. It seems that could also describe a key or a chord, for example. Anyway, on to Grade 3!


Well done Todd, good to see you moving forward.

My advice when you come across a song that does not gel with you, walk right past it !
Back in the old Beginner’s Course there were no riff lessons at all and it never held anyone back. If something just does not float your boat, don’t put the brakes on, if you’ve ticked off all the other boxes in the module. You can always come back to something later on if you have a change of heart/mind !

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Todd, good to see you are able to move forward again and making progress. I know that Module 8 was put in by Justin (as he admits) to give your fretting hand a workout before learning the F chord, so if you are getting bored just move on. When you finish grade 2 you will be reviewing and filling in the gaps in your learning during the consolidation phase.

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Good to see you back Todd! And congrats on passing your Grade 2 theory test. I really need to get back into the theory course. I started it and stopped at grade three. I just find it so hard to focus on theory, even though I know it will further my skills in the long run. It’s inspiring to me to see you go back to it and dig right in! I think I need to set myself a schedule or something :laughing:

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Good to see you back amongst it Todd.

Ain’t nothin’ like a bit of practical music theory to get the blood pumpin!

Onward and upward :+1:

Cheers, Shane

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I have started a thread in the AVOYP area for my playthroughs of the entire JustinGuitar Easy Guitar Songbook. So as to not double-post, I will post a link here whenever I add a new video there:

My first performance, below, is “Give Peace A Chance.” Any constructive feedback is welcome! Thanks! :slight_smile:

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@sclay Thanks, Shane! I appreciate you! :slight_smile:

@Jenndye429 Thanks, Jennifer! I think you’re right, about the schedule. That’s something I need to do. In fact, I would say that a lot of things in my life would probably be improved if I was better at making a schedule for myself, and sticking to it. I’m a BIG procrastinator.

@SteveL_G99 Thanks, Steve! That’s good to know, regarding the background of the module! I can see that it’s a good bridge to getting towards the later levels. On top of the F Chord, we also get into C Major Scale in Module 9. Having done the “play all of the natural notes in the first three frets” exercise from Module 8 seems to really be a good way to prepare for the major scale. It’s sort of fun, in a pedagogy sense, looking back and seeing how the various exercises work towards later skills.

@TheMadman_tobyjenner Thanks, Toby! You’re the… madman! :slight_smile: That is great advice though. I can see how the riffs are probably helpful, both to learn some skills, and as a bit of a treat, something to keep people going. But, like you said, I also shouldn’t let one hold me back if I’m just not into it. For example, in a couple practices, I’m already getting the Module 9 Riff down (it’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers “Californication” one).

@NicoleKKB Thanks, Nicole! It’s nice to be back. Also, I totally agree. We are here for fun, after all! :slight_smile:

@Helen0609 Thanks! The bass is fun for sure! It’s interesting, in that so much is similar to a guitar, but, obviously there are differences in technique. It’s fun to change things up!


@roger_holland Hi Roger! Thank you so much! I appreciate you! :slight_smile:

@LunaRocket Thanks for the kind words! :slight_smile: Well, so far, I feel I am progressing on the F-Chord. I’ve had a few little practice sessions with it, and I can make it play cleanly now. It’s still not easy, though, and I’m sure it will take many weeks to be able to change to it and move it around. (Justin says so in the lessons, that this is a chord that we will spend many weeks slowly improving on.)

@Libitina Thank you so much! :slight_smile: I’m glad to be back.

@alexisduprey I have decided to begin with the Easy Songbook… because I own it. :slight_smile: I feel I should use it, since I’ve already paid for it. lol. But, after that, I will go into the Beginner Songbook. I own Volumes 1 and 2 already of that as well. So… I have many songs to potentially learn!

@jkahn Thanks, man! Glad to be back! :slight_smile: I always appreciate your posts. You make a good point there, about not sticking. I’ve read that one of the brands, Fender perhaps, actually did a study, and it seemed like the 1 year mark was really important. People who keep going for one year tend to really stick with it. So, for them, that meant more money. Those who played guitar over a year were likely to be converted into long-term customers and spend many more thousands of dollars with them.


The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.

I’m still in university, and sometimes just feel too overwhelmed. This semester has been the worst yet. Still, I have done a little guitar practice recently, and I thought about the forum here.

I like how some of the lessons have been updated on the app, as I decided to go back and do the new ones so all of my prior modules show they are complete again. I guess I’m a completionist. :rofl:


Hi Todd,
I’ve been thinking about you every now and then in recent weeks and hoped that you hadn’t ended up in a mental dip… good to read that it’s “just” busy, good that you’re picking it up a bit again…
Make that "A little practice recently " into …"I keept going on and did stop not playing but busy to type " next time please :blush:

Greetings ,Rogier


Thanks, Roger.

It has been a difficult semester for sure. I have been overwhelmed at times. Way more workload than usual. Sometimes it has put me in a mental crisis and I’ve had to talk to my professor.

Really, I need to work on time management. I have a habit of procrastination. If I organized my time better I would probably not feel so overwhelmed.

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Hey good to see you back Todd.
Can appreciate university is going to be tough at times but should be the priority in setting you up for the future life. So take your time on the guitar front, there’s no clock ticking and its no race and no compulsory exams. So use it as pressure release from your learning load. Play some songs and just make baby step improvements as and when you can. Whatever you do take care.



Hi Todd, I already was asking myself, if you are still playing or if you’ve left the forum. Good to see you back. What I wanted to write would be pretty identical with Toby’s reply, so I won’t repeat, what has already been written. So take your time, don’t stress…


Really nice to see you around again, hopefully more over XMas period. :slight_smile:



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I’m glad to hear that you haven’t, in fact, died trolling :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
Hope to see you around more soon (assuming that your university has a winter break?). I had a couple of months this summer where I didn’t play much, but have been able to settle back in without too much loss of skill or callous - I hope it’s a similar situation for you!


Thanks, everyone, for your warm regards. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Yeah, school comes first for sure. I’ve already had to eliminate other things that were becoming too much. (In addition to my primary employment as a paramedic, I was also on a volunteer fire department, for example, and I had to resign from that position.)

I’ve also been putting some focus into weight loss. I have a goal of losing 100lb (45.5kg) over the course of 2-4 years. So far, it is going well, as I’ve lost 20lb (9.1kg) in the past seven months, right on track with my plan. That has also become a bit difficult with my high stress from school. So, I am happy to continue to maintain my weight the past couple of months, with a slower loss.

Regarding guitar practice itself, I had been starting Module 10 (the third module of Beginner Grade 2) when I stopped practicing. As a bit of a review, I looked through all of the modules’ main points, and decided to re-start at Module 8 (the first Module of Grade 2). So, the past week I’ve done my Module 8 practice a few times, and practiced some Module 8 songs (e.g. Wonderwall :rofl:). That has been nice.

I’ve been working on better time management with how tough school has been this semester. Clearly, I do have time I could fit in a practice. As a couple of you have said, guitar practice should be something I try to get in for fun and personal edification. So, even if I’m just picking up the guitar and practicing a song or a scale or whatever, I can always throw that in sometime in my day.

As far as songs, I want to get a couple of Christmas songs down and perform them with Christmas-time coming up. As a couple of you hinted at, I do have three weeks off of university coming up, so, that will be a nice way to spend some time. One of the songs I have performed before, Silent Night. It was a rushed performance for last year, I simply wrote down the chords and did one strum-per-bar while singing and playing, as I didn’t have any time to practice singing it with any more complex strumming pattern. So, I want to actually practice it a bit this year, perform it a bit better with a better strumming pattern.

I also want to learn to sing and play Feliz Navidad by José Feliciano (I don’t know if it is as popular in Europe, but it is fairly common on the radio in the USA during the Holiday season, and it is one of my favorites). Feliciano’s original version involves a Bm barre chord I haven’t gotten to yet, but there are some other versions that are a bit more approachable for me… so maybe I will learn one of these easier versions for this year. Maybe next year I’ll have the Bm chord down.


So, I have continued practicing, at least a few times per week the past three weeks or so. Last week I decided to move back up to Module 9. (I had left off earlier this year on 9, but moved down to 8 when I re-started to get some review.)

In Beginner Grade 1 (Mod 1-7), you can make a lot of progress just using the practice prescribed in the app. Once reaching Grade 2 (Mod 8-14), I think it’s useful to add things, even if they are not in the app’s preset practice. (For example, even though the Module 9 practice doesn’t include all of the stuck 3/4 chords from Module 8, I still like to practice them. The same goes for the Em Pentatonic Scale.)

That leads me to something fun. I like how the app includes a drum beat for scale practice now. I think, when I first started using it, it may have only used a plain metronome. Playing along with a fuller drum beat makes it feel a bit more fun to me.

Also, I started playing different drum tracks I find on YT while playing my scales. So, maybe a straight 80bpm, then played along to some swing drum tracks, and finally started falling apart a bit playing along with a 180bpm punk rock drum track. Lol. It was all sort of fun though. So, I recommend that for scales practice.


I started into Module 10 today. It actually seems pretty straightforward.

The idea of a chord push was a bit intimidating before, but just like anything else, starting with the prescribed rhythm and doing it slowly made it accessible. Improvising on the CMaj scale is fun. I had actually already done a bit of that on my own, having been practicing that scale quite a while.

Oh, and the “weak finger G” or “split 3,4 G” is very helpful. Like justin says in the lesson, it will take a lot of practice to make it feel as natural as the other G fingerings, but I can already see how much easier it is to switch to from certain chords, and is actually very helpful in the Christmas songs I’m practicing with many C and G chords together.


Wash rinse repeat for all new techniques ! :wink:

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I’m still alive.

I practiced Module 10 quite a bit over the Winter break from college. With college starting, though, I haven’t had as much time. I have watched most of the lessons for Module 11. I think this week I will try to watch all of the Module 11 videos and begin the Module 11 practice.

Module 11 introduces fingerstyle. I am very used to playing with a plectrum at this point, so that will be interesting. lol.

Oh, and I got a new guitar for Christmas. Maybe I should share a photo. It is a Fender electro-acoustic, a Malibu Player in “Aqua Splash.” I really like the color, and I like the size much better. I did have a very nice Yamaha dreadnaught, but having done all of my learning on a Strat, it just felt so weird and hard to hold properly. The Fender Malibu has a neck very similar to a Strat and a smaller body than my old dreadnaught (parlor size maybe?).

I think I want to set a project for myself of learning to play and sing Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” using Justin’s video. I’m a big Ska and Reggae guy, so that’s one of my favorite song lessons of Justin’s. If you’ve been following along at home, you may remember the first song I learned to sing and play was also Bob Marley, “Three Little Birds.”