Which way to go after Grade 1?

I started following Justin’s guitar course at the end of June 2023. Other than a few trips away for work and holidays, I’ve been practicing regularly. I decided to go slowly and not rush onto Grade 2 lessons and I have spent the last couple of months consolidating what I have learnt in Grade 1. I’m not in a hurry.

I’m wondering what to do now? I had a peak at the content of Grade 2 and it’s very tempting to go on to the Grade 2 modules. However, at the same time, I thought it might be more beneficial in the long run to spend more time consolidating Grade 1 and especially strumming practice. I just followed the 1st SOS strumming course as well and I can see that the exercises are already improving my strumming. However, while the exercises are almost like a sort of meditation, it’s not that exciting to just do strumming practice, despite it being relaxing.

So I’m wondering whether to go on to Grade 2 or should I spend more time on Grade 1 consolidation and practicing strumming? Or would it be a good idea to do the 2nd SOS strumming course before going on to Grade 2?

Just wondering what people would advise. Some of the content in the Grade 2 lessons looks very exciting.

All the best to everyone for the New Year!



A lot of grade 1 is so fundamental you’ll be using it all as part of your playing forever

So long as you keep doing it right theres no issue building on top of it and still practicing as you go

I reckon if you meet all the Grade 1 graduation requirements, just go to grade 2. There is so much good stuff there to learn and no reason to hold back if you’ve learnt everything grade 1 has to offer.

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Congrats, Ian, your approach and mindset is solid and will serve you well.

As others said, if you have achieved the grade 1 goals and intent then no reason not to get into grade 2. You can also move on with the strumming course. Blend practice time and routine in a way that works for you, including playing songs that use all the grade 1 chords.

Speaking of playing songs, I think it is helpful to record yourself and share that in Audio-Video Of You Playing. The feedback and encouragement you receive will be valuable. Simple videos made with a phone suffices, no need to sing if not your thing or something you are yet to do.

Keep on keeping on and enjoying it.

@Prof_Thunder I really appreciate/identify with this post because I know that at one point I made the mistake of trying to go too fast through Justin’s courses. I STILL have to remind myself to put the breaks on and pause at certain points. You are absolutely right to not be in a hurry. Level 2 is there whenever you want it so there’s no pressure to move on.

My advice would be to take what you’ve learnt on Grade 1 and put into practise LEARNING SONGS.

I suggest that you find songs that Justin identifies as “grower” songs. So songs that can absorb new techniques and skills you develop as you ove through the Grades in future.

From my own experience a good grower song would be something like Bob Marley’s Natural Mystic. If Reggae isn’t your thing, then there are loads of growers in Justin’s lesson catalogue.

Someone recently posted a Guitar Challenge of “Feelin Alright” by Traffic. That’s another great grower song that can be played in open position chords or barre chords (when you are ready), etc.

One other thing I did was to buy Justin’s Beginner Song Book and use that as a paper reference for some of the songs at the very beginning. I think it’s a great way to support Justin’s work the whole webpage, etc. where you are (both) getting something really useful out of the exchange as well.

Of course, if you find the Grade 2 content exciting and inspiring there’s nothing wrong woth moving onto that section of lessons and taking your time to go through those. But I really must echo our moderators and approved teachers here in the community by saying that LEARNING COMPLETE SONGS is the best way to consolidate your guitar chops!!

Enjoy the ride!! Keep strumming and learn some songs!!



I agree with this. It’s the path I’ve taken after grade 1. I’ve only got finite time to spend on my guitar so I want to do what I see as the purpose of learning to play. Also in line with Jeremy’s comments as I learn a variety of songs, most of them do have some other technique or thing that I need to work one which expands my repertoire

There’s definitely areas of grade 2 that interest me but I’ll get to those when I can commit a bit more time to them

Thanks a lot to all of you for your answers. Actually, what I meant when I said I was consolidating what I learnt in Grade 1 was that I am now practicing songs (as suggested by many) and trying to reinforce what I have learnt through playing songs.

I think that after reading the replies, I will continue doing this for a while and try and build up a larger repertoire of songs to play. Then once I’m back to Switzerland after my sabbatical in Colombia (at the end of February), I think I will start videoing myself playing and try and get some feedback on this forum.

Thanks again for all your answers. The community is indeed helpful and very motivating.

Best, Ian


My suggestion would be to start Grade 2, however, any Grade 1 skills you feel still need more work (chord changes, strumming, etc.) should be kept in your practice routine.

If you prefer to pause and consolidate more, then learning songs, even simplified versions of songs, is still the best way to build and hone skills in the long run. Practice drills alone can never capture all of the subtleties found in playing songs. Also, if you practice simplified versions of songs you really want to learn but are too complicated to master at this point, you can build a foundation that you can add to as your learning progresses in Grades 2 and beyond.


I’m in the same place you are, I’ve just finished Grade 1. There’s essentially 3 paths to go down:

  • Grade 2
  • Strumming SOS
  • Music Theory

Or, some combination of those things. I think I’m going to do Grade 2, just to expand the number of songs that I can play. I guess I’ll know what to work on after that.

Best of luck!