Category Archives: Teaching

‘Enjoy Learning Essential Guitar’ – Jsmusicschool ethos

Hi there,

Thanks for reading my blogs so far.

In this blog I’d like to start sharing my thoughts on how IMHO guitar teaching should be taught.

For me there is too much stuff out there on the web that concentrates purely on technical ability (many advanced techniques that for me aren’t particularly useful for all genres)

When I was at college there was a huge amount of snobbery about music that didn’t have particular great guitar parts in them. Music such as Oasis and The White Stripes that (although for me have great guitar parts) were frowned upon in the guitar muso world, as they didn’t showcase fancy techniques.

From my experience at University and music college, plus from my teaching and advice from others, we have come up with a tagline that encompasses our whole way of teaching.

Enjoy – At Jsmusicschool we are constantly striving to make every aspect of the learning process enjoyable. From experience a lot of music theory is stigmatized as ‘boring’ so what I do is get people to write songs using the TTSTTTS and Maj,Min,Min,Maj,Maj,Min,Dim rules as well as integrating various strumming patterns and CAGED chords. By doing that they are using theory in an enjoyable way. When learning scales, I’ll get pupils to play and practice over songs they like to make it more enjoyable.

LearningThis is obviously a broad term but whereas school’s bombard kids these days with too much homework and content, Jsmusicschool introduces pupils to ways of ‘learning to learn’. For example learning how to separate tasks better prior to integrating them, using the power of 3 to absorb information quicker and using Neuro-linguistic programming. Jsmusicschool also uses technology in lessons, blogs, tweets, backing tracks and dropbox to further a pupils learning experience. Advice on social media is given free of charge in a world now where everyone is using it, and will be valuable for the future regardless of career choices.

Essential – We focus on the most important parts of playing the guitar and sieve out all the stuff that is not necessary (or only for really advanced players). So for example when teaching chords, we’ll go through all the basic open chords, then understand the CAGED system and all the most widely used chords in popular music. So for me Major 7, Minor7, Dominant 7 chords for your standard 7th chords. Then work on other extensions later. There are hundreds of altered and jazz type chords that kids and adults will just fall to sleep if you attempt to teach them. For me they are not ‘essential’ chords that all guitarists should learn.Scale wise I’d tend to stay away from teaching diminished and whole tone/ half tone scales as they really only cater for a small minority of musical genres. Everyone should also learn the riff for Johnny B.Goode and Sweet Child of Mine!

Refining these terms is a long term process. If anybody has any thoughts on these points feel free to add some feedback.

Many thanks


You can also find me on twitter @jsmusicschool


Posted by on April 3, 2013 in Teaching


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Jsmusicschool teaching ethos

Hi There,

Thought i’d get stuck into this blogging thing as I think it’ll be good to share my thoughts about guitar,teaching and business with other like minded people. Since starting my journey into teaching and being self-employed, I’ve picked up many interesting ways to teach guitar and find out what really works best for people.

From my experience and general chatter amongst clients and other people, many private teachers just seem to concentrate solely on songs, with many of the school based teaching relying predominantly on grades. Now for me there has to be a balance between the ‘fun’ stuff such as learning songs/riffs and the technical and theoretical aspects of music.

Due to the abundance of Youtube and cheap dedicated websites just for learning songs and riffs, it’s more appropriate as a teacher for me to show how you as a guitarist can become much better with decent tuition.

This is because if you are paying for regular tuition you are much better off learning the techniques and strategies to become a better guitarist, as this will allow you to play pretty much any song you want.

Otherwise for me you just be like millions and millions of average guitarists who’ll hit a plateau and only be able to play a handful of songs.

Just learning the theoretical and technical aspects however also poses problems as you need to intersperse it with songs and riffs BUT showing how the important stuff makes it all work. This makes the learning experience more fun as well as killing several birds with one stone

So if you’re going to teach the Beatles let it be – you need to explain how the strumming pattern is constructed and so on, and why it’s in the key of C major.

The grading system really doesn’t do this for me which is why I come up with my own system to spend time on technical, theory, aural perception, performance and improvisation.

In my next blog my technical teaching ideas will be revealed………


Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Teaching


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