Winter 2024 Newsletter
The New Year is about to hit and that means that a lot of guitarists will soon commit to becoming better guitar players. Marketing professionals know this and they will try to lure you in with the promise that “this new, easy to follow program will give you the secret knowledge that will change your playing forever…and we’ll also throw in 2 bonus batches of dopamine, but only if you buy right now, before this once in a lifetime sale ends.”
INFORMATION ALONE WON'T MAKE YOU A GREAT GUITARIST
I admit I am sometimes dazzled by the display of information in my social media feeds. I am the kind of guitarist who wants to know everything, and I can justify my consumption because I am a teacher; it’s imperative that I keep up with the latest learning resources. But I’m also very discerning, and I understand what makes learning effective; much of it has to do with solid content, organization, timing, practice, feedback, and application.
My favorite and most practiced way to teach is to provide a student with the right “dose” of useful information that matches where they are at on their guitar journey. It’s different for every student, but I will share that it’s often a much smaller amount than we think it should be. The goal is to get the student to learn the material so well that they can execute the skill without much effort, and to accomplish this, I use a variety of exercises and quizzes, while offering constructive and immediate feedback during our lessons (and via video in between our lessons.) In the final stage, the student applies the skill to an abundant amount of real and practical situations, demonstrating that the new information has been internalized.
When students get on the right learning track, it’s super fun and exciting. Things they thought were out of reach become doable, and they are blown away; the rewards cross over to other areas of their lives as they learn how to learn. I think my unique “deliberate teaching” mindset and love for guitar resonates with my students. Is it right for you? I don’t know, but you are welcome to email me to learn more about my online private guitar lessons at LeadCatPress@gmail.com.
THE NUMBER ONE THING YOU NEED TO GET INTO MUSIC SCHOOL
I’m not alone in understanding how important it is for guitarists to know their instruments, Bruce Foreman, a respected and accomplished jazz guitar player and educator also makes this clear in his MyMusicMasterclass series. It is virtually impossible for guitarists to be successful in a music degree program without knowing the fundamentals of music on the guitar, and that’s because everything is built on those fundamentals.
But what are the fundamentals and how can you learn them? You may already know that not all guitar teachers teach the fundamentals of music; there is no requirement to call yourself a guitar teacher, so students must do their research before signing up for lessons. Some teachers don’t know the fundamentals well enough themselves to teach them, and some more teachers simply don’t enjoy teaching the fundamentals, including: reading notes and rhythms up through the 12th position, scale and chord theory, major and minor scales and improvisation skills, and chord grips and grooves that allow students to play and jam on tunes in jazz, blues, country, and rock genres.
When I published The Guitar Lesson Companion, my goal was to provide students with a method book that would help them get more out of their guitar lessons and music programs. Since studying with a good guitar teacher is the best way to learn, I created a method book that makes it easier for teachers to teach the fundamentals to their students. By including all the right skills and concepts, tons of good sounding exercises, and packaging it in an easy to use (and spiral bound) format, more students are able to learn the things they need to know to help them get into music schools and reach their music goals.
You are invited to join thousands of guitarists who use this series in their studios, and I think it’s cool that my book is still considered to be a special secret tool among its users, who include some of my favorite guitarists of all time. (Read Reviews and order here)
THESE VIDEOS ARE PAVING THE WAY TOWARD MORE FREE CLASSES & SCHOLARSHIPS
For each month in 2023, I offered a free small group online class. From crash courses in music theory and applying the CAGED system to music, to ear training and learning songs by ear, we covered a lot of ground, all 100% FREE for students who reached out to me!
As I mentioned last month, the free classes have been put on hold until I am able to monetize my YouTube channel, and here are my most popular videos for the last 28 days that are helping us reach this goal:
👉 Don't forget about my Article & Resource page where I have tons of playlists, lessons, and PDFs (many of them free.)
4 WEEK SMALL GROUP ONLINE GUITAR CLASSES
It's been a tough decision, but I'm putting a hold on the popular 4 week small group guitar classes. Instead, I'm opening up more private lesson slots for the students who are on my waiting list (and for you, if you reach out to me soon!) I will likely offer the 4 week online sessions again in the future, and if you are on my mailing list, you'll be the first to know when that will happen.
MORE WAYS TO STAY TUNED AND SUPPORT MY WORK
Along with YouTube, you can find me on FaceBook, Instagram or Post. When you use this link to make purchases on Amazon, up to 8% of your total order is added to my scholarship fund, and if you purchase courses or a subscription to Truefire, you will learn some killer concepts that I can help you apply to your own music in your lessons.
Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts here, and please reach out if you'd like to sign up for private lessons or learn more about my method books.
Susan Palmer of LeadCatPress.com