I started playing guitar at the age of 9, group classes, classical guitar, simple stuff. I remember the first lessons being about “playing sheet music”, never playing the guitar.
At the time I thought “well this isn’t much fun”, but I have to admit, I did find it really easy. The other kids in my class didn’t find it easy, so I just sat there, played whatever was on the sheet music and waited for the other kids to catch up.
I’m not showing off here, we were playing Jingle Bells on one string! During this time I did think, surely, there’s got to be more to guitar than this?
As I grew a few years older I was put in guitar classes from other schools, played a few Christmas gatherings; it wasn’t very exciting to be honest. You’d get the sheet music; you’d play it, end of story.
Learning Electric Guitar
About the age of 12 I started electric guitar lessons, privately held by a musician in his 30s who had pursued the classic lifestyle most guitar players encounter: Covers band and a bit of teaching.
He showed me a few songs, but most was done from a book. The book was Electric Guitar and Blues, a classic in Swedish late 80s guitar education. After plowing through the entire book you’d learned 5 positions of the minor pentatonic scale. This took about two years to achieve!
At no point during my weekly guitar lessons from the age of 9 to 15 when I ended my lessons was there any indication of what I later discovered to be the cornerstones of how to learn the guitar, or any instrument for that matter, these where the things missing:
I did however learn hundreds of classical pieces, rock songs, folk songs, pop songs, none of which I can remember (even vaguely) today.
There was one major change between my early “classical” lesson and the electric guitar lessons; I went from reading sheet music to reading TAB. This was not in any way, shape or form an improvement.
On the contrary, TAB was most likely the worst feature added to my guitar learning experience. Possibly on a par with reading chords above lyrics in song books. Neither of the two schools taught me anything that made me play the guitar better, nor did either enable me to understand music.
As I’m entering my 16th birthday I stopped guitar lessons, why? Because now I was going to pursue this, I was going to properly learn how to play the guitar, even if it was the last thing I ever did!
I went to a music college, I signed up for three years to learn how to play “popular music” on the electric guitar.
When I got the letter that said I was in, I was the happiest teenager in the village, little did I know what was to come!
To be continued…
Dan (your guitar guru)
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