It’s Time to Play… “Stump The Instructor!”: Any student that is interested should bring in a recording of a song (Ipod, Mp3 player, or my preference, a CD) that the student is interested in learning how to play to “stump me.” This is a fun way to open up a dialogue about guitar-centric techniques that can be springboard for further study, and of course, lead to the student adding more songs to their repertoire…ie “jamming on tunes.”
Popular song guitar parts often can seem conventional and easy at first listen, and maybe they are, or maybe they can be simplified for a beginning student while easily nailed by an advancing, practicing student. But when we dig a little deeper we can often discover “tricks of the trade” that may introduce new techniques and ideas to expound upon. Does the artist use a capo like James Taylor, Taylor Swift or Bob Dylan? Do they utilize altered tunings, open tunings or a variation on standard tuning like Jimmy Page, Three Days Grace and Jimi Hendrix? How do you tackle tricky rhythms and accompaniment like Dave Matthews, Jason Mraz or Foster the People? How does Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani, or Jack White get that weird, wacky sound? Does that song by John Denver, Brad Paisley or Colbie Caillat use fingerpicking or hybrid picking? Will that piano based song by Elton John, Adele or Carrie Underwood translate to guitar? How do you breakdown that cool riff by Weezer, Switchfoot or Buckethead? What about that tricky chord progression by Eric Johnson, The Plain White Ts or The Beatles? All of these questions (and many, many more) are relevant to the curious advancing student and can be easily incorporated to supplement lessons, build guitar skills and get students jamming away. So what are ya waiting for?