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Core

These are some of our core ideas for musicianship. Integrate what's needed.

Explorers

We are explorers. To really know something, we discover it for ourselves. We make decisions based on our own understanding because we believe in ourselves and our process. We are following our own musical path which we discover through musical exploration. This continually renews our practice. We are tapping into our own confidence, intuitive abilities, and artistic sensibilities.

Parallel Paths

As we learn guitar, we engage existing styles, while also exploring the materials of music at its most basic level. This means that we aren't defining our guitar studies only through existing music, style or styles. Playing known things is obviously included [we learn styles to the best of our ability], yet this is in parallel with experimentation with the given musical elements.

Each of us decides how information can and will be applied; how our style unfolds. And, which existing style or styles fits us best.

This keeps our process always evolving. When we practice through this lens, even playing a cover tune for the thousandth time can be just as fun as the first.

Tone

Tone applies to all domains of musicianship. From a technical view, one of our highest aims is to produce sweet tone. We consider our tone in all moments.

Tone is also important in our relationships with other musicianers [social resonance], our mental state [overall feeling-tone about ourselves and our playing], & our gear [can our instruments create the tones that we are capable of creating]. Tone is king. Make good tone.

Levels

Beginning is advanced and advanced is beginning. There is always a more difficult and easier version of any and everything. When we do beginning type things, this is advanced. When we do advanced type things, it always includes beginning. They are not mutually exclusive, but mutually interdependent. This is a fact.

Better descriptors for levels may just be density & depth. This is an evolving view I consider daily. To read more on my views on learning guitar, check out the site author page.

Life-Long

When we decide to pick up an instrument, we should also make it a life-long commitment. Since becoming a musician takes time, we advance the notion that we will be doing it a long time, a life-time. There's no harm in making this decision. In fact, the opposite happens. There's no rush, the pressure is off, but we do the work with clarity, and plan to do it until we enter the next phase.

This gives us time to mess up a lot, and understand that in the 10th year we are going to be better than in the first month. When we make this type of commitment, we are realizing that we are learners for life, and this can apply to anything. Fast tracks most often burn out. We avoid this by knowing we will be playing when we are centenarians; rocking on our porch, being remarkable, demonstrating steadfastness to younger developing musicians around us.

So, let's make a commitment to playing music for our life-time. This way, we accept the phases that happen naturally. We play more, we play less. It's all no big deal. The instrument is available to us when we are ready to play. And it also serves each of us in different ways. It can sometimes be about entertaining others; other times, something to do to enrich our private life. We decide how the guitar is integrated into our lifestyle, through each crest and trough of our life.

Charge

You are your own best teacher. From my experience as a guitar coach for over 20 years, I have come to the conclusion that we are all seeking the same experiences, which are to train and jam, to become competent and reliable musicianers, to have positive musical experiences, to share connections with others. And, we do these things in ways which are unique to each of us.

Any qualified coach knows that they are only a guide. You navigate the actual path. Take charge!

On Becoming a Musician

Everyone can become a functional musician because all of us are musicians. There are degrees and shades to all experience, yet, all of us can make music. Everyone can do it and it is never too late to start.

Our overall experience as a musician is our core focus. It is not just that we are doing things, but we are becoming competent musicianers.

Over my years as a coach, I have witnessed folks that start from zero and become excellent joyful musicians. I have also seen folks that give up, saying that it is 'too hard'. Our mindset determines outcomes because it directs the quality of our activities and our ability to self-evaluate with care and precision.

We are caretakers of our emerging musicianer self. In this regard, we take our time, balancing all of the dimensions of our experience.

An Important Distinction

Mapping and music theory are often confused. Knowing the difference is an important part of our studies.

Mapping is getting to know our fretboard. We can do this in many ways. Using fretboard grids with symbols is a common method.

Music theory is understanding the relationships between tonal content. It also provides naming systems for these relationships.

These are two distinct ways of understanding our tonal system and how things are arranged on the fingerboard. And, when we know both, we can describe fretboard configurations in theoretical language, and apply theory to the board. They can merge into unified knowledge.