Philadelphia Guitar Lessons
Thoughts on learning guitar from David Joel’s Philadelphia Guitar Lessons Studio
The best teaching philosophy is to teach a student how to learn forever. To guide and show them the available paths toward the expression of emotion through music. It is easily possible to teach a student to teach themselves if some basic skills are taught. Understanding why and how music works, learning to transcribe music, and self-awareness of technique are the basic threads that are needed to weave a musician’s expression.
A desire for knowledge, if engrained enough, will instill enthusiasm to learn and improve. It is important that, as a student, to express creativity through practicing the most useful and enjoyable techniques. People learn and want very different things from a guitar teacher. But there are also many common needs, and the solutions are in the explanations. Making the same information clear to a beginner and showing the path for exploration to those who wish to follow it is essential.
Why and how
Every student should get an understanding of WHY things work and HOW the information can be applied to playing. This enables their own creativity to explore the relationships between scales and chords and begin to develop their own harmonic knowledge and unique voice. These connections need to be taught at a basic level because some people have trouble making the connections themselves.
When a student transcribes music regularly a relationship between sound and hand position develops faster and more musically than when only shown these relationships between sounds as scales and arpeggios. The understanding of these harmonic ideas as practical examples can really help in understanding how to use them. Learning becomes the ability to perform any harmonic idea that can be imagined or heard in the head. This is a skill that can take many years of study to develop but even when only studying this method for a short period the benefits can be huge.
Consistently studying this technique a few hours, a week makes a huge impact on a student’s understanding of the scales used in different styles and techniques. Even at the most basic level this requires a deeper level of listening than may have been encountered before. Writing down the music also has major advantages that cannot be found elsewhere. Learning to write down a rhythm is a skill sadly lacking in many young guitarists and having a strong understanding of rhythms helps the student in many ways. It develops the rhythm guitar skills, helps with sight reading, and develops into a complete understanding of rhythmic development.
The analysis of the transcribed work also enables the student to get even deeper into the music they have chosen to transcribe. This can give a better understanding of music theory put into practice.
Technique develops through careful self-awareness and repetitious practice. This can be achieved by looking for faults, aiming to develop a smooth and comfortable technique that allows the player to express the sounds and feelings in the head and heart. Technique does not exist only for itself but is a means to facilitate the expression of ideas.