Sunday, December 21, 2008

Guitar Beginning Lessons

Beginning lessons for learning to play the guitar will encompass a basic overview of everything on needs in order to eventually master the musical instrument. When learning to play the guitar for the first time, a student will typically begin the introductory lessons by getting familiar with the parts of the guitar, then moving onto basic techniques, before finally learning scales and basic guitar chords in order to begin reading sheet music.

A guitar has many different parts, and depending on if a student uses an acoustic or electric guitar, these parts may vary wildly from one guitar to the next. Beginning lessons will first introduce the iconic shape of the guitar, the “double-curved” body. For acoustic guitars, this shape is a deliberate way for the vibration of the guitar’s strings to resonate in the most effective way, and takes advantage of the hollow soundboard and the circular sound hole (located above the bridge) to create sound. For electric guitars, there is no hollow body or sound hole, yet vibration is still the main source of the sound as pickups located near the bridge transmit the vibrato from plucked strings through a cable to the amplifier, producing a note/chord when played. Beginning guitar lessons will cover how to tune the instrument using the tuner knobs located on the headstock, and teach new players the proper seated position for playing their guitar before moving on to basic techniques.

After learning the parts of a guitar, a beginning lesson might cover the use of the fretboard (aka ‘fingerboard’) along the neck of the guitar. This is the main vehicle for manipulating the tone of the guitar, and along with strumming/plucking/picking the strings of the instrument will produce a various note or chord. A basic exercise is to learn a few music scales, while practicing proper finger placement on the fretboard and proper string plucking movements. Once the basics are down, other techniques can be tackled, such as playing basic chords by plucking several (or all) strings simultaneously; this will require a little practice to get the hang of for beginning guitar lesson students.

At this point, most of the work for beginning guitar students is focused on practicing daily drills, such as playing the chromatic scale until all the notes can be fingered from memory. This aids in making the memorization of guitar chords easier, since a chord is basically a set of notes played at the same time. After learning the chromatic scale and a few chords, the beginning guitarist will have the tools required to start playing songs by reading simple sheet music. Using sheet music as a guide for how to play, new guitarists will be able to find their skill steadily improve by practicing increasingly difficult sheet music, and learning new chords as needed. A common marker for ‘graduating’ past the beginner’s stage is the ability to play scales and chords from memory, and being able to sight read simple songs (while following the sheet music) without error.

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