Why Students Just Want To Have Fun (Fun = Play Songs)
Guitar students are for the most part, not planning on becoming the next Joe Satriani or John Petrucci. They just want have fun. This means guitar students on the whole want to play songs as soon as possible. They want to cut past all the boring bits and get straight to the fun stuff and the reason is simple. When they watch their favourite musicians play it looks like fun. The hard work required to become a great musician has been omitted. This means its important to be teaching students songs but I also believe this should be balanced with skills. In other words your program should be build on a foundation of skill development because skills are the basis to any song. So how is this achieved?
Teach me to fish
The G4 GUITAR METHOD is based on the old Chinese wisdom of ‘Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a life time’. Everything we do is based on developing the skills required to ensure students can play the songs they want to play. We view G4 as a skills based program but only to the point that the skills allow students to play the songs they know and love.
2 components to learning any song
Firstly there are the skills required to actually play the song and secondly there is the memorisation of the song. We cover what we call the 7 Essential Skills and tie these into each lesson. Even when teaching songs we always relate them back to the essential skills being applied. This helps students to see how important skills are and how they can be transferred from one song to another. They gradually come to appreciate the real value of skill development. One example of a skill is song memory. You may very well be capable of playing a song but, if you get halfway through and forget the next part you won’t be too popular with the rest of the band. The skills of most songs are covered in the 7 essential skills so when teaching songs its worth paying extra attention to developing song memory.
As G4 GUITAR METHOD teacher we recommend you also teach memory techniques. Using acronyms are one such example but also teaching patterns and form are important. In other words don’t just teach a song with out pointing out how to memorise the song. Another important element to this skill is what I’ll call fast retention. The ability to listen or watch another player and quickly absorb what they are doing and to retain that information is an important skill. Students will accelerate their learning if they can retain songs, licks, riffs etc quickly.