How To Teach A 3 Year Old To Play Drums First Steps With Your New Guitar

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First Steps With Your New Guitar

You’ve just gotten home from the store after doing your research, or you’re the proud recipient of a valuable gift.

Check out your new guitar with fierce anticipation. The light shines from the highly polished surface. Your new amp and cables are ready to go.

Here they sit.

Now what?

First, here’s what not to do: Worry… Panic… Feel overwhelmed.

The bad news is: No one is born knowing how to play the guitar

The good news is: Plenty of others have paved the way for you.

The practical tips in this article will get you started on the right foot. Think of them as “pre” beginner lessons.

Step 1: Buy a music theory book.

The musician does not like to admit it, but it is difficult to play well if he does not understand the underlying concepts of music. You can probably get by, maybe for a long time, without knowing music theory. But you don’t want to “pass”. You want to enjoy the tool. You want to understand how to play a melody, improvise a solo, or replace a difficult chord with an easier one. It’s not hard, just study a bit of music theory every week.

My favorite theory book is “Practical Theory – Complete” by Sandy Feldstein. Although not specifically for the guitar, this consolidated version of his multi-volume set is full of well-paced material, clear explanations and exercises to check your understanding (the answers are in the back of the book). Work from front to back, or use the detailed Table of Contents to jump directly to a specific topic. It’s a bargain at about $10.

Step 2: Buy two or more guitar instruction books with DVDs.

The best guitar instruction books for beginners include a DVD. The book provides traditional written instructions, reference cards, a glossary and more. A well-made DVD should include demonstrations, instructions, tuning help, plus drum and backing tracks simple to play.

Fender has two very good instructional books with DVDs, one for acoustic guitar (“Fender Presents: Getting Started with Acoustic Guitar – A Beginner’s Guide”) and one for electric guitar (“Fender Presents: Getting Started with Guitar electrical – A Beginner’s Guide”). They are practically interchangeable, so just take one. Each contains step-by-step instructions for learning tuning methods, essential chords, scales, practice tips, picking and strumming techniques, basic care of your instrument, and more. The DVD contains over three hours of material to help illustrate the material in the book, plus backing tracks for the exercises, an animated fretboard, and visual aids for things like finger placement, strumming, muting, and much more.

Books and DVDs will not replace a good instructor, nor will they teach you an in-depth guitar technique, but they are a good way to start.

Step 3: Buy a couple of simple songbooks.

There are a million of them out there. Buy the ones with songs you are familiar with and only have a few chords per song. Most include chord charts to refresh your memory. Don’t worry too much if a few songs have complex chords: either come back to them later, simplify the chord by playing only the first three strings, or have someone show you how to change the key with a capo.

Here are some tips: “Country Licks For Guitar” by Steve Trovato and Jerome Arnold features lead guitar licks from country guitar masters: Chet Atkins, Jimmy Bryant, James Burton, Albert Lee, Scotty Moore, more… a CD (included) contains normal and slow speed support tracks. The “Instant Guitar Fakebook”, edited by Peter Pickow, contains over 150 songs, plus photo/chord diagrams. The songs include the melody line in music and tab, with lyrics. Have fun with “Front Porch Songs” – a collection of old songs, stories and funny jokes collected by Wayne Erbsen. “The Greater Guitar White Pages” by Warner Brothers, is a vast collection of songs spanning many years and styles, from “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter” by Herman’s Hermits, to “Photograph” by Def Leppard and Smash . “All Star” by Mouth.

Step 4: Find a way to learn from others.

I started in a classroom environment, where your mistakes blend into a concert of error. It’s not intimidating at all.

Of course, one-on-one lessons are the best way to learn while avoiding bad habits…assuming you find the right instructor. Ask around and don’t be afraid to change if you don’t learn and have fun.

Jamming with friends is a great way to start your game. You will be encouraged to practice and are sure to understand the occasional missed agreement or perplexed look that is in their way.

Since you are reading this, you are part of the online community. There are a number of guitar sites on the Internet. I recommend the community-oriented http://www.guitarnoise.com for instruction and sharing by guitarists of all levels. My own site, start-playing-guitar.com is geared towards guitarists who are absolute beginners, all the way up to those who are just starting to play with others. Both sites are updated regularly. Take a few minutes to view each one.

Step 5: Practice every day.

It can be hard, especially when you’re starting out, but it’s the only way to improve. At the very least, work on some of your favorite material every day.

Step 6:Have fun!

This is the most important part, enjoy your new guitar!

Mary Poppins said “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”.

Snow White’s Seven Dwarf made her workday easier by advising: “whistle while you work.”

So: Play with others… Really turn up the volume when you’re by yourself… Get a simple drum machine for accompaniment… Learn a very simple song and play it for all it’s worth.. .Anyone!

A lifetime of learning and enjoyment awaits. Now go get started!

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