Augustin (homework link)

Recommended practice time: 10 minutes daily

What to practice: Joy to the World

Keys to effective practice!: Now with the tune tabbed out we can buckle in and start expanding the range of our fretboard fingering. Because we are now reaching the fifth fret, it will be best for us to experiment between using our pinky finger to reach it or alternatively shifting your hand up to use your ring finger (the one beside your pinky) and shifting back to the position we are already familiar with when not playing so high. Both methods are tried and true, so try them both out and see what works and feels right for you. Eventually we will want to incorporate the pinky into our playing as just another finger, but for now let’s aim to get this song down and take it from there!

Lucien (homework link)

Recommended practice time: 5-10 minutes daily

What to practice: Lesson 88 – Simple Gifts

Keys to effective practice!: Now with your handy-dandy chord chart at your behest playing through the chord progressions from 88 onward should be a little easier – no more page flippin’! Take your time and practice going from chord to chord slowly. Start just by going between 2 of them, perhaps Em and G, and get comfortable and familiar with that before stringing them all together. When you are comfortable with that, try another pair of chords. Look for similarities and patterns between them too, as this part of playing guitar is quite visual. Do you see any shapes when you finger them? Do your fingers line up in familiar ways between chords? Keep a look out!

Katarina (homework link)

Recommended practice time: 5-10 minutes daily

What to practice: Nursery rhymes, chords for I see the light!

Keys to effective practice!: Take it slow and easy. We will go over how to read these songs more next lesson but see if you can figure them out on your own – just by humming some of nursery rhymes you might shock yourself with finding those notes on the uke! Til then Katarina!

Van

Recommended practice time: 10 minutes daily

What to practice: Minuet in G by JS Bach

Keys to effective practice!: Chunk it out. Aim to play a couple of bars at a time, ironing out the kinks within them, then move onto the next couple of bars and repeat. Once you’ve done so then try to combine the 2 couplets into on strand of 4 bars, etc… The neat thing about this tune is that there is a lot of similar motion and movement throughout the piece – if you look at the physically notated music you may see it. Do you notice any repeating rhythms? What about contours? – do notes ascend and descend in similar fashions? Recognizing things like this can help make learning and ultimately playing music easier and more enjoyable. Ah, and PS: keep an eye out for notes that are effected by the key signature, they can be sneaky.

Simon

Recommended practice time:15 daily

What to practice: Megadeth – Holy Wars, Metallica – Master of Puppets

Keys to effective practice!: It’s everybody’s favourite time of the year, metronome time! For both these tunes (primarily Master of Puppets as that’s what we’re going to look at mostly for now) let’s slow things down a bit and really dig into the time just as we did for Black Dog. Thankfully the rhythm for this tune is more straightforward than Led Zeppelin as there’s just one rhythmic grid – no triplets or any of that. However, that means that our timing has to be pretty calculated and even otherwise we’ll start swinging like a jazz tune when we want it to be aggressive like metal. So, while playing the intro start by just turning on the metronome and playing a pulse of steady 8th notes. Once you’ve locked that in with the click, then apply the notes. Were you locked? Were there parts where you were ahead or behind? Don’t know? Record it with your phone and listen back. Let’s gather some data and information so we can properly address it! You got it!

Hugo (homework link)

Recommended practice time: 15+ minutes daily

What to practice: Finger picking tunes – Paco Pena, Lindsey Buckingham; sneak peak at flat picking tunes.

Keys to effective practice!: While playing Big Love hone in on that bottom note thumb pulse as a reliable metric for the rest of the rhythm to groove off. Some multi-instrumentalists such as Dave Grohl in his tune “Stranger Things Have Happened” – another fantastic fingerpicking tune worth checking out – have commented that songs like this can be viewed as a drumset on guitar, with that bottom note being the bass/kick, and the rest being a combination of hi-hats and snare. I think Big Love is an instance where this analogy applies. While practicing this experiment with different ways of striking those low notes. You may find, for instance, that allowing the weight of your arm and wrist to simply fall with gravity to be a more reliant way of getting a steady pulse versus bending and plucking your thumb consistently (I think the latter is prone to more inconsistency as it requires finer motor movement). If you do try this approach consider also leaning into it with your body and tapping your feet. When performers are moving around while playing it sometimes is for show, and sometimes, like this, it really helps actually perform more difficult grooves more seamlessly – the key indicator is whether or not something feels like tension and strain, or is natural; while keeping in mind that something which is natural might simply be difficult at first because it is simply new. Keep on keeping on!

Ada (homework link)

Recommended practice time: 10 minutes daily

What to practice: Traitor by Olivia Rodrigo

Keys to effective practice!: There’s a few new chords in here, all very nice and lush that seemingly seamlessly flow in and out of one another. Take some time and try to memorize the shapes along with their proper names. Can you find a way to finger these chords that makes it simple to move from one to another? You may see that playing a chord with certain fingers feels fine on its own, but maybe doesn’t make as much sense depending on where you’re going next – like wearing a winter coat during summertime, it might feel alright on its own inside, but once you go out you’re going to wish you had on shorts and a T-shirt. We will hone in on this more during our next lesson, but experiment nonetheless, self-discovery is one of the best discoveries! We will also dig more into strumming and picking patterns, but also please try some on your own too!

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