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Technical Overview

There are three popular (loosely defined) approaches to learning the guitar:

1. The technical approach - this would involve sight-reading traditional sheet music, learning the fret board in terms of musical notation, and playing from the perspective of keyed scales. This is a great approach. Unfortunately, it is a very demanding and time consuming undertaking, and therefore not realistic for the casual practitioner. Many students quit before they realize any real benefit from this approach, because it takes so long to get to playing real, fun music.

2. Song memorization approach - memorize popular songs, and in the course of seeing how the pros do it one might eventually pick up enough to figure out how the guitar works. This approach may be good for impressing friends with a few songs at a party, but is not a good approach to mastering the guitar. The student will be limited to the chords and techniques available within the few songs he may have time to learn, and may never see the big picture that will allow him to really express his own musical artisanry.

3. Practical theory approach - master commonly used scale patterns, chord forms, and rhythmpatterns, and couple those tools with a little music theory and one's own creativity. This is a much faster way to get to the fun of really making music, especially appropriate for the adult beginner with time constraints. This approach involves learning how the guitar works rather than memorizing individual songs or burning out on the tedious repetition involved in learning sight-reading. It will equip the student to tackle the technical approach or the song memorization approach on his own or with further advanced instruction. In the meantime he will be able to play well enough to enjoy it and to participate in a group if desired.

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