A Little Marley Love

This week I went back to AndyGuitar to continue his beginners level courses. I also decided to move back to Google Hangouts on Air for my video recording. This is because I feel like it has provided better audio quality for my videos (as best as built in laptop recording hardware can offer).

This week Andy used more pop culture songs to teach new skills. This included terminology, and my first song where I really had to move my fingers far on the guitar neck. He did it with the help of Bob Marley and The Troggs.

From Bob Marley, we borrowed his song “Three Little Birds”. This song included a chord change from E to D which we have never done before. This is a fairly far jump on the guitar neck, especially for untrained fingers, and it took me a while to get it an acceptable transition. Luckily Andy did a lot of repetition, and I did it individually at a slower tempo, both of which eventually got me to where I needed to be.

Next Andy introduced me to the term “riff”, which is similar to what I would call a motif. In more classical music a motif is a simply short phrase, and it will show up all throughout a piece, sometimes identically and sometimes in a manipulated form. Similarly, a riff is a short repeated phrase (common throughout jazz and pop music). It is essentially a brief phrase that can easily be used to identify a song, sometimes even being repeated in the background.

The Troggs used this idea in their song “Wild Thing”, which has a chord progression of A-D-E-D-A, repeated over and over again. This included another jump from E to D, which I struggled through until it sounded acceptable. A tip that Andy taught was to dampen the first string with your thumb in the D and A chords since that note and string are not part of the chords. It helped with the crazy big leaps that this song offered.

I think this week was a big improvement over last week for learning. It also goes to show that in some circumstances, students might not excel during independent study (and also the reverse for guided learning). While I got 500 miles to somewhat work last week, this week I was a bit more put together because Andy guided with various learning strategies such as slowing down and focus points (repeating a chord change 10 times for example). I also loved that he used pop culture references, and managed to really utilize them for an excellent lesson. It is something I hope to do in my own lessons in the future, as it can make the lesson a lot more fun and meaningful, helping keep the class focus longer.


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