Whenever I meet a student for the first time I ask them a few questions:
Why would you like to learn to play the guitar?
What’s your favorite kind of music?
Who would be your favorite artists/bands?
Do you wish to be a musician or do you just want to learn to play songs?
The previous question always baffles them. The common response to this question is,”Is there a difference?”
The solution is”Yes, there is a huge gap… to me anyway.”
If a student just wants to learn to play tunes then I find the songs they like, work it out in various keys and then teach them the chords and anything else that they should play the song exactly the way they hear it. This method is very productive in them learning to play the songs they love and in building a repertoire extremely fast. In a year some of my pupils have learnt between 30 and 50 songs.
I find that the students who prefer this method want rapid results and don’t mind not knowing any music theory. Their goal is to simply play tunes and have fun. I, too, have a lot of fun teaching them. One reason I like this process is that I do not need to enter heavy music concept details.
For those who want to be serious musicians my approach is different. We develop a repertoire of tunes slowly, but they learn every single detail about music – reading, theory, scales, chords, arpeggios, improvisation etc.
This method is highly involved and teaches the student how to think as a musician, the way to listen like a musician and how to do like a musician. By the end of these courses the student can walk into any exam and pass with flying colors, they will be able to pick up any piece of music, read it and play with it.
Becoming a musician is more than just the ability to get a guitar and strum chords. It’s about knowing how chords work in combination with scales, it is about understanding how to use scales, Copper City Wildlife Removal, chords and arpeggios to improvise and create new melodies and harmonies; it is about knowing what a chord is by just listening to it.
In as much as I teach my pupils I understand so much as well every time I go over the material.
So, in my opinion, there’s a huge difference between just learning to play tunes and becoming a musician. One isn’t better than the other. The end goal is just different. Which one would you choose?