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> Get Jamming Early !
Ben Higgins
post Jul 27 2014, 01:48 PM
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Get Jamming Early !

My latest Beginner lesson on CHORDS is now up ! Chords are nearly always the first thing that we will learn on the guitar. We will place our fingers awkwardly on the correct strings and try to strum. PLUNK ! Some of the notes weren't quite clear there. So we adjust our fingers a bit and try to strum again. BRIIING ! There we go, that's more like it !

On and on this goes until we've got many or most of the 1st position chord shapes.

But how long until we're making something that sounds musical ? Well I advocate trying to jam out a song. If you have the opportunity to have a friend or teacher jam with you this is probably the best way of getting the feeling of jamming. They can adjust tempo to your abilites and give you encouragement when you're unsure of the next chord change and can set you right when you've got your fingering slightly wrong.

Backing tracks are great but they won't stop or slow down for you when you forget what's coming next. But when you've gotten 1 or 2 simple chord progressions down then you might want to try your hand at a backing track or metronome. Personally, you can't beat the gratification of jamming with other people.

But why all this talk of jamming ? Can't we just keep teaching ourselves new chords and techniques ? Well, you could but you will be missing a vital compenent. RHYTHM. This is the cornerstone of music. RHYTHM is something that we can all attain, even people who insist that they "have no rhythm". They do have rhythm, they just need to unlock it. If there were people who truly didn't have any rhythm then they would be unable to walk. They would be unable to string sentences together. Just because something isn't in 4/4 doesn't mean it doesn't have a rhthym to it. But the rhythm of walking and talking is felt differently, by the swing and momentum of limbs or the flow of words. In music, though, we do still have to be in synch with our accompaniment so we have to learn how to play with rhythm and this is best done by... jamming.

I'm using jamming in a similar context to 'playing'. I mean to just play through some chords. Not trading licks with another player but just playing for pure fun. It's not until you do this that you begin to feel things come into synch. The way your hand moves whilst strumming with down strokes and up strokes will begin to feel more confident. The fall of your arm will coincide with the beat. If you're jamming with another person you can watch their strumming hand as a visual reference point as well.

There's another benefit for hurling yourself into things. Immersion ! By throwing yourself into the thick of things, you're making your brain work harder. Your saying, we're not doing the bare minimum here, we have to work on a higher level. It's a bit like guitarists teaching themselves to shred. Not only do their fingers need to move at a higher level but in order for that to happen, their brain must be operating at a higher level. To play faster, you need to think faster to be faster !

So, to top it all of, when it comes to gaining a sense of rhythm you've just got to feel it and get jamming ! Make yourself think and get the brain working ! Pretty soon you'll be throwing out chord changes with ease !

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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 27 2014, 04:42 PM
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Great input here Ben smile.gif You guys should be profiting BIG TIME!

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