It's important to learn all the concepts and develop good skills, but you must remember that it's all about playing music. As soon as you can, dig into some real tunes. You can learn songs for on the internet with sites like YouTube, and I encourage you to learn all you can from all the best teachers. Here are some songbook suggestions I would like to make for teachers and students. Order them from your favorite local music store.
Easy Pop Melodies
I like to use this book with many of my beginning students. I have broken down the tunes in terms of how they relate to the concepts learned in my book, and I am happy to share that page with folks who are using "The Guitar Lesson Companion." I recommend buying the cheaper version of this book, without the CD, because the CD sounds really cheesy.
You can never go wrong with the blues! I love using this book with my students because they don't have to learn it all in order. I ask my students to first listen to the CD and pick out the tunes they want to learn. It compliments "The Guitar Lesson Companion" very well, and it is fun for teachers and students to use. Also, the CD sounds pretty cool.
Classical Studies for Pick Style Guitar
This is a great book to use with advancing students who dig classical music. I love that it was designed for pick-style players.
The New Real Book
A classic, must-have book for the jazz students. This book has easy through advanced tunes that allow students to use all the concepts presented in "The Guitar Lesson Companion." From reading single notes, chord changes, soloing and learning how to construct chord melodies, this is where it's at!
Gateway Chord Songs: I like my students to play songs right away, so each week I usually assign one section from, "The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One" and a few songs that I teach by ear. Pages 97-120 in "The Guitar Lesson Companion" are perfect for a beginning guitarist's first month of lessons because of all the training exercises. I picked these songs because most people are familiar with them and the songs help students develop proper strumming (consistent down+up motion), basic soloing and singing while playing. Once these skills are mastered, they can be applied to many other songs.
Week One: Pages 97-101
Concepts: First Chords, Transition Exercises, Shuffle Riff, Minor Pentatonic Scale and Blues Solo
Suggested Songs: Blues in A
Week Two: Pages 101-107
Concepts: Second Group of Chords, Transition Exercises, Chord Jams, Strum Patterns, Major Scale and Solo
Suggested Songs: Wild Thing, Twist and Shout, Amazing Grace, Bad Moon Rising, What I Like About You
Week Three: Pages 108-114
Concepts: Third Group of Chords, Transition Exercises, Chord Jams, Strum Patterns and Solo
Suggested Songs: Sweet Home Alabama, Brown Eyed Girl, Hey Joe, Knocking on Heaven's Door, No Woman No Cry, Louie Louie
Week Four: Pages 115-120
Concepts: Fourth Group of Chords, Transition Exercises, Chord Jams, Strum Patterns, Solos and Songwriting Chart
Suggested Songs: Hotel California, House of the Rising Sun, La Bamba, Blues in E, Original Songs and Jams
Just broke a guitar string. What strings would you recomend? I dont have an ear or feel for whats different just yet.
I recently received this question from a student who bought "The Guitar Lesson Companion" online:
I revieved the book yesterday and I am not clear with what the CD has. All the tracks are like background music (audio only) there is no instructions. Can you please explain me how to make use of it?
The CD contains 67 backing tracks for the exercises in the book. If an exercise can be played with a backing track, the track number is listed at the top left side of the exercise like this, "TRACK 14." For most of the exercises, you play the melody. On some of the exercises, you play the chords.
For most of the reading exercises, the tempo is about 72bpm and for most of the chord exercises, the tempo is about 80bpm. So, if you cannot play an exercise up to speed the first time (which most students cannot do) I suggest you work each exercise out with a metronome and then put the CD on to test yourself. While the "answer" is not played on the CD, your ear should guide you in your practice sessions and your teacher will be able to evaluate you during your lesson. I did this so that you learn how to read music (or chord charts) and not just develop your ear. There are many more exercises that do just that.
Great question, and keep up the hard work!