A new student

I’m still putting together the post about chord extensions. My Flash programming is very slow. It’s getting there and part 1 should be up this evening.

Whilst the wait and the excitement builds I thought I’d write a little bit about the latest student to start having lesson with me. He is only 6 years 6 months old. When someone so young starts it’s hard to tell if they’ll settle down to the routine of learning.

Hayden, who appears in a couple of previous blogs, was up to now the youngest.

Anyway, I arrived at the little boy’s house on Sunday morning to be greeted by mum and dad and a very small guitar. The first in a series on good events began when the guitar tuned up without a problem. There was a slightly earlier good event when a cup of tea and biscuits were placed where I could reach.

So the lessons began. Whatever the age of my students everybody starts the same. The youngster had to learn the notes on the fretboard. A teenager, or an adult would be expected to cover the whole 6 strings but not today.

After getting him to play the high open E string I placed the small first finger of his left hand just behind the metal strip on the first fret. A couple a goes later and a clear sound, and a smiling face appeared. The boy’s mother was sitting in, she smiled too.

‘That’s called an F. First comes E then comes F.’ I said.

Mother and son repeated this.

‘Now we have to listen very carefully. The next note is higher than the last but not as high as between E and F.’ I played all the sounds: E – F – F#.

These notes were played first by the little boy and then by mum.

Every time a note was played the sounds gained clarity.

I know at the start of every new lesson whether it’s going to be a struggle or not. This was not going to be a struggle.

Mum helped getting his fingers organised and when he needed a rest she played while he named the notes. Mum had never played guitar before either.

All my lessons last for an hour, so did this one.

Then we arrived at the note of B. I checked that he understood that the sharp sign meant a note was getting higher by half a tone.

He nodded.

Afer playing the note the next fret up he told me it was higher than a semitone.

Yay him!!

Now he knew that B, and E don’t have sharps.

I checked the tuning once more and he wrote out all the notes from the open string E to the 12 fret into his book.

One clever boy. People think that at that age there’s nothing that can be done. Well, guess what they are wrong.

When it was time to go I gave him a big blue sticker – he chose the colour and we waved goodbye.

By the way the small guitar was bought at Hollywood Music Stony Stratford. Stony Stratford. Good shop. Nice people.

That’s it till this evening.

There’s an index of the earlier posts at the top of the page if you want to read about Hayden and the way I teach.

Len Collins author of Len Collins’ Guitar Breakthrough

To visit the Guitar Breakthrough website and buy the DVD or the streamed lessons click the image below.

Guitar Breakthrough DVD

Guitar Breakthrough DVD


Plastered in Paris

I’m busy working on the next blog at the moment. The purpose of the posting will be to explain all about  chords with hats on.  As usual I’m pushing the thin boundaries of my Flash knowledge to its very small limitations.

Anyway, it will be well worth waiting for.

I went to see Plastered in Paris play tonight. Avina was taking to photographs so I’ll have some exciting pictures for you to see sometime during the week.

They, the band were brilliant. It was the first time they had played together since TC (top right) went off to university. It was like he’d never been away. Amazing.

Plastered in Paris

Plastered in Paris

I seem to spend all of my time going on and on and on and on about the defeatist nature of TAB and Rhythm patterns. My other major moan is aimed at bands that do covers which are note for note copies of the original.

Well tonight Plastered in Paris proved me right. All three guitarists in P.I.P. have been taught by me. The original tracks are original and so too were the covers.  They were loud, dynamic and as interesting visually as they were musically.

Adam on drums was excellent. He held the set together with some very tight drumming. He was powerful and positive during every track.

James (bottom right) playing bass is another ‘I told you so.’

It was my idea that James filled the vacant bassist slot. At the time this was met by universal disagreement and disapproval by everyone except me. Well, tonight you would never have guessed that he wasn’t a natural-born bass player. Superb stuff. He played with accuracy, strength and moved about on stage as most bass players do which is not very much. James made my extra journey, and my missed supper well worth the effort.

TA has great on stage personality, off stage he’s still the same likeable guy, you know. Because of the pressures school work as he prepares for university Tom hasn’t spent a lot of time focusing on his guitar playing  lately. You would never have believed it if you saw him tonight powering his way through the songs. Toms share lead and vocal duties with TC in equal measure. TA was nothing short of magical this evening. I was so impressed.

TC has been away at university since the autumn so before the 40 minute set I had a chance to talk to him  about how his change of life style was getting on. The opportunities to find a new band seem to be very limited there. He has settled in well which is really good news. TA and TC could be musical twins. Tom’s (either of them) lead guitar playing is fast, precise and a joy to watch and listen to. Tom’s (either of them) singing leapt off the stage. TC also leapt off of the stage, at least upwards several times.

Quite a few of my students were there tonight. After watching Plastered in Paris I hope they understand why I encourage them to get into a band and get on stage. TA, TC and James all know and use the modes and the full extent of the fretboard. If you think music reading and scales are pointless exercises let me tell you all the three guitarists in P.I.P. can read music and utilise their scales. They’ve put everything I have ever taught into their energy and music.

Andy and Jo, two of my ex-students were there and it was lovely to hear they will both playing guitar in the morning.

Avina’s photo’s to follow soon. Well done P.I.P.

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Len Collins author of Len Collins’ Guitar Breakthrough

To visit the Guitar Breakthrough website click the image below.

Guitar Breakthrough DVD

Guitar Breakthrough DVD