Free Online Text Lessons:
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Virtually every technique, skill, and concept used by guitarists is covered in these pages. The basic lessons start out with material the absolute beginner should know - no previous experience is required. Intermediate and advanced lessons progress through the most difficult skills. The goal of these lessons is to help you learn as quickly and effectively as possible, with musical examples chosen through years of organized instruction, and necesarry trial and error in real life lessons.
These pages were written by a professional guitarist with more than 2 decades of performance experience and over 18 years of applied teaching experience. The author earns his living solely by performing and teaching guitar every day. Nick currently teaches more than 80 private students a week, and performs several nights a week in a nationally recognized venue. (To learn more about the author, click here).
These lessons were originally written as curriculum for the beginning, intermediate, and advanced guitar classes at Indiana University Music School. They have since grown and been refined by constant daily application in real lessons with students learning to play guitar at every skill and interest level.
Through more than 18 years of teaching in university and private settings, the author has personally taught more than three thousand students. Many of the students are professional guitarists. Many are active performers in their churches and communities. Many are hobbyists learning to play for enjoyment. Students have ranged in age from 4 to 85. Teenagers, college students, adults, children, and retirees have learned from, and have helped develop these lessons over tens of thousands of daily repetitions.
If you learn to play all of the examples, and apply all of the concepts in these pages, you can become a capable guitarist. It does take time - and these lessons are not lightweight by any means. The materials on these pages typically take several years to learn effectively - even by those who are talented and driven to learn the instrument. Mastering the concepts, techniques and patterns in a way that is creatively unique can take a lifetime.
The heart of these lessons is in the musical examples. Recordings and high quality downloadable PDF files of every piece of music are provided. To download the PDF files for offline study, right click on the file and select "save target as" to save it to your hard drive (most people already have the free Adobe PDF reader installed. You can get it here if you need it). Low resolution images of each musical example are also provided on each page to allow for quick skimming. Unless otherwise noted, recordings are in ultra-compressed mp3 format.
(NOTE: This website has recently been moved to a new web host, and most of the music files are in the process of being re-uploaded. Please excuse the delay. All lessons are still currently available in text format).
How To Learn The Material On This Website:
Here it is - the standard sermon every music instructor tries to instill with agonizing intent ... and the one lesson that virtually every music student chooses to ignore or prove false until countless hours of frustration force the truth:
Careful, slow practice yields the results you desire.
Practice is the single most important key to developing musical skill. Your improvement is directly proportional to the amount of time, energy, and focus you give to practicing. If you don't practice, you won't get better ... period. It is possible to have a lot of fun playing around with the things you learn, and you can gain book knowledge by reading though texts about music; but without dedicated practice, you will not become proficient.
The purpose of practice is to repeat actions until they become habit. Everything you do on the guitar should eventually be driven by habitual movement. Movements performed by habit require little or no conscious thought. Actions performed by habit tend to be much faster, easier, and more natural to execute than those performed by concious thought. All of these attributes make habit a necessity in every area of technical skill.
Habits are formed by repetition. If you repeat something several times every day for a month, it will become a habit. To make the skills you want habitual, repeat them several times every day for a month. You will get better.
That's it - the magical key to musical nirvana for any motivated student. If you can find the time every day to repeat the things that you want to learn, those things will get learned, and they will get easier over time.
In the beginning, there are muscles to develop, coordination to improve, calluses to grow, information to understand, intimidation to overcome, and other barriers to work through. None of those barriers will be overcome successfully without time to internalize all of the things you learn. Everybody has their own rate of learning, and some people learn various skills faster than others, but anybody can learn to play guitar to a degree if time is put into repeating the material.
The Golden Rule Of Practicing:
Practice slowly. The faster you practice, the more mistakes you make. When you practice mistakes, you learn mistakes. If you want to learn your skills without a lot of mistakes, confusion, and discomfort, then practice those skills slowly. Everything you learn gradually becomes faster and easier to perform as habit takes over. Give the things you practice a few weeks and they will get easier.
The process of learning to play the guitar can be a lot of fun. Learning to play a piece of music that you like can be one of the most satisfying and motivating experiences in life. Learning a new song or technique can make a bad day dissolve into sweet harmony.
Enjoy the music and lessons presented in these pages. Have fun, stick with it, and good luck!
This material is copyrighted and currently in active publication. Feel free to download and learn from the lessons, even if you are not a private student, but please do not redistribute them without written permission from the author!