Guitar Scales | Guitar Lessons for the Serious Taker

This content was created for Curtis Music Academy


Some people might have a song to play or two just to kind of show where they’re at normally are one dollar guitar or guitar lessons geared towards the beginner. While others may want to dive into learning guitar scales and understanding key techniques for the guitar. A person who has no experience at the guitar might not know where to start. And so at that point we just begin to talk about all things guitar. And I always do start off with the finger numbers. I just show them thumbs or one finger, two fingers, three fingers, and five. And so that’s really important because throughout the whole book, the book is geared to help you all the way through knowing where to put your hands. So normally the idea would be OK. So for this new song, you’re going to put finger two on D and so they would know right where that is. 


One thing also that we do is we offer a couple of choices when it comes to taking the guitar. We offer the traditional route, which is our Faber book, which is learning how to read sheet music. And the really great thing about this book is that it starts off assuming that the student doesn’t know anything about playing guitar scales and it builds on that. Every single song in the guitar or guitar lesson book is a stair step increase to knowledge about playing the guitar. So it never requires that. It’s not like a big jump that you go from kindergarten to eighth grade all overnight. Right. It’s just one single finger teaching you next and next. And it’s a really great tool, not overwhelming, but just a really great challenge level. 


So the really positive thing about that is that you can if you learn how to read sheet music, you can actually read any sheet music in the whole world. It’s very similar to learning how to read books and learning how to read the English language. If you learn how to read and write in school, you actually can read any book in the world. It opens you up to many opportunities. And sheet music is exactly the same way. If you learn how to read sheet music, it doesn’t matter what genre you want to play or anything. You can just get the sheet music and learn how to play songs that way. It’s a huge benefit. The other way that I tell people that they can learn how to play guitar scales by reading chord charts. 


And so it’s really different than reading sheet music. And in fact, this method would be used in pop music, contemporary music and things of that nature. So songs like The Beatles Let It Be, or songs like Adele and her music, things like that, that would actually be reading chord charts and starting instead of reading notes on a staff. You’re actually just looking at a page telling you to play a C chord or play a G chord, things like that. And so I have noticed that it is easier to teach beginners. You can actually go either way. But sometimes if people don’t want to go full fledged into learning to play guitar scales, and that’s okay!


Sometimes people really just want to learn in a month all that they can. I would actually recommend learning to read chords, because once you learn seven or eight chords, you can actually play multitudes of music because it’s very repetitive. Most music in the world is made up of four chords. And so that is a really fun thing as well. So we usually start off with a couple of songs and let it be. Another song is Lean On Me is a great song and also Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, also featured in the movie Shrek. And so most people my age grew up watching Shrek. And so those songs people are really surprised at how easy it is to play chords. You can actually play in the 30 minute guitar or guitar lesson. 


You can learn four chords and you could be playing Let It Be by the Beatles, which is really cool. So we usually start off with those two options. Some people say they want to learn both ways. Some people would say, I just want to learn sheet music. Others say I just want to learn how to record charts. And so we are really here to put your goals at the forefront. And so once you decide, we can actually begin going in that direction. So thank you for this. Listening to this podcast. I will catch you at the next one.


And so it goes in order. So that’s very helpful as well. So we talk about the grand staff. We also talk about things like the time signature. And so I always tell students we’ll get into more of this later. But for right now, if you see the time signature for it just means that there’s four beats in each measure. And so then at that point, the student might ask, well, what is a measure? And the measure is basically the little box of music in every box has four beats in it. Right. So I think the first song in the guitar or guitar lesson book has eight measures in it. And I just have them count the measures so that they can get really comfortable with saying, oh, this is what a measure looks like. 


So I also point out the middle C to them at the beginning, and I can say the middle C can be more towards the treble clef or it can be more towards the bass clef. And that is actually more of an issue of the printing of the sheet music. But basically the middle C is really not attached to either the treble clef or the bass clef. It’s in the middle. That’s why we call it middle C. So the first song in the book is just called Middle C March, and it’s literally just one note. And so students are like, oh, OK, that’s something I can do. I can play two guitar scales, but the important part is playing the rhythm notes correctly.


So whether it’s half notes, quarter notes, whole note, and usually people get into the song, they play the first line and they say, oh, this is not bad at  all, I can do this. And so that’s how they get used to reading notes on the staff. Now, when it comes to discerning what notes there were there in the guitar scales, that sticks a little bit more practice. And so we’ll definitely go into that in another podcast. But just to wrap up what we talked about today and the one hour guitar or guitar lessons, usually we just really focus on that first song in the guitar or guitar lesson book, which is the Middle C March. 


We go over the finger numbers, we go over the whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, we go over the goals and we go over at the intentions of the students. We do all of those things because our goal is even if students never come back, but they have a little bit of a better understanding of playing the guitar than they did before. And they had like the top dollar experience at Curtis Music Academy. So that is our heart. That is our goal, that people just love and appreciate the guitar more and more. Thank you for tuning in with this podcast. I will see you next time for more information about guitar scales for all the wonderful students.