Are you really keen on learning how to play music? Do you want to help your children learn how to play? Well you can. Everyone has the ability to learn music. It is not a natural skill. No one is born with the ability to play. 

The most important element in succeeding with music is the teacher. They are not all the same. Anyone can advertise themselves as a music teacher. Here are some points for you to consider and some traps for you to avoid.

Reading Music

 

Unfortunately the contemporary music playing world has been plagued with a belief that music reading is not important. This has put the average guitar, bass and drums player at a distinct disadvantage. When playing with other musicians they struggle because they cannot read. In addition their overall skill level will be much lower than musicians of other instruments. The reinvention of another form of reading called tablature is the main reason for this. This is the 'colour by numbers' equivalent. Imagine an accountant who can't count!

If you and your son or daughter are serious about playing guitar, bass or drums he/she needs to learn how to read on the instrument, not just theory, from the very beginning. No other instrument has this issue. There is not a choice of learning the saxaphone, for example, without reading music. From piano to trumpet, all people learn their instrument by reading music notation. Contemporary or modern guitar, bass and drums should be too. There is no special revolutionary way of learning without reading. All that is happening is the student is being ripped off.

 

Are you already having lessons?


If you are already in lessons, even if they have only just begun, you should be asking if reading music on the instrument is happening in the lessons? If so, great. If not it is a warning sign that the teaching quality is not high enough. Any delay in learning music reading is just a waste of time, money, and potential opportunity. If this basic is not happening what else is not happening: technique, rhythm, counting, chord construction? Any fees paid so far would have been lost as precious little useful information would have been learned.

 

Learning music by just learning songs

 

Some people offer lessons by just teaching songs. They claim it is an easier and more enjoyable method. How wrong can they be. An emphasis on song playing, using lyric sheets with chords on, and the use of tablature are warning signs of ineffective teaching. Chords are hard. It takes ages to get them working well. Rhythm is hard and not a natural skill. An emphasis on learning music just through songs is illogical. It would be like learning how to multiply in maths without knowing numbers.

 

Playing in a band

 

An extension to the ill fated 'learning music by songs' concept is the enticement of playing in a band. The release of the movie School of Rock starring Jack Black is often cited as the influence behind this concept. Unfortunately there is a major flaw in the real life equivalent prevalent in our society. The musicians in the movie had been learning classical music for many years. All that happened was the introduction of rock music to these well trained students.

The 'well trained students' factor seen in the movie has been forgotten in the modern day student rock bands. The novelty of playing in a band wears off pretty quickly when no one can actually play. The sound is terrible and they never seem to get any better. It is just not fun. The whole scene becomes negative because the motivation drops. Practice time disappears, and the the expensive gear purchased by hard working mums and dads ends up being stacked in the corner gathering dust.

 

Passion

 

Learning music is a wonderful thing to do. It is a specialist skill. The methods required to overcome all the obstacles of playing music are universal and so can be transferred to any endeavour you wish to be strong at. It is also a long term thing. There are no short cuts.

No Barriers


I hope this information helps. Please feel free to ask any questions concerning the best way to learn. I am passionate about giving students the best possible start. Please remember that, thanks to the invention of Skype, distance is no longer a barrier to quality teaching.

Introducing Philip Hartshorn's D.S.M.

The Big Picture: Learning Guitar, Bass or Drums

Matilda Sutton

Phil helps me learn how to practise and shows me how to measure my own skill. I would say to people who wish to learn that with Phil you will learn the proper way to play as opposed to endless strumming with little technique. I also really enjoy the jams.

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Hugh Rudd

Phil Hartshorn is a great guitar teacher. He's friendly, funny and encouraging!!!

He is also very good at making people understand the situation. So don't worry about thinking that your kid comes home and tells you "I don't know what Phil was talking about". Because that won't happen.

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Michael Morgan

If you are considering taking lessons with Phil but are not sure yet, can I say give it a go, no matter which method you use. After starting with face to face lessons, I was surprised how efficient the internet based lessons are and the ability to log in from anywhere you have a connection and device is great. Phil is a patient and proficient teacher and his methods provide challenge and reward as you master your chosen instrument.

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Rachel and Scarlett Rose

The single thing in Phils lessons which has helped the most is his thoroughness and patience. I would say to someone who is considering taking lessons with Phil to just give it a go. If you need to use Skype for lessons don't worry they are great, and more fun than you would think!

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AJ Keys

AJ KeysIf you are considering taking lessons with Phil but are not sure yet, can I say just do it. Lessons with Phil will help incredibly with your playing. You will notice a huge improvement.

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