Those of you who are at all familiar with how I teach guitar know that I think of music as a LANGUAGE. This makes the guitar itself merely the TOOL that you use to express the language. I'm always trying to get folks to see that if you don't understand how the language really works, you're not going to see how the instrument itself works.
This is a hard sell for many people. They think that learning music is complicated and intimidating. They're afraid they won't get it and they don't want to feel stupid. They want to believe that they can learn to play guitar just by copping some more tabs or watching a few more YouTube guitar lessons. Well I've got some good news and some bad news.
The bad news is you probably won't get to play guitar the way you really want without learning how music works. The vast majority of folks who start off playing eventually crash and burn because they don't know enough about how the language of music works to get to where they can actually THINK on their instrument. This keeps them from being able to do the really fun and creative stuff with their guitars ... like songwriting and improvising. Others waste literally DECADES worth of time fumbling around in the dark, attaining a level of playing that they could have mastered in just a few short months with a small expenditure of focus and discipline.
The good news is ... believe-it-or-not ... music is a pathetically SIMPLE language to learn if you get it explained to you the right way. If you don't think so, try our Absolutely Understand Guitar Video Home Study Program. I guarantee that our video guitar lessons will get you to understand most of what's going on in music in just a few short weeks. We've sold thousands of our guitar instruction programs around the world in these last 9 years and we still retain that 100% satisfaction rate so we must be doing something right! I'm also available 7 days a week to answer questions if you're confused or need help. Call toll free or send me an email and I'll talk you through it free of charge.
Here's a great example of how much music is like a language and how thinking of it that way will launch you into areas of creativity you never dreamed possible.
Many of our modern styles of music involve IMPROVISATION ... Jazz, Blues, Rock and Country just to name a few. Everybody wants to learn to solo and rightly so. It's some of the most fun you can have anywhere in music. In our previous guitar lesson posts and on our website, we try to get folks to see that the path to becoming a great improviser involves EAR TRAINING. You solo by HEARING the riffs in your head and then you simply execute them on your guitar by understanding the layout of your fretboard. Our YouTube sample videos talk all about this. Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/user/scottyxcom . Our website also contain lots of information on how to arrive at this level of musicianship. Check out this essay page https://www.absolutelyunderstandguitar.com/guitar-lessons-instruction-dvd-improv.html .
We've also pointed out time and again that you have to have a reasonable knowledge of music THEORY in order to do any meaningful ear training. How are you going to train yourself to RECOGNIZE these note patterns if you don't even know they exist? If music is a language, then music theory is the equivalent of the rules of SPELLING, GRAMMAR and VOCABULARY in other languages. It's that simple. How could you ever hope to do anything creative with the English language if you didn't know how to spell words or construct sentences?
So here's my new example involving soloing on guitar. While I was talking to one of my private guitar students the other day, it occurred to me that we are CONSTANTLY IMPROVISING when we speak in our native language. When you converse with someone, you USUALLY only have the faintest idea of what you are actually going to say ... right? You're kinda' makin' it up as you go along. You respond to input from the person you are conversing with and you didn't already know what they were going to say when the conversation began. I dare say you often START sentences without really knowing how they are going to END. I'm not exactly sure at this moment exactly how I am even going to end this paragraph!
It struck me that this is exactly like doing a guitar solo. You're making it up as you go along, responding to what the underlying chord progression suggests and expressing thoughts and feelings as they stream through your consciousness ... not always knowing where you're going to end up. Once again we see that music is just like any other language.
Of course, being able to converse in the language means that you have to understand how to choose your words by knowing what they mean and how they function. You have to understand grammar in order to form your words into sentences. This is exactly like what music theory does for you when spontaneously "conversing" in the language of music when doing a guitar solo! Not only that, but you know what all the words SOUND like ... and that is exactly like what ear training is!
So once again we see that music is just like any other language and you owe it to yourself to do your homework if you ever want to truly master it. And remember, it isn't even all that complicated. It's just often TAUGHT SO BADLY that everyone thinks it's this big deal. I stumbled around for years until I found the GOOD teachers and resources that got me to see how simple and elegant the whole musical language really is and I always say that if an IDIOT like me can understand music, then ANYONE can. You just need to BELIEVE and you will be on the true path. We're here to help you any way we can.
All the best, Scotty West