...and it's finally here!
Living in New York is a constant battle. You're battling rude and/or crazy people on the subway and on the sidewalks, you're battling the constant noise of car horns, police, fire trucks, and ambulance sirens, the people next to you for a space at the bar or a table in a restaurant. The best of the best live here, and so do the worst of the worst. But really, the worst of the worst are still there best of the best. They're just the best at being the worst.
As a musician, things don't get easier. If I book my band on a weeknight, I run the risk of a poor turnout. If I book us on a weekend, I run the risk of competing against household names for people coming to my show versus theirs.
Teaching guitar lessons here for four years (as of this writing) has been a challenge as well. I want people coming back every week taking lessons from me, not some hack from Craigslist who will do it for cheaper (see my take lessons blog for more on that subject) and not do as good of a job. Anyone can teach you the E, A, and D chords and how to do the 'down, down up, up down up' rhythm; and some well known song that uses them.
People from New York are notoriously impatient as well. And again, after only four years here, I get it. As such, nobody wants to spend three months learning half a dozen chords to play a rickety version of 'Stand By Me' that no one is going to recognize.
They want results, and they want them fast.
This obstacle presented itself to me, and I had to find a way to overcome it.
What can I do to help my students learn the things they want to learn?
How can I do it in a way that's different from every other guitar teacher?
How can I make the first few painful months of learning the guitar more pleasurable, so my students develop the love of playing that will keep this instrument around them for the rest of their lives?
So I began writing a few exercises for my students.
The initial intent was not to take it this far. I simply wanted to retain more students, develop more long term students, and make their beginner phase of learning a lot less painless than mine was.
But, then I started seeing the results.
Focusing on these exercises gave people the technique to learn easy, beginner and intermediate level songs on their own. There were less unintentionally muted strings. There was a more solid foundation of rhythm. And we got to the concept of the root 6 major barre chord sooner, with better results on the first attempt. People were playing easy songs, in time, after a few weeks. Nailing the F chord on the first try.
This was what made me feel I had something really good.
So, after having taught these exercises for a while and developing them into a graduated, methodical order of difficulty; I thought that they should be compiled into something that other guitar students and teachers could be able to use. And that was how Beginner Guitar Etudes for Pop and Rock Music was born, and I am excited to announce that it will be published in two weeks!
There's literally nothing else like it out there.
Don't get me wrong, there are tons of etude books, for every instrument. But none for the techniques used in pop/rock guitar. You have to suffer through not having complete songs to play, or simplified versions of them. Now, we have a book with 13 complete 'songs' that are completely within the realm of possibilities for a beginner or intermediate guitar student to learn from start to finish.
With all that said, I am now currently accepting pre-orders for Beginner Guitar Etudes for Pop and Rock Music. If you order within the next two weeks, you'll get FREE SHIPPING on your copy that will be sent out on official release date (May 22nd, 2017).
I know, I know you're thinking:
(For those of you who are further along in your studies of the guitar, a jazz improvisation method book is next in the queue, followed by compendium of diatonic 7th chords. Beyond those which are nearing completion, I also have more etudes and more jazz improvisation methods cooking up. Stay tuned!)
A huge to thank-you to all of the book's early adopters who got the chance to purchase it upon its release. This book has been picked up by the music publisher Mel Bay and is no longer available on this website. When I receive information about the production and distribution of the book, I will update this entry again (as well as make it available for sale from them, on this website).