Like most parents, my “out of hours” consists mainly of ferrying the kids and embarking on DIY jobs around the house. But now, after many years making half-hearted efforts, I am finally making a concerted effort to learn the guitar.
So far, my intermittent and self-taught style, has got me to the lowly heights of being able to string together a few chords rather slowly. So how do I progress from beginner to being able to knock a few tunes with some mates in a band perhaps?
My strategy is twofold.
The first part of the strategy is a game I got for Christmas called Rocksmith. Unlike the usual 4 button “play-along” games such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero, Rocksmith includes a special cable that allows you to plug a real guitar into the game. This allows the game to tell what notes/chords you are actually playing. The game starts simply enough but soon levels up (or down) as you progress. The songs choices are good and it’s certainly fun pretending you’re in the Arctic Monkeys rocking out the O2!
The second and arguably most radical part of the strategy is to get some proper guitar lessons! I still find it amazing how dishing out cold hard cash can be so motivational when it comes to putting in the practice. So whilst Rocksmith is good fun, the lessons (still fun) are more formal and aimed at sorting out my strumming techniques, picking, scales, etc.
The ultimate aim is to be good enough to get an early slot in my local village’s “PlumpFest” which is a night for locals – of varying ability fortunately – to get up on stage and perform an eclectic mix of rock, folk, piano, and even choral!
It’s still early days, but progress is being made. You never know, this time next year I might have played my first gig and a world tour.
Andrew is a Technical Architect based in the BJSS London Office.