teaching trad guitar

teaching trad guitar

i am wondering does anyone have any pointers on how to start teaching trad guitar?

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Re: teaching trad guitar

"Here is the chord G…."
"Here is the chord C…"
"Here is the chord D…"
"This is a cappo…"

"That’ll be €50"

Re: teaching trad guitar

Knowing nothing about your background or the kind of students or playing style you plan to teach, it’s pretty hard to give any useful advice. Can you give us more to go on?

Re: teaching trad guitar

I had to help a friend of mine learn trad guitar recently and the main point is that there only are about 5 people who can really play trad guitar very well so 1. it’s not as easy as you’d think to learn and 2. you’re going to need the right teacher!

A good technique is to get a series of recordings of well known trad guitarists, decide on what style you want to learn and then listen hard, trying work out what they do and maybe use that style as something you will want a teacher to teach you.

Good Luck!

M.

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Re: teaching trad guitar

I’m the teacher……I play drop d, i so intend to teach students with a knowledge of standard into this. chords, triads and bass lines etc, then get them learning tunes? is this the right approach to take??

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Re: teaching trad guitar

Accompaniment or melody?

Re: teaching trad guitar

Plectrum or fingerstyle?

Re: teaching trad guitar

I think a good approach to teaching trad guitar would be to make them aware of the styles of the great players such as Steve Cooney, Mark Kelly and the various bouzouki players. This would mean teaching them a variety of rhythms for the student to have fun with whilst backing tunes they know. It also might be an idea to teach diads - traids without the third as they can be very effective with trad.

Overall, I think the main things you could teach them are that, typical progressions don’t work most of the time and that it is a rhythmic based genre, so harmonically, it’s best to keep it as simple as possible.

M.

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Re: teaching trad guitar

cg, sounds like you have the right idea. Thank goodness someone decided to educate these people. We all get on here and complain about clueless guitar players whaling away without listening to the tune, so it should warm all those grumpy hearts to see someone making a difference.

There was a fella on You Tube who had video instruction, ITM guitar. I’ll try to dig his name up for you. I’m sure you can get plenty of ideas from him.

Re: teaching trad guitar

sound lads

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Re: teaching trad guitar

Re: teaching trad guitar

"Masters" indeed mickray, what a roster on that sucker! Whew!

Re: teaching trad guitar

I wouldn’t disagree with any poster above. I’d only underscore martin t’s comment above that one should not underestimate the percussive side of backing ITM on guitar (or ‘zouk) in laying down a faithful and inspiring rhythm.

Re: teaching trad guitar

You might want to consider teaching left and right hand technique as kind of separate entities. There’s nothing quite as distressing as a guitarist who’s right hand isn’t able to react to the rhythm of a tune to complement it. A while ago, when I was teaching someone, I devised the following strategy to help improve right hand which can be found here:
https://thesession.org/discussions/14352/#comment295849
https://thesession.org/discussions/14352/#comment295862

You might also want to drift into theory, look at the dots and talk about how chords and melody interact, and look at how this relates to what they’re hearing: i.e. explain what a ii-V-I progression is not just in terms of notes, but in terms of what it sounds like. And look at a what a selection of melodies that would accept that cadence sound like. Look at how chords are built etc, but above all encourage the use of the ears.

Re: teaching trad guitar

Cripes Andy, that’s some serious work you put it on that other thread, way to battle through! ;-)

Re: teaching trad guitar

So, we’re talking about backing?

Re: teaching trad guitar

session savage,it’s capo from capotaso,meaning "head of the fretboard"

Re: teaching trad guitar

I thought it was ‘Capodastro’. I’ve never heard of ‘capotaso’.

Re: teaching trad guitar

Familiarise yourself with a rake of tunes first.

Re: teaching trad guitar

"Here is the chord G…."
"Here is the chord C…"
"Here is the chord D…"
"This is a cappo…"
"That’ll be €50"

IF it really was that easy I could have been playing sessions a long time ago. Somehow I think if I showed up with my Martin at a session and used that formula, I’d be laughed out of the pub… or beaten with my guitar. Which ever seemed more appropriate to the grumpy "purists".

Re: teaching trad guitar

Depends what level they are at. Each will be needing different things.

Dead cold beginner, I often wonder, is it best to have them learn standard tuning first or get them right into dropped D.
I think standard is a good basis to learning, though I find dropped D more versatile and easy for backing. I don’t have much experience teaching total beginners and thought standard would first be the way to go, and one person didn’t take to it, but did take to the DD much better and is happily practicing that to CDs.

I like teaching a more advanced player the best, one who has a basic sense of the instrument. Explaining to them how they have to learn the tunes, or learn to eventually sense the structure of new tunes tossed at them, learn to have good relative pitch for fast key changes, that can be a bit of a hurdle.

Many do not see the need to know more than "what key is it".
Some expect guitar and backing to be easy, but I will walk away from those who want to be taught 2-3 chords in each key, alternate them and hope to hit the right chord at least half the time anyway. Sure they need to learn that first, but if they are content with just that attitude for the long haul, no thanks, go elsewhere. It likely explains why I only get a few students here and there, I won’t let it go with the easy way out. backing is an art if done well, and deserves to be taken seriously, as seriously as melody playing.

A serious student is a joy to work with though. And I don’t have the intent of having them play like me either. I play fingerstyle but what I do can apply to strumming as well. The focus is on giving the person tools, hand exercises to create strength in order to play top speed, and developing their own style or twist on things as long as it blends well with the music. The goal is to get them to ulitmately leave the chord charts behind and wing it.

Teaching them (this is for the more advanced) how to make up their own chords, partial chords or accent notes…. to first flatpick a tune and make up interesting combinations of notes around it and on and on is interesting too. Each tune is different and you have to treat it differently, yet many "riffs" for want of a better word tend to get repeated throughout the music, and the student needs to eventually get a sense for these, and that makes backing on the fly a lot easier. The only way to come to recognize them though is to immerse oneself in the music in practice time to many different CDs. That’s the homework, but it should also be a pleasure.

I have a collection of slow tunes, on CD, a friend put them down on whistle, that’s great to work with so you might want to get a little working collection together, just a solo instrument so they can back it with you during lessons. We play to them, discuss the different ways to back parts of them, try to recognize those oft repeated "riffs". Learn to stress a note or chord when the melody does it…. there is so much to learn you could go on forever.

One thing I keep repeating too, here and elsewhere, is if you want a good sense of backing for this music, go listen to and study the great old style piano backers. You can indeed apply what they do to guitar. They follow the tunes more closely than most guitar players, they don’t just play two alternating chords. I’d put money on it that these old style backers could probably just break into playing the tune at any point, that they knew much of the music as a tune first, and then decided they liked backing better. People think backers couldn’t cut it as melody players, but the truth of the matter is a lot of good backers just like backing better than tune playing, and not because it’s easier, because it can be just as complex, and you have more room for a free float improvising, as long as there is no conflict with the tune. They also love the music as intensely as the melody players. I find playing a counter melody or creating a mood a lot more interesting than straight melody playing and just love backing more than tune playing. Much of it influenced by the pianists, odd as that sounds.

I can teach fingerstyle tune playing a lot easier than I can teach backing. Sounds contrary, but it’s true. In teaching a tune… you put this finger here, that there, now do this, that etc. In teaching backing, you have to somehow convey feelings and moods and stresses and when to lay back, it’s pretty ethereal. It’s hard to learn just how intently you must be focused on the melody player, and let them be the one the audience is listening to. You can teach a chord or position, but in backing esp. piano backing, there are lots of notes betweent the chords. In backing you make them up as you go along a lot of the time, you vary them, it’s not easy to convey this stuff.

I’d try to create an enthusiasm for backing, to answer your question more directly. Have someone make a teaching tunes CD for you and work with it. Add to it as needed. Let them take a copy home. With interest and patience and love of this music many people can get on track with it. A teacher needs to convey the enthusiasm for the music, for backing, and inspire the student little by little, so as not to overwhelm them and make them think it’s too much and too big. Let them know you and the best of them, everyone started with baby steps, little by little. Each step a joy though, and some progress in the direction they want to go in.

Re: teaching trad guitar

I’m getting the impression that my sarcastic sence of humor was not picked up on that one. … pity

Re: teaching trad guitar

A big thing with trad accompaniment is to teach the pupil to be intuitive as to what type of session or player they’re about to accompany also. Is the music old style, more modern, fast, slow, swung, driving, experimental? The guitarist should be able to able to get at the heart of what the general vibe is an bring it out. Then things get more tricky:

If they’re older players, perhaps playing red paolo soprani button accordions, (we all know them! :) ) they’re probably playing reels in 4/4 so a piano style would work, but then most fiddlers and younger musicians tend to play reels in 2/2 and the guitarist should know the difference.

Harmonically, I would argue that in dance music, 3 chords are really enough. Trad tunes are fairly complex things melodically so one really doesn’t want to take away from it. The rhythm is where it is at. It all depends on what syle one is into of course also but listen to Steve Cooney and the other greats and you should notice a trend…

That’s my pennys worth! I’ve far too much time on my hands!! :)

Martin.

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Re: teaching trad guitar

“I’m getting the impression that my sarcastic sence of humor was not picked up on that one. … pity”

Much is lost in online communication. But I laughed out loud. Well, not *very* loud, but I *did* audibly chuckle.

Re: teaching trad guitar

Good man Bob, …… I thunk I was funny… course I would laugh at anything really :-P

Re: teaching trad guitar

My philosophy is simple. I give em a bunch of chord patterns, and Play the tunes while they accompany… If they need right hand work, I will teach the basic rhythms. the right chords. the right rhythms….

Re: teaching trad guitar

Teach them the basics and get them to listen to the likes of Ed Boyd, Steve Cooney, Jim Murray, Tim Edey ect. Afterall, they will play the style that they like.

Re: teaching trad guitar

Impress upon your students that "Trad" guitar is basically a rhythm instrument therefore, in the session pecking order it ranks somewhere close to a bhordron(Sp???) and therefore LESS is more!!

Re: teaching trad guitar

Session pecking order!
what nonesense is that?! that’s just an ignorant comment.

Re: teaching trad guitar

Pipers, harpists(if you’re lucky) fiddles, button accordianists, flutes, whistles, mandos, zouks, banjos, guitars, bodrahn, spoons and bones…
any rhythm instrument played with reckless abandon overwelms and overpowers the group!

Re: teaching trad guitar

Less important my foot - there are so few decent backers that when you find them you have to hold on to them for dear life. A session is 10million times better with a good backer.

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Re: teaching trad guitar

Ain’t it interesting that, in the current state of this tradition, the accompanist is, in some ways, held to a higher standard than the melody player? Before the Revival, "accompaniment" mainly meant "rhythm section," but today the accompanist, especially the guitar player, is expected to provide not just rhythm, but orchestration - creative arrangement of harmonies and dynamics. That’s a tall order.