Making Learning Guitar More Interesting

Now that my son, Aleksandr, has had 3 guitar lessons, I have dusted off my guitars and I am practicing along with him. This has a few useful effects.

The first is that it makes it more interesting for Aleksandr to have somebody to practice with – within a few weeks we should be able to play rhythm and lead together, which is bound to be encouraging.

The second is that we have found that he practices longer if we play together.

The third is that I am able to follow what he his learning, so for the price of lessons for him, two people are learning.

Finally, I have a useful trick up my sleeve that makes the practice more interesting. Aleksandr is being taught to play Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water. Yes, it’s the ubiquitous first tune that almost everyone learns. The thing is that it is extremely simple to learn, which explains why it’s so popular.

So what i have done is downloaded a MIDI file of Smoke On The Water which I can play through a MIDI sequencer (SoundStudio Pro) on my PC. The software is old and doesn’t run completely reliably under Windows XP upwards, but it runs well enough.
I can mute various instruments during playback, and change the tempo. So with the tempo turned down, I leave in the drums, bass and rock organ playing, and we are able to practice the lead guitar with it. It makes such a difference and we’re both much more enthusiastic about practicing.

I found that I can just about keep up with it played at the normal tempo, which is very encouraging.

If you’re learning any kind of instrument, using MIDI is an excellent way to practice because of the control you have over the tempo and volume, and the choice of which instruments you want playing.

A quick search in Google has unearthed Anvil Studio, a free MIDI sequencer which appears to have very similar features to SoundStudio Pro (SSP) and was built for Windows XP or higher, so I shall probably retire SSP and use Anvil instead.

I just thought that MIDI sequencers could also be used to create backing track CDs which are useful for when you don’t have access to a PC, or want to do solo performances.

May 30, 2012 · Phil Rogers · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: playing guitar, playing music

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