May 5, 2017

Understanding the 2 Aspects of Learning Guitar

The PHYSICAL Part First, 

Then The MUSICAL Part

Q: I am 58 years old and I am wanting to learn to play the guitar. I do not know where to start!

Hi Jamie,

I can buy all the guitar courses I want but I do not understand the guitar. I am a retired lineman for the power company and I have done a lot of trouble shooting to find out why the electricity went out and find out what I need to do to repair it. 

In life threatening situations I have understood what is needed to be taken care of first. I know I can not just jump in and play. I can read music but understanding notes and chords on the guitar leaves me scratching my head. Can you please tell how I can understand the guitar and what do I do first?

Thank you, Christopher

Hi Chris, 

There is ONE very important thing you need to understand Chris. There are 2 aspects to learning guitar, and in the beginning, one is much more important than the other. The 2 aspects are:

1) The PHYSICAL part

2) The MUSICAL part

If you do not have the physical part on guitar, you can never get to the musical part. Think of baseball.....


You can know all the rules of baseball and understand the game completely. That will not make you a good baseball player. The most important things you must have to be a good baseball player are the ability to run, hit, and catch. These skills are more primary than the "understanding" the game. Any young kid is going to work on these skills first. Without these skills, you can "understand" the game, but not be able to play it.

Understanding the notes on guitar will not make you a guitar player, unless you have the physical part down first. Unless you can play notes easily with all fingers, change chords easily, strum and pick correctly, you are not even going to get in the game.

"The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar" will give you the essential physical foundation you need to play the guitar. Then you will be able to begin to play. Then, you will gradually come to understand music and the guitar. 

Watch this video for a more complete explanation.............

More From

"The Informed Guitar Student"

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  1. Thanks Jamie, you’ve done it again. Folks, it’s absolutely true that Jamie is the only instructor who teaches the physical ability to play guitar. Except for those teachers who are wise enough to use Jamie’s method, I suppose. But if you’re serious, why not go to the original, Jamie Andreas?

    I like to think of her process as following the methods of other teaching physical skills, like dancing, singing, and all kinds of sports. Think of teaching an elite gymnast. Do you teach him the science of motion, and then the physiology of how our body produces and controls motion, or do you put him up on the high bar, and let him or her explore the feeling of being there, and show them a couple of ways to move their body that starts to feel like a high-bar movement they’ve seen or imagined. The answer is obvious, but the fact is most music teachers start with music theory and leave it up to chance whether the student actually learns any correct physical skills. Imagine a vaulter or a diver that executes three somersaults and two twists, in a special body position, all in the course of one or two seconds. No amount of intellect can calculate the sequence of muscle actions that execute that performance. All 650 of the performer’s muscles have learned to execute that precise sequence of operations, and can do it without the intervention of conscious thought. You must acquire the same muscle memory for every guitar skill you draw on, and only Jamie teaches directly to your muscle memory.

    Once you know HOW to make great sounds on your instrument, turning sounds into a song is a trivial exercise. Knowing the song you want to play, and not having the skills to play it properly, is just an exercise in frustration. One way or another, every professional musician has programmed his muscles to perform the basic skills required to shape a string of notes into actual music, that comes from the heart or the soul. Jamie gives you those professional skills, and that’s all the skill you need to expressing yourself musically.

    Of course there’s something else a professional needs. He has to have the music in his heart or soul in the first place. It’s the difference between a top-notch guitar PLAYER, and a true ARTIST. Only a few have that special gift Andres Segovia, George Benson, BB King, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Les Paul, Robert Johnson, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, James Taylor and Jimi Hendrix, to name a few, had both the music in their souls and the skills to deliver it in an entirely new or unique way. Every one of them had to learn the physical skills before expressing their art, Jamie can teach you the physical skills unlike anyone I know. After that, whether you are a competent Professional or a legendary artist, is entirely up to you. In Jamie’s program, you’ll learn all of the prerequisite skills.

    Guitar is a unique instrument. It is one of very few where the sound is produced directly by the musician’s hands on the part that produces the sound. In our case, the strings. Non-fretted string instruments (violin, viola, cello) and the trumpet allow the widest range of control for the player, and players of those instruments have a special place of honour in the orchestra. We can all rhyme off the names of legendary violinists, even if we’ve never heard them play. And Louis Armstrong holds a unique place among the Jazz Gods because he played the trumpet, which does nothing to shape the sound, but merely amplifies the sound of the player’s upper lip. His soul connects directly through his own body to the hearts and souls of his audience. But none is as ubiquitous as the guitar, or as free to express any kind of musical thought. It’s the instrument of elite music makers down to the common man singing to the angels, around a campfire, and there are more of them in the world than any other instrument, by a huge margin.

    It’s a very special thing we try to learn, and Jamie’s approach is the only one that draws a direct path to the skills of legendary guitarists. I urge you to follow her path.

  2. Hi Jamie i am 77 years old have tried for years to learn but i am not sure will make it as the health problems are taking over. But i am beginning to get more comfortable with holding it with the stool. I am hopeing. thanks.

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