Guitar Exercise Offers MORE Than Expected! (INSTANT SONGS!)

One of the most common questions that students ask when studying music is "how can I learn to write songs?" Songwriting is no doubt one of the more challenging musical exercises. That said, it can be one of the most rewarding things to do in becoming a better musician...

When writing music, your knowledge of keys and harmony will go a long way in helping you get from nowhere to actually being able to start doing it.

The problem with songwriting however is that most often, we don't do nearly as much work understanding the world of scales, keys, harmony and how to incorporate simple melody.

In this lesson we'll learn a scale, expand it out to it's diatonic harmony and then work around applying a simple melodic idea to be able to build strong melodic connections.


This lesson discusses how to start practicing an underrated guitar exercise that if done in the way that I’m going to show you, will get you a lot more than you’d expect, (with regard to learning about chords, scales, keys and song writing).

In fact, this exercise is so valuable that I teach it to every one of my private students!

What this exercise focuses on is how to get into the development of gaining a much better understanding about; musical keys and how to take them beyond the scale, and then go past how a key is harmonized, and then head straight into applying all of that information to start making music.

Let’s jump into this by building our scale on the neck first… and we’ll do this by using a key that we don’t use very often for theory exercises.

We’re going to use the key that has 2 sharps (“F# and C#”) it’s the key of, “D Major.”

Let’s begin by learning an open position pattern for the scale of “D” Major. It’s going to be built between the 4th to the 2nd guitar strings and it sits upon the guitar fingerboard like this…

This scales notes are; 
D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D

Now that you have a scale pattern that you’ve learned to play on the neck for “D” Major scale, let’s start learning how to build the key of “D” Major’s diatonic harmony.

Diatonic harmony, (in case you’ve never learned this stuff), refers to the chords that exists within a key center.

Our key is “D” Major, so our Diatonic Harmony consists of chords that use the tones of the “D” Major Scale and stack scale degrees in 3rd intervals to create the keys seven chord types built off of each scale step.

Here are all of the Diatonic Chords found in the key of “D” Major.

Now that we’ve worked through the key signature, along with establishing the scale for this key of “D Major” plus we’ve worked through the harmony, our next step is to apply an simple melodic statement, (so that we can take our key and have it actually become something musical).

Let’s get into the melodic direction by first exploring a simple melodic idea that I’ve composed for you.

After learning the first idea, we’ll take the melodic idea across the Diatonic Chords that are found inside the key of, “D Major.”

This melodic statement is only an example. You can try it, modify it, make one up of all your own. 

It doesn’t matter, the important thing is that you learn how much fun it can be to apply ideas like this across any group of chords from any key you like.

So, learn the melodic statement I’ve made up for the lesson... Play it and teach it to someone else, then practice modifying how it can flow across any entire key’s diatonic harmony.

The idea of learning how to play a scale in the open position isn’t anything complex. All it takes is a basic level of picking technique and you’ll have it together in no time.

The idea that I’ve presented here in this lesson is a really valuable one because it allows for you to take that scale much further and relate it directly to all of the chords that are a part of the key signature.

We used the key of “D Major” in our example, and we learned how that scale can become a series of chords within that key.

Then, we went full-circle back to the scale (and with a very basic melodic statement), we found out that a song can quickly get composed out of the scale’s chords combined with the scales notes.

What’s really cool about this exercise is that you can do this with any key, and this type of practice is very melodic. So, build more scales, construct those diatonic harmonies, and make up some of your own original short melodies. It’s tons of fun and it’s a very musical guitar exercise!



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