Want Happier More Fulfilling Guitar Playing - Focus on this 1 Thing

Composing and improvising can be daunting. The practice involved can seem endless when you're trying to get music out of your head and into the real world. That said, there is one thing that you can focus on practicing that will make a big impact on your guitar playing and upon your ear. 

There is a big difference between doing ear training drills or composition assignments, and doing musical practice on understanding which notes sound the best when played across a group of chord changes.

In this video, I’m going to show you exactly what that is and I'll tell you exactly what to focus on if you are attempting to be able to play what you hear in your mind.


Happier - More Fulfilling Guitar Playing!
Today we’re going to break down one of the most important things that you need to practice as a guitarist.

It has to do with building your ear up to a point of where you can reach a level of playing to be able to start performing what it is that you "hear in your head."

When I teach this technique in the studio, I often compare this to what it’s like for somebody to learn how to ride a bicycle.

In the beginning, there’s a lot of balancing, (that just isn’t there), and many of us end up losing our balance or possibly falling off. But, down the road we are able to figure out how to balance ourselves and propel forward.

The ability to actually do this is something that is leaned entirely by the unconscious part of our mind. So, in getting started I want to lay the ground work for exactly what it is that we’re going to do in this lesson. Then, I’ll show you a series of exercises that will start to lead you to successfully doing it.

We want to attain one goal, and that's playing the music we hear in our head. That's the end focus.

However, developing this skill will take studying an exercise that involves reaching a point at where our focus will be on just on that one thing. It won't be easy, and it will take work.

Getting there will require moving through a 5 step process. The first step is simple, we will start by confirming the key that we will work in.

Then, we’ll develop an awareness for how the notes of the keys scale pattern will lay themselves out in at least “two” areas /regions of the neck.

The third step involves taking the chords of your key and establishing a “I-IV-V” chord progression built from out of the diatonic chords of the key.

Then, the fourth step is, once you have your chord progression, you will then decide upon the chord tones that you’ll use to play “composed melodic phrases” into. Each tone that you select will be unique to the chord of the moment and when you’ve composed the melody.

The final (fifth step) will be focused on spending time performing melodic ideas against the chord progression in two separate regions of the guitar neck.

After practicing this pattern of practice, you'll slowly start learning how to perform the music that you hear in your head.

STEP 1). Key Signature
For our example, we will use the key signature of, “G Major.”

STEP 2). Scale Patterns
Once the key has been established we need get organized on a couple of scale patterns for the scale associated to the chosen key. In our case, “G Major Scale.”

I’ve decided on two scale patterns that I want to use. They’ll be located in the 4th position, as well as, up in the 9th position. Become familiar with the locations of both of these scale shapes on the neck.

4th Position:

9th Position:

STEP 3). Chord Progression
Now that our “key” is established and our scales have been organized, let’s move on to getting set-up with our “I-IV-V” chord progression in this key.

The “I-IV-V” chords that are found within the key of “G Major” turn out to be the chords of, “G Major,” “C Major,” and “D Major.”

You could lay them out in pretty much any order and sequence that you’d like... For our example, we’ll organize them into a chord progression like this.

Chord Progression:

STEP 4). Chord Tone Targeting
Our next step involves determining a pre established group of chord tones that we’re going to focus on for being able to develop short, simplistic, melody lines.

To keep things well balanced, our format will be based upon placing the focus into the chord tones of the; root and the 5th for the tonic chord of our key.

Tonic Chord:
When it comes to our tonic chord, this chord of “G Major.” For this chord we will target the root and the 5th. The root of “G Major” is “G” and the 5th of this chord is the note of “D.”

The “IV-Chord” 
The fourth chord of the key of "G Major" scales harmony is the chord of “C Major.” For this chord we’re going to target into the 3rd chord tone along with that chord’s Root.

This gives us the chord tones of “C” for the Root along with an “E” note for the 3rd chord tone.

The “V-Chord”
Finally, when it comes to the “V-Chord,” of “D Major,” we’re going to focus on the "D" chord’s major 3rd tone of “F#” along with the "D" chord’s root note of “D.”

The primary idea that we’re trying to pursue when it comes to "chord tone targeting" is to be able to form a series of short melodies that target the chord tones of each of the chords used across the progression.

It might sound complicated, but once you get a handle on this, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to do than you might think. Let me run through an example of how this works.

STEP 5). Composing Targeted Melodic Lines
First, let’s check out a melody that I created which targets the chord tones I had mentioned earlier. Here’s how that melody functions.

4th Position Melodic Phrase:

Watch the video clip of this melodies 4th position performance:

In that example, you can tell how all of the chord tone targeting concepts were put into play. On the first measure’s “G Major” chord I started off on the 5th of “D” and played through the scale ending on that chord’s root of “G.”

On the “C Major” chord (in measure two), I started out on that chord’s 3rd chord tone of “E” and ended up on the root of that chord, “C.”

In the third measure, I re-played the “G” chord’s melody from measure one, and in the final measure, I performed over the “D Major” chord by first opening up on the 3rd chord tone of “F#” and then I played through some scale tones finally resolving into the root note of; “D.”

9th Position Melodic Phrase:Next, let's get organized with the layout of our “G Major” scale melody up higher on the neck in the 9th position.

In the 9th position of the neck, we'll be playing through this melody (note for note with unison notes), up in the 9th position of the fret-board.

Watch the video clip of this melodies 9th position performance

As you can tell, this exercise allows a guitarist to learn how to jam out on one of the most complex areas of performing, which are the topics of; composing and then eventually improvising.

However, if we use the concept of “Chord Tone Targeting” approach and learn how to phrase into specific chord tones, (like the; Root, 3rd and the 5th), what we will discover is that the more we do this, the easier it’ll become.

A musicians mind enjoys creativity and when information is well practiced, a musician can simply allow their sub-conscious take over and play musical thought naturally.

In the end, it’s a lot like learning how to ride a bicycle. We don’t fully comprehend what it is that gets us to be able to discover how to do the balancing act involved with propelling us forward on a bicycle, (that part happens unconsciously).

But, there is a lot of conscious training involved with getting there. And, learning how to compose and improvise is very similar. You start out in a very conscious way, and before ya know it, you’re creating beautiful sounding melodies out of nowhere, and you can’t exactly explain - how you did it.



Join Now

Guitar Chords | F Chord | Guitar Notes | G Chord | C Chord | D Chord | Guitar String Notes