Mya – Jingle Bells

Mya is in third grade. In just a few lessons she has a repertoire of three songs.

She is learning to play the guitar intuitively by playing the notes up & down one string, like the notes would appear on a piano.

This song was introduced to her in the previous lesson. She initially played it happily with one finger. She is now learning that playing with more than one finger can be easier.

Strumming a chord at the beginning of each measure establishes an understanding of meter and 4/4/ time; without explanation.

This is all part of the new method of guitar learning called:


The packet she received to start, included stickers for showing where the notes are, and a SpiderCapo to create an open G tuning (this adds $10 to the initial price of lessons, but I have received no resistance from parents, in fact they are happy to receive the added value with their purchase).

She is learning that wide intervals require larger leaps up and down the strings, and, unlike the conventional method of learning notes across the strings, she learns that notes higher up the neck sound higher and vice a versa. Consequently she gains an early understanding of intervals and how to play them on the instrument. Learning new songs quickly becomes a repetition of learning the last.

She strums a chord at the beginning of each measure. Because of the tuning, she just strums some of the top strings. It does not have to be exact because she fingers the melody note on the top string. So she performs melody and harmony right from the beginning of her lessons.
This teaches the phrasing inherent in 4\4 time, forestalling the necessity to teach rhythmic values from the beginning. Songs can be written out with only note names making for quick and easy learning.

She is learning many things without even knowing she is learning them.

Because the root note is the highest voice when the guitar strummed open, she is learning the concept of Do, and solfeggio can be applied; Again, completely intuitive and counter to the still prevailing conventional MelBay type methodology from the 1950s.
There are many songs to be played with the notes shown above: Kumbayah, Hush Little Baby, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Jingle Bells…etc.

Once the concept of vertical playing is firmly established, the 2nd string can be introduced enabling Sol, la, and ti below the root. With these many more popular songs and movie themes can be played.

It is not long before the bass strings can be introduced , just like the Thompson Piano method at end of book one. The OPEN strings are the I, IV and V chords of the key! This makes for easy, true polyphony and complete musical expression in a minimum of lessons.

Experience has shown this is the easiest way to “hook” new students of the guitar.