AND CLAIM BACK YOUR NATURAL MUSICAL RHYTHM
(Without... relying on "canned" strum patterns, waiting for someone else to show you yet another pattern you have to memorize or, feeling that all your strumming is beginning to sound the same on every song you play.)
To the point...
You don't need me to remind you that using "stock", or as I say, "canned" strum patterns can only give you, at best, a very limited strumming experience - like training wheels do while "sort of" learning to ride a bike...it only LOOKS like you're riding a bike...RIGHT!
Very likely, you're already experiencing that strumming your guitar is beginning to feel not quite as creative a process you hoped it would be. You know that it really sucks to always have to wait for someone else to show you how to strum (or worse, search out strum patterns yourself online or elsewhere) for a song you want to play instead of having the creative skills to figure it out yourself. Those creative skills are there within you...but they just might be asleep!
And I'll bet you know someone (or have heard of others) who can just sit-in with other musicians and pull off this "strumming thing" with apparently little effort and no planning. "So naturally talented!" you say to yourself. "I wish I could do that as well?" Guess what! You can! You just haven't been told that you can...UNTIL TODAY!
Even if you know people who can strum with ease to any song they hear (They are out there but we don't want to admit it! - RIGHT?), the vast majority of us need some form of training to accomplish the same thing. It's completely "doable" with the right knowledge and the proper guidance.
Learning how to listen to music can completely transform your experience of it. For most of us, listening to music recreationally is a very important part of a joyful life. But as musicians, we need to refine our listening skills to go "DEEPER". The act of listening DEEPLY within a song will enable you to extract the rhythm information you need to create your strumming solution - let the song teach you how to strum it. The PROS are doing this as easily as chewing gum (not because some are naturally gifted at it but because they have trained it into their bones) and you have access to this skill too with the right information. When you transition from "What to strum" to "How will I choose to strum" - because of your increased skill of listening deeply within a song- strumming is more instinctive and immediately available to you. In other words, strumming feels more FREE and satisfying.
You've just arrived at the beach with your guitar, as the warm sun of the day is beginning to set on a pinkish orange horizon. You can hear the soft surge of the waves, and someone has already started a good cracking bonfire. You see another guitar player whom you don't recognize. You're looking forward to joining in on the music, but think to yourself,
Everyone is relaxed and warmed by the fire and the songbooks are open in people's hands. Someone suggests that you start with "Brown Eyed Girl". You're up for that one because you were just shown how to play it a few guitar lessons ago. Next up, "Wagon Wheel". Lovely, your're comfortable with both of these tunes because your guitar instructor taught them to you, as well as a popular Youtube guitar teacher...but you wonder,
Jennifer is the other guitarist and you are starting to chat with her about all things guitar, when another song is suggested..."How about that new U2 piece on page 3"? You and Jennifer have heard the piece a lot and you are both comfortable with the chords in the song. The songbook gives you the chord progressions and the lyrics-good to go!- However, you worry,
Jennifer closes her eyes - it looks like she is taking a moment to hear the song in her mind. She whispers a clear but quite "count in" and away she goes, strumming the tune with confidence. A bit embarrassed, you admit to Jennifer, "But I don't know the strumming pattern for that song!". Jennifer replies, "I didn't know there was one", leaving you perplexed...you wonder,
Jennifer smoothly and quickly shows you how she is strumming to the song, and in no time, the sing-along is back on track...however you think to yourself,
After the song is done, Jennifer confides to you that it was the first time she played the U2 song. Amazed, you ask her, "How did you know the strumming pattern if you've never played it before?".
Jennifer responds "You keep talking about what strumming pattern I used - I really didn't use one in the sense that this song is strummed this way". Jennifer continues, "Does that mean that, for you, every song has a specific strumming pattern that you need to learn?
A bit confused, you respond, "Isn't that part of learning how to play a song - being shown how to strum it?". "Well sure! Kinda" Jennifer says, "when you're just getting started. But in the long run, listening for certain things in the tune and responding with your own strumming solution is way more musically valuable than automatically using a prescribed or "canned" strum pattern. Think of it this way - do you need someone to tell what to say next? I certainly don't have to wait for someone to show me how to strum a song. I can listen to it and hear certain things going on in the music that help me figure out a suitable way to strum the song that reflects the FEEL or VIBE of it. A bit jealous, you think,
There's no question that being shown a specific strumming pattern for a song is a practical (if not fast) way of starting to strum a guitar - especially when someone is just beginning with the guitar. It's very motivating to play a familiar song and maybe show-off your new-found playing skills to friends and family.
The problem is that any discussion (from either teachers or players) of how strumming actually works probably never took place with you. It just seems that in "guitar culture" much is "shown" but little is "explained"!
The reason for this is simple!
It's easier to SHOW someone what to do than to actually take the time to help someone understand what it is they are doing.
Is it any wonder why the YOUTUBE UNIVERSE is dominated with "How to" videos! How to play (this song), How to strum (that song), How to solo (in 10 minutes).
And here's the dark side to "showing" rather than "explaining"...
Students begin to develop the belief that learning to strum IS about being shown specific strum patterns to specific songs. The result of this approach is a growing dependency on "waiting" to be shown how to strum to this or that song-it's the way it's done...or so students think.
Another side effect of this approach is that students will tend to "remember" at best only 2 or 3 patterns that they feel comfortable with. Then it's a matter of "sticking" one of these patterns over the song and hope it sounds and feels right for that tune - sometimes it randomly works but most times it's hit & miss.
Adopt this belief long enough and often enough and songs really do begin to start sounding all the same simply because you have a limited number of "memorized" strum patterns to use.
It's all a very mechanical (show it) strategy with little actual musicianship (understand it) going on...and it can go on for years.
What's needed is an understanding that strumming is an art born of skills in rhythm awareness, and listening deeply. If you want to be better at strumming, you'll have to ditch the OPERATING SYSTEM that got you where you are today (relying on canned patterns) and replace it with a more robust and long lasting OPERATING SYSTEM that gets to the heart of how strumming is really done.
However-learning a more effective way of strumming can often scare students because they have become so entrenched in their previous method and the act of changing implies there will be some work to do. Of course there is work to be done but the good news is that you can still rely on the canned patterns you have used previously...but you will have a much deeper understanding of how they came about in the first place and a better sense of "when" you use them.
Your ability to create your own strumming solutions (Which does not require memorization of patterns but rather an understanding of rhythm and listening) will place you head and shoulders above the "usual" strumming crowd. And with the right guidance through the learning process, success will be yours.
To put it bluntly, you will have moved from a "strumming robot" to a "strumming musician". And your skill at this will only improve over time enabling you to adapt your strumming to a song's needs "on the fly" - pretty darn satisfying for sure.
I don't think there is any pursuit within which there are a few people who seem to have a natural wiring for it. Naturally skilled athletes. Naturally talented Architects. Naturally talented child-care workers and, of course naturally rhythmic musicians. You name it! They're out there!
I'll be blunt! These are not the people whom you want to use as your "standard of excellence". I personally trained in two martial arts over a twenty year period and I never (I'll say it again) never was able to do the splits right down to the floor even as a 2nd DAN blackbelt (a physical skill that was always highly admired). Instead, focus ONLY on your own, singular progress without comparison to others. Comparison will quickly wipe out your motivation to grow. For sure, you will experience some people who effortlessly pick up strumming (they just "get it"). But know this - if the only people who gained success at strumming a guitar were the "naturally gifted" ones, you'd see a lot less (way less in fact) guitar players out there.
I didn't either. Not one person in my immediate family showed any interest or inclination toward playing a musical instrument except me. I did not grow up in a musical environment. As such I can only assume that it can't hurt to be surrounded by a family of musicians but it is definitely NOT a requirement. In fact I have had some students who claim that all their relatives play a musical instrument except them. What happened there...I wonder? So while experiencing a family of musicians certainly can give a good start, once again it is not a requirement. So don't make it an excuse!
This is a very unfortunate experience for sure and it tends to happen at a time in life where we are not fully capable of defending our potential...so it can tend to stick well into adulthood.
I myself was told (at a university audition) that I would never really become an accomplished classical guitarist because I hadn't trained with well known classical guitar teachers (just my local teacher whose main background was Big Band playing and "some" classical guitar). Luckily I was old enough to have attitude and a sense of "How dare you define me with your small thinking". Subsequently I worked hard and re-applied, got accepted and then six months later left the program because, without any formal piano training, I had to spend more time developing my piano skills rather than work on my guitar skills (Why was I spending so much money to play an instrument that took precedent over my principle instrument?). I was in the wrong place at that time.
More often than not, when someone in authority speaks to your potential as a strumming guitarist, their point of reference is only what he/she sees or hears from you. They actually have no access to the wonderful chemistry of thoughts that flood your mind regarding your deepest abilities as a strummer. So it will always be your job to hold onto those thoughts, nurture them and ultimately forge them into becoming reality. At the end of the day, authority is just an opinion. YOU are an unending work in progress whose potential is always active and growing...but only if you set the opinion of authority aside. It's tough to do but it's necessary.
A few years back I had a student who was beginning to suspect that this was true for him. I was not convinced! So I asked him to not bring his guitar to his lessons for the next few weeks.
Using only his stomping feet and clapping hands, we proceeded to TEST his theory. I would clap & stomp various arrangements of rhythms from rather simple to quite complex and my student would simply "play" them back to me. Almost without correction, he could confidently repeat the exercises. With a little practice & repetition, any pattern seemed to be accessible to him "using only his body". It was clear to me that rhythm did exist within him much more accurately than he expected.
But the curious thing was that when he returned to the guitar to re-apply these rhythms, many of them appeared "unsuccessful". It was as if the mere act of HOLDING the guitar seemed to get in the way of his natural rhythmic awareness.
What was needed was a clear and progressive approach to applying rhythms /strumming to the guitar in such a way that the innate natural rhythm skills could work their way into the instrument (Humans make rhythm...a guitar does not).
Rhythm is much more innate than you are probably aware. It might be a bit asleep (like a sleeping giant)...that's all. Exposure and repetition to all sorts of rhythms is often all that's missing. So please hold off on your conviction that you don't have a good sense of rhythm. You just might be fooling yourself!
With absolutely no disrespect toward Uncle Jim, more often than not you were NOT really taught to strum but rather were SHOWN a strum pattern to a certain song. You got good at playing that song using that pattern. And when the next song came along you thought "I'll try the pattern I already know well or just ask Uncle Jim how to strum to this one". For many, this is what learning to strum means.
The truth is a little more subtle. Through using this approach, you're not actually "learning" to strum but you are "learning" how to move your strumming hand to a particular song. Can you see the subtle difference?
Using "Painting by numbers" is a good analogy. I've done them and maybe you have too! However pretty the final paint-by-numbers image looks, we all know, deep down inside, that WE did not actually create that image. WE didn't think about the colors. WE didn't think about the composition. WE just did what the numbers told us to do. WE didn't actually experience what real painting is like- the good and the bad.
WE just moved our strumming hand the way we were told to.
WE didn't actually experience what real strumming is like.
Real strumming skills require higher level thinking just like real painting skills requires higher level thinking (and you don't need to have the skillset of DaVinci to actually enjoy doing a real painting...but it will require more from you).
Strumming using canned patterns (just like paint by numbers) is completely useful...but only at the beginning of learning the guitar and not for too long. Eventually you will need to get a deeper understanding of how strumming actually works (which is a higher level skill).
Even though strumming a guitar well means that you need to move away from "canned" strum patterns and towards a more musically driven approach involving deeper skillsets of listening and rhythm training, this does not happen overnight.
People who see success in this transition are willing to put in the time to get good at these new and unfamiliar skillsets.
They can see that the value of doing the work NOW pays dividends in the future. Their strumming will feel more creative and spontaneous.
But the biggest challenge for many players is leaving the comfortable... "I don't know what I don't know" blanket and finally realizing that " I know a little something NOW about what I didn't know...so now I have some work to do".
That moment of realization is an opportunity for change that only some are willing to take advantage of.
The key ingredient to making this change possible is to actually update your strumming "operating system"...just like you do with a computer operating system now and again. OUT with the old and IN with the NEW!
And with your permission, that's what I'd LOVE to help you accomplish.
The signature step-by-step strumming system that will help free you from the limitations of using "canned strumming patterns" and help you to begin creating your own STRUMMING SOLUTIONS to the songs you to want to play - based on what you HEAR in those songs! The PROS do it this way...and so should YOU.
"Stephen is able to take complex subjects and explain them clearly to people at all levels of musical knowledge and playing ability".
Alex MacPhee (IT Manager)
"I think it's a fairly well-accepted urban legend that strumming will just occur naturally once a guitarist learns a few chords...and while this may be true for some, your teaching is precisely what the rest of us need in order to progress".
Dan Tanner (Retired RCMP Officer)
"GUITAR STRUMMING DIY is one of the best strumming courses available. The training will really help students transition from using repeated mechanical strum patterns and instead learn to create more organic strum patterns that better capture the feel of a song. I highly recommend it. Stephen is a great teacher, you're in great hands."
1. Actually guides you, step by step, toward strumming skills that are grounded in Rhythm Awareness and musicianship rather than mechanical canned patterns.
2. Empowers you with the skills and knowledge of how rhythm actually works guiding you to success in your own strumming...even if you didn't experience growing up in a musical family.
3. Helps you to reclaim your power in music that might have been taken away from you by someone who really didn't take the time to help you grow as a musician...someone in authority.
4. Will help to convince you that you really do have a "sense of rhythm" within you. Most likely, it's just a muscle that hasn't been worked on and developed in the past.
5.Dives deep into the actual "FEELING" of what it's like to strum (Just like actually learning to paint instead of using paint-by-numbers). Once you get the FEEL of strumming into your bones, you'll be forever FREE to create your own strumming on the fly. Canned patterns will be very disappointing to you.
This is the BEGINNING of how you will change your strumming skills from using tired "canned" strum patterns to true STRUMMING FREEDOM. To accomplish this, you will need to start thinking about and experiencing 2 deeply related musical ideas - RHYTHM AWARENESS and the PULSE.
Even if you feel like these ideas are pretty heavy (and new) for you to think about, you'll discover that through thinking on them and hearing them in the music that attracts you, that they, in fact, become very common tools used over and over as you build your listening & strumming skills. Eventually you find you can't listen to music without tuning into these ideas automatically and often.
The majority of strumming activity can be captured using just 3 strumming templates or Basic Strumming Mechanisms (BSM). Think of these as starting points for you to carve out your own strumming solutions to the songs you'd like to strum.
How you work with these mechanisms will help to always reveal the PULSE. And your skill at RHYTHM AWARENESS will help you manipulate these mechanisms to make sure that your strumming solution really does capture the FEEL or VIBE of the song.
Module 3 is where you begin to use the the 3 Basis Strumming Mechanisms as templates for our own strumming solutions. Your goal is to systematically alter a Basic Strumming Mechanism by essentially removing a single strumming action as a training exercise. In doing so you will experience a series of NEW strumming solutions and pay attention to the SOUND and FEEL of each new strumming solution. This is rhythm awareness.
Module 4 adds more variations to the strumming exercises by removing even more strumming actions from a Basic Strumming Mechanism. The result is a more sophisticated sense of control over your strumming with strumming solutions that sound musical...not mechanical. Still, however, the focus remains on paying attention to the sound and feel of each result as you continue to gain more awareness of the rhythmic possibilities.
This module begins to really "ramp-up" the MACHINE (my name for the physical actions of your strumming hand). And by ramp-up I mean that your strumming hand will definitely speed up (which many players have not experienced before). But even though your strumming hand is "busier/moving faster", the songs that tend to use this strumming approach are actually rather slow sounding songs. For many players, this strumming mechanism is actually quite pleasing and addictive. Without this mechanism added to your strumming skills, you actually loose out on a great number of tunes that you could play. It's well worth being good at!
You could say that this Module is the point of the whole darn course! Here, you will integrate and implement all your newly discovered skills toward real-time and real-life strumming of 3 original songs. In detail, I walk you step-by-step (you're sort of looking over my shoulder) showing you how to listen and what to listen for in a song. From there we will make decisions about what rhythmic information in the song might lead us (YOU) toward creating a usable strumming solution (or solutions) for each song. Without using these new skills actively and frequently, all you'll do is default back to those tired canned patterns...don't be that person.
Remember that you are replacing an old, tired - and truth be known, incomplete Strumming Operating System (relying on canned strum patterns) with a complete Strumming Operating System - one that actually describes and demonstrates how strumming really works and enables your strumming skills to grow over time. You're replacing canned strumming with Rhythm Awareness & Listening skills - just like the PROS do.
GUITAR STRUMMING DIY is the singular guitar strumming experience that places the FEEL of rhythm (in your body) ahead of 1. Reading rhythm (which is not required for this program) and 2. Mimicking someone else's strumming (which is not recommended anymore...right?).
Even though you have a full 60 days to dive in and start building your new strumming skills, don't at all be surprised that some of those skills start showing up way sooner. This is natural because of your growing Rhythm Awareness.
Yes, there will be new insights that you will have to grapple with using lots of repetition and attention... but remember that I am with you and available to you making sure those insights translate into solid creative strumming skills for life. You will not be left alone.
Still, if after you have gone through the course and have really given it an honest and open attempt (Hanging with and contributing to the Facebook group, Showing up to the LIVE TRAINING and commenting on your progress) and you can still say with confidence that you have gained no additional skills or insight into how strumming really works, you can contact me (Stephen) directly through my email:
I'm easy to talk to. I won't ask any questions to convince you to stay. I will simply agree to refund your full investment.
6 Training MP3 Tracks. While learning to strum using popularly recorded songs is the recommended approach, it can be useful to have some specifically designed instrumental tunes to help develop your listening skills ...giving you even more insight into creating your own strumming solutions...practice makes permanent right? - $500 Value
What people asked before signing up for GUITAR STRUMMING DIY.
This is a very common concern for many players. The truth is that you are already putting in time to practice (however much to can afford) so all you'd really be doing is replacing an old strumming approach with a newer one. It doesn't need to be done in a manner that ADDS MORE TIME to your practice. In fact most students just strive to make sure that they are always working toward this newer approach - in baby steps. Eventually, the newer approach will have taken over. And chances are, "eventually" will still come whether you are still using canned patterns OR whether you are using your newer strumming skills. Simply put, within the same time-frame you will have been moving toward a better way to strum OR you are NOT!
Many students actually believe this about themselves - so you are not alone. Is this claim you are making about yourself really TRUE or is it, as you say, a belief? If you have never experienced any training in rhythm or given any real thought to it, then often the canned patterns come to the rescue but only "appear" to fix it. Given the right training in rhythm (i.e. paying attention to it felt in your body) good rhythm is available to everyone. Just remember that canned patterns cannot FIX rhythm - they only create an illusion of fixing rhythm. And if, as you say, you don't have a good sense of rhythm, then canned patterns are not fixing anything. We just need to wake up your "Rhythm Giant" - and this course begins that process.
This comment is closely related to the previous one. In the world of guitar (which I call GUITARLANDIA), a prevailing myth is that to learn to strum a song means to be shown how to strum it. And this is a fine approach when someone is just getting started on guitar. The problem in GUITARLANDIA is that the discussion of strumming tends to stop there. The student quickly learns that the way you learn to strum is to be SHOWN how to do it and expects this to continue on forever. The truth is that rhythm training and rhythm awareness need to eventually replace this myth so that students become more self sufficient as musicians. Guitar Strumming DIY attacks this myth directly and is available to help get you past the nasty feeling that all your strumming is beginning to sound the same (thanks for nothing you canned patterns!).
The simple answer is that it's always easier (from a teacher's point of view) to show a pattern - the actual physical motions to play the pattern, than it is to really help a student become rhythmically aware. It's back to that old saying "give someone a fish and you've fed them for a day. Teach that person how to fish and they'll feed themselves". My goal is to help students grow the rhythmic skills they will need to strum whatever way they want to according to the way a song feels. That's the way a PRO musician will do it. It's a higher level skill than canned patterns require so it deserves more attention for sure. But in the long run, you become a more independent strummer. That's a very good thing worth building!
This course is not just offered to you and then you are on your own. I actually work very closely with my students over a period of 90 days. Most of that work involves GROUP SESSIONS and some highly motivated students even UPGRADE to working directly with me once every week for 90 days. I've even been known to add in "extra" unannounced training sessions. So my job is to be as available as possible to you making sure that every step through the program feels comfortable and that you are progressing. Your job is to actually do the program, participate in the training opportunities, ask questions, and basically "keep at it" - but with me at your side. So in truth, your strumming results will be dependent on what I do AND WHAT YOU DO. We work toward creating those results together so as such we are a team in your learning. But you do have to do the work at your end. And you'll feel great for having done your part in making sure you get the results you want. I'll feel great for providing the necessary support and training. It's a WIN - WIN experience!
As soon as you are signed up and your tuition is successfully processed, you will receive a thank you email notification that you have instant access to the entire course (Nothing is "dripped" to you over time). Information regarding access to the bonuses will also be included in that email. It's as simple as that! But don't be surprised if I add in some extra good stuff you did not expect - I'm also known for doing that!
As you know already, you have a full 60 days to work within the course. That's usually enough time to experience how the course operates. But sometimes it is true that the course may not be a good fit at this time. To qualify for the refund within the 60 day policy, I want you to demonstrate that, after actually working through some of the Modules, showing up in the Facebook Group and contributing to it, and showing up and participating in some of the LIVE training sessions, you have gained no further insight into how strumming actually works...so you'll continue to rely on canned strum patterns, simply email me ([email protected]) your refund request and I'll happily do that for you. I will completely respect your decision.
Everything you get is listed right below this question.
6 Training MP3 Tracks specifically designed to enhance your listening skills giving you even more insight into creating your own strumming solutions...practice makes permanent right? - $500 Value
6 Training MP3 Tracks specifically designed to enhance your listening skills giving you even more insight into creating your own strumming solutions...practice makes permanent right? - $500 Value