By now, you’ve hopefully got a better idea of how strumming works, but also how proper strumming should feel. Let’s keep building on that!
Keep In Mind
As you move forward and explore different strumming patterns and techniques, the main thing to keep in mind is that there should be a continuous motion in your strumming arm! This movement shouldn’t really stop as you’re playing, even as you play more advanced rhythm patterns.
Also, try to practice with a metronome as often as you can. Metronomes are super helpful when it comes to keeping time (obviously!) and helping you stay in your groove. You want to get to the point where it all feels natural to you. You want to kind of relax into the beat and feel the rhythm. When you first start working with the metronome, especially with a new strumming pattern, it can often feel as though you’re chasing after the metronome click or trying to keep up with it, but just RELAX! The rhythm should almost become a part of you, totally second nature.
Something you might want to try is adding in little fills every few bars or so. You’ll hear it happen pretty often in actual songs, so once you start listening for fills, you’ll start to hear them all the time. These are just slight variations on the strumming pattern. They help to break up the monotony and they can be quite musical when applied well. Have fun with these! Find some variations that sound nice to you and work those into your regular pattern.
Another thing that you can start being more aware of from now is dynamics. Dynamics refer to how loudly or softly you’re playing. As you get more into playing actual songs, dynamics can make a world of difference to the overall feel and tone of the song.
For now, start experimenting with playing really loudly and really softly. A quick exercise you can do is to start strumming on muted strings as softly as you possibly can and then gradually increase the volume until you’re playing as loudly as you possibly can. Then, make your way back down.
You’ll notice that you’ll have to adjust the pick in your hand to do this. To play softer, you have to hold the pick more lightly, but you don’t want to hold it so lightly that you drop it! Your fingers will sort of naturally find ways of holding and manipulating the pick to get it to do what you need it to do, so again – RELAX!
At this point you can get out there and start exploring using your new strumming patterns in songs you know - you don't have to but it's a good idea to get exploring as soon as you can! As long as you can keep your hand moving consistently then there is not much that can go wrong!
- LESSON STEPS -