How to PASS Grade 1

As we wrap up Grade 1 of the JustinGuitar Beginner’s Course, it’s a good time to recap what we’ve learned. This is just to give you an idea of what you should be pretty comfortable with before moving on to Grade 2.

Here are a few goals that will inform what you need to practice:

  • Be able to tune your guitar with a tuner.
  • Memorize the eight essential beginner’s chords. Be able to play them from memory, in any order, straight away.
    • A, D, E, Am, Dm, Em, C, G
  • Play all eight chords perfectly more often than not (eg. over 50% of the time)
    • This means all of the notes are ringing out, the muted strings are muted, there are no buzzing strings, etc. The chord should be sounding as good as you can make it!
  • One Minute Changes – Make 30 changes in one minute, or one change every two seconds on any pairing of chords.
    • WOuld be awesome if you can get to 60 changes in a minute, but that'll be pushing it for most folk I think.
  • Strumming – Be able to strum 'Old Faithful' (D DU UD) at 80 beats per minute along with a metronome.
  • Memorize five easy songs well enough to be able to play them at a party.
  • Play a song in front of someone or record yourself playing a song and pop it up on YouTube.
    • The experience will make you feel a bunch of stuff you’re probably not used to feeling yet! You’ll be able to hear yourself back if you record yourself, but more importantly, you’ll notice what you’re actually uncomfortable with. What are you most nervous to play and why? How can you get more confident in your playing?
  • Highly Recommended – Do Ear Training Grade 1 and Music Theory Grade 1
    • A lot of people don’t like doing these, but I promise they’re worth your time and effort, especially in these early stages! But you don't HAVE to do them, they're just recommended.
  • Most Importantly – Be forgiving and kind to yourself!
    • This is a FUN journey! This “test” is more about self-assessment and achievement. If you can get through everything on this list, celebrate your progress! It’s no easy task to have come this far!