Stage 2 Practice Schedule
For Stage 2 we'll still keep your practice schedule nice and simple at 30 minutes.
|Chord Practice (Strum / Pick / Strum)||5 mins|
|1 minute Changes (work on changes you find hardest!)|
|--- Am to E||1 min|
|--- Am to Dm||1 min|
|--- A to Dm||1 min|
|--- E to D||1 min|
|--- Em to D||1 min|
|--- Song 1||5 min|
|--- Song 2||5 min|
|--- Song 3||5 min|
|Ear Training||5 mins|
|Foot tapping along (whenever you get the chance)||-|
Things To Remember
Remember that the point of this exercise is to get your chords sounding clear and train your fingers to go to exactly the right spot to get the chord sounding great. Start with a strum and then pick each note individually, except any strings that have the X next to them that you don't play. Try to play the notes with the tips of your fingers. Remember that dead sounding notes need to be fixed and the usual causes are either:
a) The finger is too far from the fret.
b) One of your fingers is touching a string that it shouldn't.
Move your fingers around as you pick out the strings until they all sound good and then strum them again, and as you give them the last strums, tell your fingers that this is how you want them to go next time. It will look a little strange to anyone that is watching you, but it really helps! ;)
One Minute Changes
The object of the exercise is to get your fingers moving quickly. Although you should be trying to get the fingers in the perfect positions, that you have been working on in your chord practice, if they are a little sloppy it is ok, we are working the speed here!
The important thing here is to practice the chord changes that you struggle the most with. In your practice schedule, you should write in the number of changes that you made in that practice session. Make sure you use your timer and push yourself to go as fast as possible.
Songs / Chord Sequences
The idea here is just to have fun and dig on the fact that you can play a song already!! :) Work on 3 songs per practice session and work on getting them as smooth as possible. It's fine to work on 1 song for 15 minutes if you are really enjoying it. Having fun is REALLY important! Memorising the chord sequence will certainly help if you are able to.
Ear Training is an optional part of the course but I recommend that you dig into it, it's really great way to improve your musicianship - having better ears will help you in more ways than you can imagine at this stage.
Should I move on?
I'm sure you are wondering if you are ready to move on. As I said at the end of Stage 1, there is no hard and fast answer, but a rough guide is:
- You should know all the chords from this stage from memory as well as the chords from the previous stage.
- You should have them sounding reasonable (if not perfect), with most of the notes coming out most of the time!
- You should have your One-Minute changes down to at least 60 changes in a minute (30 x the pair of changes). That is one chord change every second :) motoring along now!
- You should be able to play one or two more songs from the songbook—perhaps not perfectly—but be able to kind of play it through, some stops and stutters allowed.
- You should be able to tap your foot along with a metronome consistently (at a medium tempo, say 80bpm).