Tammy Lesson 10

Tammy’s here for Lesson 10! After a lyrical mini-intensive last lesson, Tammy was able to revisit some of the lyrics in her song. We had also gone over a new picking pattern and we worked on getting seamless chord transitions.

In this lesson, we go over:

  • The new and improved lyrics! Tammy noticed that by thinking about what she was literally trying to convey in the song with each line, she was better able to come up with different ways of saying what she was trying to say. Also, she noticed that not all of her lines rhymed with one another - that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
  • Barre chords, specifically Root 5 and Root 6 barre chords. Tammy was having a bit of trouble finding a B flat minor chord when I first asked her to play one, so we did a bit of review regarding theory and chord structure.
  • Hammer-ons (and flick-offs, as I like to call them)
  • A review of the finger-picking pattern from last time
  • Travis picking

New Lessons:

  • Finger Gym. Tammy learned about hammer-ons today, which is where you pluck the string once, but hammer another finger on the string while it’s still resonating to create a different note. With the finger gym exercise, she’ll be practicing her hammer-ons every day after her finger stretches, but not for more than 5 minutes at a time! This exercise will make your hand sore, so it should be taken slowly and carefully. It’s a great one, though – really helps to improve your finger stretch, finger control, and finger independence. Later, we’ll probably add some different finger combinations to her warm-up, along with some pull-offs, or as I like to call them, flick-offs.
  • Travis Picking. This is a popular finger-picking pattern where the thumb changes the string it’s on. One thing to remember when Travis picking is to keep your hand and your knuckles as still as possible – you don’t want too much flailing from your picking fingers because it’s important that they stay pretty well in place. For more picking practice, you can review my folk fingerstyle course.

For Next Time:

  • Start each practice session with finger stretches, followed by the finger gym exercise.
  • Practice Root 5 and Root 6 barre chords. Make sure they sound really nice, and perhaps more importantly, that they feel comfortable while playing.
  • Fine-tune the finger-picking pattern from last time and work on some Travis picking. Work on getting everything very “automated,” to where you don’t have to think too much about what your fingers are actually doing. A great way to accomplish this is to practice it intentionally a few times, and then just keep working at it while you’re distracted with something else, like watching telly.
Tammys Lessons