If you want to be good enough at guitar to get paid for it, you need to be doing more than teaching your fingers to obey you, learning songs, and chasing shiny objects.
Here’s my answer to the question “what’s the best order to learn guitar in?”
This is a work in progress. I invite you to comment on it––I’ll update it with anything I missed (or put out of order).
0. get a teacher. work exclusively on technique. learn songs from the internet.
- practice habits
- playing in time
- playing with good feel
- learn the note names
- learn the major scale (in C) vertically on each string
- learn the major scale horizontally in five positions
- learn the most common octave shapes
- understand and memorize the circle of fifths
- learn about key signatures
- learn to ID intervals by shape
- learn to ID notes in chords by function (Root, 3rd, 5th)
- learn chords by note names (and not shapes)
- learn chords in the key of C (diatonic)
- learn to construct fancy chords
- learn nashville numbers
- learn common chord progressions (basic)
- learn chords in the key of C (borrowed)
- learn common chord progressions (borrowed)
- learn common chord progressions (fancy)
- practice transposing––a lot
- learn to read rhythms
- learn to read simple, short melodies––not in open position
- ear training. again: short, simple
- blues scale. deep study & application.
- (wherever your interests lead you)
- nerdy crap like exotic scales, modes, and music theory as it’s conventionally taught
A shorter, more zoomed-out list might be:
- Make sure your technique doesn’t suck.
- Get your time & feel together.
- Install the proper “operating system” in your brain so you can both understand the underpinnings of the songs you’re learning, and keep all that “meta-data” organized.
- Learn to read music well enough to read and write basic charts.
- Train your ear.
- Steal from everyone. Understand the why behind their note choices. Write it out in notation.
- Record yourself often.
- Nerd out on theory if you’re so inclined.
What did I miss?
Please leave a comment!