So 2016 is over and done with, and beloved celebrities across the world can breathe a little easier. But a new year brings with it the tradition of new year's resolutions, so I'm going to lay mine on the table.
I'm a firm believer that if you're going to be able to teach, you have to ensure that you can do – and more than that, I believe you have to be willing to continuously learn. If you as a teacher have fallen out of step with the learning process, how are you possibly going to engage students and get them learning?
So with that in mind, I'm going to present to you my plan for 2017- this is what I'm going to be practicing and learning over the next twelve months. And pay close attention, students of mine, because there's a strong chance I'll be inflicting it all on you guys!
I've divided this regimen up into two parts – fundamentals (ie, scales, arpeggios etc) and study pieces – that is, tracks I'm planning to learn to a performance standard.
One tip – I change the key for my fundamental every week using the circle of 4ths, I highly recommend this to keep things fresh and master the fretboard in all areas and registers.
January – Major scale and modes. 3 octaves, played in 3rds, sequenced in 3s and 4s. Piece – Yngwie Malmsteen, “Blitzkrieg”
February – Arpeggios (triads). 3 octaves, played in 3rds, sequenced etc. Piece – Malmsteen continued.
March – Chords (triads and inversions, closed and open voicings). Piece – Satriani, “Flying In A Blue Dream”
April – Pentatonics and modes (Dorian pentatonic – R b3 4 5 6). Piece TBC
May – Harmonic minor & modes. Piece TBC
June – Arpeggios – 7ths. Piece TBC
July – Chords (7ths and inversions, closed and open voicings). Piece TBC
August – Pentatonics (Pentatonic no 4th add2 R 2 b3 5 b7). Piece TBC
September – Melodic minor and modes. Piece TBC
October – Arpeggios – 9ths. Piece TBC
November - Chords (9ths and inversions, closed and open voicings). Piece TBC
December – Pentatonics (Minor pentatonic b5 Rb3 b5 5 b7). Piece TBC.
So, what will all this give me? Who knows, but it's going to take me down some interesting paths.. maybe I'll find ideas I can use, maybe not.. but at least it'll keep me from getting stale!
Hopefully this will inspire you to break out from your comfort zone and use 2017 as the year when you make a real leap forward in your playing, whatever your level. Good luck!