We meet people occasionally that seem to have been born with an instrument in their hands.
In every picture we see, a guitar sits in the background. When they sit down with the instrument, it seems to be a natural extension of them. It's comfortable, and it sounds amazing.
Natalie Wilson falls into this category.
A guitarist since the tender age of FIVE, she is now a professional musician, session guitar player, and guitar teacher, she also runs the popular guitar blog MusicalAdvisors.
So what would someone with this much experience tell us about learning guitar, mistakes that beginners make, bad habits while playing, and the importance of a metronome... read on to find out!
Interview with Natalie Wilson
StringVibe: What is the biggest mistake you see beginners making when learning to play guitar? What should they do instead?
Natalie: Beginners are always so excited to start playing songs on the guitar, which makes my job as a guitar teacher so much more motivating. However, I’ve noticed that because my beginner students are so excited to sound great, they often rush the learning process and put speed before technique. This backward way of learning guitar can lead to really poor technique in the future which will have a big impact on their playing abilities. I always say: “build your foundation first with good technique, and the speed will come later.”
What bad habits or mistakes do you see most often with professional, or very experienced players?
I occasionally see too much confidence in professional or very experienced players. Of course, these musicians have put the work in and they won't need to practice as much as a beginner or amateur player would. However, some of my friends have found themselves in a pickle when they haven't reviewed their material for a performance because they're just too confident. Musicians have memory slips all the time, so it's important to prepare for them.
Do you have a few songs you like to start new players off with to build fundamentals?
I definitely tend to start players off with songs they enjoy so I can keep them motivated and show them that guitar is challenging, but also a lot of fun. This means the songs I use change because some students prefer rock music and some prefer country. If my student shows any interest in rock, I tend to show them the riff from “Smoke on the Water”. This is a classic, easy riff that most guitarists will be able to play after a week of practice.
What is your best advice to give to someone who is struggling with strumming in time?
Use a metronome! Metronomes are a great way to practice playing steadily to a pre-programmed beat. Even though I've been playing the guitar since I was five years old, I'm always surprised at how the metronome will still reveal fluctuations in my strumming time.
Is there a piece of advice that is commonly given to beginners that you feel is bad? What would you say instead?
Often, I think beginners are told that guitar is easy. While it may be pretty easy to learn a few chords on the guitar, learning more advanced techniques can take a lifetime. Fingerstyle is one of the hardest techniques I've had to learn, as it involves individual control of each one of your fingers. Just remember to be patient with yourself, and enjoy the fact that you’ll never run out of things to practice with this instrument.
Thank you, Natalie!!!
It is always interesting hearing the opinions and experience of someone who has been playing the instrument for most of their lives!
As we were reading through this interview, we were happy that we had a metronome sitting near us! One point for StringVibe!
If you want to find out more about Natalie find her at her site: MusicalAdvisors!