Strumming is rhythm- and more specifically rhythm AWARENESS! If you’re not trained in reading rhythm within written music , then you need to focus on FEELING rhythm as your primary learning tool toward strumming- but you should ALWAYS be feeling rhythm anyway. If your guitar teacher keeps demonstrating how to strum the music you wish to play, politely ask him or her to please teach you about how rhythm works. If that doesn’t go over well, then find another teacher. I know this sounds harsh but if you want to evolve as a musician, you must look out for yourself and get what you know you need.
If your current experience of learning to strum a guitar involves being shown how to strum to a specific song, then you are missing out on easily the most important feature of music- understanding how rhythm works. The good news that you do have an instinct for rhythm but it might just be a little aspleep- in fact a Sleeping Giant.
If you decide to learn to strum on your own then, quite naturally, you will make your strumming sound like what you hear in the song you wish to play (assuming there is a strumming guitarist in the song). Your instinct is usually very good at reproducing the strumming sounds at the moment they occur but what will often be missing is an awareness of how those strumming sounds relate to one another and an awareness of how you could coordinate your strumming hand to be much more efficient at doing it’s job.
The most important component of organizing your strumming is to be aware of the PULSE within the music. Basically the PULSE is the awareness of an evenly repeating, well… pulse! Some of you might call it the BEAT. In many cases, the pulse will be felt naturally in you as you tap your foot to a song- or bob your head or tap the steering wheel of your car while driving and listening to music.
Check out the video below to see how the effect of the “pulse” influences the guys around Brushy One String . And this guy is only playing ONE STRING- like a bass guitar.
What he is playing (rhythmically that is) is something already inside him and is coming out through the guitar (the instrument) and affecting the listeners around him- plus his personality is quite energetic too. Feeling the PULSE in the music is the first step in being able to develop your own strumming solutions (or maybe I should call it STRUMMING REACTIONS). Especially, look to see any relationship between the way the guys move their bodies and, in some cases, snap their fingers. How would you describe that relationship? Again, it’s about rhythm awareness.
So relax, listen and enjoy the music and let the PULSE of it inhabit your soul.
In the final post of this series I’ll give you practical strategies to actually create your own strumming solution to this actual song.
YES! How would YOU strum along to his tune?
To me his playing is implying the chords A major & G Major if you want to give it a try.
Now don’t go on the web and find someone to show you. I’ll give you the tools you need to do this and I think you’ll be quite surprised at how logical BUT SIMPLE it really is.
Until then, don’t forget to leave a comment or question and go ahead and share this post with your friends.