RGS Live #16 | tips for music learners 55+

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This month we’re sharing 10 tips for music learners over the age of 55 because you’re never too old to learn something new. There’s also a great range of questions from our RGS students and live viewers.

Tip Summary

1. Make sure the quality of your guitar supports your learning journey.

2. Create an encouraging practice space.

3. Warm up! Stretch your hands and fingers before playing.

4. Watch your back, have good posture while you play.

5. Set small, achievable goals.

6. Get a support system.

7. Consistency is your friend/Creating and keeping routines.

8. Learn to love the plateau.

9. Get out of your head!

10. Don’t be afraid to be a fool.


Questions Asked During the Session:

[29:19] How to improve timing, smoothing out. Chord transition from D to F. -Nick

[34:05] I’ve read that doing finger stretching exercises is useful as a warm up before practice. Do you agree, please? -Graham

[34:05] What are the best stretching and strengthening exercises for hands and shoulders? Especially if a feller has arthritis. And alternate fingering techniques for big palms and short, thick fingers? -Cliff

[35:01] I am told my guitar has a floating bridge.  I have also been told that when I clean the frets that I should remove all the strings.But the manual says to change only one string at a time to avoid bumping the floating bridge.  Then it says to remove all the strings to clean the frets well. So, my question is can I safely remove all the strings and clean the frets and then replace all the strings at once. The guitar in question is a brand new G5445t  Gretsch with the Bigsby tailpiece. -Mark

[37:20] I take a song, break it down, practice and practice a section….some are easy…then there is a section(s) that are not…I practice the bejesus out of them separately and they still don’t give in…I could stay on one song for months without completing it…now I have a hundred partial songs to my repertoire.

Should I continue to do as I have been and move on…I can’t stand to stay on one piece for such a long time.

BTW is it “bad” to have to use tabs in front of you for EVERY song you play? -Rod

[44:18] I have right shoulder/neck issues — playing a 4″-deep acoustic guitar with strumming and flatpick. How do you manage the right arm and shoulder and posture — maybe avoid rolling the shoulder forward– to be able to play ergonomically? -Paul

[45:52] I’ve just started learning fingerpicking guitar. What I cannot figure out is to play in rhythm. I can pick the notes and that’s just about it, pick it! It doesn’t sound musical but robotic! Would it help if I hum the song and work out the rhythm or is there a better and easier way? -Anonymous Viewer

[47:53] I’m sort of stuck in a rut with barre chords. I’ve been working on them for a few months now but am still ‘sticky’ on transitioning. Advice on getting through that would be good. -Phil

[48:44] Also, I’ve got big hands / fingers (not fat!). I play the A shape barre chords by barring the 3 strings of an A shape using my ring finger …..just struggle to fit three fingers that close together. Using my ring finger works okay but I’m still getting a buzz / mute on the adjacent strings. Any advice on how to better barre those 3 strings as part of an A barre chord shape? -Phil

[50:24] How to find the right guitar teacher ?? In my area, they are all about the money keeping you coming back every week. I don’t have time for that at my age I want to move on and learn the right things in the right order. -Jim

[54:07] I’d like to know how to play with a Harmonium player matching the right key and finding chord progressions to fit. -Jim

[56:14] When doing my 5th string root barre chords I’m really having a hard time forming the A-shaped barre on the major chords. Any suggestions? Forming the barre is fine but making the barre for the A-shape is giving me trouble. By “forming” it I mean being able to hold them down to make them sound well. It is the only shape that’s just not working.  -Laura

[59:30] I’m opposite w/ short, stubby fat fingers. Hard to reach top string. Is there a better neck or fingerboard for my finger type? -Steve

Download 10 Tips as a PDF

Want to review these 10 tips later? Download the PDF version and read it at your convenience.

>> 10 Tips for Guitar Learns Age 55 And Over

Links Mentioned:

Hand Stretching Warm-up Routine For Guitar Players

Avoiding Back Pain And Back Stretches for Guitar Players

Partial Barre Exercises (Scary F Chord)

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