The “Why?” of Daily Guitar Sessions (Step-By-Step vs Immersion)

There are two types of learning. One is the step-by-step approach and the other is the immersion approach (taken from the world of language learning).

Step by step is the most well-known because it's been used in the school systems for most of our lives. It's particularly good for learning concepts that build on each other. However, it's not enough for mastering skills that take a body-mind connection such as dance, music, art, and language.

I learned the shortcomings of this approach through my own personal experience while learning to speak Spanish. First I made a clear step-by-step plan utilizing a variety of resources including my local Junior college. Then I enrolled and took a year-long course. Along the way I supplemented with software and audio programs.

Even though I got all A's in my courses I could only speak a few isolated phrases in Spanish after a year. Not what I had in mind.

Then I enrolled in a 10-day immersion program that took us to Zamora, Spain. It was challenging but effective. Within 10 days I was talking up a storm.

Children learn talking and walking through this approach. They try different things until they figure out what works. A lot of what goes on is watching, listening and imitating.

There is, however, a big difference between children and adults. Adults have an ongoing conversation with themselves that could be described as negative mental chatter. We’re constantly looking for quick results and quick to criticize our lack of progress. If we feel something is too difficult or we don't see progress we often quit.

The key to adult learning is to develop a sense of confidence in your ability to learn before entering the world of immersion. To do this RGS combines both types of learning.

When starting out you gain fundamental skills with a step-by-step process called The Beginner's Journey. There you’re presented with a series of small stepping stones that are created for beginners. Along the way you'll learn bits of timely music theory and play-along with “The Band”, professionally recorded backing tracks, to try out your new found skills.

Even though each step may seem modest on the surface, it’s not long before you realize that step-by-step, you’re sounding like a real guitar player.

This works well for newbies as preparation for the Daily Practice Sessions (Guitar Gym).

It’s also great for review for those who have been playing for a while. Many self-taught guitar players have a lot of holes in their learning. This creates what I call a Swiss cheese approach. They have a variety of skills with a lot of holes in between. This leads to feeling stuck at a certain level with no clear way to break out. The Beginner's Journey can fill in those holes and provide the understanding necessary to move forward.

The Daily Guitar Sessions are the heart of RGS. Unlike The Beginner’s Journey they are not progressive. You'll have a new session each weekday that covers a variety of levels and subjects. Each weekday, we focus on a different area.

Mondays is Technique
Tuesday is Bit And Pieces (Licks)
Wednesday is Jam Club, which includes the skill of improvisation
Thursday is Groove Workshop (Rhythm and Chord Progressions)
Friday is Song Practice

Each session includes LEARN—a basic lesson or explanation of what you'll be doing. Then you'll play-along with PLAY

The focus is on learning by doing. There's no pressure to master each session (except that might be self-imposed).

The goal is not to master the particular technique in that session but rather to spend at least 10 minutes on it each day. then decide if you want to bookmark it for later.

This provides a balanced system to continually improve without the ongoing dilemma of deciding what to practice each day. It also solves an age-old issue with learning new skills: It's not what you know that you don't know that causes the most problems. It's what you don't know that you don't know.

Throughout these sessions, you’re exposed to techniques and skills you wouldn't know to seek out. After 10 minutes, you get to choose if it's something you want to spend more time on, save for later... or move on.

In short, you'll gain confidence by learning fundamental skills step-by-step in The Beginners Journey. Then you’ll apply those skills and be exposed to new and exciting techniques in the Daily Guitar Sessions.

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