The Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy
The Most Awesome Musicality Exercise Ever!
If you want a simple exercise that will improve your timing, dexterity, ability to foot tap, play to a click, and musicality, then look no further. It’s not an easy exercise but we’ll break it up into bars and three stages for every bar. This means anyone can do this exercise and benefit from it no matter what your skill level. You can and will build up to the full exercise. Here’s more about it…
Bar 1 – Getting Started With The Exercise The Proper Way!
Spend most of your time with this video. Here we are focusing on bar 1, and breaking it up into three stages. Get the TAB/notation and remember, it’s key to follow the advice in the video about good technique. This is absolutely key for a technical/musical exercise like this…
How To Tap Your Foot, Use A Click, And Improve Your Timing!
Now then, let’s take the above and get practising it with tight timing. To do so, I show you how to play the first bar using a foot tap and then a metronome. You can (and should) apply this to the rest of the parts too.
Moving Onwards With Bar 2
Let’s take the exact same principles from bar 1 and apply it to bar 2…
Bars 3 and 4 – The Same Sort Of Thing As Before!
As long as you have gone through the previous videos, there is really nothing more new here. You are simply taking what you’ve already learnt and moving it up the fretboard. Take your time though, and revisit the earlier videos if you need to!
Putting it All Together!
Finally, let’s put it all together to play the full exercise! Go slowly with it, you’re doing great! Keep coming back to the exercise, and each time you do, you will see more improvements!
There it is. That’s a powerful exercise. There are lots of ways to simplify it for anyone to use. If in doubt, do bar 1 on its own at stage 1 (which is where you only play the D string). Take your time and build it up!
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts on this lesson. Most of all, enjoy!
Great lesson, I am really looking forward to learning this. I have found when I stretch on the D string I mute the high E string so have to push my wrist forward at an acute angle, then I get cramp, should I be pushing my elbow forward instead or maybe lowering my shoulder? Looking like a contortionist wrestling a guitar at the moment 🤣
Yeah, that is one of the reasons why this works so well (which I don’t think I mentioned in the video). Getting good at this will ensure your hand position is solid and there is no accidental muting of the high E string. Try to relax the shoulder, ensure the guitar’s neck is angled properly (you may need to angle it more), and keep swinging the elbow. Keep relaxed too. It will take some tweaking! 🙂
Thanks Dan I’ve got it now. As you suggested I angled the neck a bit more and everything seemed to move into the right place, a simple adjustment and now I am happily playing Bar 1. 🎶😁
That’s great, Joanne. Well done. I love it when these little tweaks make a big difference. You may find this position is the ideal one for you to play in generally. 🙂
Thanks to your advice in week 1 and a lot of practice, I can now do the whole piece without cramp and I can keep my index finger down. Just need a bit more speed but it sounds great. Thanks again for a brilliant lesson. 😁🎶
Wonderful. Well done, Joanne. Sounds like you have made some excellent progress with this. Keep using the exercise for fun and to review the lessons inside, and of course, don’t forget to apply the techniques to all your playing. This will help you kick on even more! 🙂
SUPER lesson Dan!!! What I love about it is it virtually brings everything into play…
like you said – technique, timing, musicality… I like that it also gets you moving completely up and down the fretboard and that it changes the fingering pattern going up. I can really see where mastering this lesson/exercise will open up your confidence when playing other pieces of music!! Homerun Dan!!! Cheers…
Forgot to mention – I also love that it gets me using the click and getting my timing down… I have not been too good at really paying attention to precise timing. I love how this incorporates that as well!
Good stuff. Yeah, click/foot tapping can be hard, and practising them in a simple way one bar at a time can really help. 🙂
Thanks, Logan. Super pleased you are enjoying this one so far. Yeah, it’s a really good one for improving all those elements. Keep coming back to it and having plenty of fun with it! 🙂
I love this lesson, this will sky rocket my playing to another level for sure. BUT… it will be a long road. I want to nail this musicality exercise. I love how it sounds, and I want to do it. Step one probably will all I can handle right now.. and thats ok. No rushing forward, but practice mindfully one step at a time. I’m learning this finally! Thank you for this awesome lesson. I will be engaging in this for months to come.
Absolutely the best way. Real patience and precision is key. I would definitely rather you spend good focused time on step 1 and nail that for sure. The other steps will fall into place but getting the fretting hand as comfortable and precise as possible first is key. Keep enjoying it! 🙂
I love this lesson it’s fab, i am struggling though trying to keep my index down, i end up straining my wrist. Small bursts with this one i think. Happy days!
this is my problem as well.
Stick with it, Diane, and keep adjusting. Remember to use minimum pressure too! You will get the right position, just lots of experimenting but once you nail it, this position can help all your playing. 🙂
Glad you are enjoying it. Definitely worth adjusting the position of the guitar and your arm (play about with the position) to get it just right. Small bursts definitely best too. Keep at it. 🙂
I am loving this!! The exercise is helping the stretch of my fretting hand while also working on the finger picking!
Great stuff, yeah, this will definitely help with the stretch! Keep using a light touch where needed and keep enjoying too! 🙂
I’m still having a hard time holding my index finger down when I fret the 5th with my pinkie, and I’m also experiencing discomfort in my wrist. Guess I’m trying too hard. This will take some practice. My fingers aren’t used to stretching this far.
It’s good you are aware of the discomfort. It just means the stretch might not be there yet or that you may need to adjust the angle of the neck of the guitar higher, or loosen up the elbow or shoulder to change positions slightly, or turn the hand slightly. It’s all subtle stuff. Keep listening to your body and keep adjusting. You will get there. Keep us posted too 🙂
This is such a great lesson! Works on a lot of things for me: precision and improving the stretch of the fretting hand. And it’s quite beautiful too! Thanks!
And, I got a new guitar too!! It is so much easier to play-It’s not as wide and is much easier to hold.
Pleased to hear it, Denise. Glad you like the sound of the piece too. I always find it’s really important to have a technical exercise that is inspiring to play too. Great work about the guitar. That’s brill! 🙂
After two weeks holiday and no guitar, I come home to the August lesson which is really enjoyable. what i like the most is when I play along with you, I don’t have anyone to jam with but you give us that opportunity so thanks, Incidentally since joining you, I have played wayfaring stranger every day and have adapted it slightly, as in bar 10 and 12 we play e,c,g,c, but if i add an e and make it a c chord and strum rather than pluck, I think it has loads of musicality. what do you think? I am… Read more »
Glad to hear it, John. Jamming with others in any way, shape, or form is very powerful so I’m glad you’re enjoying it! Great stuff about Wayfaring Stranger too. I love how you have adapted it to suit your own style, creativity like that is fab! Keep up the great work! 🙂
So seems like life has gotten in the way a bit. So missed some practice days.. Back on it, needed to get my practice routine back in some sort of organization. This is a part of it for sure. When you mention in one of the videos.. breath… release the tension.. OMG that is me to a tea. You don’t realize to you check in with your body . My shoulders, arm.. all tight.. and I’m holding my breath.. what is up with that???
Hi Diane, glad you are back to it. Life does sometimes get in the way which is annoying. Holding your breath and tensing up is super common when playing guitar at first. Nobody really talks about it, but most people battle the guitar instead of letting it work with them. Keep reminding yourself to relax though, you will get there and you will make it a habit. 🙂
I have started to feel some mild pain in the joint where the thumb joins the wrist when I’m playing this. My elbow is more or less out to my side when I’m playing the notes and I think this might be the problem. What are your thoughts?
That is usually a sign you are pressing too hard with the thumb. I would try skipping bar 1 and moving to another bar where you are further up the fretboard (so the frets are closer together). Try it on stage 1 (where you just play the melody notes) and really breathe and relax. Keep adjusting. The elbow position may naturally move as you relax more and more. Try this on its own for just a few days I’d say. 🙂
Thanks Dan- I will give it a try and let you know how it’s going.
Cheers Denise, stick with it, you’ll get it. Keep us posted with how you get on. 🙂
Hi Dan- I’ve been following your advice and my thumb feels a bit better. I’m trying to focus on relaxing my grip and am taking more breaks to shake out my hand. You talked in one of your lessons about how to avoid injuries. I thought-guitar injuries? “Maybe get a blister on your little finger….” But now I realize that this could be very serious and prevent me from playing altogether. So, thank you!
That’s great to know, Denise. That sort of conscious effort is key and it sounds like it is paying off for sure! My pleasure, and keep up the good work! 🙂
great stuff, adding more to the arsenal
Ace, glad to hear it, John. 🙂
Have found this one of the best exercises I’ve seen. Have been working on it all month. Still experiencing some hand (around the thumb joint) and wrist pain but figure both are signs I need to continue to make adjustments. Have been using the click. Thanks for a great exercise!
Cheers, Jim. Super pleased you enjoyed it. Yep, keep adjusting and tweaking your position while being aware of the amount of pressure you are using. Also, keep using the exercise at least a few times per week. As you get more and more comfortable you will enjoy it even more. Glad you’re having fun. 🙂
So My struggle at the moment with this exercise. Shoulder pain in fretting arm. Actually that has been the case since I started learning to play guitar. A year or two before even starting this course. As you have mentioned there really is no mention about this out there. I literally have to check in with my body, my breathing every 2 minutes.. I’m tense and tight, I’m hoping now that I am ultra aware, and of course in pain I need to figure this out. I’ve backed off on how hard I press on the strings.. but now I… Read more »
Hi Diane, firstly, well done with the awareness. Remember, many people play for decades without ever consciously being aware of this sort of tension. Just by being aware you are a step ahead. Glad the fingers are working better and in terms of relaxing the shoulders, you are doing everything right with stopping to breathe and relax. I would now focus on stopping to loosen the shoulders (wiggle them, and tense them up here and there – this can help you relax them more). Also, ensure the whole arm is relaxed. Sometimes tension in the shoulder can be caused by… Read more »
I have been using this exercise as a warm up since uou posted it and I have noticed so much improvement. It works on all levels – I have focused on the 3 Ps whilst doing it All much improved , particularly pressure. Timing is better and musicalty too. Combined with the big cycle as a warm up and I am ready to go! Great stuff!
Brilliant, Martin. Super pleased to hear it. That’s exactly what I was hoping to hear and well done for applying the lessons! Just shows what a difference focus and application makes. Keep it up! 🙂