I Created A Guitar Course For Complete Beginners, Based On My Deep Dive On The First Principles of Learning

My Contrarian Approach To Delivering The Best Learning Outcome For Aspiring Guitarists


After learning that Massive Open Online Courses (“MOOCs”) suffer a dropout rate of about 96% on average, I wanted to implement my knowledge of a particular topic to an actual course structure, based on the principles I’ve detailed in my previous article, “Why Most Online Courses Fail, And How Yours Can Stand Out From The Crowd”. In this case, the topic of my choosing was on “playing the guitar”.

The aim of this exercise is to build a course that will actually help complete beginners become proficient in playing their favorite songs.

My Background

I’ve been playing guitar for more than 10 years, and have been teaching beginner guitar for several years as well. I played the guitar in several restaurants and bars during my time in college, in order to sustain an allowance for myself.

I adopted part of Richard Feynman’s Learning Technique in my teaching, which was to be proficient enough to articulate and teach a topic, such that even a grade 6 student would understand.

Over time, I have developed a teaching structure is based on years of perfecting how to get my beginner students from zero to proficiency on the guitar.

I define proficiency to mean that students will be able to self-learn and play their favorite songs on the guitar

Understanding the Pain Points of Aspiring Guitarists

Many beginners that I taught want to be able to play their favorite songs. This hypothesis is further validated by me performing a survey on other aspiring guitarists online.

Based on the above findings, I have built this course specifically to align with their learning objective and desired outcome.

Why Do Beginners Give Up?

Key Insight #1: Most beginners give up ironically because there are too many resources available online!

After speaking to numerous aspiring guitarists, I found out that one of their main pain points was, ironically, the vast amount of resources available on the web (e.g. YouTube, Guitar Blogs).

New learners often feel overwhelmed by the amount of content available and do not know which they should focus on to structure their practice. This demotivates them, and they end up ditching their aspirations of picking up the guitar.

Removing Obstacles To Learning

Based on the above insight, we know that complete beginners require a guided structure to allow them to focus their practice on aspects that will help them achieve their eventual goal in the fastest time possible.

Most music courses available often boast of the vast library of content they have available on their platform. I decided to pursue an alternative approach — to structure my course such that it is concise and succinct, yet in-depth enough for students to achieve their desired level of proficiency.

How The Course Is Structured

First, I broke down the fundamental building blocks needed to play a song. This is what I have identified:

#1 Learning chord shapes

There are hundreds of chord variations to be played on the guitar.

I have precisely detailed which chords to learn, and the EXACT order in which to learn them.

My selection of chords is based on 3 criteria:

  • Which are the most commonly used chords in pop songs today?
  • Which chords are the easiest to start with?
  • Can each chord be strung together to form a simple chord progression?

#2 Changing chords

More importantly, minimizing the awkward silence during chord transition (this is normal for most beginners)

#3 How to strum

Starting with basic down-up-down-up movements to a full step-by-step breakdown on the strumming patterns of songs (I used the song Wonderwall by Oasis to demonstrate this)

#4 Understanding why certain chords and chord progressions are used in certain songs

This requires understanding the basics of music theory.

Note that I mentioned “basics” — it is best not to overload yourself with immense amount of music theory when you are first starting out.

Going back to first principles, the course content has to be kept short and succinct so as to avoid overwhelming the students with content that may not be as relevant to their current learning objectives

#5 Applying Concepts Learnt from #1–4 to actual songs

This is by far, the most important aspect of the course. Again, I have taken a contrarian approach to most music courses available online. While most platforms boast a huge library of song tutorials, I kept the number of songs taught below 10.

Each song tutorial has been carefully picked to allow students to demonstrate a particular technique. This way, students learn the fundamental concept behind playing the song, rather than the song itself. I found this to be a more effective way to teach, as these concepts, once learnt, are transferrable to other songs that they wish to play.

Access To My Guitar Course

If you are an aspiring guitar yourself, or have always, at one point of time, wanted to pick up the guitar, you are most welcome to try out my course! For the monthly subscription, there is a 7-day free trial.

My guitar course for complete beginners: https://www.beguitaro.com



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