Step D Practice Tips


Step D is the final grade of The Ultimate Guitar Method Junior course. It is quite difficult and takes most young students at least 18 months to complete if they diligently follow the suggested practice regime. Students will now learn Arpeggios, and our music theory studies will help them develop an understanding of how chords are made on the guitar. It is certainly a challenging time for most students, however they now have the ability to learn almost any song they wish. It is recommended that students practice as much content with the original recording, or preferably a backing track.

Routine: Stick With What Works!

Step C includes the same components that students have already been learning, though there are some new aspects such as Aural Skills, which is simply listening skills. Due to their nature, it is quite difficult to practice these at home, so the majority of students can just work on these in lessons.

  1. Exercises – Play each Step D exercise at least five times.
  2. Scales – Play each Step D scale once.
  3. Arpeggios – Play each Step D arpeggio once.
  4. Chords – Pick through every Step D chord, ensuring every string is clear and correct.
  5. Sight Reading – Play through the Step D exercises that they have learnt.
  6. Songs – Practice at least three songs, preferably along with the music. A great idea is to have a total of Five songs to practice. The first three can be songs that the student needs to improve, then the last two can simply be free choice so that practicing remains enjoyable.

This routine should take about thirty minutes to complete.

Now It’s Getting Tough.

If I’m being honest, Step D is quite a challenge – especially for young students. Many students may find a lot of the new material quite difficult and it’s important for them to know that it’s ok to struggle. When this happens there are a few steps that can be taken to ensure they don’t become disheartened.

  1. Tell their weekly UGA Guitar Teacher. Trust me when I tell you that every UGA teacher has been through similar tough times where learning the guitar seemed impossible. Also, students may benefit from a break of all the hard work and instead just play some fun songs for a week or two.
  2. Remind them that it’s really not that big of a deal if they can’t seem to play the new material. Everyone gets the hang of it in time – even if takes a few years. There’s no deadline on when they have to become competent with the content.
  3. Take things slow. Work on one component at a time, or perhaps even one skill at a time. An example would be to simply practice barring with one finger when learning bar chords. Once they are comfortable with barring, then try adding the other fingers to form the remaining notes from the bar chord shape. Your UGA teacher can help you break down the skills in the new component that your child is learning.
  4. Keep at it. Don’t give up! I find that this quote rings true in this situation: “A true master has failed more than a novice has even attempted.”

Record and Reward!

As always, don’t forget to record the practice and then reward your child for working on their guitar skills!

Still need help? Contact us to ask a question, or speak to your UGA Tutor at the next lesson.

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