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November 7, 2008

Rockschool Week 4

First week back after half term. Only five people there this time. Everyone else sick, it seems!

Okay, so 'the syllabus' took an interesting turn! Rather than shoot for Grade 3 as we were previously told, we've now been informed that we can actually study for and take any exam we want to! How does that work in group sessions, where everybody'll be aiming for different levels? No clue! The main difference off the bat is that WAES will order each of us the appropriate study guide. I'm guessing that we'll effectively become self-starters and refer any queries to teach. All very odd.

I'm thinking I'm going to shoot for Grade 5... maybe 4. Depends on what Teach thinks. I'm going to email him in a bit to ask for his opinion. When I've chosen I guess I'll post the study guide here.

Last night's lesson was primarily a show-and-tell of the 'simple songs' we wrote over half term. We paired up, learned each other's rhythm part then played lead over our own compositions. It seems that the concept of 'simple' was somewhat lost on one of our more talented students, but damn, did it sound good with Teach backing him up!

With just minutes to spare at the end of the two hour session Teach threw in some new (to me) arpeggios, the blues scale (been there, done that) and a rethink of the extended pentatonic. His approach is to split the guitar into three sets of two strings, then to use the same octave (so five notes) pattern on each set.

In tab, that'd look like this for the A minor pentatonic (note that you don't start on the root note):

e ---------------------------------------8-10/12--
B ---------------------------------8-10-----------
G ----------------------5-7/9---------------------
D -----------------5-7----------------------------
A ------3-5/7-------------------------------------
E --3-5-------------------------------------------

So, same exact fingering and same notes means that the same lick with work for each position, an octave apart. That says to me that he's hinting that the first four notes make a useful box, with the fifth being just a bend or slide away.

On top of that, for homework we have to record and learn our jam partner's song... PLUS...

P-L-U-S... that we've learned the notes on the E and A-strings, we have to learn the other strings, too... in a week... STRETCH TARGET OR WHAT?!?!?

Oh well, at least tonight I get the night off from work, school and so on. I'm off to see my band's lead singer play with her 'other band', Toxic Slut! Punk in Islington! Whatever next?


Dave Jacoby said...

That Amin arpeggio is very close to the cool Allman Brothers lick in "Bootleg Flyer". If you can talk someone into learning it and doing the E version of the same lick alongside of you, you'll get a nice unison thing.

Frank [] said...

Hey Kenski,

How ya been? When you mention the different grades for the school, is that specific to the school or guide or is that a series you are referring to?

Is that only ran out of the UK or do you think there might be a version on the US?

Best Regards,

Kenski said...

Hey Frank, Rockschool is a UK scheme. See It's basically designed as a syllabus-based teaching guide, using exams as milestones to measure progress. Whilst the exams are in the UK, I imagine that the guides, DVDs etc could be shipped. We have another scheme in the UK run as the RGT (Registry of Guitar Tutors) which aims to do the same thing, but it's not so much geared towards popular music.

Frank [] said...

I see... Thank you for the information.