Why & How to learn arpeggios

Just posted a new Lesson on my YouTube Channel.

It's in the same vein as a previous video I posted on Scales.

In my personal experience there are many musicians who don't have a great relationship with music theory and I was definitely one of them in my early years of learning music. For me this was because of the way in which it was taught, I was given songs and scales to learn, and some theory lessons, but never were they put together, each was taught in isolation and therefore the value and use of the scales and theory were totally lost, useless to me. It wasn't until I found a teacher who put them all together that I could fully appreciate it all and actually start becoming a musician.

So with that in mind and coming off the foundation of my other videos, this is my introduction to arpeggios where I discuss some reasons why they are helpful (if not vital) to know as a musician and some ways you can start getting them under your fingers on the guitar.





I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here, but thought I would share for anyone who might find it useful or interesting maybe someone that's passing through or searching, and of course to ask the regulars for your feedback and discussion!

Comments

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,011Member
    edited December 2017
    It's great Rea - your presentation and video production is engaging, impressive and professional, no question about that. I'm impressed anyhow!

    You are indeed preaching to the choir with me, but from my own experience, I think just using words like "music theory", "diatonic", "major scale forms" etc. etc. causes a lot of people to switch off. I guess if you can somehow find a way of tricking people into learning this stuff, without realising they are doing something "academic" then I reckon that's probably good from a popularity point of view. Perhaps a bit less demo-ing the exercises, and more stuff showing how arpeggio-derived phrases can sound cool in actual soloing/musical situations.

    Speaking for myself, I am one of those people that like the thorough, understand everything fully, kind of approach, and I've never been put off by academic language or music theory. But a lot of people are - I know a superb jazz keyboard player who tells me he hates it when I start "going on" about scales and stuff, and yet if you heard him play... It's weird anyhow!

    I can easily see you as strong competition for that Justin chap - he seems to have a certain knack with presenting things in a non-intimidating, light on the theory, kind of way however - I'm sure that's behind a lot of his success. So maybe nick adapt some of his approach for your own videos is kind of what I'm saying, just a thought. Saying all this, you can never please all the people all the time, and it is a great lesson video, and there will be an audience out there for this I'm sure - I do wish you well with the whole video lesson/reviewer career, and you certainly have the friendly professional presenter thing nailed. :)
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,267Member
    A well presented video Rea. :smile:

    You make a good point in that the teaching of theory often falls down when it excludes any demonstration of the practical aspect of it - and in particular how it benefits your musical creativity.
    Creativity being, for me, the most important part of playing music.
    If I encounter a lesson that just tells me exactly what to do from a technique point of view, but doesn't give me a feel for the musical benefits, I just lose concentration and switch off.

    You manage a good trick of being informative while not intimidating the viewer with hard to understand concepts.
  • Bob IsaacBob Isaac Posts: 81Member
    I have forgotten all the professional teaching I had in school back in the 60's on cello and trumpet, and my Dad was a pro trombonist (Kneller Hall trained) so the training continued at home. A few years ago I decided to pick up on the guitar again after about 35 years, and was happy for a while just strumming away with friends. But I just found your lessons on YouTube, brilliant. Just what I need to get back into things. Just wish I could stretch my fingers as much as I used to. Thanks Rea.
    2009: Roy Orbison Epiphone 12-String FT-112
    2012: Washburn WJ130EK
    2014: Masterbilt AJ-500RCE | Faith Neptune HiGloss | Faith Neptune Honeyed Sycamore
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    2016: Masterbilt AJ-45ME | Masterbilt EF-500RCCE | Masterbilt DR-500MCE | Masterbilt Century DeLuxe Classic
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  • ReaGeorgeReaGeorge Posts: 114Member
    edited April 9
    Thanks so much @Megi @Mark%20P and @Bob%20Isaac

    I can't believe I hadn't responded to you guys! I really appreciate both the feedback and the very kind words it's very encouraging.

    I'm trying to figure out how to continue my channel really, I love making these videos, especially when they're received so well :P but ideally I need to figure out how to monetise them to really keep it going :/ At the same time keeping up the videos means more community growth and options can open up, it's a bit of catch...



  • DaveBassDaveBass Posts: 3,311Member
    The reason for learning scales and arpeggios is that melodies are constructed from them. If you can play scales and arpeggios you can play melodies, or at least you're well on the way to it. Breaking it down further, you get to intervals: scales and arpeggios, and melodies, are made up of intervals.

    As for music theory, I'm completely self-taught. At age 10 I got my parents to buy me a book, "Rudiments and Theory of Music", which was well above my head at that point (I was learning to play the descant recorder!) but which has stood me in good stead over the years and which I still have and occasionally consult. The rest of my music theory education is more recent and has come from Wikipedia. So if I can teach myself, so can you. Just don't be afraid of the technical terms; like any specialism, you need to get to grips with the terminology!
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,015Member
    I refuse to believe that any of my guitar heroes practiced scales or arpeggios. Maybe Andy Summers.

    This is for nerds.

    (With respect to Rea)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,011Member

    I refuse to believe that any of my guitar heroes practiced scales or arpeggios. Maybe Andy Summers.

    This is for nerds.

    (With respect to Rea)

    Nonsense! :D
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,015Member
    edited April 14
    Ha ha.

    At least you all know I don't rely on a spell chequer.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,015Member
    edited April 14
    But seriously. My theory is this. Guitarists who have an innate ability to map the fretboard do so in phrases, not scales or arpeggios.

    None of my heroes are the studious types.

    Scales and arpeggios are for people of lesser gift. That they might be able to emulate spontaneously one day.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,581Member, Moderator
    And I am a hotchpotch of both methods!
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 833Member
    Miles Davis played scales. So did Alan Holdsworth. I don't think either of them could be accused of being lesser in any way when it came to music.

    You'll also find every single classical musician who ever lived highly adept at scales and arpeggios.

    If you have an innate ability you don't need to study at all. If you want to know your instrument better than people who just play by ear, you need to play scales.

    Forty years on and I've never regretted "learning" music.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 833Member
    Megi said:

    I refuse to believe that any of my guitar heroes practiced scales or arpeggios. Maybe Andy Summers.

    This is for nerds.

    (With respect to Rea)

    Nonsense! :D
    That's far too polite, Graham. And far too many letters!
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,015Member
    edited May 5
    Nowt wrong with being a nerd btw.

    I know that it's about bettering playing by ear but it's meant to be fun.

    Grade 8 scales and arpeggios literally killed my passion for guitar.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 833Member
    Oh I couldn’t agree more. If you’re not having fun, stop it! Actually grade 6 scales and arps put me off piano lessons, so I quit and played what I wanted. I just get a bit obsessive over guitar scales, they’re my kind of fun!
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,267Member
    Learning scales just to know the scales is soul destroying and a real turn off.

    Knowing where scale notes are, so that you can play by ear and explore the fretboard and try to spontaneously create something musical, is a joy.
  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,659Member
    I have a thing for gypsy jazz. Can't play it, but it's fun trying. The lead side of things is pretty much all arpeggios, and I quite enjoy learning them, and twisting them inside out (sometimes deliberately) when trying to fashion lead lines.

  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 833Member
    Mark P said:

    Learning scales just to know the scales is soul destroying and a real turn off.

    Knowing where scale notes are, so that you can play by ear and explore the fretboard and try to spontaneously create something musical, is a joy.

    oh yes!
    The fun part for me is knowing that they're useful. Looking forward to looking back at all that hard work!
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,015Member
    edited May 7
    My playing just ended up sounding like... well... SCALES !

    I think the really productive part must come when the modes are mastered but I don't learn anything easily and life is just too darn short. I let someone else do it and enjoy the show.

    I'd rather listen to an eager Punk guitarist than a highly polished scalesmeister any day.



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