Guest Blog: Solving Remote Teaching with Mats Nermark
Today we welcome back our great friend Mats Nermark from Sweden! Mats is a long time PreSonus user and has led the way in his area with his approach to education! Let’s hear what Mats has to say this week!
I have 30 guitar students per week and I realized that there’s not technical solution that allows me to play in time with the kind using Teams or similar tech. I also realized that I will not have time to tailor make 30 different lessons per week and make digital content for that. Especially since I only spend 50% of my time in the guitar department. The rest of the time, I run the Music Production courses with 24 students and they also need their teacher. So instead of making 30 different ”lesson packages”, one for each student I started thinking about making one lesson that would suit and inspire all 30 students no matter their progress and abilities.
I decided on making a lesson package consisting of the following:
- a pdf with ”Getting Started” instructions
- pdf sheet music with standard notation and tab
- a recorded version of the tune
- the same tune ”minus 1” to use a s a backing track (see more later)
- a video where I explain the different steps in this particular lesson package
The solution lies in developing different steps. Steps from easy up to advanced so it can entertain and challenge all students, regardless of their level. All students start with step 1 and the progress through the steps as far as their interest and abilities can take them. The primary goal here is to keep playing fun and their musical interest alive.
Here are 5 typical steps and some reasoning behind them.
- 1. First I have selected a tune with a fairly simple melody that every one can play as long as they can read a tab.
- And everybody should learn how to play simple melodies with expression and phrasing. You can’t get enough of that in my book.
- 2. A simple strumming accompaniment
- 3. A more advanced strumming accompaniment
- 4. A finger picking or stylistically appropriate accompaniment
- 5. Improvisation, what notes you can use and why. Stylistic tips and trick. This ties in with music theory, knowing your scales and how chords are constructed, etc.
Here is an example of one lesson pack broken down! (Lesson Example Files: Click Here)
- Step 1: For example, I selected Freight Train in C. Simple melody enough for the beginner to get around but also a good base on which to start a discussion with the advanced students about phrasing and the importance of the pause and space.
- Step 2: It also a song that’s easy to strum around a camp fire when camping, so we introduce basic strumming.
- Step 3: I then created the backing track as a country tune which allows for some more advanced strumming.
- Step 4: This brings in comping in the style of Luther Perkins who was the guitar player with Johnny Cash for many years.
- Step 5: This is unlimited in scope as there’s improvisation in the country context with stylistic elements like chicken picking, double stops, playing in sixths, and the importance of practice alternate picking.
Thanks again to Mats for contributing! For More on Mats Nermark, Visit his website at: www.nermark.com
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