MOUSE CLICKING // NOTE FRETTING
Recently, I was figuring out how to do some formatting on a Microsoft Word document. Not being too good at Word, I turned and asked my girlfriend who was just beside me if she knew how. With a few clicks of the mouse, she found a solution! Impressed, I asked her whether she had learnt the software before and she replied,
“Oh I actually didn’t really know how to myself. I just clicked around the interface to find the right functions!”
At her words, I thought to myself,
“Isn’t that what I do also when I’m working out chords for a song or casually noodling around on my guitar?”
I simply “clicked” around the fretboard, curiously pressing and listening to different note combinations as I play, searching for ideal harmonies which I can use to convey my feelings. Once I’ve found chord voicings or certain motifs which I liked, I would begin “formatting” the song. Once I’ve completed the arrangement, I would play it many times over to commit it to memory.
This approach to learning and making music through trial and error is intuitive and I strongly encourage anyone to try it, regardless if you’re starting out on the guitar/ukulele or have been playing for a while. Given some time, these fretboard forays will help you to be more familiar with where different chord and note positions are. Plus, it’s good training for the ears too! At Living Strings Music, we emphasise this approach in our teaching. The letter 'E' in our E.A.R approach stands for Exploration. What beats the satisfaction of solving a difficult maths problem yourself as opposed to just getting the answer key and not really knowing how to derive the answer? Here, we want our students to explore their instrument. An exercise we conduct in class to hone in on 'Exploration' is to get students to try and figure out possible chord progressions to a song, instead of handing them the chord sheets and letting them play through.
I’m still enjoying the process of 'trial and error' today while I play catch up with Microsoft Word, haha!