Albo’s Practice Diary #011: Discovering how to play melody with accompaniment

Ok, I’m over the moon…

I realize that I’ve probably already been doing this for quite some time now, this whole melody-accompaniment-same-time thing, since I’ve been practicing quite a few different songs this year.  But I could really see what was happening as I worked hard to perfect “First Solo” on p. 23 of my trusty Modern Method for Guitar book.



It just “clicked” for me that you can produce amazingly beautiful melody and accompaniment on the guitar at the same time with SIMPLE chord shapes! This may sound incredibly astounding by any means, but it is like a new revelation that just hit me.  I feel like I’ve had an awakening… A move to the next level… Yesterday I was blind, but today I see!

To my instructor’s credit, she had me practice this three weeks in a row and it has made a difference.

The first few times I played through and really focused in on getting the right notes.  I played it slowly.  I also studied the notes to better understand the chords, or partial chords, that they were forming  This was a big part of my understanding, as it is necessary not only to learn proper fingering but also note recognition.

But the insistence on practicing this piece over and over again was to get it to sound through cleanly.  It was not enough just to memorize the notes and be able to strum each chord.  In order to get a proper melody flowing over a subtle backdrop, it is IMPORTANT to let each not ring through and carry the music along.  In order to achieve this you must play each note very clearly.


Once I was playing it clearly, my ears could then hear what was going on… the skies parted, the sun shone down, and music filled my ears.  It was simple, but sweet.  And when I realized I was the one producing these melodic sounds, I smiled.  Now I can’t wait to try the “Second Solo” piece.

Check back to see how I do on that one. Until next time, happy strumming.

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