Pick or no-pick?
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What method do you teach: finger-style or pick-style?
I have classical guitars, but the students are keen on using picks, so I purchased some and passed them out during class yesterday. They were cautioned against allowing the picks to scratch the tops of the guitars, and of course several of them dropped their pick inside the instrument. We’ll see how this progresses. Amped up the volume exponentially, I have to say!
I teach finger-style, but do make a point of passing out a pick at the beginning of the year and showing students how to hold it properly, so they may use it if they choose when playing melodies or strumming chords. I explain that I was taught finger-style so that’s how I play most of the time, and you probably won’t see me using a pick in class, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it’s mostly personal preference and depends on the styles of music you like to play and the teacher you work with. I leave the decision up to them, as long as they are doing one or the other correctly!
I teach a blues-rock based class, so I insist that they get comfortable with picks.
I go back and forth depending on the style of the music we are playing. For our beginning guitar class I try and teach many different styles so if we are strumming and singing then picks are fare game if we are working in ensembles then generally it’s a PIMA day.
I only start with fingerstyle. The comparison I use most often is learning to drive a car. If you learn on a manual transmission, you can drive an automatic with no problems, but if you learn on an automatic, you usually won’t bother learning to drive a stick. In the same way, playing with a pick can become a crutch too easily for those who don’t have the skill to use their fingers.
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