Pop Guitar Challenge

THE BIGGEST DELIGHT IS NOT IN LISTENING TO MUSIC BUT IN MAKING IT

Want some diversity during COVID-19 outbreak? Learn to play the pop music on the guitar while on the quarantine

FOR FREE

STARTING AT GROUND ZERO

NO MUSIC LITERACY REQUIRED

Instruments you can use

This challenge is available in the following music genres:

How does this challenge work?

01

Choose a musical instrument you want to play and join the challenge

02

Tell your friends about your decision to learn an instrument and about the challenge

03

Learn to play in your favorite musical genre by progressing through 5 levels of exciting tasks

04

After the challenge, share your results with friends

05

Keep on developing, set new goals, play with fellow musicians, join jam sessions, give concerts

What guitar do you need

TASKS

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Level 5

RHYTHM

  1. Rhythm is one of the essential elements of music. Each musical phrase, melody, and riff is based, first and foremost, on rhythm, and every musician, whatever instrument he or she plays, is a drummer above all else. To understand what we mean, watch this clip from the Get on Up movie. 
  2. Listen to one of the backing tracks available here and imagine that you have already learned to play your instrument really well and are playing a beautiful solo. But instead of playing note, you should tap as if you were drumming (listen to the example below). It does not matter what you use: whether you tap your hand on your lap, a pencil on your desk, a spoon on a glass, or use online virtual drums, the important thing is to practice!
  3. From now on, every time you listen to music, make up your own rhythmic solos in your head and continuously develop this skill.

Clip from the Get on Up movie

Example and Backing Tracks

EXAMPLE

Major Pop Backing Track

Major Pop Backing Track

MELODY

1. You have to start learning a musical instrument by playing with restrictions. When performing this task, you will see for yourself that you can create lovely tunes using just a few notes. Start playing to the backing track with the following restrictions: 

  • Use three notes only: C, D, E. Please see the images below to find those notes on your instrument. Before you proceed to the next task, dedicate at least several rehearsals (2–3 hours in total) to this 3-note playing. 
  • Use four notes only: C, D, E, G. Spend a total of about 3 or 4 hours of your practice time playing with four notes only. 
  • Start using the five most frequently used notes in music: C, D, E, G, A. These five magic notes are called a pentatonic scale. Our ancestors found the pentatonic scale intuitively and began using it thousands of years ago. This combination of notes is the most pleasing to the human ear. The pentatonic scale permeates all modern music. Spend a total of at least five hours playing with the five notes, and you will be surprised by the results. 

Practicing the above exercises will allow you to grasp the essence of creating your own solos and will prove to you that by continuing this challenge course you will learn to play your musical instrument freely and with confidence.

Example and Backing Tracks

EXAMPLE

Major Pop Backing Track

Major Pop Backing Track

RANGE


  1. Expand the range of your playing by adding the same pentatonic notes but at the lower or higher end, in other words, start using the notes from the adjacent octaves. If you don't know what an "octave" is, this is a great occasion to search the web and enrich your knowledge of your musical instrument. 
  2. Knowledge of the pentatonic scale covering the entire range of your musical instrument allows you to play both major (more energetic and happy) music in the key of C major, and minor (more emotional and sad) music in the key of A minor (Am).

Example and Backing Tracks

EXAMPLE

Major Pop Backing Track

Major Pop Backing Track

Minor Pop Backing Track

Minor Pop Backing Track

EASE

  1. Work on one of the most effective exercises that will teach you to orient yourself in the notes of the pentatonic scale on your instrument and, at the same time, to play with ease. This exercise is called a Wandering Pentatonic Scale (see example). Play the notes of the pentatonic scale following these clear rules:
    • don't stop,
    • don't skip over the notes of the scale,
    • play notes and pauses of the same length.
  2. Having allowed enough practice of the above exercise, start improvising using the notes of the pentatonic scale without any restrictions, using notes of any length, pauses etc. Enjoy being able to create such powerful solos so easily! 

Example and Backing Tracks

EXAMPLE

Major Pop Backing Track

Major Pop Backing Track

Minor Pop Backing Track

Minor Pop Backing Track

EXPRESSION


1. And now it is time to learn how to use two additional notes which will help you create more expressive solos. 

  • First, learn to use six notes, including B, which is a perfect addition to your pentatonic scale. 
  • And then experiment with the seventh note, F. This one sounds a bit off compared to the other notes you have already learned, but when you want to create a strong tension in your solo and add some expression, this note is what you need.

 Play, experiment, have fun!

2. Capture your progress, celebrate your achievements and continue to develop. Develop the ease with which you play your musical instrument.

Let your playing and new musical experience make you happier every day!

Example and Backing Tracks

EXAMPLE

Major Pop Backing Track

Major Pop Backing Track

Minor Pop Backing Track

Minor Pop Backing Track

R&B Backing Track

Disco Backing Track

Chill Out Backing Track

Ambient Backing Track