Justin Sandercoe
Guitar Techniques|February 2022
As one of the world’s most successful guitar teachers, Justin lends us his insight into learning and playing guitar. This month: All Ten Parts.
By Justin Sandercoe. Photographs by Nick Delaney

After recommending Victor Wooten’s book, The Music Lesson to a friend, I read it again and I'm so glad I did. In this article I’d like to share one of his many important observations - the 10 elements that make up music. They are all intrinsically linked, but thinking about each element individually and staying aware of how much attention you give them might influence your playing in a very positive way. It sure did for me.

The 10 elements are: notes, articulation, technique, feel, dynamics, rhythm, phrasing, tone, space, and listening.

While NOTES is the first item in the list, it’s often massively over emphasised. While notes are obviously important there are other elements that are as, if not more, important. Notes can be subdivided into harmony, scales, tonality etc, but it’s likely other items on the list have had less attention on your journey thus far - I’d start with other elements.

ARTICULATION does not get the attention it deserves and is a bigger deal than it might first appear. It’s often one of the key ingredients in a musician’s style and the aspect that allows us to recognise a player after hearing a few notes. What articulations do you use often? Articulation can also encompass duration of notes. Another factor you might not have given much thought before (unless you play bass).

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