The World Of C, The World Of G

Towards Musical Mastery

Lesson 21, is the final lesson in our level one music theory course. This lesson is not full of earth shattering concepts, big secrets and all the magical formulas. No, this lesson is about clarity.

As the worst and least prepared freshman to ever attend Berklee College Of Music, I luckily found a mentor, the great William G. Leavitt, chairman of the guitar department and creator of the Berklee method. When I told him I was on the fast track towards dropping out he shared his simple little secret for success: “find out what all the guitar players are avoiding doing, and do them”. Those things turned out to be mandatory proficiency tests, and college music theory workbooks both of which were dry, dull, demanding and tedious. But, I did them and I slowly turned my music school experience around. Studying those music theory workbooks and taking those proficiency tests were what enabled me to understand the program, to graduate and eventually become a professional guitarist, teacher and author.

One other thing that Mr. Leavitt said to me was that it would be a shame if my dreams and goals had to die simply because of laziness, “Don’t ever let anyone accuse you of being lazy” he would say. Do you think I am lazy?

Repitition Is The Mother Of Skill

Lesson 21, is simply a set of written exercises that build on what you did in lesson 14, this is the kind of practice that will be a turning point in your musical journey. I promise. I guarantee you most of the guitar players you know would not take the time, or expend the minimal effort it takes to obtain a music writing notebooks and train his or her mind to understand music theory and be musically literate. But, training your mind is exactly what you must do and it is not enough simply to read the information in textbooks, or in this case on webpages. No, you must take pencil to paper and through repetition, and rote copying your brain will start to understand, internalize and deal with musical and theoretical concepts in a natural and intuitive way. In a different and better way. Now ask yourself this question “Why won’t most of the guitarists I know engage in this kind of mental training?”

Below is an exercise similar to the ones you did in lesson 14, only adding a few more concepts and asking you to transpose them to the key of G. This work has already been done but I can tell you that during my first months at Berklee College Of Music I was doing this exercise every day in every key. I am firmly convinced that working and working on this series of exercises was a turning point for me. I call the exercises below The World Of C and The World Of G.



One of the most important areas of your skill set will be the ability to transpose music, to quickly change the key of a given piece of music and still have it sound right. Just below is The World Of G, if you are doing the writing, copy down in your manuscript book exactly what is written here.



“My first experience with the guitar was taking lessons from Karl Aranjo as a high school student. His lessons were more than just a collection of tips and riffs: they were a method. As I look through, I get to take a trip back through those lessons and am reminded about I loved about them. His strong focus on the fundamentals quickly draws a connection between general music theory and the particulars of how that theory can be applied to the guitar, even allowing us as guitarists to use our instrument as an abacus-like tool to enhance our musical insight. In high school, Karl’s lessons got me up to speed to jam with my friends and in the school band almost immediately. In the almost 20 years since I left high school and had my last lesson with Karl, the things he taught me have continued to serve me well; I’ve played almost continuously in a variety of styles (jazz, rock, funk, folk), both as a hobby and as a part-time professional (currently playing with San Francisco’s Smash-Up Derby). If I hadn’t grown up in the same town as where Karl taught, I might have missed out on a lifetime of fun playing the guitar. With, wherever you are, you can benefit from the same quality instruction that I had!

-Grahm Ruby

“Mr. Karl Aranjo is one great teacher to work with. When working with him, he is very flexible, and will teach you all the basics and fundamentals you will need while learning how to play the guitar. From learning basic chords to crazy licks and solo’s. You will become an expert in no time and looking like a professional guitar player. In my experience, I learned to master chord progressions much easier and understand it in a better perspective. In my music career/hobby, it has given me nothing but success to play in a band as a front man/rhythm guitarist, compose my own type of music, and as well as songs that I really wanted to learn how to play on the guitar. Learning through Karl Aranjo was a great experience and has helped me understand the guitar a lot easier, I would not have wanted this learning experience any other way.”

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“I had the pleasure of being a guitar student of Karl’s for several years. Karl advanced my playing ability a great deal very quickly by giving me a perfect combination of guitar technique, theory and assigning songs that motivated me to continue learning. I highly recommend Karl for all level of guitar players no matter if you are a beginner or advanced.”

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