So I have now been learning guitar for 9 months and since month 5 when I completed the Justin Guitar Beginner Course, I have been concentrating on fingerstyle songs mainly.
So this month I decided to set myself a new challenge, one related to rhythm guitar and one that was never going to be easy. I decided to try and learn 30 songs in 30 days. Only I made this even harder by only giving myself 1 hour to learn each song so, in fact, it was 30 Songs in 30 Hours!
I used a guitar course from a singer/songwriter that I really hadn’t heard off previously but following starting the course found out that he was originally from New Zealand, which is where I live now so it must have been fate!
Keith Urban is his name and he is a country musician and he made a learn guitar course called 30 Songs in 30 Days some years ago. It is available on Amazon but I learned from a playlist on YouTube that someone uploaded and you can find it here. It has all the lessons except for #26 but I’ll get in to that later.
30 Songs in 30 Hours Challenge
If you just want to see my attempt of learning all 30 songs in 30 hours that I filmed and recorded over the 30 days then you can check it out here.
I actually filmed one video every day and uploaded it to my YouTube channel. That in itself was a huge challenge and one that I will likely not repeat as it ended up taking a lot of time away from actually playing the guitar.
So it was a little counterproductive but overall the challenge was exactly what it was, challenging. This won’t be a full review of the course itself, although I will say a few things as we go, but more about why I did this challenge in the first play and what I got from it.
To understand why I did this I need to go back a bit. In month 5 (see video below) I completed the Justin Guitar Beginner course and up until that point I had a structure, a point of focus every time I sat down to learn guitar. Once this was complete I was a little lost about where to go next, yes I could do Justin’s intermediate course but I talked to some people on Justin’s forum and they recommended learning more songs in the style that you love.
A quick pause to just say, if you are interested in my video content please hit the subscribe button and notification bell on my YouTube Channel and the like button if you liked the video. This really helps me and helps grow the channel so I can reach other like-minded people learning to play guitar a bit later in life. Thankyou, Luke.
I was starting to really enjoy fingerstyle guitar playing so I made a little plan and set about learning some songs. Over the next few months, I did learn some songs but not many. I was choosing to learn songs that were beyond my current playing ability so it took a lot of time for me to be able to play them all the way through and with some sense of timing.
However, once I had done this I felt that I needed to get back to playing some rhythm guitar as I had been solely focused on fingerstyle.
Keith Urban 30 Songs In 30 Days Review – Quick Rundown
So if you don’t know who Keith Urban is, and I must confess I didn’t, he is a famous country / pop singer, and interestingly was actually born in New Zealand where I currently live (I didn’t know that before starting).
His course is aimed at complete beginners and will teach you 30 Songs in 30 Days.
Now I must state that having completed this course I would say that is entirely unrealistic. There is no way on earth that any complete beginner could learn the songs he breakdown in 30 days. For one, the first two weeks of learning would just be painful on a steel-string guitar and you would need to build up some resilience in your fingers.
Following that, you have a whole bunch of open chords, barre chords, strum patterns (will come to that later), riffs to learn, and then you have to try and play with a band. It just isn’t going to happen.
If we look past that for a moment I would describe my feelings on the rest of the course as mixed. If we take away the fact the majority of the songs you learn are his (I am not a fan) and look purely at the format there are some really interesting teaching points.
Firstly Keith tends to not spend enough time explaining many of the things he is trying to teach and I felt he brushed over some of the techniques. This left me trying to ‘fill in the blanks’ and I would often have to rewatch what he did to try and work out what I should do.
He didn’t talk much about strum patterns and when you are starting this is extremely important if you want to sound anything like the song not just make a noise on the guitar. After all if you can sound a little like the intended song then you feel encouraged and happy with your progress.
The format of the videos after his teaching is very cool though.
You get to play with a stripped back acoustic singer and his guitar and then you can play with the band and singer and then you can play with the band and you are the singer / performer!
I found this to be an awesome format and one that I would love for songs I am really interested in as you would start to feel like you are part of something.
Overall the course is ok. The production level is high although now a little dated and the format is very cool. Keith is undoubtedly a charismatic guy which is probably why he is famous in part. There are times in the videos where I feel he understands what it is to be a beginner again and there are others where it feels like the complete opposite.
So as I said, a mixed bag but I got to play this for free on YouTube and did not have any literature that you may get if you buy the course as intended.
My recommendation, if you are a complete beginner then skip this course and choose Justin Guitar’s Beginner Course which is entirely free and structured, unless you are a Keith Urban superfan and want to learn many of his songs.
What Did I Achieve in Month 9?
Watching back the video of the 30 Songs I attempted in 30 hours it really looks underwhelming (to me) and doesn’t do justice to just how far I had felt I had come prior to starting it. It also doesn’t really convey quite how hard it was for me to try and learn an entire new song in an hour.
Yes, it was fun to start learning a song but then it became a pressure to learn as much as I could so that I would be in a position to post a video up on YouTube to show my progress. A pressure entirely manifested by me, so I only have myself to blame but a pressure none the less.
What did this all mean? well I worked through each song as best I could because I didn’t want to give up on the challenge and recording it kept myself accountable.
When I first started the challenge I was on a family holiday in Queenstown with my parents who were over and with my brother who lives in NZ also.
I had to squeeze my equipment in amongst all the other family gear. I have two young children, 4 and 1 years old respectively, and they come with a lot of accessories! so I was just pleased I could get a guitar and camera in with everything else.
Finding an hour each day to record a song proved to be difficult at times as most days we were out for the majority of the day enjoying weather and activities in the area.
Then when I got back from this holiday we were into lockdown due to COVID-19 and this basically meant we couldn’t leave our neighbourhood unless we were buying food. It also meant time was a challenge again, my wife and I had to both work from home and look after our kids so this meant split shifts.
So time was tight and anxiety levels were high at the start of lockdown but I managed to keep on with my challenge and somehow get through it.
I’ll be honest, there were many times I didn’t want to do it and I wasn’t enjoying it but did it anyway.
Life can be like that but it shouldn’t be like that when you have an easy choice. So once I completed the challenge I decided that pressuring myself like that isn’t for me. I have had depressive bouts in my life and been on medication previously, and things like this only make it worse.
So I know that I have rambled on a little but this is a personal guitar progress update so has an element of catharsis for me.
What I am really trying to say is, don’t do this challenge, 😂.
So that is it for month 9 and month 10 really as it crossed over. After this I was looking forward to slowing down and getting back what to what I wanted to do, enjoying learning, and playing guitar, and no pressure!
Guitar Progress Posts
If you are learning to play guitar or are interested in seeing my progress updates then please use these links below
1 Month Guitar Progress – Getting started on The Justin Beginner Guitar Course – Stage 3
2 Months Guitar Progress – Stage 5 Through To Stage 7
3 Months Guitar Progress – Blues and Fingerstyle!
4 Months Guitar Progress – Final Stage Of The Justin Guitar Beginner Course
5 Months Guitar Progress – Justin Guitar Course Complete – 10 Songs Showcase
6 Months Guitar Progress – What Next? and Learning My Most Complex Song Yet.
7 Months Guitar Progress – 25 Hours To Learn One Song??!!
8 Months Guitar Progress – Could This Be The End of my Finger Picking?