“Learn Guitar in a day:” PBS featured guitarist visits BC

MarleneHutchinsonIt’s time to learn how to read notes on staff bars or build on what you already know. There may have been missed opportunities to pick up an instrument in busy years’ past, but Marlene Hutchinson’s “Learn Guitar in a Day” workshop is equipped with the tools necessary to pick up an impressive skill quickly.

Hutchinson is bringing her workshop to Bellevue College on Friday, Feb. 8 from 4 – 9 p.m. The workshop will be in R-301, where students can engage in a group-learning experience. Tuition is priced at $99, which includes five hours of instruction, the “Learn to Play Guitar in a Day!’ book and the ‘Snark’ clip-on electric tuner.  The listed cost is reasonable considering that learning guitar will only cost the equivalent of about two trips to the gas station.

Hutchinson reflected on her beginnings as a guitarist. “I have a background in piano and clarinet, but I really wanted to try an instrument that I had not played before. I like that a guitar is portable, I can take it with me anywhere I go,” she said.

Due to being a widely popular workshop, the “Learn to Play Guitar in a Day” workshop was featured on KPBS on Jan. 26. Hutchinson focuses her module on musical essentials, such as chord discussion, music theory, strumming techniques, tempo, tuning and timing. Hutchinson’s simple method to learning the guitar has helped thousands of adults learn an instrument.

With 35 years of musical experience under her belt, Hutchinson hopes to give others the love of playing the guitar and share her joy of music.  Greatly influenced by guitarists around the United States, she created a simple method of learning guitar in 2003. She launched her “Learn Guitar in a Day” workshops in 2009, which cover material from six weeks worth of guitar lessons. When Hutchison isn’t traveling the country, she teaches private lessons at her home in Orange County, Calif.

Hutchinson’s teaching methods are based on her theory that everyone should have the opportunity to learn the guitar, regardless of age or musical experience. “I think that ongoing learning is the best thing you can do for yourself, whether you are 8 or 80. College is a natural setting for higher learning and conducive for adults trying new things, like guitar,” she said.

It’s important to stay motivated when learning a new skill. Listening to a variety of albums and singer songwriter artists can be a good inspiration for setting personal musical goals. Hutchinson mentioned that, “I like singer songwriter artists like Sheryl Crow, Paul Simon, John Meyer, Jason Mraz, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Paul McCartney and Tommy Emmanuel. I have a somewhat eclectic mix of musical taste. I like simplicity in the lyrics and difficulty in their playing styles,”

The art of music performance has greatly enriched Hutchinson’s life. “Playing guitar is very therapeutic. In fact, I call it ‘guitar therapy.’  I can be having a stressful day and then when I play my guitar it all goes away.  It’s also become my business.  I am so thrilled and blessed to be sharing the wonderful world of guitar with others and bonus, I get to travel to great places too,” she said.

College is a stressful time for all students. Playing music can serve as stress relief, enjoyment and a diverse learning experience. Sore fingers and new techniques may be hard to cope with at first, but these experiences are worth it once you can play your favorite songs. For more information about Marlene’s Music and to register for Friday’s workshop, visit marlenesmusic.com/Store.html.