Wednesday 3 May 2017

Learning the Guitar at Believer Music

I've been wanting to pick up guitar again, having learnt it casually a long time ago (during my teens maybe? *laughs*). When I heard that Believer Music offered Christian-based guitar lessons, I jumped on their offer immediately!

Believer Music

Although Believer Music also offers contemporary pop classes, I very much preferred the Christian ones as I would like to play the guitar during my daily devotion and deepen my spiritual walk with God.

I signed up for the Believer Guitar Beginner Course, which consisted of 7 lessons conducted once a week for 7 weeks. You can choose to take your lessons from 3 locations: International PlazaTampines Plaza and One Commonwealth (click here for details). I live and work in the West so One Commonwealth was the obvious choice for me.

Believer Music at One Commomwealth

It is recommended to pick one time slot and stick with it if possible but you are allowed to schedule your own make up class on the Believer Music Members Portal if you had missed or will be missing your regular class.

As I was overseas in Melbourne and therefore missed the whole of Week 1 and couldn't schedule a make up class, the coach had to go through the basics with me as fast as he could before class so that I could catch up. It was lucky that I wasn't a complete beginner!

Our classroom

I grabbed one of the guitars on the wall and got ready for the lesson. Our coach went through the new chords with us again as well as the basics of guitar like the names of the strings and important guitar accessories such as a tuner.

The whiteboard that our coach writes on, flanked by the guitar accessories on the left and a large TV on the right.
Our Beginner Course file containing all the materials that we would be using for the course. Don't forget to bring this and your pick for your weekly lessons.

Coach demonstrating how to use a tuner to tune the guitar

Finally, with the help of simple chords and single strumming, he got us to play 'I Offer My Life'. The whole chorus, at only the 2nd lesson!

That's because Believer Music's motto is: Play For Real. They guarantee that you won't only know how to hold the instrument, you'll actually be able to play it! We learnt to play one new song after each 1 hour lesson in our Beginner Course; that's 7 new songs to play during our daily Quiet Time with God. And mind you, these were popular songs, which were also my favourites, such as 'None Like You', 'How Great is Our God' and 'Great is the Lord'.

I also enjoyed the mini Bible sharing that are part of the lesson so that we don't just learn how to worship God with the guitar, we know the God that we worship. Our coach later shared with me that they were not just coaches but also worship leaders who can teach us how to lead worship as well.

If you have friends who joined Believer Keyboard or other Believer programmes, you'll be happy to know that the curriculum is aligned. Known as Worship in Sync, the synchronisation of curriculum meant that your friend or cell group member would be learning the same songs as you. Hence, you can all play and worship together with different instruments! Sounds very good doesn't it?

I had such a good time during class that 1 hour went by too quickly! I wanted to continue practising at home so I asked the coach to help me choose a guitar to purchase. He patiently went through the guitars that were on sale but recommended Higher Ground, Believer Music's own in-house brand, as it was more value for money.

Small section of merchandise.
The full selection can be found at the flagship store at International Plaza.
More merchandise
Tuners, guitar covers, etc

I decided to take the coach's advice and bought the Higher Ground guitar. I also bought a foldable guitar stand, a tuner, a cover to reduce the sound so as not to annoy my entire family while I'm playing and some extra guitar picks.

I have to say, I really love playing my new guitar at home!

My new guitar came with a heavily padded, good quality guitar bag
Close up on my guitar and the rubber cover that keeps it less "noisy"
My guitar displayed proudly on the guitar stand I bought. You're more likely to play it if it's always within reach and not hidden in a bag.
My usual spot at home where I will practise almost everyday

I learn something new after each lesson. It's so much better for people like me, who are not particularly gifted in music, to learn an instrument through very structured and fun lessons. I finally learnt what the 'X' on guitar chord diagrams mean!

Get a glimpse of me playing during one of our lessons:

Each learner is graded at the end of every lesson so that you can track your progress and/or request for additional classes if you require it. Believer Music ensures that all learners will pass and move on to the next level, even if they have to put in more hours to get you there. The coaches are that committed and passionate about what they do!

I managed to do very well and can move on to the next level, Believer Guitar Worship Dynamics 1.

My vision is to lead praise and worship with my guitar during cell group one day so I fully plan on continuing the lessons. Hopefully I'll be disciplined enough to finish the whole programme, which promises to bring you to expert level in just 1.5 years!

If you're like me and not very musically-inclined, you can definitely try Believer Music. The lessons are very bite-sized and manageable.

I'll be honest though, you may have to make sacrifices like cutting your nails and experiencing pain on your fingertips from pressing the strings but this is all part and parcel of learning the guitar. If the guitar is not for you, you can also consider the keyboard, ukulele, drums or cajon.

Last but not least, Believer Music also has a rewards programme where they reward you with BM$ which you can use to off-set future course fees. Hence, if you do sign up for Believer Music's courses, do quote my code 'MH28179'. Not only will you get $25 off the basic courses course fee, I'll also be able to earn BM$ (don't worry, it can't be encashed). Thanks in advance! =)

Disclosure: Complimentary Believer Guitar Beginner Course was received from Believer Music for the purposes of this review. The actual guitar and other accessories were bought by me because I really liked them. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions are my own.
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