Homework by Nick Johnston is a new subscription based lesson series from world class guitarist Nick Johnston. He just started this in December 2019. Basically, you get a new ‘homework’ every Monday and this gives you something to work on for the week.
This review are my thoughts on the first month of this series, covering week 1 to week 4. I joined the site on Dec 12, so had immediate access to the first two weeks.
Here’s Nick’s explanation on the website:
I’m often asked about what I used to practice growing up, or how I developed my style of guitar playing and approach to music. I want to use this platform to share weekly “homework” with you to help with some inspiration or to help expand your language on the guitar. This project will span a wide range of topics, but it’ll all be wrapped in a “short and sweet” presentation.
Every week, I’ll provide you with some homework that I believe can help us break new ground in our guitar playing and help keep things fresh and exciting. Theory, harmony and technique, backing tracks, guest teachers and featured subscribers will all be covered and featured in some capacity. I’m also going to be working hard to add bonus/behind the scenes content as much as humanly possible.
I’ll be uploading every Monday no matter where in the world I happen to be. This project will be on-going and will grow and develop as the community grows. You will also be given access to a private email address where I will be answering questions from subscribers directly. All videos will be quick and to the point, and because of my travelling schedule, I shoot them with my iPhone – that way, I’ll be able to quickly upload and provide content without any logistical issues.
This will continue to grow and expand every week. I invite you to come along for the ride to see what we can all accomplish with this project!
I’m very excited to get started with you.
Week 1 begins with 3 basic warm-up exercises, basic chord shapes, scale fingerings (I won’t mention which scales to not reveal too much about the actual content) & a more advanced guitar lick for more experienced players. It comes with a 7-minute video shot on his iPhone as well as a jpg of his handwritten TABS. Nick mentions in the video that the videos will be done this way so that he can always upload a new homework every Monday, even when he’s touring.
Week 2 continues with more chord exercises, this time going through 12 keys. This is a great workout that Nick shares, very good foundational stuff. Nick also includes an additional video demonstrating his new Diamond Series humbucker model Schecter electric guitar.
Week 3 goes into a classic minor pentatonic idea that is very useful. Nick explains how he views this idea as a “bridge” idea that can be useful in different contexts. For this week, it’s a break from the more foundational & theory-based exercises. This time it relates to music within a jamming/performing context. It’s starting to get exciting! Nick also includes a bonus video giving a sneak preview of his upcoming music video.
Week 4 begins Nick’s approach to learning modes. By this point, I gotta that I really enjoy seeing how Nick paces the material in really nice bite sized pieces. Also, following up on the Week 3 homework, Nick features 5 ‘homework’ submissions selected from 50 that he received for this homework. Watching the 5 videos, the vibe of this project starts to come together & feel like an actual classroom, with us getting a chance to see what other students came up with. The same homework, different results. Very cool stuff. I definitely felt like a slacker for not submitting my homework this time. The next homework is suppose to be in 2 weeks time, so I’m gonna try to submit that one. Looking forward to it.
In conclusion, I feel that this series is a valuable & unique learning experience for fans of Nick’s guitar style. At US$6/per month, it means you’re paying $1.50 per week to get access to his mind. Not a bad deal at all, especially since there are other subscription services that are priced more premium. The main thing though is if you’re the kind of person who like having immediate access to A LOT of material, this might not be for you. However, if you like Nick’s playing specifically – this is worth checking out.
Pros: Great format that works to deliver bite sized lessons. You can stream or download the videos & view or download the TABS.
Cons: Since this is new, there’s not a lot of material immediately available at the moment. At the point of this review, 4 weeks of lessons are currently immediately available.
TLDR: If you like Nick Johnston’s guitar style, this unique format is a great opportunity to learn and connect with Nick. It’s still in the early stages so it might be a good chance to join right now before it becomes a bigger community.
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