Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!

Picking Up The Guitar When Teaching in Korea

Posted on Wed, Aug 01, 2012 @ 07:32 PM

My New Guitar!!

I am taking advantage of my free time while teaching English in Korea by trying and learning things that I never had the time or opportunity to attempt before. With our teaching schedules teaching English at Chungdahm (4 p.m.-10 p.m.), I am able to have my mornings and early afternoons free. So when I first arrived to teach in Korea, I sat down and made a list of things I wanted to learn or take up. Some items on the list included learning Korean, learning to cook better, and going to the gym daily. Those items were easy for me to pick up and I got started on them right away. One item that for some reason was really hard for me to get started was learning to play the guitar. I have no idea why it was so hard for me to get started, but after months and months of procrastinating, I finally made up my mind to get started with the guitar.

Well there was only one problem with this decision....I didn't have a guitar. Thus, I started looking at guitars at different music stores. I had one picked out, but before I decided to buy it, I thought it might be worthwhile to check out the Internet message boards on an expat Yahoo group. I was surprised to find out that three English teachers were selling their guitars before they left Korea. I picked out one and contacted the owner. A few hours later, I was the proud owner of a guitar.

With step one taken care of, I chose to move on to step two...actually learning to play the guitar. I briefly began to look for teachers, but then I decided I should at least try to familiarize myself with the guitar a bit before I turned to a teacher. To do this, I turned to the Internet. Youtube is a great source for learning to play basic notes and songs on the guitar. There are thousands of videos that break down songs slowly for the beginner. Once I had some notes learned, I then turned to guitar tabs. Guitar tabs are a way to play a song without actually knowing how to read music. They are easy to read for beginners and any song can be written in this form. And the best part is that they are free! Check out Ultimate Guitar Tabs, http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/ to learn how to read tabs and to search for your favorite songs.

Easy to read guitar tabs!

Now that I have a few notes and songs down, I meet up with a couple of expats who get together and jam a few times a week. I am by far the worst one in the group but I hear myself getting better and better every week. Now, I am working up the courage to try out my skills at a monthly open mic night at my favorite local bar. We'll see if I eventually make it up on the stage!

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Adam Montgomery is a 25-year old teacher at the Chungdahm Branch on Jeju.  He has been teaching in Korea for under a year.  When he is not teaching, he enjoys exploring the wonders of Jeju and Korea.



Tags: teaching in Korea, free time in korea, learning guitar

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