Marlene Hutchinson is probably among the few to follow through on a New Year’s resolution.
A long-time lover of music, Hutchinson played piano, clarinet and sang when she was a child. However, when she was an adult, she became interested in learning to play the guitar.
“I always really wanted to try it,” she said. As her 2002 New Year’s resolution, Hutchinson joined a group guitar lesson.
“From the first strum, I knew this was so great,” she said. “I just passionately loved playing it.”
A year later, her friends asked her to teach them to play guitar. In 2003, she created her signature method and began teaching guitar lessons.
In 2009, Hutchinson developed and launched her popular “Learn to Play Guitar in a Day” workshop which has been seen by millions on PBS. It has also been featured on CBS, NBC, NPR, Acoustic Guitar, Making Music Magazine, the Women’s International Music Network and several news publications.
For the last 10 years, Hutchinson has been traveling to colleges, universities and community centers across the country presenting her “Learn Guitar in a Day” workshop. She is bringing her workshop to North Bellevue Community Center on April 6.
The workshop is a five-hour long class where Hutchinson teaches her students how to play guitar.
In the workshop, students learn five basic chords, three simple strumming patterns, three easy finger-picking patterns, tuning techniques, basic music theory, read and play tabulature, guitar care and string changing, and performance techniques.
By the end of the workshop, students will be able to play 12 songs. “You’re not going to be Eric Clapton, but I think they’re going to be really happy with how much they’ve learned,” she said.
“The way I approach my workshops is that I assume my students have never played music before, much less have ever held a guitar,” she said. “We start at complete zero.”
Hutchinson said she believes one of the reasons why her workshop appeals to so many people is because a lot of her students are also adults.
“I think they feel more comfortable when they know that I didn’t start playing guitar until I was an adult — It makes them feel like, ‘If she can do it, I can do it,’” she said. “It makes the overwhelming thought of learning an instrument seem attainable.”
Susan Creed Percy, another former student, said Hutchinson has an effective program.
“She’s an amazing woman with a wonderful program for learning to play the guitar,” she said.
For Hutchinson, she said her mission is to get everyone to learn to play guitar because “it’s just so much fun.”
Throughout her workshops, Hutchinson said she most enjoys seeing her students’ “aha” moment.
“I’ll never forget this one lady. We were about an hour into it and learning chord progressions. She looked up at me and said, ‘I get it. I can do it!’” she said. “I love it when I can see them realize how easy and fun it is.”
At the end of a workshop, Hutchinson sets up her students with more resources and equipment to help them continue to learn.
Hutchinson recently debuted her new book, “Marlene’s Tips for Guitar Playing Success,” which includes more than 150 practical guitar playing ideas and helpful hints.
“Aside from books, I send them home with links to online videos and names to other books that helped me,” she said.
For more information about Hutchinson or to register for the Bellevue workshop, go online to https://tinyurl.com/yxeg5z8k.