Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Make Guitar Practice Fun For Kids So They Want To Learn

We often get questions from parents asking how they can make their child's guitar practice fun so they actually want to practice, The trick is to turn practice into a series of fun games.

In this video I demonstrate with my 5 year old daughter how to keep the practice fun and engaging. I give tips on how to work with your child in positive way so your kids want to practice. Feel free to ask questions. 

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bite Size Music Theory for Guitar Players - F Major Key

Today's lesson focuses on the key of F major. F major has 1 flat note and 6 natural notes. The easiest way to remember the notes in the key of F is to write out the musical alphabet A, B, C, D, E, F and G and then change the B to Bb. Now instead of starting on the A start from F like so;

F G A Bb C D E.

Note that all the keys consists of 7 notes (musical alphabet) so every key will have an A, B, C, D, E, F and G.


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If you have any questions please feel free to contact us via our website at  or email me directly at david@g4guitar.com.au

Monday, March 3, 2014

Is guitar better than Facebook?

Many people are yet to wake up to the fact that Facebook is addictive and robbing them of quality time that could be spent doing something much more worthwhile. Our brain produces dopamine when it anticipates pleasure. We perceive Facebook as a pleasure activity in the same way we might find eating a sugary snack pleasurable. The dopamine in our brain is what motivates us to eat one more donut or read one more Facebook post. The problem is we are rarely left fulfilled. In fact we almost always feel worse. 

Guitar good, Facebook guilty 

The donut is unhealthy so creates a feeling of guilt but realising you just wasted 2 hours on Facebook also creates a feeling of guilt. Guitar practice on the other hand creates the opposite. We might prefer Facebook in the moment and it might feel good compared to doing boring old guitar scales but I guarantee you that you will feel much better after even 30 minutes of guitar practice than you will after a few hours on Facebook. Its all to do with they way we are basically programmed. 

The Facebook instinct

Throughout our evolution we developed certain instincts in order to survive. Facebook plays on our social instinct to be part of a tribe. Throughout most of human evolution tribes gave us the best chance of survival so we are naturally drawn to groups and the approval of people in those groups. The problem is that Facebook exaggerates this reality so we end up investing way too much time in to our network of so called friends. So how much time do you spend on social media each week?

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Find YOUR Guitar Sound And You May Be The Next Hendrix

I believe an important element of success for any guitarist is establishing your own sound. Whenever you read interviews with high profile guitarists they will inevitable talk about what guitars they use, which pedals, amps, string gauges etc. Each of these elements plays a role in their overall sound and many are very particular about what they will and won't use in their set up.

Why you will always sound like YOU!

Have you ever walked into a guitar shop, set up the same rig as your favorite player and wondered why you don't even get close to the same sound. Sure if you play a Strat in the second position switch with a Marshal, you'll get a similar tone to Hey Joe. But it's never quite right. And if you did manage to get the exact sound of your favorite player, people will be saying, wow that sounds just like....My point here is that they won't be noticing what you are playing if all they can here is the tone of another high profile player.
Stevie Ray Vaughn is an interesting example. He is a fantastic blues player, but it's very difficult to not hear Hendrix in his tone and in his style of playing. Vaughan being an exception as their would be thousands of players who sound like Hendrix, but really, who is interested?

To rise above the pack you need to be original
The greatest players are those that have developed their own sound by concentrating on their own style and their own favored rigs with individuality always at the forefront of their mind set. The greatest greatest guitar players are immediately recognizable, you know who Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Alan Holdsworth, Joe Pass, Mark Knopfler (and so many more) are the minute you hear their sound. 
Copying and emulating your favorite players in the early stages of your guitar career is a must and there is so much to be gained by this but keep in mind, what will make you stand out?

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Would You Like A Structured Method For Learning Guitar?

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

The 3 Steps To Getting Motivated About Guitar Practice

Most guitar students have good intentions when starting out but over time the motivation tends to fade but why don't we just stay motivated? We still love music and we still want to play but our motivation for practice tends to wane over time. I wanted to understand this question so many years ago I began to explore the reasons and what I found was very interesting because the answer was obvious yet most people are unaware or don't do anything about it and the result is they quit. This is especially true of guitar students.

The main reason we lose motivation

What I found was the initial inspiration for learning guitar was no longer present so as a result the interest in practicing guitar fades. For example you may have gone to a concert, purchased an inspiring album or were inspired by a friend. As these inspirational events or people disappeared so does the  interest in practicing guitar.

The chocolate cake

Think of passion for anything in terms of food. What if I offered you a delicious piece of the best tasting chocolate cake ever. What if I put it right in front of you. 10 seconds before that moment you probably had no desire for chocolate cake. Now your mouth is watering and you simply can't resist. This is how motivation works. If the events that created a burning desire to learn guitar are removed  your motivation to practice will also disappeared. We are largely motivated by what is in front of us.

So what is the solution?

Think about daily tasks you take for granted like taking a shower each day, brushing your teeth or commuting to school or work. Overtime these tasks become automatic and we are almost like robots not even realising we do them.  Guitar practice initially begins as mostly a choice but if you stick with it for a few months it will soon become a habit. By the way I am not proposing that your guitar practice becomes a robotic daily chore. Your practice should always be mindful and deliberate but the routine of sitting down and practicing each day needs to become automatic.

3 steps to getting motivated 

If you go through the motions of inspiring yourself like the daily shower you will want to practice and your practice will be inspired practice. The best kind. But how? Give yourself a few months to condition your new behavior but to make sure you get through this phase you need to stay motivated. Here is an example of how to stay motivated. Do the following prior to your practice each day;
  1. Listen to at least 3 of your all time favorite guitar tracks.
  2. While listening close your eyes and imagine you are the guitarist and its you playing on stage in front of an appreciative audience.
  3. Now think about the fact that your fans are relying on you to deliver. Each night you have to practice at least 30 minutes to ensure your performance goes smoothly. If you miss your practice you will need to cancel the concert. The band and your fans depend on you.

Do this visualisation exercise everyday for a month and I can almost assure you that you will soon find yourself motivated to practice daily. Remember to focus on the motivation first and the inspired practice will follow. After all it was when you were inspired that you decided to take up guitar. The practice should be driven by inspiration and inspiration begins with your imagination. Nothing great ever comes from the uninspired or unimaginative.

 You might also like the following blog:

Would You Like A Structured Method For Learning Guitar?

 5 week Structured Beginner Guitar Course
Please follow the link to subscribe to our free online course. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Successful guitar students EXPECT to FAIL...

But hang on a minute. Aren't successful people positive thinkers? Weren't we told that about self fulfilling prophecies where if you expect to fail you probably will? Well it turns out that a sign of a successful person is someone who is actually expecting to fail. They don't want to fail and its not a self fulfilling prophecy but rather a 'what if something goes wrong' plan. Would you prefer a pilot who is trained and prepared for disasters or a pilot who optimistically expects nothing to go wrong? 

Failure is the rule not the exception

When we expect failure we are not surprise by it or unprepared for it. In terms if learning guitar its means that we are not going let a short term failure derail our plan to succeed on guitar long term. To help students I would ask a question like "What will you do say in 6 months when you feel frustrated due to perhaps perceived slow progress and want to quit?" Many students will respond by saying they won't  quit but I reply with "but what will you do if you really feel like quitting?" I persist with the question until I get an answer because I know almost every student will want to quit in their first year for one reason or another. If the student has a plan their chances of success rise dramatically. Do you have a plan?

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are You Serious About Guitar? Take the 365 Day Challenge

"Don't be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin." - Grace Hansen

It's almost guaranteed that all guitar beginners no matter what their initial level of enthusiasm about practicing and learning guitar will want to quit at some point and if statistics play a roll its likely sooner rather than later. Fitness clubs understand this concept very well and its the reason they ask members to sign up for a 12 months rather than pay as you go. You may end up in the 1% but why take the risk. Why not instead plan for failure.

Planning to fail

Our statistics show that the longer you stick to consistent daily practice the less likely you are to eventually quit but it also gets harder to stick it out. For a while anyway. When you begin learning guitar you are in a positive motivated state so the best thing you can do is make a promise to yourself to commitment for at least 12 months. There will likely come a point where you say to yourself "Guitar was not as easy as I thought and its rather tedious actually. Life's too short to waste it plucking strings on a stupid guitar. Besides I still suck so why bother."  In some cases giving up is a gradual one but stick with me here as I have a plan for you.

A year from now

For most beginners who fail the promise to practice for the foreseeable future is their basic plan. Successful guitarists on the hand know they need to commit for the long term. Giving up is not an option. They know it will take time and yes they will suck at guitar for some time. Perhaps even a few years.  They know each practice session is about making small improvements not suddenly being the next Jimi Hendrix. It will be tough at times but committing to 365 days of practice is the key. This type of strategy helps you to remain patient knowing that at the end of the year you will have fulfilled your commitment and reached your goal in terms of practice.  Remember its not about how good you are. It's about staying committed for a full year. What's the point in making amazing progress in the first 3 months if you give up in the 4th month? The name of the game in the first year is to stay in the game and establish the habit of picking up the guitar daily.

The G4 GUITAR 365 Day Challenge - TAKE ACTION 

The absolute worst thing you can do now is not take action so here is your challenge. Print out a 365 day sheet from the G4 GUITAR Student Website Downloads page and cross off one number each time you do a full practice session. To work out how much to practice 13 years and over should do 30 minutes per day. Subtract 2 minutes per day for each year less than 13. E.g. A 10 year old would subtract 6 minutes doing 24 minutes per day and a 5 year old would subtract 16 minutes doing 14 minutes per day.

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