Friday, December 11, 2009

"How do I get my child to practice?" - The story of Jack and the electric guitar.


A common question from parents is "How do I get my child to practice?" Probably the best answer is to use an example.

My most recent story involves a 10 yo boy Jack who was learning with me and was simply not practicing. Each week he turned up and made excuses like how his guitar was out of tune so he couldn't practice or his Mum forgot to remind him and so on. I am sure he had a copy of '1001 excuses for not practicing'. At this point I knew it was time to come up with a plan.

I began by asking Jack questions to find out what he really wanted. I discovered that he really wanted an electric guitar. So I spoke to Jack's parents to see if they were planning on buying him an electric guitar at any point. They said they would buy him an electric guitar if I felt it would make a difference to his progress. I suggested we use the electric guitar as a reward.

Next I sat down with Jack and his parents and asked Jack how much he really wanted the electric guitar. As expected his answer was "More than anything in the whole world". I then said "Jack I have spoken to your parents and they are going to take you to the guitar shop so you can pick out an electric guitar". You can imagine how excited he was at this point. I then said "Here is the deal. When you have successfully completed Level 1 of the G4 GUITAR Junior Checklist your parents will buy you the guitar. If you practice for 20 minutes a day between now and Christmas you will be playing your new guitar by Christmas Day".

Jack agreed and we got to work. From that day on Jack practiced everyday often for more than 20 minutes. I told Jack that if he did an extra 5 minutes a day he might even get the guitar before Christmas. As a result Jack completed Level 1 in record time and his new electric guitar was in his hands by the end of November. But best of all Jack now had a positive association to practicing. Jack loves practicing and is a confident guitarist.

If your child is learning guitar and not practicing or making no progress please don't give up. Send me an email and together we can work out a strategy. Email me at david@g4guitar.com.au

David Hart - Program Director

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Give up your day job and become a pro guitarist

Many guitar students are asking about their career prospects as a professional guitarist. I think most would agree that a career as a guitarist is difficult and highly risky. But in my experience this is an out dated perception of real world of guitar. The idea that guitar is not a serious career option probably comes from the fact that most would see it simply as a hobby. The reality is many hobbies turn into industries. Sometimes massive industries. Walt Disney's hobby of drawing cartoons is one great example. Bill Gates turned his hobby of computer programming into a global industry as did Steve Jobs with Apple Mac. Guitar manufactures for example like Fender and Gibson would hardly call guitar making a hobby these days.

The real challenge we face is changing the long held perception that a career as a guitarist is risky and only for a handful of very fortunate rock stars. The fact is the career guitarist has several options other then rock stardom. Currently there is a lack of higher education facilities for guitarists seeking a career simply due to the lack of acceptance that there is a huge music industry that now depends on guitarists. Guitarists who wish to have a career are essentially small business operators yet most lack essential business skills. There is no point in having great guitar skills if you can't afford to buy new strings for your guitar when needed. A career guitarist does not need to be the world's best guitarist. They just need to learn some essential business skills.

Today education and leisure industries are booming industries and guitar fits into both. The opportunity for a career as a guitarist would rate much higher than any other instrument. I started over 20 years ago and have never looked back. Today I am living proof of a career guitarist. Guitar has been my main source of income since I was in high school.

G4 GUITAR is now moving to the next stage. Many of our own students are now beginning to show real signs of promise. We want to assist and support these guitarists who want to pursue a career as a guitarist by giving them access to essential business training and ongoing support. As a result we have created a new program. For more information please visit the G4 GUITAR NETWORK page.

We live in exciting times and have a real chance of change in our industry. By working together we can help increase the pace of change and ensure those guitarists who choose a life of guitar can do so with confidence.

Hope that helps.

David Hart - Program Director

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

How long does it take to learn guitar?

When you begin guitar the whole process of learning can seem very mysterious. The most common question I get from beginner guitar students is 'How long will it take to learn?' This is a reasonable question. When I get on a plane to fly somewhere my first question is 'How long will it take?' The difference with the plane trip is it is passive. I don't need to do anything. I will arrive at the same time as the pilot. The pilot determines my time of arrival. In the case of learning guitar the student largely determines the time of arrival and the teacher is more like a navigator ensuring you stay on course.

The first determining factor in a student's time of arrival is knowing the destination. The student must have a clear goal or outcome in mind. The best way to do this is to write down a list of songs you hope to one day play. At G4 GUITAR we call this the ULTIMATE SONG LIST. You can get a free copy from our downloads by joining our free online course. Just visit our website at www.g4guitarmethod.com

The next determining factor is speed. In my early years of teaching I found overwhelming number of students learning guitar were not really sure about why they were really learning guitar. Without a clear reason there is nothing driving you to practice. I began asking questions like 'Why did you originally decide to take up guitar?' Here is a list of responses I recall;
  1. I was inspired by a great concert, guitarist or song
  2. A friend is learning
  3. My parents wanted me to learn an instrument
  4. A sibling was once learning but gave up so there was a guitar in the house
  5. I needed a hobby other than watching TV
  6. Want to inspire my children to play music
  7. Seemed like the cool thing to do
  8. The game 'Guitar Hero' inspired me
  9. Was watching Youtube and came across some easy lessons
  10. I was given the guitar as a gift so I thought I'd better learn
Now as you can see most of the reasons are not exactly compelling. I personally do not see guitar as a passive hobby. A passive hobby to me means movie watching or stamp collecting. Guitar requires daily practice and a certain level of discipline. If your motivation to learn is because you needed a hobby other than watching TV then you are unlikely to have the drive that will push you to consistently practice an hour or more a day.

The first stage of learning guitar can be fun and exciting as you put some basic chords together but then comes the first hurdle. It may be a chord or a picking pattern that just seems impossible. It is at this point that many give up or worse yet they just shy away from the hurdles and stick with what they know. For many this the F chord or bar chords or reading music.

The trick is to take the hurdles head on. When I was 14 years old I remember having to play on stage for the first time in front of my whole school. I was so terrified that for weeks I was trying to plan how I was going to get out of it. Problem was the teacher was knew it and made sure there was no way I was going to back out. So about a week before I resolved myself to the fact that I was not going to escape what seemed like a fate worse than death. I took the hurdle head on and practice for hours everyday. On the night I had to perform I was still extremely nervous but also quietly confident.

To be continued...


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Become a G4 GUITAR FAN on FACEBOOK.

G4 GUITAR now has a FACEBOOK FAN PAGE so please come and join us.


Its a great place to ask questions or make any comments regarding guitar.

Here are some reasons to join us;


*Ask questions & get advice the G4 GUITAR METHOD
*Communicate directly with the G4 GUITAR team
*Buy or sell your guitar
*Connect with other students in your area
*Form a band with local musicians

*Chat about your favourite guitarists or bands
*Advertise your next guitar performances
*Free lesson giveaways and special offers
*Stay in the loop as to what is happening in your local scene
*Share a Youtube video or watch other students and teachers
*Suggest a topic of interest to you

The page has just been created to connect guitar students, teachers, parents or anyone interested in guitar so come and join us and remember to become a fan.

Kind regards,

David Hart - Program Director

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bird composition


The following is an example of how Jarbas Agnelli took birds on a wire and turned them into a composition. Inspiration is all around.

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.



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Thursday, November 12, 2009

How does your birthday affect the way you learn?

Why is that some people look for a coach or teacher where others prefer to try and self teach? Is one way better than the other? Are there not great examples of people who have taught themselves?

Many people think that a teacher is simply someone who passes on knowledge. In today's information age knowledge is free. Everything you could probably ever want to know is available on the internet for the cost of a computer and internet connection. So why bother with a teacher? Why would you waste your money?

One strong argument is accountability. We humans are terrible at making ourselves accountable. Look at the evidence. More than 50% of the population believe that they are overweight. Why? Because they cannot make themselves accountable for what they eat. 90% of people will retire with almost no money in the bank. Why? Because they fail to make themselves financially accountable.

Lets flip the coin and look at successful sports people or teams. How many Olympic athletes coached themselves to a gold medal? Probably zero. How many professional sports teams self coach? In fact these days when teams lose the first person to be blamed is usually the coach. When I was a kid we would point the finger at the players. In business they found that the more money a company spent on training the more likely the company was to succeed. If you are looking at buying shares in a company just look at their budget allocation to training.

So how about learning something like guitar? (My specialty by the way) Guitar is one those areas where 99% of people who own a guitar either play at a standard that we would prefer not to have to listen to or simply can't play at all. It is no coincidence that playing guitar is probably the most self taught skill I can think of. It would certainly rank in the top 1%. So why given the overwhelming amount of evidence that having a coach, teacher, mentor would anyone try and teach themselves? The answer may surprise you.

I recently read a book called Outliners by Malcolm Gladwell. He points out how that in Canada the champion hockey teams seem to have a disproportionate number of players who were born in the first half of the year. They found that it was related to the fact that when you were young and born in January compared to say December you were bigger, stronger and smarter. You could be up to a year older. When one child is 5 years old and another 4 years old the 5yo is going to have the advantage. This equates to the older child getting more attention and even being labeled as gifted. The younger child gets the opposite treatment. I looked at the Australian Rugby League squad and sure enough 66% were born in the first half of the year.

So how does this effect guitar players? Well this is where it gets very interesting. If you are in school and in the younger group you are going to be slower. The older kids are able to understand the work more easily where as you begin to fall behind and lose confidence. This loss of confidence is in any activity that essentially puts you up against other kids in your year at school. So this includes sports of course. As you lose confidence in school work and sports you seek out activities that are not pitching you up against other students. By the time you are 8 or 9 years old and the gap on age difference is relatively small but its too late. The damage is done. You bowed out of school work and sports some years earlier and have adopted a self belief that school and sport are simply not for you. This is exaggerated by the fact that the older kids have been getting much of the attention often resulting in extra attention from teachers, coaches and family.

The younger kids now seek out something that they can do that is separate from school or at least something that is not associated with competing against the older kids in their year. This leads them to the guitar for many reasons. I recently did a survey of all the guitarists I knew and found an amazing 87% were born in the second half of their respective school years. This is no coincidence. But how does this all explain the desire to self teach?

My theory is younger students generally lose faith in the system due to their early experiences. This is for the most part subconscious. No one likes to feel like a loser but what chance do you have when most of the kids in your class are older, smarter and stronger than you. The odds are stacked against you. It would only be if you were somehow exceptional that you would move to the head of the class. To you the teacher/classroom experience is a losing game. You prefer to play your own game. You learn to find what works for you. You learn to become independent and self sufficient. You learned to self teach but unfortunately self teaching is not a smart move because there is no accountability, no outside perspective and no proven strategy. You are reinventing the wheel.

Would you teach yourself to fly, parachute or perform heart surgery? Of course not because their is no room for mistakes so why waste time teaching yourself guitar? It just doesn't make sense. Why not avoid all the mistakes and learn from a trained professional teacher? Even if your decision to self teach is motivated by the desire to save money the time wasted teaching yourself could be spent working a few extra hours a week.

Conclusion: There are examples of people who coach themselves to greatness but there are also examples of people who got rich gambling. Teaching yourself requires taking a big risk. I personally believe that every dollar I have invested in teachers has always paid off even if not obvious at the time. Even a poor teacher has helped me to learn more about what I am looking for in a teacher.

Kind regards,

David Hart - Program Director

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Top Guitar Schools in the USA

If you are planning on taking your guitar playing to the level of the best you should know where the best programs are. To help out the following music schools in the USA are regarded the TOP 5 list.


#1 Musicians Institute (GIT), Hollywood CA

#2 Berklee College of Music, Boston MA

#3 University of Miami School of music, Miami FL

#4 University of Southern California, Los Angeles CA

#5 University of North Texas, Denton TX


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Thursday, October 15, 2009

The expert opinion

I want to mention an often overlooked area regarding the expert. In Malcolm Gladwell's (Author of 'The Tipping Point') latest book 'Blink' he talks about how often market research of the general public can be quite wrong and misleading. For example. When record companies want to know if a song will be a hit they send out a sample to a cross section of people in the general public who will give their opinion. They then tally up this feedback and decide if the music will sell. But there is a problem with this strategy. The people being asked are not experts in pop music. At first you might say the general public who will be buying the CDs are not experts either. But the problem is when they send the CD out to be assessed they are missing some valuable data. That is listening to 30 seconds of a song once is not a deciding factor to what makes a hit. A hit song has a tendency of catching us by surprise. It could be that the first time we hear it we don't even like it because its different but after a few listens it grows on us. Hasn't that happened to you?

There are also other factors involved such as the CD cover, or the video clip or the fact that the CD might first be accepted by a small group of people who force their friends to listen. I recall Pink Floyd being one of those bands with 'Dark side of the Moon' being the classic album. Weird and strange and certainly not full of hit singles. It was an album and it was one of those albums that charted for years and years but it wasn't an on overnight success. It took time to filter out to the masses.

Back to the expert. The expert is often overlooked. An expert is an expert because their knowledge on a subject is extensive. They are not fooled by their personal opinion or biases. They look at the facts based on their expert training. Look at the record producer George Martin (The Beatles). He could predict a hit song much better than surveying thousands of people. The reasons are many but his instincts were the result of spending thousands of hours honing in on the little things that make a hit song. Even to the point of finding a group of musicians who had no material but had the look and x-factor he knew would sell records.

My personal expertise is in teaching guitar. My years of experience in the business have taught me what works and what does not. The strategies I use are the result of working with thousands of students of all ages. The G4 GUITAR METHOD is basically a culmination of my life's work. The idea of structure for example hit me after many years of realising that teaching in an improvised way based on student requests is not what students really want deep down in the same way overweight people don't want to go to a weight loss consultant and be told to love your body the way it is. They want the cold hard truth even if it hurts and then a results based plan of how to succeed and reach their goals. It would be easy for me to tell you the guitar is an easy instrument to learn but its just not true. Guitar take practice and lots of it and a large portion of it will be boring so its best to accept that before you even start because it will be a few years before you reach a level worth bragging about.

Fact is the G4 GUITAR METHOD works but its not a magic pill. Its a method based on 23 years of teaching and research. Stick with us and you will be a great guitar player one day but there are no shortcuts.

Don't forget to grab a free copy of the G4 GUITAR METHOD.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

"the best video of a turital (ur damn better than my real teacher)"

IronmanDan727 has made a comment on Simpsons Theme Guitar Lessons G4 Guitar:

the best video of a turital (ur damn better than my real teacher) can u maybe teach how to play kryptonite bye 3 doors down


Thursday, September 10, 2009

How old can a child begin to learn guitar?

We are often asked the question of how old does a child have to be to start on guitar. At G4 GUITAR many of our teachers can start students from 3 or 4 years old. Its not actually about the child its mostly about the teacher and parents. A teacher needs to be trained in working with very young students and parents need to be actively involved. G4 GUITAR Teachers are trained in working with young children and our success rate is around 90%. A child begins to hear and respond to music even before birth. Humans can hear by 20 weeks from conception. If you search the internet you will find hundreds of examples of young children learning and playing guitar. Here is one of my favourites.






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If you have any questions please email: david@g4guitar.com.au
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Don't Sell Your Guitar...

If you are learning to play the guitar or if it is already in your blood, there will come a time when you will obviously buy a guitar and then probably at some stage in your life due to circumstance or whatever trigger, want or need to sell your guitar.
I would like to advise you to never sell your guitar.
I had, over a number of years bought a collection of guitars including Stratocasters, Les Pauls, ES125, ES175, etc.
It was a great collection and I loved every one of those guitars.
As life will do, my situation changed and I sold them all.
For many years I didn't have a guitar but when the urge to play again caught up with me, I went around looking for another Gibson 175 like the one I owned before. I was in for a shock. The prices had increased not in line with inflation but as these guitars became older, they were highly prized by collectors and therefore became very expensive. So expensive that I couldn't spend the amount of money that was being asked.
All I have of my previous collection is photo which I look at often and invariably call myself an idiot. Even the Gibson SG I had which was not that popular at the time but because of it's age is very expensive.

So, my advice to you is don't sell your instrument, especially if it is a guitar you really like.

If you are thinking of buying a guitar and need advice, please don't hesitate to get in contact

In the pic you will see;

Fender Lap Steel (60's)
Fender Strat
Gibson Dove (Acoustic)
Gibson ES125 (My very first electric)
Gibson SG
Gibson Les Paul Gold Top
Fender Showman Amp

Not shown;

Gibson ES175
Gibson Les Paul Junior

This blog was written by Chris Alexander. Chris is a G4 GUITAR NETWORK teacher and operates from Croydon Park in Sydney. For more information on Chris check out his profile. CHRIS ALEXANDER PROFILE. You can also call us on 0405-274456

Don't forget to grab a free copy of the G4 GUITAR METHOD.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Don't Give Up Your Day Job...

Perhaps your parents, friends, neighbours or even the TV told you to get a real job. "You will never earn a living playing guitar". Well I am here to say they are WRONG! Very wrong. Playing guitar has pretty much supported me for over 20 years and will continue to do so probably for the rest of my life. So give up your day job and focus on the guitar but at the same time make sure you have a plan. A BUSINESS PLAN. Becoming a successful artist in any arena of art is a long and winding road. Some get lucky early, some work hard and eventually find success and most never get there but usually because they simply were not committed. A business plan means ensuring you have an income while you develop your art. It also means having a plan B. You may aspire to be a rock star now but you may very well change. Being a rock star is glamorous when you are 21yo but the gloss fades and new priorities emerge. So if you love guitar my suggestion is build a great teaching business and work at your art. That way you are doing what you love but also securing yourself a future via a business.

Here is a great article called 10 REASONS WHY YOU NEVER GET A JOB.


David Hart

Don't forget to grab a free copy of the G4 GUITAR METHOD.

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Are you progressing too slowly?

A student recently ask me a question about their progress. They were concerned that they were not progressing quick enough after comments from someone who said they thought their progress was slow. Here was my response;

Your progress. Ultimately we (G4GUITAR) can only guide you. Your personal progress will depend on many factors and is always personal. Some people pick up a guitar and within months play like they have been at it for years others take several years. The main factors are as follows;

Musical history - Did you learn music as a child?
Family - Music is like a language. If other family members played music chances are you will have a better start. Tommy Emmanuel, Van Halen and even Mozart are/were all children of professional musicians.
Innate ability - Some people just seem to have a gift. Same as anything really.
Discipline - Practicing daily and working on the skills will make all the difference.
Confidence - Not all great players are skillful. Being a confident player is important. Eric Clapton (slow hand) is an example. He does not even come close to today's shredders yet he is still known as a Guitar God. When you play always try and imagine the feeling you are trying to portray. Its not just about the notes. Feel is vitally important.
Social - Play with other players. Music is like a language. If you don't practice playing with others you won't progress very quickly. Mixing it up with other players will also help you to evaluate where you are at. You will get to know your own style.

Remember that learning guitar is not a competition. If it were it would be an Olympic event. The skills you learn with G4GUITAR can be applied to most styles but if your goal is to be a great player you need to practice like one and listen to the great players. We can't do that for you but we do provide the content of your practice via the G4GUITAR METHOD and combined with our online advice (blogs, TWITTER etc) you will find most of what you need.

Don't forget to grab a free copy of the G4 GUITAR METHOD.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Live Music Concerts - What's all the fuss?

Live music is one of those topics that when described by one person who was at the concert to another who was not is actually quite annoying. When someone says to me "I saw this amazing band. They were so tight and the guitarist was so good it was scary. The songs were simply magical and the singer hit every note perfectly" it just makes me realise I missed something special. The problem with this kind of explanation is it gives me no clue as to the experience. All I know is you had a good time and I missed out. What I would prefer is for them to simply say "I recommend you see this band/ guitarist. Trust me, you will not be disappointed." That is all I need to hear.

But I say this yet I am as guilty as the next person. When I come away from a great concert you just want to tell everyone. A great concert can be a life changing experience. I recall seeing Stevie Ray Vaughn as a teenager at the Sydney Opera House and I felt like I was in Heaven. The inspiration from that concert alone was enough to keep me practicing for a lifetime. Not to be Stevie but just to play.

If you truly want to play guitar I suggest you make sure you see a world class concert at least twice a year and then catch some local up and coming talent once a month if possible. I think its vitally important to keep you motivated and focused.

If you do see a gig/concert of any description let me know how it went down. I will happily post your review on our blog.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Where to from here?

Many guitar students will reach a point in their learning where they will complete all the G4 GUITAR Levels and will want to go to the next stage. At G4 GUITAR we see our role as taking you to a level where you will be accepted into a higher education course enabling you to become professional. That leads us to the question of 'Where to from her?'

For Rock guitarists I would suggest (if you can) going to the Musicians Institute (MI) in Hollywood California USA for a few reasons. Of course many of the teachers are world class guitarists but also you will have the opportunity to network with other musicians. This is an important part of becoming successful in the rock/pop world.

My next recommendation would be Berkley Music College in Boston USA. Berkley caters well for both rock and jazz. If jazz is your preference I would recommend Berkley over MI.

If you prefer to stay local Sydney has the Conservatorium of Music. There are also Musician's institutes in some major cities which offer some certified courses but I would research the courses first to ensure they offer what you are looking for.

Don't forget to grab a free copy of the G4 GUITAR METHOD.

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If you have any questions please email: david@g4guitar.com.au

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Monday, May 18, 2009

GUITAR WORLD 50 GREATEST GUITAR SOLOS

Greatest Guitar Solos of all time is really a tough one. I know that there are so many factors to a great guitar and the most important being that I can listen to it a thousand times and still love it. We see and hear solos that often impress us with speed and accuracy but is that enough? I personally don't think so. A great solo must be like a great speech. Its not the speed at which its delivered or the complexity of the grammar but its the overall delivery and whether it moves you.

The following list was compiled by Guitar World. It may or not be your choice but its a good place to start if you are looking for inspiration.

GUITAR WORLD 50 GREATEST GUITAR SOLOS.

Don't forget to grab a free copy of the G4GUITAR METHOD.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Guitar learning should be via tested and proven methods

Testing anything takes time and patience. The difference between something that works verses that which does not is either via testing or pure luck. Since luck is not predictable I prefer to test. For guitar students the G4GUITAR METHOD is just that. A tested and proven method.

The
G4GUITAR METHOD (G4GM) is based on AB testing. We take two theories and test them against each other to see which gives the best result. Example: Do students aged between 8 and 12 learn better with their parents sitting in on the lessons or not? Or do students who record their practice times daily improve faster than students who take a weekly estimate? We have tested thousands of theories and continue to do so and the results often surprise teachers.

So we want to ask you a favour. Its once again about testing. We want to know what you think by downloading a free copy no strings attached. If thousands of guitarists and teachers are testing out the method we will soon know what they like or dislike and how we can improve on it. There is no catch here. We really want to know what you think so we can make it even better and therefore improve the way we teach our students.

To grab a free copy just follow the links.

DOWNLOAD FREE COPY of G4GUITAR METHOD.

Do the ONLINE TOUR once you have downloaded your copy.

If you have any questions please email: david@g4guitar.com.au

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

How do Rockstars become Rockstars?

Watching an episode of Law & Order about desperate young hopefuls in New York City made me realise that many of our students are probably asking the question 'How do Rockstars actually make it?' The lead detective describes how by his estimates 50,000 guitarists every year give up everything on a quest to become the next big thing yet only about 10 (if that) will make the big time. They are very long odds. So why do so many go after the prize? Is it really worth it? Are they just setting themselves up for years of disappointment?

Is it possible to beat the odds and become a rockstar? I have witness thousands of wannbes try yet fail but I have also always had a fascination for those who are successful. What makes the difference? What do the Eric Claptons and the Jimi Hendrixs, the B.B.Kings or Eddie Van Halens of the world have that us mere mortals do not? Were they truly born with a gift or just lucky? While it would be naive of me to say there is one simple answer there are definately clues.

One thing that I have notice amongst not only successful guitarists but anyone from Hollywood actors to famous politicians is they network. The quickest way to get noticed is to stand next to someone famous. This will not make you a great guitar player but people will listen. You will get a chance to be heard. Jimi Hendrix got his break after Keith Richard's girlfriend of the time saw him playing to an empty room in the USA. Notably impressed she introduced Jimi to the right people and the rest is history.

You do need to have something worthy of an audience but you don't have to be the greatest guitarist ever. When you start mixing with the right people you will learn from them. You will rise to the occasion. One of my favourite guitarists of the 80s was Neal Schon. Neal got to play with Santana as a teenager. Naturally he got noticed but he also picked up a few tricks from Santana.

Finally if I were a teen and embarking on a career of becoming a rockstar I would move to Hollywood and spend as much time making contacts as I would practicing guitar. Bottom line is you need to be good at both or at least a master of one to have a chance.

That's my take on it...

If you have any questions please email: david@g4guitar.com.au

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Count the minutes

There is a saying that says "What you can measure you can multiply". By measuring how much practice you actually do in theory you can improve on your score. I can say with complete confidence that in 99% of cases the students who use a practice log to measure their practice are the ones who improve the quickest and rarely give up. But why?
There are several reasons. The analogy I like to use it what I call the 'Bart Simpson analogy'. His classic phrase "Are we there yet?" is one that if you are a parent have heard many times I am sure. This comes as a result of not knowing how long the journey will take. When we learn guitar frustration sets in because we want to be able to play our favourite songs and we want to know "WHEN?". Our teachers tell us to be patient and keep practicing but gradually our confidence fades and finally we throw in the towel.
If on the other hand I was able to say to you that with 1000 minutes of practice you should be able to play Smoke on the Water and with 10,000 mins the intro to 'Stairway to Heaven' chances are you are going to be more patient. It is not exact science because everyone is different and it also depends on where you put that practice time. But if you measure your practice habitually you start to get a good idea of how much practice equals how much progress.
There are also other benefits. E.g. Most people are naturally self competitive. In other words we like to improve on our scores. One of the reasons computer games are so highly addictive is because we want to beat our high score. Imagine if these games had no scores. Would they be as addictive? When you measure your practice I can assure you that in no time you will be trying to out do your high scores. First month you might do 1000 minutes of practice but in the second month you will be looking to exceed that amount. After 1 year you will be doing 5000+ a month and on your way to guitar legend status.

So start measuring. You can downlod a practice log from our STUDENT WEBSITE on the DOWNLOADS page.

If you have any questions please email: david@g4guitar.com.au

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

PLAN your PRACTICE

One of the best pieces of advice I can offer any student is to plan your practice. Time is precious and you need to make every minute count. Start with short practice sessions of 15 to 20 minutes and break it down into 5 minute topics.

Example;
5 minutes picking practice. Leave your left hand out of it (right if you are a lefty).
5 minutes chord practice. Left hand only. Check our PRACTICE site for ideas.
5 minutes Scale. Start slow with a metronome and stick to one scale. Even one string.
5 minutes song. Work on a small section of a song. Just a few bars.

Make sure your practice is leading you towards your ultimate goal. Try writing out practice plans when you are sitting on the bus or train or in the waiting room at your guitar school. Show your teacher or email me for a second opinion.

Please email: david@g4guitar.com.au

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Why Learning Guitar is Good for the Environment

There are many ways you can spend your time. Surfing the net, watching TV, playing video games, going for a drive, going to the movies or going Shopping. So how do these options compare to guitar? Lets look at TV. An average TV uses around 200 watts per hour. More if its a plasma TV. Apart from the fact that the guitar requires a small amount of timber and the occasional string change there are no other environmental effects. We don't even need to bother with carbon emmission studies here. Think about it. Image if you bought a quality acoustic guitar and exchanged just one hour a day of TV for one hour of guitar over a lifetime. That equates to around 27,000 hours. If every Australian turned off their TV for one hour a day and played guitar instead we would save 600,000,000,000 hours of electricity over a lifetime. I know... some of you don't want to play guitar so take up drums or saxophone. Doing it for the environment is a great thing but who knows you might just discover you enjoy playing music along the way.

If you have any questions email: david@g4guitar.com.au

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Friday, April 17, 2009

The Story of Guitar

The BBC have put together a great bunch of interviews with guitarists. I recommend you take a look. It features Edge (U2) showing off how he gets the sound for Streets with no Name. David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Pete Townshend (The Who), B.B. King and others.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/musictv/guitars/

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Great Guitar Players - Andy Summers

Summers started his guitar career way back in the 60s as the guitarist for Zoot Money's Big Roll Band. He was also involved in several other bands around that time including Eric Burdon and The Animals. Summers even had a brief encounter with Jimi Hendrix. No doubt a memorable occasion. By the 70's Summers was mostly a session guitarist working with big names like Joan Armatrading and Neil Sedaka. Summers was even considered by the Rolling Stones as a replacement for Mick Taylor.

Summers fame came from band The Police which exposed Summers talent as a creative guitarist. Songs like Every Breath you take, Walking on the Moon Message in a Bottle" are all good examples. .He also won a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental in 1980.

Summers has a distinctive sound making the most of available technologies and state of the art guitar effects such as chorus, flanger and echo effects. His favourite guitar is a customized Telecaster.

Summers has worked with a host of musicians and I would recommend to any serious electric guitarist to check out his work. Its truly inspirational.


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Friday, March 27, 2009

Great Guitar Songs - Layla - Derek and the Dominos (1970)

A classic guitar riff that was a huge hit in the 70's and 80's for that matter. A song that has stood the test of time. Clapton revamped an acoustic version on his 1992 Unplugged album which took the song again to the top of the charts. Not many songs last four weeks let alone four decades. Great song in any era with a good mix of chords and an easily identifiable riff.

If you have any questions email me. david@g4guitar.com.au

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rock Star Success Tips - Image

Image: A lot of guitarists have trouble with this because they feel they are being fake. It is not about being fake. It's about playing a role. When you are on stage you need to entertain. Playing guitar well is of course important but if you can add more to the performance via a unique image you are more likely to be remembered.

Create a remarkable image for yourself. Even have some kind of signature on stage act. Hendrix actually made his name originally from setting his guitar on fire on stage. Angus Young (AC/DC) dressed up as a school boy and strutted the stage which he basically copied from Chuck Berry. Eddie Van Halen would jump in the air and do a scissor kick. Kiss wore face make up. The Beatles had unusual haircuts. I think you get the idea....


If you have any questions email me. david@g4guitar.com.au

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Improving your guitar skills advice

Improving your guitar playing is not just about practice. Jamming with others is an important an often underrated part of any guitar player's program. When you jam with other guitarists and musicians you are putting what you know to the test. You will quickly determine your level of proficiency. E.g. If your timing is not spot on it will be obvious, if not to you others will notice.

Jamming also gives you a chance to learn new licks and tricks from other guitarists. Always be humble and ready to learn. If someone does something you like ask them to show you how.

Jamming is also the precursor to forming a band. You will learn teamwork, how to play your role and what makes a bank actually work. You will begin to get an idea of what you are looking for in other band members.

Jams are also a great way to network and meet even more musicians. I often hear guitarists complaining that they can't find anyone to jam with yet at the same time they make little or no effort to get out there and meet other musicians. Post a sign at a local music shop. Get a teacher (join a music school) and ask them to introduce you to other students. Just speak to people about what you do and in no time at all you will be connecting with musicians everywhere.

So get out there and jam. It's the best way to improve and stay motivated. Jump on the phone and call some one now.

If you have any questions email me. david@g4guitar.com.au

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Today's Mode is Locrian


Each day I post a mode for you to practice. The idea is to practice only one mode for the day. This will help you to focus. If you don't know what a mode is go back to our previous blog on MODES.

So today's mode will is Locrian. The 7th Mode. Yes it does sound a bit strange. In the 17th century many believed it was the devil's mode but I will leave you to decide that one.

To see a demonstration visit our MODES Webpage and scroll down to the Aeolian. Its the 6th mode.

You can also download the G MODES as a FREE pdf.

If you have any questions email me. david@g4guitar.com.au

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.

Bite Size Theory Lesson - Reading Music



Almost anyone who learns music starts with learning the names of the 5 lines and 4 spaces with Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit (Lines) and F A C E (Spaces). But most of us don't really understand why this is so important so let me explain.

Our brain identifies with pictures more so then simple letters. Its easier to remember a phase or a word with meaning then a bunch of letters. Memorising the letters is the first step but the critical part is using it every single time (and I do mean every single time) until you are crystal clear on every note.

My top 5 tips for learning to read music are;

  1. Say 'Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit' and spaces 'F A C E' while looking at each note until you can instantly recognise any note with 100% accuracy.
  2. Isolate the melody and rhythm. Start by simply clapping the rhythm and then try only saying the note names and then gradually try doing both at the same time.
  3. Choose simple melodies that you are familiar with so you can recognise mistakes more easily.
  4. At first do one bar at a time. Break down in to achievable steps.
  5. Practice as slow as you need to with a metronome. E.g. Begin by playing one note every 4 or 8 counts of the metronome. Yes that slowly. Aim for no mistakes.
The whole idea is to 'learn how to read music' first. I see too many impatient students who are frustrated because they want to play the song now. Take a deep breath, slow down and remember you are learning. The rewards will come later. Give it time.

If you have any questions email me. david@g4guitar.com.au

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Sweep Picking??? Please explain!


What is sweep picking you ask? It is when you pick across strings in one direction. Down or Up. The result of a well developed sweep picking action is fast smooth sounding scales, runs and arpeggios. It is important to use a metronome to ensure your sweeps sound even and articulated. Without the articulation it will sound messy and lose its effect. Each note must be distinct from the previous. One note ends where a new note begins. You want to avoid two notes sounding at the same time and gaps between notes.

So get started on a beginner exercise please visit the The G4GUITAR PRACTICE SITE - Sweep Picking for Beginners.


If you have any questions email me. david@g4guitar.com.au

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The value of a Ear (Aural) Training



I highly recommend to anyone pursuing music to invest a portion of their practice time into developing aural skills.

The first step is to know what you are hearing. If you want to play you favourite songs correctly the ability to breakdown the song will give you an immediate head start. Think of it like language. If I quote a phrase in a familiar language chances are you can quote me back word for word. But if I were to speak in an unfamiliar language it is unlikely you will quote me correctly. Ear training in music is simply becoming familiar with the language of music. Pitch, rhythm, duration, timbre etc.

So to get started please visit our online Aural lessons. We have only just began developing our online course so please visit every few weeks.

G4GUITAR ONLINE AURAL COURSE

If you have any questions email me. david@g4guitar.com.au

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Classical guitar relaxer...

Richard Durrant plays J S Bach. Nice work.



If you have any questions email me. david@g4guitar.com.au

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Recessions are great for Guitar

We currently live in a world that is experiencing a financial shake up. I won't go into the details but we will all feel the effects in someway eventually. Most people are being cautious about spending including myself.

But people are people and we still want to be doing things we enjoy. The trick is to do the things that cost less or at least give you more satisfaction for your hard earned dollars. Guitar playing would have to rate as one of the best options for recessionary blues. Think about it. If you bought a guitar ($200) had a weekly lesson for a year ($1000) plus a few extras ($300) you would have spent $1500 for the year. Now compare that to a restaurant meal once a week for a year. ($50 x 52) and you are looking at $2600 not to mention the transport and the extra calories.

So which is a better option? Guitar of course! On top of everything you will feel good about yourself as you gradually improve. I am yet to meet anyone who said they regretted learning guitar. Does such a person exist?

If you have any questions email me. david@g4guitar.com.au

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Want to be a ROCKSTAR?

As much as I hate to admit it being a ROCKSTAR is about playing the game. We must remember the music business is a business. If a Rockstar is what you want to be you'd better learn the game.

Today's Rock Star tip; Visit MusicBizAdvice.com website and read the feedback they give to American Idol contestants. This will give you some idea of what record companies are looking for.

If you have any questions email me. david@g4guitar.com.au

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Guitar Teacher Course


Guitar Teacher Course 
The G4 GUITAR  Teacher Course is about creating a a standard. Guitar teachers traditionally work alone preparing their own lesson plans, doing their own marketing and generally running their own business. This has its benefits but many of these teachers are seeking the necessary skills to be truly professional and successful. 
The Benefits

  • TEACHER TRAINING - All teachers begin with the online training. You will have access to a range of helpful training blogs, videos, audios and podcasts to help you succeed as both a teacher and a small business operator. 
  • G4 GUITAR METHOD - The G4 GUITAR METHOD is based on extensive research from over 25 years of teaching experience and is designed to get results for you and your students. You will have copyrights so will be able to print, copy and give to your students.
  • STUDENTS - We will include your contact details on our popular website so students can make inquiries.  
  • CREDIBILITY - Using a proven effective method will help you to gain credibility as a guitar teacher and will be part of a network of more than 25 teachers in Australia, Canada and the US.
  • LOCAL MARKETING - We also provide proven local marketing materials to help build your own student numbers quickly.
  • SUPPORT - We offer email support for teaching and business.
  • TESTIMONIALS - See some recent comments to the right.




Contact  
If you would like to ask any questions please feel free to email David Hart at g4guitar1@gmail.com 


Getting Started 
To begin your teacher training please subscribe below. There are no contracts so you can cancel at anytime. This means you can simply do the training if you wish and unsubscribe when you are done. Membership is $250 per month via a subscription. This will allow you access to the teacher training plus full use of the G4 GUITAR METHOD and associated teaching materials along with a listing on our website.

Subscribe Here 

Membership & Training 

$250 per month.

  
                                                                  



To cancel your subscription click the link below 

                                                                  



Testimonials
from our teachers 
"Further validation of your training methods - I've been covering another teacher (not a G4 teacher) for the past two weeks." This week I found out no less than four of his students have asked for me as a permanent teacher. Thanks for all your help :-)" - Daniel Holmes
"God damn your good Dave:)" - Chris Quinane.
“Hi David ~ Your advice is right on the mark. Thanks so much for being on my team.   I can't thank you enough for all you have done for me and my studio” -  Rita Long
“I spent a few minutes speaking with a student and his mother the other evening. I was harsh but fair in what I said and explained how important practice is for playing any musical instrument. I shall see how he improves this week, and whether or not he's practicing. Thanks for all your help on that a few weeks ago”. -Stefano Cosentino
“i appear to have found two more of "me"...one is at Take Note and one for Zumba...am paying them 5 hours a week each to do the adminy boring things I just dont get to and guess what...I can let go and trust them..thank you for teaching me how to! - Emma Payne
.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Robben Ford & Larry Carlton


Larry Carlton & Robben Ford - talk to your daughter
Uploaded by popy27

If you have any questions email me. david@g4guitar.com.au

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