Sunday, August 22, 2010

Do you have the talent for guitar?

When I was a teen learning to play drums and guitar I saw students as either naturals or un-naturals. The naturals were those who seemed to be able to learn their instrument with ease and apparent joy whereas the un-naturals were those of us who lacked this natural ability and spent much of the time asking the question "Why me?" It felt rather unfair especially when you would practice much harder yet for the naturals they seemed to just pick everything up with little or no practice.

As the years went by I realised that those with natural ability did indeed exist and that this phenomenon exists in almost every area of life but when scrutinised natural ability is not really a defining factor for long-term success. In fact most of the people who I recall at the time as naturals gave up playing music altogether. This struck me as bizarre because at the time I would have given anything to be in their shoes. I recall one friend in particular who was younger than I who was also learning with the same teacher and he was amazing. I couldn't believe that a kid of 12 years of age was able to play sophisticated jazz and rock while I at 17 years of age was still struggling with the fundamentals. I found out a year later that he had given up the guitar completely to focus on surfing.

As the years rolled by I came to see that it was one's love and passion for learning music and the guitar that ultimately made the difference. No matter where you are now and how much talent you believe you do or don't have your ultimate success will be based on your love affair with the guitar more so than anything else. I've heard thousands of stories in all endeavours from sports people to Hollywood actors to politicians to great artists and the one thing that seems to define more than 90% of them is their passion for their chosen field. In the majority of these cases there was no apparent natural talent.

The point to this blog is to encourage you to follow your passion, work hard and have fun. Learning guitar of course is not going to be fun all the time. In fact your passion should drive you to do things that you need to do regardless of whether you enjoy them or not. The best comparison I can make is physical fitness. If you are unfit going for a jog everyday will probably be painful at first but the result is you will feel better the rest of the time. Practicing guitar especially the boring elements will result in you being a confident guitarist when it comes time to perform. So if in doubt about your talent for guitar try rephrasing the question to "Do I have the passion for guitar?"

David Hart - Program Director


Visit the G4 GUITAR METHOD Website

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The 80/20 rule and guitar practice.

How does the Pareto principal (better known as the 80/20 rule) apply to learning guitar? Well its basically about learning to focus your time in the right areas. Let me clarify. Playing guitar and learning guitar are two different actions all together. When you play you are performing. A performance is about playing what you can already play. Performance will certainly keep the skills you have in shape but they are unlikely to improve your guitar playing. Playing guitar is not focused on develop, just maintenance. To improve you need to practice.

Let us define practice. PRACTICE is working on a technique or song that you are unable to effectively execute. The amount of practice you do will effect how much you improve but the quality of your practice is also a deciding factor. By learning to focus your practice on the areas that will make the biggest difference to your playing you will progress faster. The 80/20 rule basically says in this case that 20% of your practice will result in 80% of your improvement. Find the 20% and your guitar playing will begin to rapidly improve.

Learning guitar is ultimately about focusing on the areas that will make the biggest difference. To learn how to focus and apply the 80/20 rule to your guitar I suggest using the G4 GUITAR METHOD which is all about applying the 80/20 rule. For more information be sure to visit