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I want to give you a very simple 3 step plan to success on the guitar which is the basis for the G4 GUITAR METHOD.
1. WRITE DOWN YOUR GOAL – The importance of writing down your goal cannot be overstated. Almost everyone and anyone who has written on the subject of achievement will tell you the first rule is to put your goal in writing. To simply say you want to learn guitar is not enough. What is learned guitar? Is it simply a few notes, a few basic chords, a particular song or a set of skills? You must be able to define your goal in tangible terms.
When I first began teaching guitar 24 years ago I would ask students the question “What would you like to learn?” The problem I found with this question was that most students simply did not have a clear answer. Some would mention songs they would like to play which was definitely helpful but this would often change over time, in some cases from week to week. Some students would actually request a new song to learn each week as if they were renting the latest DVD. I soon came to realize that teaching guitar was really teaching the act of teaching goal setting.
My message was simple. Put into words exactly what you want to be playing in a year to five years from now. At this point I thought I had solved all my challenges as a teacher but as I soon found out it was not that simple. When faced with this task many students began to over think their choice of songs believing they may regret their choice in the future. To get around this I created a program (now known as the G4 GUITAR METHOD) which incorporated standard popular songs that most people enjoyed learning. As part of the program I included skills that needed to be developed to ensure their progress on guitar. I then added what has now become known as the Ultimate Song List or USL. The USL is where students write down approximately 25 songs they would hope to play in the future. A kind of dream song list.
2. SET A COMPLETION DATE – The next step is to set a definite date of completion. With the G4 GUITAR METHOD we include a checklist for each level which clearly states the requirements (in other words the goal) in a written form. On the top of the checklist we include a space for a completion date. The teacher and student decide on a reasonable time frame and enter a completion date.
3. TAKE ACTION – The third step is of course to take action. The best approach is daily action. For this reason we have included a Daily Practice Sheet or DPS. The DPS will constantly remind you of what you need to stay aware of. We include a section called ‘Remember’ which I would advise you to memorise.
The idea of the G4 GUITAR METHOD is not so much about learning particular songs that you may or may not like but to prepare you for learning the songs you hope to one day play. We incorporate the 7 essential skills into each level which are required for almost any song. By starting with the goals we set you learn how to set your compass and move toward your target. The biggest mistake I see time and time again are students who try to learn guitar without understanding the need for goal setting using the three steps outlined above. They are literally operating without a compass. While some may eventually find their way (most don’t hence the millions of unused guitars sitting in people garages collecting dust) they waste a lot of time in the process.
Now just as important as the above is the need for a coach. If you doubt the power of employing a personal coach have a look at how many great athletes, winning sports teams, academic leaders, successful business people, successful actors, successful musicians have achieved their success without the use of a coach or mentor. My guess is it’s less than 1%. The reason coach is so vital to your success on the guitar is due to the nature of humans. We struggle with self accountability for one but probably more importantly is a coach (teacher) will save us a lot of time. A recent research finding revealed that people trying to lose weight with the aid of a personal trainer were far more likely to succeed. We have actually run our own research which revealed that adults were 3 times more likely to give up guitar in the first year compared to children under the age of 13 years. The reason is quite simple. As we get older we become more self accountable therefore we are more likely to give up when the going gets tough. An eight-year-old child on the other hand will have to convince their parents before throwing in the towel.
I hope that helps.
David Hart – Program Director
Visit the G4GUITAR METHOD Website