Hello Fellow Guitarist,
Would you believe it, but in my own research I have found that around 98% of all guitarists just don't know how to practise effectively. That is to get the most benefit out of their practise sessions. 1% do come close and are having some success, but there are little things that are seriously holding them up. The other 1% seem to have stumbled across the right techniques more by mistake than good management. Incredible isn't it?
Did you also know that there are millions of guitars sold each year and many millions of people already own one?
Because most players don't know the hows, wheres, whys whats, and whens of how to practise properly they become frustrated and eventually put the guitar in a closet and give up. It is not because they haven't got any talent, but because they haven't got a clue on what they should be doing. They become guitar owners, not guitar players.
When you look back over your schooling, college or university years, what were you told? Think back now. You would have been told the same as I was most probably, "Now go home and study this", but I would be saying to myself "How do we do this study". When I was at home I wasn't doing it properly and I knew it, which helped me get lower grades than I could have got. Do you know the same goes for guitarists? If you don't know how to practise effectively, then you are wasting your time and causing a lot of frustration. Frustration leads to people either giving up or taking a lot longer to reach their guitar playing goals.
Fortunately when I was about eighteen years old I got my first really good teacher who set me on the right track. After five years of being a self-taught player I was now studying with someone who was out there doing it, a real pro. Within three years I had worked my way up to be playing with the best artists in the world and I still do.
To cut a long story short I have never looked back. Many of the guys I started out playing with are still mucking about doing the same things they were doing 30 years ago, while I have left them all behind. You can learn what I learnt as well. It is really easy and a lot of fun.
Learning How To Practise
The quickest way between two points is in a straight line, so if you want to be a great player and you are just beginning it would be best if your learning and practising went in a straight line from A-B. However most people progress in a wavy line fashion, they stay on track for a while then go off track to the left. They then realise they are on the wrong track and get back on it again only to venture off track to the right this time. They then realise they are off track again and then get back on track, but only to veer off to the left again. And so it keeps going on frustrating you. Are you like this?
Not only is a lot of time wasted when practising takes this road, but it is very demotivating as well. We should be motivating not demotivating ourselves.
When I first decided that I wanted to become a professional guitarist I used to practise about eight hours a day, but it wasn't until later that I discovered you can do the same practise in a lot less time if you know what to do. Although some people like to practise that long each day, I think that it does pay to take breaks and have at least another interest. If you don't, one can tend to become a bit of a recluse and lose touch with the outside world.
While it is true that those people who practise regularly achieve more than those who don't, it doesn't necessarily guarantee success.
Planning and Being More Knowledgeable
Only proper planning and practising will elevate you higher than the many mediocre players there are in the world. You might have heard the saying that goes "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail".
Most beginning guitarists don't realise that no matter what style of music you want to play, everyone has to learn similar things. After all a C chord in classical music is the same one in jazz, heavy metal, rock, etc. The way people make it sound different is in the rhythm and the guitar sound that is used. All guitarists need to know the core stuff that all musicians know. That is how we communicate.
A lot of people ask me how I got to play with many of the big names in the music business and I tell them all the same answer, it is, "You just have to know what you are doing". Did you know that you don't have to be the best player in the world, you just have to know what you are doing? This is where most guitarists fall down because they are just guessing what they are doing, and that in turn creates uncertainty and a lack of confidence in their abilities.
Now I hear you say, "But I don't want to be a professional", that's fine by me. Many of the people I have taught don't want to be professionals, but they could be if they wanted because they are that good and know their stuff well. Many of these people are now leading their own party, church, or school bands. Many have gone on to become famous at a local level, and even recorded their own CDs. What is it that you want to achieve?
The Secrets of Successful Practising
In the seventeen years that I have been teaching guitar the same questions keep coming up, which is why I wrote this book The Secrets of Successful Practising for Guitarists. Of course it is too comprehensive to explain everything here, but here are some of the things you will learn in this book,
- What talent really is
- What are the benefits of a good teacher
- What are the benefits of teaching yourself
- How to motivate yourself
- Should you learn to read music or tab
- How to organise your practise space
- Caring for your instrument and accessories
- Finding and creating practise materials
- The six things you need to practise
- Keeping a practise log
- How much time to practise
- How to keep within your limits
- How to listen and what to listen for
- How to make practising more fun
- The art of rhythm guitar
- How to use your time more efficiently
- How to improve your musical memory
- Metronome techniques
- How to use mind practise
- Tips for learning licks
- How to transcribe and learn songs
- How to gain more confidence
- How to get more gigs and jam sessions
- How to prepare for a performance
- Books to read and add to your collection
- And of course there is a lot more that you will learn.
So you can see that there is a lot to consider when learning the guitar and the art of practicing is definitely a skill that you need to know.
This book is not rocket science. You don't need a MBA from Harvard to understand it and you don't need to be able to read music. It is written in plain English and the techniques are easy to practice. Many of the ideas in the book are not available elsewhere because many of the world's top players just don't give those secrets away freely. Some of my famous guitar-playing friends have told me that they wished this book had been available when they started. If I had seen it when I started it would have saved me the first five years that I spent heading down the wrong track.
So What Are the Benefits?
With this information you will really have an unfair advantage over your other guitar-playing friends. I guarantee it. After awhile they will be asking you to show them things. You will have a new-found enthusiasm and confidence in your abilities. You will want to practise more because it is fun.
Here is What Some of Our Customers and Critics Have Said About the Book.
- Each chapter puts forward guidelines for making real progress, and is complete with helpful hints and tips for players of all abilities. Guitar Techniques Magazine – March 2004
- This book is more like a bible, as he leaves nothing to chance. Peter Bartlett – The Guardian
- I'm finding your practising book to be the best tool ever to help with my playing (apart from playing itself!). I am now recommending it to all of my students. Rob Moody – Guitar Teacher – Australia
- It is easy to read and full of great tips and ideas you can put into use immediately no matter what level you are. Byron Foley – Recording Artist
- I first picked up a guitar when I was 13 and learned all the basic chords and was making satisfactory progress as a self taught guitarist. The day came however when I reached a plateau, got bored and pretty much gave it up altogether. After reading your book, I've got a good idea what I have to do to get back on track. Your book was easy to read and well layed out- so well done! I can't wait to read your next one. Jim Gorman
- For any guitarist at any level I recommend "The Secrets of Successful Practising for Guitarists". Davey Beige – New Zealand Musician Magazine
- Kevin Downing is a Guitar Guru. Don Kavangh – The Evening Standard
- This is an excellent book. I use it all the time with my entire group of performance music students. Joanne Yesberg – Music Teacher – Freyberg High School – Palmerston North
- Sheesh! I paid thousands of dollars to learn these secrets at two overseas music schools! In simple, straight forward, direct, unpretentious, no BS language, Kevin walks you through ALL the stages of practising. He makes this book so easy to read, it's like he's there talking with you. If you want a highly organised manual of helpful guitar practise tips, that you can refer to again and again, put this one in your guitar case. Kevin writes not just like he knows! He writes like he cares. His practising book comes with my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION. Taura Eruera – Professional guitarist, teacher, and author.
Why wait to get started improving your playing?
Order the book right now and I will send you an e-book version of the book so you can begin reading it immediately (PC only) for no extra cost.
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This book is truly amazing value in that if a music teacher was to go over all this information with you at a private lesson it would take about 40-50 lessons At today's rates that would cost between $800-1200 depending on where you live.
It is your's now for the total price of only $34.95 including overnight courier within New Zealand, Australia is $40.95 (inc 5 day air-post), USA $45.95 (inc 7 day air-post), Europe $46.95 (inc 7 day air-post).
If you don't order The Secrets of Successful Practising for Guitarists right now, how will you ever learn what it takes to get where you want to be?