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Rock Dojo NinjaThree Kickass Values Music Teachers Can Borrow from Karate
Like so many music teachers, I struggled with last minute cancellations, no-shows, and a reliable system for rewarding my students’ efforts on the guitar. While creating the Rock Dojo, I discovered music education shares a value system with the martial arts. The following values are essential for fun and effective group classes of 10 to 15 students.


15-Year Old Luke with Guitar

Guitar for Kids: Learn a Riff so Awesome, It’s Terrifying!
In this lesson,15-year old Luke is going to teach you the infamous guitar riff from Halloween Thing. So what’s a riff, anyways? Riffs are the short musical phrases that keep you coming back again and again to your favorite songs. From Suzie Q to Seven Nation Army, a great riff can grab you by the tail and pull you all in!

 


Rock Dojo's First Black Belt Student

Meet The Rock Dojo’s First Black Belt Student
Two years ago, we launched the Rock Dojo dreaming of sharing our passion for the guitar with kids. We designed the most innovative guitar learning system on the planet to reward our students with colored stripes and straps representing their musical achievements and encouraging them to work harder on the guitar. Today, we are proud to introduce our first black belt student.

 


80/20 Guitar Diagram80/20 Guitar Part One: Minimal Effort for Maximum Results
If you’re unfamiliar with the 80/20 Rule, get ready because it’s going to change your guitar playing game for life! Business and marketing experts have been applying the 80/20 Rule for years with astonishing results. Now, it’s time to apply it to the guitar to achieve more results with less effort. In part one of this three-part series, you’ll unlock the 80/20 potential of moveable power chords to improve your guitar playing with minimal effort for maximum results.


Launch Your Own Group Guitar Classes
Two-and-a-half years ago, I was teaching private lessons around the clock, spending all of my free time learning to play songs I didn’t enjoy, and undercharging for my services. In short, I was miserable, and I desperately needed to change both my teaching and business model. That’s when I made the switch to group guitar classes, and I have never looked back!


Girl Smiling with Guitar

Harness the Power of Music to Add Harmony to Your Family Life
There is something magical about playing the guitar with other people. Maybe it’s the shared goal of mastering a tricky passage or the joy of performing a challenging song from beginning to end as a cohesive unit, but research has confirmed what musicians have known for years: making music brings people together. With that being said, here are three tips to help you harness the power of music and foster harmony in your family life.


Anytune

Three Must Have Apps or Software for Guitar Teachers
It’s never been a better time to teach guitar. With a wide a variety of apps and music software available today, guitar lessons can be more engaging than ever. Here are three apps and/or software I use for every private lesson and group class I teach.

 


Guitar for Kids: Five Tips to Help Your Child Succeed at Playing Guitar
Learning to play the guitar is a daunting task for a 6-year old. At first, frets buzz, fingers hurt, and the fretboard can be more confusing than a jigsaw puzzle with a few missing pieces. Indeed, each string has a note name and a number, each fret has a note name and a number, and the note names correspond to the alphabet from A to G but no sharps or flats between B & C and E & F.


Guitar for Beginners: Chords & Strumming
Chords are the basic building blocks of all songs, so once you’ve learned a handful of chords and a few simple strumming patterns, you can easily play thousands of songs! 
In this lesson, you’ll learn the I IV V (A D & E) chords in the key of A major.

 


Music Theory for Beginners: The Musical Alphabet
Music theory is the study of harmony, melody, and rhythm and how they interact with one another to make the music you love. A thorough understanding of music theory can help you write better riffs, improvise with greater confidence, and deepen your appreciation for the music you listen to every day.



Easy Buying Guide For Your Child’s First Guitar!

Nylon string acoustic guitars are an excellent choice for starters. They’re durable, cheap, and easy to play. However, if you signed your child up for rock guitar lessons, chances are they want to rock. In my experience, most of my students quickly make the jump from an acoustic guitar to an electric guitar in a matter of months. After all, electric guitars howl, growl, and snarl and kids love them for it!


  Classroom Management: Expected vs. Unexpected Behaviors
What do you think separates a great group guitar teacher from an average one? Technical ability on the guitar? No. A lifetime of music theory? Nope. Two-handed tapping? Wrong. The number one skill needed to be a rock star guitar instructor for kids is the ability to manage a class full of kids with guitars, amps, and a propensity towards obscene levels of distortion is classroom management.


Three Great Groove Guitarists: Playing in the Pocket

The pocket is the rhythmic glue that binds a band or a song together. Playing in the pocket happens when a musician finds his/her space in the music while simultaneously leaving space for the other bandmates to occupy.

 


Finger Exercises for Beginning Guitarists
Have you ever seen a great guitarist like Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, or Steve Vai play the guitar with one finger? Absolutely not, but that’s precisely how many young guitarists spend their first couple of years learning to play the guitar. I call it the “one-finger of doom syndrome” because it’s guaranteed to self-destruct their best efforts to improve on the guitar.


3 Practice Tips for a Guitarless and Recovering Guitar Hero
While most die-hard guitar players have no problem establishing efficient and daily practice routine, they often struggle with “not practicing”.

 

 


Five Songs Using Power Chords
Power chords are a key element of many styles of rock music. Power chords are built from the root and fifth of any major scale, and its simple shape is easy to rock. As one 11-year-old Rock Dojo student stated, “Without power chords, rock ‘n’ roll would be rock and flop.”


 Basic Rhythms for Kids
If you want to rock on the guitar, you should spend some time each practice session building your rhythmic vocabulary. In this lesson, you’ll combine four basic rhythms with an easy power chord progression designed to help you master basic rhythms.


Rhythm Games for Guitar Teachers
It’s no secret that kids love games! Kids are drawn to the reward systems games provide because positive reinforcement makes them feel good. Games also give kids a chance to team up and collaborate to solve difficult puzzles. Finally, games give kids a chance to test their skills against their classmates.


Rock This Spring with The Major Pentatonic Scale
Maybe it’s the sunshine or the birdsong, but there’s something ineffable about springtime compelling me to reach for the major pentatonic scale whenever it’s time to rock my guitar. While it’s cousin—the minor pentatonic scale—sounds dark and angsty, the sound of the major pentatonic scale is the stuff of springtime: sweet, bright, and open


Guitars Tuned to Success: The Documentary
This spring, the Rock Dojo offers a 12-week rock guitar workshop for children between 8 and 14 years old at the Baltazar Ortiz Center Bienestar de la Familia in the Cully neighborhood. This initiative is funded by the Regional Arts and Cultural Council in partnership with Multnomah County. This workshop is designed to enhance children’s creativity, develop their confidence, and teach children the transferable skills they need to be successful in music or in the rest of their lives.


How to become a better guitar player

Discover the 7 elements of musicianship.

 

 


“Pop Music tells you everything’s OK, while rock music tells you that it is not OK, but you change it.” —Bono As an afterschool music provider, I have…NAAWEB.ORG


Writing Guitar Riffs, Part 1: Three Steps to Writing a Great Riff
Riffs are the wholly recognizable, completely undeniable hooks that keep you coming back to your favorite songs again and again. Indeed, a memorable guitar riff can elevate a good song to iconic status.

 


How to Get Better at Guitar Fast

Supercharge Your Guitar Chops with Three Simple, Effective, and Scientifically Proven Learning Techniques

 

 


DSC_0008The Place of Music in 21st Century Education

As a music instructor, continuing education is essential for long-term professional growth, which is why I enrolled in The Place of Music in the 21st Century Education available on Coursera.  As such, I’ll be posting personal responses to the course’s assignments in this section of the blog.

 


beatbuddyThe BeatBuddy: The First Guitar Pedal Drum Machine

If you’re like me, you love jamming along with a steady drum beat.  After all, something magical happens when a driving guitar riff locks in with a heavy back beat.  In that instance, the two instruments meld into one, and the groove is born.


logotheta_600x500Theta Music Trainer – Earn Your Musical Black Belt Faster and Easier Than Ever Before

While the ear training market is chalk full of great websites and apps designed for music majors and professional musicians alike, Theta Music Trainer turns the routine into the extraordinary providing ear training games that are fast to learn, fun to play, and exceptional at developing your ear.

 


38759The Danelectro Honeytone N-10: Another Great Amp for Kids

I’m a big fan of Danelectro.  And with good reason. Their products are playable, durable, and affordable too.  Furthermore, Danelectro’s amps and guitars are absolutely dripping with those sought after classic tones and vintage looks.

 


DV016_Jpg_Large_501250_VThe Danelectro Hodad DH1 Mini Amp: The Perfect Starter Amp for Kids
This amp is perfect for jamming on the run. And better yet, it’s about the size of a large sandwich, so the Hodad will fit comfortably into your backpack with tons of leftover space for your books.

 


Five Tips to Help You Buy the Perfect Kid’s Guitar

Choosing your first guitar can be confusing, so I put together five tips to help you get the perfect fit.

 


 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADivide Your Practice Time for Better Results: Part 1 Ear Training and Scales
Although you can spend the rest of your life mastering a vast array of guitar techniques, there’s really only a handful of skills every successful guitarist needs to master. And those skills are ear training, scales, chords, sight-reading, and repertoire.

 


claptonGuitar Legend Eric Clapton Demonstrates Some of his Signature Soloing Techniques
In the 1960s, Cream took the rock world by storm.  With it’s driving blend of rock, blues, jazz, and psychedelics, Cream burst onto the scene with classic hits such as “Crossroads,” “Spoonful,” and “Sunshine of Your Love.”

 


honeycomb_3d_teleFender’s New 3-D Printed Guitar
3-D printing seems like something straight out of science fiction. But its real, its here, and Fender–one of the most iconic and well-respected institutions in the music business–is currently developing two prototypes.

 


Peter Gunn PosterThe “Peter Gunn” Blues
In this lesson, we’re going to learn a simple 12-bar blues based on the theme song of Peter Gunn, a hit detective show from the 1950s.

 

 


Electric_GuitarFive Practice Tips for Mastering the Guitar

No doubt about it, playing rock guitar is the epitome of cool.  There’s something about the screech and squeal of a Fender “Stratocaster” through an old tube amp or the low, throaty growl of a Gibson “Les Paul” through a Marshall stack that captures the imagination and thrills the soul. But there are times when learning to play the guitar can be frustrating too.  That’s why I put together five practice tips to help you master the guitar.


The Allman Brothers Band - Dickey BettsFive Guitarists Every Kid Should Listen To #3 Dickey Betts
If you’re serious about mastering the guitar, then you should spend some of your practice time listening to the greats.  But where should you start? Well, I compiled a list of five guitarists every kid should check out.  Why? Because these guys are the kings of the six-strings!


DSC_1985Children and the Benefits of Music Education
Whether you are passionate about learning Beethoven or Chuck Berry, music lessons are a powerful vehicle for self-expression, inspiration, and personal development.  Even if you are six or eighty-six years old, music lessons sharpen the mind, calm the spirit, and enhance creativity.

cd4be-albertlee-originalFive Guitarists Every Kid Should Listen To #4  Albert Lee
If you’re serious about mastering the guitar, then you should spend some of your practice time listening to the greats.  But where should you start? Well, I compiled a list of five guitarists every kid should check out.  Why? Because these guys are the kings of the six-strings!

 


62cca-stevecropperFive Guitarists Every Kid Should Listen To #5 Steve Cropper
If you’re serious about mastering the guitar, then you should spend some of your practice time listening to the greats.  But where should you start? Well, I compiled a list of five guitarists every kid should check out.  Why? Because these guys are the kings of the six-strings!