No Need to Break the Bank

Guitar lessons are one of the rare activities that can provide unbeatable value for money if you choose your lessons provider carefully. Learning the guitar (or any other instrument for that matter) can literally change your whole outlook on life and give you a skill to practice, build on and, with time and discipline, eventually master. It doesn’t just develop the creative side of your brain but also improves your coordination and dexterity. Put simply… it makes you smarter.

Contrary to what you might think you don’t have to remortgage your house or live on tuna and rice for the next year to be able to afford guitar lessons. There are ways to reduce the cost…

1. Sign up for a free introductory lesson Take advantage of our free intro lessons and try before you buy. Those lessons are a good opportunity to see how we do things here at the Guitar Training Centre and to get acquainted with the teacher. Open days are usually scheduled a few weeks in advance so keep an eye out for them.

2. Look out for special offers Every once in a while we come up with a ridiculous special offer to encourage our fence-sitting future students to take the plunge and join us for a few hours of serious musical fun. You can save anywhere up to 20% on your guitar course depending on the offer but these do not come up that often so make sure you check our website, Facebook page or Blog regularly.

3. Bring a friend or a sibling The Guitar Training Centre offers a standard 10% discount to any members of the same family attending lessons. So that’s good. Even better though is if you sign up with a friend, you both get 10% off your chosen courses. Another great way to save.

4. Shop around We hold the view that music should be accessible to all and the cost of learning should not be so prohibitive as to enable only a select few to have access to it. With this is mind we strive to keep our fees as low as possible and we pride ourselves on having the most competitive prices around. Shop around and you’ll see what we mean.

So there you have it. Half a dozen ways to save on your guitar lessons just by keeping your eyes open.

Plus, here’s a bonus way for you to get your guitar course completely free!

5. Gift voucher For your next special day just ask for a Gift Voucher for guitar lessons. Unlike an Xbox or a bottle of perfume it will last you a lifetime and will make you discover a talent within you didn’t even know was there.

Cosy Winter Deal

Confucius said that ‘… the urge to reach our full potential is the key that will unlock the door to personal excellence.’

We’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives: that strong need to explore new horizons and challenge ourselves so that we may grow and move up that seemingly never ending ladder of personal development. Our restlessness in the face of idleness is what makes us human and far from being suppressed it should be celebrated and, perhaps more importantly, acted upon in a timely fashion so as to increase the boundaries of our natural creativity.

Most people think of January as a dreary month: long, dark and cold with nothing to do but count the days until the next bank holiday weekend; the inevitable low after the indulgences of the past weeks. But does January really deserve this bad rap or do we make it miserable just by thinking it so? Is it the case that we make too much of the things we think we should be doing while not paying enough attention to the things we would really like to do?

The good folks at the Guitar Training Centre would like to help you think of January not as a month of ‘new opportunities’ where you set yourself some absurdly unrealistic goals for the year to come, but as the start of YOUR quest for personal excellence (and that can mean whatever you want it to mean!). Think not of this transforming process as ‘change’ necessarily, but as adding a string to your bow, or an arrow to your quiver, or [insert favourite metaphor here].

Okay. Enough of the psycho-babble. Now for the really good news. We have 2 sizzling winter offers to help you start on your journey to just feeling good about yourself:

1. FREE INTRODUCTORY LESSON You know what they say about ‘A journey of a thousand miles…’. Well yours starts here.

2. 10% OFF ANY 12 WEEK COURSE Book any 12 week course before the 31 January 2016 and get 10% off your fees. *

Take advantage of those 2 offers and you could get 13 weeks professional tuition for the price of 11! So don’t delay, book your FREE intro lesson today by calling us and give us a chance to show you what could be.

* Only applies to new students. Offer ends 31 January 2016.

For more information on the benefits of learning a musical instrument take a look at our blog post on this fascinating subject here.

Summer Rock Camp 2014

So here we are. Another year and another crackin’ summer in perspective. You better believe it People: it’s going to be a scorcher. So between bbqs, festivals, beach days and chilled out garden parties you might want to fit in some good ol’ fashioned Rock ‘n Roll. Our annual Summer Rock Camp is back with a brand new program filled with dirty riffs, screamin’ licks and power chords that’ll leave you panting. You can download the full program here. Whether you’re a guitarist or bassist, total beginner or intermediate, there is a place for you but book early as places are extremely limited. Below are all the details you need but don’t hesitate to get in touch for a more in-depth briefing. CAMP GOALS Learn how to play rock standards as part of a full band setup. Master essential guitar techniques. Gain invaluable experience in live playing. Pick up game-changing practice tips. Network with other musicians. CAMP TUTORS Jamie POWER / Neil COBURN CAMP DURATION 5 Days CAMP DATES Monday 30 June 2014 -> Friday 4 July 2014 CAMP TIMES Beginners: 11am to 1.30pm Players: 2pm to 4.30pm CAMP LOCATION Guitar Training Centre Cumberland Street, Dun Laoghaire AGE GROUP 12 to 16 (Beginners) 14 to 20 (Players) AVAILABLE PLACES 12 PRICE PER ROCKER €95 BOOK YOUR PLACE

Introductory Offer

The purpose of our intro lessons is to show you how we do things here at the Guitar Training Centre and to give you your first bit of musical knowledge to take home with you. It’s also a good opportunity to meet the teacher and discuss your expectations as a budding or experienced guitarist. Plus it’s completely free so why wait. Book yourself in today.

Infallible Guitar Practice Tips

The most frequent question we get asked here in the Centre is: how much time do I need to practice before I know how to play the guitar? Over the years we’ve come to the conclusion that there is no definite answer to this question as there are many different factors that will determine what makes a good practice routine, and generally speaking what works for one muso may end up being completely counter-productive for another. Thankfully there are accepted practice guidelines that you can follow to ensure you are getting the most out of your special time. These are actually based on science and have more to do with the learning process and general brain function than any specific skill. Before anything else though the very first thing you will need to do is determine what you want to achieve as a guitarist? What are your goals? Are you looking to just join in the odd strumming session with your mates or do you want to be the next 6 string legend? Both are equally valid but your chosen goal will dictate how much work you will need to put in to achieve your objectives. Which brings me to the second point: How much time do you plan on dedicating to your practice? A working adult will more than likely have a lot less time to practice than a bored student so your goals do have to be realistic and, more importantly be consistent with your availability. Finally, and nobody likes to hear this but it is a vital one: what are your levels of discipline and focus? Like every activity that needs to be learned by the brain, practicing music (or anything else for that matter) requires the ability to concentrate for a set amount of minutes. This is not as hard as you might think. We do it all the time when we’re playing sports, or having conversations with friends, or again when we’re eating a nice meal. We’re quite focused in these moments because these are activities we really enjoy. So don’t even think of picking up the guitar unless you’re planning on enjoying the process of learning it. So by now you’ve hopefully figured out what kind of guitarist you want to be and how much time, discipline and focus you are willing to dedicate to this most worthwhile of pursuits. Now what? Well let’s get into the more practical aspects of guitar practice and give you a few pointers that are sure to seriously improve your playing. 1. PRACTICE EVERY DAY The brain learns through repetitive action. When you do something over and over the brain understands that you are trying to learn something new and creates neural pathways that get stronger the more you repeat the action. Hence why ‘Pratice Makes Perfect’. Reduce your playing time if need be but PLAY EVERY DAY. Better to practice 10 minutes every day than to cram it all in in one marathon session at the weekend. 2. HAVE A SET PRACTICE TIME Pick a time of day for practice and religiously stick to it. It can be mornings or evenings it doesn’t matter. Whatever works for you. This is a very powerful method for improving your discipline and focus because after a while your brain automatically goes into practice mode as your practice time draws near. Again following the principle of regular, repetitive action. 3. MAKE A PRACTICE SCHEDULE In other words know exactly what you’re going to be practicing during your session. This involves deciding what you wish to work on for a certain amount of weeks and making a schedule in line with your overall objectives. This technique ensures your practice is efficient and focused. To prevent boredom or frustration setting in it’s a good idea to split your practice time into different exercises and alternate the days that you work on them. 4. TIME YOUR EXERCISES This is another powerful method to really focus your practice. Dedicate a certain amount of minutes to an exercise and move on to the next once the time is up EVEN if you feel you haven’t improved. Remember the learning goes on long after you stop playing. The chances are when you go back to your impossible exercise the next day your brain will have done its job and suddenly you find it wasn’t as difficult as you first thought. 5. STOP PRACTICING I know what you’re going to say: ‘After going on and on about the importance of regular, focused practice you’re now telling us to stop practicing?! What the hell Dude?..’ I know and I’m sorry but I didn’t invent the brain. It’s just how it works. Once it has learnt something it needs to forget to completely assimilate it. The good news is that once the process is completed you do not need to practice that exercise anymore. It’s now a part of you. Now a word of caution if I may: I’m not talking about giving yourself a week off after a few weeks of practice here. The point about regular practice still stands. But once every six months or so put your instrument back in its case and do your best to forget everything you’ve learnt. You’ll be amazed at the results when you do go back to practice. As mentioned earlier in the introduction, practice is a very personal thing. I’ve known guitarists who could slave on their instruments for 9 hours a day and others who would practice just 10 minutes but on the hour every hour. The truth is most of us are restricted by our lifestyles and we need to work around it. No matter how much or how little time you choose do devote to your instrument just make sure it is regular and focused, and the laws of science and chemistry will take over and make you into the guitarist you really want to be.

Health Benefits Of Music Training

You’ll find a rake of studies out there that focus on the neurological benefits of prolonged music education, but with the squeezing of school budgets and the constant belt-tightening of parents due to economic pressure many children do not get the chance to spend years in music education. Whereas a few years ago every second child you met seemed to be becoming quite the expert at some instrument or other, the reality is it is becoming increasingly difficult for parents to afford the relatively high fees for private tuition and musical students’ learning has become sporadic at best. So with that in mind are there any health benefits to be gained by short term learning (apart from the obvious enjoyment of music of course) or are these only reserved to the elite?

Well according to a study recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience it seems that just a few short years of music training can have a significant impact on the auditory brain. A team of researchers at the Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory in Illinois studied the responses of a group of adults to complex frequencies and found that the adults who had learned music in their childhood had a better ability to pull fundamental frequencies from various sounds and were generally more responsive to the test tones they heard.

Additionally a study at Brown University by the American Association for the Advancement of Science concluded that music positively affects children and adults of all ages by building intellectual and emotional skills. More specifically children who play musical instruments have better abstract reasoning skills and spatial-temporal IQs than children who do not have musical training. Musically inclined children learn to concentrate, memorize, and be patient. It also helps them to build self esteem and confidence as well as improving their communication skills.

I hate to state the obvious but with such conclusive evidence of the positive impact of musical training why is music still considered such an extra-curricular activity, and why is it not on the same plane (or even higher?) as Maths, or English, or History? I will admit to a certain bias but while it is true that scientific research can sometimes be misleading, when all the signs point in the same direction maybe it’s time to do a u-turn and think about following them.

GTC Top 5 Entry Level Acoustics

Ever walked into a music shop and been absolutely thunder-struck by the sheer amount of guitars, all different shapes, sizes, woods, finishes, necks, colours, features, hardware, add-ons, etc, etc and etc? With prices ranging from the 50 quid jobs to the silly money instruments only wall street bankers could ever afford, how does one find the right axe in this bazaar? Well we don’t really have time to go into all the subtle differences that make a guitar sing the way it does but we can certainly talk you through some of the tried and tested guitar makes that we’ve stocked here at the Guitar Training Centre over the years. We’ll focus on the bottom of the market since that’s where most budding guitarists would start. 5. Make: SX Model: DG180/DG190 Price: €90 What We Think: Reasonably good value for money at the lower end of the market. You can pick these up for well under a hundred. You do get what you pay for though so don’t expect a high quality tone (and don’t you go looking too closely at that finish!) but for that price you can’t really argue. It works, it plays ok, it doesn’t slash your fingers each time you change chords. This is really the least you should pay for a half decent acoustic guitar. We usually recommend paying the extra few bob to get the entry level Richwood. 4. Make: Epiphone Model: AJ220 Price: €140 What We Think: It’s good no doubt but are you maybe paying a little too much for the dubious privilege of having the Epiphone brand on your headstock? While these are quite decent entry level acoustic they don’t necessarily stand out compared to other cheaper entry models. If you don’t mind paying the extra bucks for the logo then by all means. It will serve you well. 3. Make: Richwood Model: RD10 Price: €120 What We Think: Great little guitar for the money. Nice neck and low action straight from the box. Playability is very acceptable for a guitar in that price range and the tone is nice enough once you change the factory strings. Again this is a laminate top instrument so don’t expect the moon and you may just be pleasantly surprised. This is one we recommend to all our new teen players. For those who can stretch their budget a little a solid top is the better option. 2. Make: Aria Model: AW20N Price: €150 What We Think: This is a laminate top acoustic that has quite a rich tone and a very comfortable neck hence its place of honour at second place in our top 5. Aria have improved the design and general playability over the years and you can really feel the truth of that when you pick it up and play a few chords. On top of all that the price tag fits nicely between a low end laminate and a solid top so it caters for those ‘In Betweeners’ who don’t want to go too cheap but don’t want to spend big bucks either. 1. Make: Richwood Model: RD-17C Price: €195 What We Think: Our absolute favourite acoustic under €200. Hard to believe the richness of tone coming out of this guitar. The action is as low as they can possibly make it so it’s a dream to play. And call us shallow but looks matter and this is one fine looking guitar with a stunning solid cedar top nicely finished in a smooth satin. Yeah, you’ve guessed it: this Richwood tops our list of best guitars under 200 bills. We’ve been recommending it to students and customers alike since it came out and we will keep doing so until something better and cheaper comes along. Challenge extended. There are many, many, MANY different entry level acoustic guitars out there so this is by no means an exhaustive list. We are just going by what we’ve stocked, sold, played, smashed and got feedback on from our customers. At the end of a the day you need to try a guitar out and see if it grabs you. But sometimes the choice can just be a little overwhelming so the purpose of this article is to give you a place to start.

Bundles of Joy

Here at the GTC we take the view that learning our favourite instrument shouldn’t be cost prohibitive and reserved solely for those with money to burn. When you consider the benefits to the mind, body and soul gained by the practice and playing of a musical instrument, we really think music should be not only accessible to all but actively encouraged from an early age. 
With this in mind we’ve put together some really cool guitar bundles at even cooler prices especially for any budding musos taking their very first steps on that stairway to guitar heaven. All our instruments are carefully selected for their playability and affordability and come bundled with all the accessories you’ll need and a block of awesome lessons to get you started on the road to true musicianship.
 Starting at just €160 we have little bundles of joy for every age and level and they are usually displayed in store so you can try any of them out before taking the plunge. Any doubts or questions come in and talk to us. We’ll be delighted to show you around and advise you on your purchase. Check out all our bundles here

GTC Gift Voucher

Our loved ones can have the best of intentions when it comes to gifts but let’s be honest they don’t always get it right. There are only so many pairs of socks and woolly jumpers one can shove at the bottom of a drawer before it starts overflowing and you have to take a trip to your local charity shop. With a GTC Gift Voucher you’re not just giving someone you love the gift of music. You are giving them the chance to better themselves, learn a new skill in a fun environment and seriously show off at house parties… Our vouchers never expire and you can use them for both guitar lessons and any product in store that grabs your fancy. It’s the gift that keeps on giving long after you’ve used it.

Drop in anytime!

Mo -Fri 9am - 6pm
Guitar Training Centre, 6 Cumberland Street, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland / Map
+353 (0)83 1958628