This micromanaging boss could be killing your jazz guitar progress

This micromanaging boss could be killing your jazz guitar progress

Have you been ever at work just trying to do your job, and there’s that micromanaging boss peering over your shoulder every five minutes, making sure you’re doing the job correctly?

Yes, it’s annoying – and gets in the way of your work.


Those “helicopter” parents that hover over their kids, watching and overanalyzing the tiniest details, and giving them a stern talking to every time they make a small mistake.

Here’s the thing:

When it comes to getting better at their instrument, a lot of jazz guitarists are approaching their practice in this “micromanaged” way.

Overanalysing themselves when they make any mistakes.

Wanting to get something perfect right then and there, and spending hour after desperate hour playing endless drills and exercises, but not getting anywhere and giving up thinking “Well, I’m just not good enough for this.”

Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret:

The problem is not their ability – it’s how they’re approaching their practice.

Let me explain:

Basically, the mind has two levels – the conscious mind and the subconscious.

The conscious mind is like the captain of the ship, giving orders to the crew and determining the direction the ship should go.

The subconscious mind is the crew – it’s actually what does all the work when it comes to guitar practice. The conscious mind’s job is simply to present problems to the subconscious mind. The subconscious is what does all the “heavy lifting” – figuring out the problem while you go walk the dog.

You need to leave the subconscious mind to simply do its job and not interfere.

In summary:

The best way to get better at your technique, or improvisation, or anything else, is to intimately know the relationship between the conscious and subconscious mind.

Because when you do…

You can structure your practice session in a massively more effective way, making loads more progress than if you bang your head against the wall for hours a day on end.

So now, the big question?

Are *you* micromanaging your practice, like that annoying obnoxious boss peering over your shoulder?

To learn how to stop micromanaging your practice, and to gain insight over how your subconscious, inborn abilities can do all the work for you when it comes to improving your technique, you’ll need to check out my new course, “Fast Lane: The Total Technique Masterclass For Jazz Guitar”.

It looks like at this stage the course will be starting on Tuesday the 6th February. If you haven’t already, sign up to get instant notifications when the course will open for bookings here:

Greg O’Rourke,

Founder, Fret Dojo

World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

Australian virtuoso jazz trumpeter multiplies his own body

Australian virtuoso jazz trumpeter multiplies his own body

Here’s a bit of fun for you:

Did you notice anything a bit odd about this video?

If not, watch it again then come back, you’ll have a laugh I’m sure.

That’s right:

Through the magic of trick photography, the same musician is playing every instrument (except for the drummer) in this 17 piece band.

This is James Morrison – one of the leading figures in Australian jazz.

But stop and think about this for a minute:

Most of us struggle to master just one instrument in our lifespan.

But here’s a guy that can play trumpet, piano, all the brass section, saxophones, and double bass.…with flawless technique at that.

How is this possible? Surely there’s no man on earth that has this many hours a day to perfect their technique on all those instruments.

But it gets even weirder.

James Morrison claims to never practice. I’m not kidding.

I’ll prove it to you – here’s an excerpt from an interview with Morrison:

“Q: What is your daily practice routine?

JM: I have no routine, I don’t practice. As far as physically playing goes, I just play my performances and jam with my sons when I’m home. For me, the preparation for playing is done completely mentally, I think about it subconsciously and then it feels familiar when I go to play on a conscious level. Although this may sound strange, it’s really quite simple. The thing that makes it work is having an awareness of your subconscious mind, this is what does all the work when you are playing anyway — nobody actually thinks consciously of everything they are doing, that would be impossible. When somebody practices for hours, they are really just transferring information many times to their subconscious, so it can perform the task at a later time. All I do that is different is transfer the information very few times (maybe only once).”

The moral of the story:

It’s obvious that James Morrison knows something profound (that he hinted at in the above interview) that most other musicians overlook when it comes to training their technique…

Namely, how to harness the power of your subconscious mind – to get astonishing results.

And if you’re interested in learning the exact process you need to unlock the power of your subconscious, James Morrison style, we’ve dedicated a whole module to this very topic in my new course on supercharging your jazz guitar technique – “Fast Lane: The Total Technique Roadmap for Jazz Guitar.”

To be the first to get notified about the new course when it comes out, so you can get the best window seat on this technique train that will soon be arriving at the FretDojo website, get on the early bird notification list here:

Greg O’Rourke,
Founder, Fret Dojo

World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

Interview With Per Olav Kobberstad, World Touring Latin Jazz Guitarist

Interview With Per Olav Kobberstad, World Touring Latin Jazz Guitarist

This time on FretDojo, I’m excited to share with you an interview I recently had with world-wide touring latin jazz guitarist from Norway, Per Olav Kobberstad.

Per Olav is one of those young, modern Latin jazz guitarists that are a breeze of fresh air and who are bringing all-welcome innovations to the genre. Just check out his credits:

  • Per Olav is one of the few in the world playing 8-string acoustic guitar
  • Released his debut album “Os Rios, As Ligações” with some of Brazil’s top musicians in 2014
  • Album “Colonial Colors” was released together with Alf Wilhelm Lundberg in 2016
  • Per Olav recorded his latest album “Cachorro À Vista” with one of the most legendary percussionists in Brazil, Robertinho Silva (known to play with Tom Jobim, Wayne Shorter, Weather Report, Milton Nascimento, Herbie Hancock and many more).

In the interview below, I go on a deep dive with Per Olav where he reveals how he started with Latin jazz, what led him to tour the world, his time gigging in Brazil, as well as how he approaches jazz guitar and composing music. It’s time to get up close with Per Olav – I suggest you bring a notepad as there are golden tips inside this interview.

Interview With Per Olav (Audio Version)

Download the audio file here – so you can listen to it on your mp3 player or phone (Right Click + Save As…) 

Resources mentioned in the interview:

Stop Press – Video Workshop With Per Olav Kobberstad on Latin Chord Melody!

Per Olav kindly agreed to hold a workshop for FretDojo, all about the secrets of arranging Latin jazz standards for solo chord melody jazz guitar. Per Olav is an expert at fingerstyle techniques for jazz guitar too, so this was an excellent chance to get some top tips for your playing from a world class Latin guitarist.

The replay to this workshop is free if you join up for the FretDojo Academy Club here.

Let me know what you thought about this interview by leaving a comment below… 

World #1 guitar virtuoso – in only 30 minutes a day

World #1 guitar virtuoso – in only 30 minutes a day

Check out this video:

This is some incredible solo guitar playing by the great John Williams, for a long time the undisputed world #1 when it came to classical guitar.

Now, let me tell you a little story…

Many years ago, when I was honing my solo guitar skills by studying classical style, this guy was my idol. John Williams’ technique was, simply put, flawless.

I remember going to live concerts where I witnessed him playing a full two hours of incredibly difficult solo guitar music, literally without missing a single note.

Now, of course, that’s impressive – but wait till you hear this.

There’s something quite unusual about John Williams.

According to one of my teachers that had the chance to associate with Williams closely, he hardly practiced that much. Mostly 30 minutes a day, at best.

Remember – this is a fellow that’s recorded hundreds of solo albums and performed thousands of concerts of music that requires unbelievable technical skill, seemingly effortlessly.

“How did he do all this, with perfect technique, on such a lean practice schedule??” I used to think to myself.

From that point on, I became obsessed.

I found a concert of Williams’ on an old VHS tape and, over several gruelling months, meticulously transcribed the whole 90 minutes note for note, freeze-framing every piece of footage to get insight on how he was able to pull off these superhuman feats – and desperately seeking the “magic bullet” approach he was using to achieve this.

Here’s the thing:

It was only many years later I realized I was searching for red herrings all along. I definitely picked up some great fingering and technique approaches, but I was missing something far more important.

Here it is:

John Williams knew, with relatively tiny amounts of practice, how to leverage the natural way that the mind is designed to work to get astonishing results.

What do I mean by that?

Well, there are certain techniques you can use within your practice session (and, most importantly, *in between* sessions) to drastically increase the effectiveness of the practice you do and help make it “stick” in the long term.

Once you know how the different levels of the mind interact with each other, and learn some very simple approaches to leverage this, you can make exponential progress with your abilities on the guitar.

And my new upcoming online course, “Fast Lane: The Total Technique Roadmap For Jazz Guitar”, will reveal to you exactly how to do this.

To be notified when the course is going to be released (within the next few weeks at this stage), click here and enter your details:

Greg O’Rourke,
Founder, Fret Dojo

World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

FretDojo’s sensei brings out the bamboo stick

FretDojo’s sensei brings out the bamboo stick

Martin M. added this comment on my Youtube channel recently:

“All the picking speed or fretting hand dexterity in the world will not correlate to “great playing” if the player either has no true talent, ear for melodic vocal construction, sense of rhythm or a scintilla of creativity….capish?” ~ Martin M.

What was Martin having a dig at here?

The answer:

One of FretDojo’s most popular videos, Slaying The Speed Demon for Jazz Guitar – which is all about cool tips on speed building tactics written by my amazing colleague Stuart King (who, as it happens, is one of the most virtuosic jazz guitarists in Australia).

Here’s the thing:

In a way, Martin’s comment is correct. It’s true that just having a fantastic technique or unbelievable speed will not, in and of itself, make great music.

But, on the other hand:

If you’re constantly missing notes, buzzing strings, fumbling changing chords, and unable to play 16th notes beyond 115bpm due to poor technique, then…

How will you keep a good rhythm feel?

How will you be able to improvise fluently?

And how will you be able to be able to focus on the music, without getting constantly distracted from “tripping up” all the time?

Regardless of what expressive and musical potential you may have, without good technique you will always be severely limited in your ability to make great jazz on your guitar, period.

With that in mind:

If you’re looking for a shortcut to improving every aspect of your jazz guitar technique (finger independence, speed, coordination, the works), my soon-to-be-released course, “Fast Lane: The Total Technique Roadmap For Jazz Guitar”, could be the toolkit you’re looking for.

To be notified when the course will be open for bookings (not long to go!), so you can grab your before anyone else, go to this page and enter your details in the box:

Greg O’Rourke,
Founder, Fret Dojo

World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

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