We strive to create the complete guitarist. This is how it’s done. No shortcuts. No excuses.
When I watch Pete in this video, knowing that he came to me with little experience, I know I’ve done my job and the RGS method works. BUT, without Pete’s diligence, motivation, long-term vision, passion, and literally thousands of hours of practice, the method would have no meaning. In fact, if the student does not, through sheer will and determination, summon and conjure the intangible elements of guitar mastery into a musical performance, than the method would not even exist – it would only be theory or speculation. – Nate Richards
“You practice the guitar because the guitar IS a practice.” – Pete Napper RGS Podcast Interview
High school sophomore Jake O’Malley is our resident Periphery expert and performer. Jake has taken the Mastery Program to the next level by studying electric guitar technique, song coaching, collegiate-level music theory, and classical guitar on a weekly basis. He is currently embarking on an original music recording project with RGS teacher Eric Matelyan.
Testimonial from adult student of our teacher Pete Napper (former student, now an RGS teacher):
Pete, thanks for getting me through Level 1, looking forward to diving into Level 2!Nate, you developed a great program. As you know I dabbled with playing guitar for years, but never had any instruction that was this structured or goal-oriented. I used to get very overwhelmed and frustrated before, not knowing how I should spend my limited practice time. There is so many self teaching materials out there that I never knew where to start. That would lead me to not want to practice or play, which would result in very little progress in my playing and technique. I would maybe fool around with the same few songs I knew, probably playing them incorrectly to boot. Now it is even harder for me, with 4 kids and a job that requires me to travel quite a bit.But with your program, the requirements to progress through each level are clearly spelled out, plus I have a great and encouraging teacher to help along the way. Having a goal is very helpful to me and motivates me to practice, get better, and get to that next level. Your program spells out exactly what I need to be working on, which allows for very efficient practice sessions.By the way, although I have “played” guitar for a while, Level 1 was no cakewalk! It was very comprehensive and challenging. I am looking forward to working on the Level 2 materials, which I’m sure will be difficult, but the end result will be very rewarding to me.So I just wanted to thanks to both you and Pete, and keep up the great work! – B.
Students can take personalized lessons tailored to their own interests, or they can elect to follow the Rock Guitar Mastery Program™ in addition to pursuing individual interests. RGMP is a 7 level program in which students periodically perform graduation tests to move on to the next level. Each level test includes:
- Warm-up Drills
- Music Reading / Basic Theory
- Scales and Lead Techniques
- Chords and Rhythm
- Rhythm Method Songs
- Lead Method Songs
- Song Performance
- Last 3 levels – Written music theory exam prior to graduation test
Students who pass successfully receive a color-coded guitar strap symbolizing each level and a certificate stamped with our company seal of approval. Scroll down to read WHY you should follow this program!
Here are two more examples of where our method can take you:
A 7th grader and a 12th grader both playing Dream Theater, a very advanced progressive rock band with guitarist John Petrucci!
23-minute song! From memory!!!
Why pursue this program?
- Your ability to learn songs is determined by your technical skill and your theoretical knowledge. If you don’t develop proper technique, you simply will not be able to physically play songs past a basic difficulty level. It is physically impossible to play what you can’t play – obvious. Also, learning theory helps you put what you’re learning into a mental framework, making the learning process 1000 times easier and more effective. Think about it like this – a cyclist enters a race and does not know the map of the course (theory) so he has to try and figure it out as he goes, following others and repeating their mistakes, back tracking, trial and error, wasting valuable time and effort. In addition, the cyclist only has one pedal (technique), so he is trying to keep up with everyone else with a physical handicap. Think he’ll win? Think he’ll enjoy himself?
- You will know your skill level, and understand what to master in a methodical approach. Do you find yourself bouncing around the internet in a confused and disjointed fashion trying to find songs and practice material? Following a formulated program with proven results helps you understand what level you are on, and what you should be mastering. This way, you’re not trying to learn Stairway to Heaven after a month of playing the guitar and becoming demotivated and frustrated because you can’t play it. Of course you can’t! You haven’t mastered the elements that are necessary to learn the song, and THAT’S OK! No one has ever achieved great technique without putting in the time (Please Please Please read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell – or at least chapter 2 on the 10,000 hour rule – I promise you it will blow your mind). You’ll get there – just be patient and allow yourself to develop properly.
- You will have a vision for the future. So I just told you that you aren’t ready for Stairway – HOWEVER, if you have a road map for your development, you can see exactly how to get there, and what to master in order to achieve your goal. It may not be Stairway – it might be improvisation, songwriting, learning every Slayer song, etc. Whatever it is, you’ll see the precise techniques you need to develop first, making the process much less stressful and much more rewarding.
- This system motivates you, creating a higher acceleration of learning. In college, we used the level system. I was always motivated to complete and master the elements of my level, so I could move onto the next as a “rite of passage.” If you work, work, work, and finally can say “I’m a level 2,” or “I’m a level 5” etc and you have the strap and the official seal of approval from RGS, that really means something! So the motivation of getting to that next step, that next level of mastery, and to be able to say “I stepped up, performed, and successfully completed this test mastery and no one can take that away from me” – you can’t get this sort of fire lit within you in a standard guitar lesson!
I’m an adult student at RGS. I have a full time job with a lot of travel, and I have a busy family life. I do not have much time to practice throughout the week, so I need to make sure my practice time counts. Before I came to RGS, I wasted countless hours searching the internet looking for easy ways to become a proficient guitar player. I finally realized that there was no “easy” way. I lacked the fundamentals and the proper methods and techniques to take my guitar abilities to the next level. Since I started at RGS, I have participated in the RGS Rock Guitar Mastery Program. The program provides the skills that I believe are necessary to become an advanced guitar player. Some of the items included in the program are: lead guitar methods and techniques, rhythm methods, improvisation, music theory, music reading, scales, etc. For me, the biggest benefits of the RGS Rock Guitar Mastery Program include: learning the fundamentals, focusing my practice time, providing me with the building blocks to improve my guitar playing abilities and most importantly, confidence. Since entering the program, my confidence level has increased dramatically, and I know my confidence will continue to increase as I progress through the next levels of the program. The program has challenged me. As a result of the program and my teacher, I am proud of the guitar player I have become. After successfully passing Level 1 and 2, I feel very confident that the program will continue to improve my guitar playing abilities that will take me to the next level. I highly recommend the RGS Rock Guitar Mastery Program to anyone who wants to learn to play the guitar with the proper methods and structure that I believe are needed to become a proficient and confident guitar player.
P.S. Check out the links to the Richards Rock Academy and watch some of the videos. In my opinion, what the RGS team is doing with the Richards Rock Academy is amazing! Look at the venues they have played at. It’s unbelievable!
Please excuse me wearing a tank top – I recorded this in the middle of the night in my basement…