Google ‘guitar lessons’ and you’ll get over 14 MILLION results…
There’s an endless supply of lessons on things like scales, technique, arpeggios, speed picking, even more scales, fingerpicking…
Yet almost none of those millions of lessons focus on the thing that truly transformed my experience of music.
People have different names for this thing.
You could call it ‘musicality’, ‘musical intelligence’, or even ‘inner music skills’.
It’s the thing that helps you to:
- play by ear
- compose music
- truly understand what you’re playing
- learn songs by ear
- jam with friends
- hear a piece of music and understand how it’s constructed
Developing these skills has made my experience of playing music infinitely more fulfilling. So when I graduated music school a few years back, I wondered: ‘Why is almost no one talking about this stuff?’
See, all of this did not come naturally to me. I started playing guitar on my sixteenth birthday.
So yeah, I’m not exactly a child prodigy.
I remember looking in awe at musicians perform and wondering: how do they know how to do that?
Of course, learning to play music as an adult (or something that resembles an adult) has given me a huge advantage as a music teacher. I remember what it was like to not know or understand how to play music. I also remember my journey of discovering how playing music worked as I learned from friends, teachers, bandmates and in masterclasses with musicians touring the world.
I’ll never forget one of the first moments where everything seemed to click. I had a gig with a Jimi Hendrix tribute band, playing a song called Red House. The solo by Jimi Hendrix on that tune was actually one of the first solos I’d ever learned from start to finish. So I was planning to play it from memory.
But after the opening lick, something took over… A completely different idea popped into my mind and before I knew it, my hands were playing it. So I just went with it. In fact, someone caught that moment on camera. Nothing like the blues eh?
My point is, it took me a long time to figure this stuff out. To get in touch with my inner musician and let him take over. I made this site to help you get to that point much faster than I did. I share all the insights I’ve collected over the past 15 years in detailed guides.
I’m also creating courses based on everything I’ve learned about the musical mind and how we develop it. These courses go beyond explaining and help you put in the practice to develop your inner music skills. By joining this site you’ll get access to all these courses. Find more about that here.
So, who am I?
Well, my name is Just and I’m a guitar player based in Rotterdam.
I’ve been teaching for over ten years and love it when I can spark someone’s enthusiasm with just the right nudge, insight or advice. I studied jazz and pop music at one of the top music schools in the Netherlands and graduated with honours a few years ago.
I also wrote a really geeky thesis on how to teach music, which ignored pretty much every school guideline, but my teachers still thought it was an example for every thesis to come… (wish I was kidding, insert modesty here).
I play in a few bands, including an indie-jazz band, a dreamfolk band and an indie rock band.
I also write and perform music for theatre, teach awesome students in my private practice, and do studio jobs every now and then. One of my favourites: the 20 seconds I played for this amazing video mapping project for BOSE (at 2:40):
But I might be most excited about the indie rock band I got together called Exit Bloom.
This is the band I’ve wanted to be in ever since I was eighteen. It was a long journey before I could ever create music I truly liked and was proud of. Oh, the embarrassing recordings I could show you…
Anyway, enough about me, great to have you here! I want to know what’s going on with you! Whether you’ve just been playing for a few days, or you’ve been chasing the rockstar-dream for over a decade. What’s your story and what are you working towards? (And of course, how can I help?)
Send me a message at Just (at) StringKick.com and let’s talk!
Pps: Read more about what I’m doing right now.
As StringKick has grown and developed, there has been plenty of help along the way! For the last couple of years, Thijs de Klijn (or as I call him, ‘The jazz professor’) has been a major help behind the scenes with his razor sharp ears and finely tuned thoughts on what it is to play music.
Thijs is an incredible (jazz) guitarist. His latest record is ‘Stereo Talk’, a series of duets with guitarist Piotr Lipowicz. My personal favourite track has to be ‘Doomsday’. Check it out on Bandcamp!
Become an All Access Member
Get access to All Courses and…
Train Your Ears
Ear training should help you in everyday playing. So instead of doing dry exercises, you’ll be figuring out real music by ear. So you’ll develop your ears, while learning tons of cool songs.
Learn Music Theory
Take super practical theory lessons, made specically for guitar players. They’ll help you to navigate the fretboard, communicate with band mates and understand how the music you love is constructed.
Develop your Musicality
All courses on StringKick focus on tapping into and developing the musician inside you. By strengthening these skills, your playing will start to feel easier and more natural.