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Posted in Artists, Special Features    //    Post Date - September 7, 2018

Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips and photographer Jason Rosewarne were recently granted exclusive access to P!nk’s stage, her crew and band during one of her Beautiful Trauma Australian tour gigs at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena. Check out our coverage of our day featuring footage of Audio programmers Joe Wolfe and…

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Posted in Melbourne guitar Show News, Special Features    //    Post Date - August 6, 2018

Report by Greg Phillips. Photos by Jason Rosewarne (unless indicated otherwise) Even the forecast inclement weather decided it wasn’t worth it’s while trying, keen guitar fans were coming to the guitar show anyway and sunbeams may as well be the order of the day. Inside however, Shannon Bourne brewed up…

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Posted in Melbourne guitar Show News, Special Features    //    Post Date - August 6, 2018

Report: Greg Phillips. Photos: Jason Rosewarne (unless captioned otherwise) For the 4th year in a row punters were quick getting out of the barriers at Caulfield Racecourse to get inside the Melbourne Guitar Show and check out the 3 levels of fretted instrument fun. Outside the Triple M street team…

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Posted in Blog, Melbourne guitar Show News, Special Features    //    Post Date - August 3, 2018

The Melbourne Guitar Show kicks off tomorrow morning at 1oam. Today the exhibitors were setting up and we offer you this pictorial preview of an amazing array of hear. Melbourne Guitar Show August 4 &5 Caulfield Racecourse

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Posted in Blog, Special Features    //    Post Date - July 29, 2018
Story by Greg Phillips. Opal Ocean pic from 2017 Melbourne Guitar Show by Jason Rosewarne.

Ahead of the 4th annual Melbourne Guitar Show, we thought it was timely to address a misconception, fueled last year by some sections of the media who were predicting the end of the global guitar industry. It was based mainly on an article in The Washington Post. The article, titled ‘Why my guitar gently weeps: The slow, secret death of the six-string electric. And why you should care’, based most of its argument on two factors; the downfall of the Gibson guitar brand at the time, plus the lack of guitar music in the mainstream music charts.

Sure, the Gibson brand found themselves in financial trouble, which required a company restructure, that’s no secret. However, the company’s plight had more to do with its diversification into non-guitar related sectors and unsuccessful innovations rather than any decline in interest in the guitar itself. As far as the dearth of guitar music on the radio goes, does anyone remember the synth-laden, prog-rock of the 70s, which eventually gave way to guitar orientated punk rock? Again, in the 80s, synth pop gave way to grunge guitar rock. Music is cyclical. Today electronic music is popular, but music fans move on and historically, in due course they will seek out other forms of music and why shouldn’t that be guitar-related?

Sterling Ball, CEO of Ernie Ball Music Man is one of those to suggest that contemporary music is just going through one of its regular cycles, in which electronic music gear currently has a higher profile than fretted instruments.
“Any time there is three chord music, guitar will be back,” Sterling told us at Winter NAMM in January. “What happens is … it’s a curve and when music gets too complicated, someone comes along with some way of playing three chords that hits you right in the chest or the head.”

In the video below with Sterling Ball, Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse also tells us that the guitar is not going away anytime soon.

Traditionally there was always a lineage of guitar heroes, where one era would pass the baton onto another. From Clapton, Beck, and Page to Van Halen, Satriani and Vai to Dimebag, Zakk Wylde and Kerry King. There was always a rock god on the horizon but modern-day guitar music is not so much about slick licks and solos but more about textures and layers. You may be hearing guitar generated music without even knowing it’s guitar. Innovative pedals, multi effects units and loop units are turning guitars into orchestras, which musicians are using to conjure symphonies from the comfort of their own homes. It’s not the popularity of the guitar which is changing, it’s the manner in which it is being used which is different.

Anyone can speculate what is going to happen in the world of music but if you look at the facts, you’ll see that guitar sales are actually on the way up in the US. Leading global industry research company IBISWorld has recently released a significant report which showed that the electric and acoustic guitar manufacturing industry has enjoyed sustained growth over the last 5 years. The report showed that the guitar industry had posted a growth rate of 1.4% from 2012 to 2017, with the trend predicted to continue at least until 2022. According to NAMM (the USA’s National Association of Music Merchants), sales of guitars have grown by 28 percent over the last 10 years.

At a Fender guitars dealer event in Sydney this year, the company’s Senior Vice President of Product, Justin Norvell further backed up those claims of guitar industry growth, suggesting that during a 3 month period from November to December 2017, there had been a 14.7% industry growth in North American sell-through of electric guitars and that Japan had just enjoyed an annual growth in guitar sales of 21 percent.

Australian Musician’s Greg Phillips chats with Fender’s Justin Norvell in this video at the Australian Fender dealer event.

Also adding to the growth of the guitar market is the increase in female players, with around fifty percent of guitars now being purchased by women. The new guitar heroes are artists and bands such as St Vincent, Haim, Courtney Barnett, Warpaint, Japanese Breakfast, Gabriela Quintero, Orianthi, Samantha Fish, Kaki King, Nita Strauss, Courtney Cox, Gretchen Menn and so many more.

Additionally, acoustic guitar sales have been rising steadily each year for the last five years and are now at record levels, buoyed by the popularity of singer songwriters like Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift.

The Australian Music Association in its annual market reports, reveals that in 2017 a decade-long decline in the electric guitar was arrested. This Spring in Australia features four different guitar focused events with festivals in Sydney and Adelaide in August and now a Melbourne Festival in September. This augers well for the guitar and its popularity in Australia. If you ever had any doubts about the popularity of the guitar in modern music, pop on down to the Melbourne Guitar Show, August 4&5 Caulfield Racecourse and join the other 5,000 plus guitar devotees who will revel in the 4th annual celebration of fretted instruments.

Melbourne Guitar Show ticket information HERE

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Posted in Artists, Special Features    //    Post Date - March 6, 2018

Since releasing his first indie CD ‘241 Dead End’ in 1999, Melbourne based singer songwriter Dom Italiano has continued to perform and release his unique brand of quality, quirky and engaging songs. Dom has just released a new, crowd-funded EP titled It’s Not About What You Think It’s About and…

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Posted in Artists, Special Features    //    Post Date - March 2, 2018

Wikipedia tells us that Port Fairy is a coastal town in south-western Victoria, Australia. It lies on the Princes Highway in the Shire of Moyne, 28 kilometres (17 mi) west of Warrnambool and 290 kilometres (180 mi) west of Melbourne, at the point where the Moyne River enters the Southern Ocean. In…

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Posted in Blog, Special Features    //    Post Date - February 28, 2018

Yamaha Music Australia
has announced it’s second annual Great Start Grant – a nationwide initiative that will see one school awarded a $50,000 music grant, plus an exclusive performance from Dami Im, Australia’s X-Factor winner and most successful Eurovision entrant.

With the potential to help foster creativity and build social connections, Yamaha is searching for Australian schools in need of a helping hand to get their Music Performance Program off the ground. All they have to do is explain why they deserve it the most! last year Apollo bay College was the recipient of concert band instruments, a prize which has made a significant difference to that school’s music program and the kids who play in it. This year, the prize has a broader prize base in regard to the type of instruments offered.

The $50,000 Great Start Grant includes:
• $45,000 worth of Yamaha instruments — equivalent to 42 brand new Yamaha instruments/equipment
• 1 day of training from Peter Wardrobe —Yamaha’s Education Specialist
• A launch concert at the winning school from Dami Im
• PLUS: Consolation prizes worth $2,000 in value shared between another two schools

We asked Australia’s leading band expert and Yamaha’s Education Outreach Clinician Dr Rob McWilliams a few key questions about the Great Start Grant

What could the $50,000 grant do for the music department of a school?
The grant will enable a school who has all the other necessary elements to make best use of this giveaway (fully supportive administration, committed teaching staff, student interest, appropriate physical plant (classroom space, etc.), and all that is missing is the available funding to get the equipment.  This is where Yamaha steps in and completes the picture with the grant!

What comments are you hearing from students, parents and teachers at Apollo Bay P-12 College, which has already benefitted from this program?
The Yamaha Giveaway that Apollo Bay P-12 received was slightly different in that it was a grant of concert band instruments (this year’s grant is geared to a more “commercial” music type of program).  However, the impact is very similar in that it has given many students in the Apollo Bay area a special opportunity to learn an instrument and participate in a school concert band.  The whole school and broader community has been excited and grateful for what this grant has brought to them.

Apollo Bay P-12 trumpets

What are the benefits of being involved in a large school band?
The benefits of involvement in learning musical instruments are wide-ranging and significant.  More and more research points to the unique benefits of instrument learning as they relate to brain development.  It turns out the brain is uniquely active in many different places when we undertake this activity.  Playing an instrument also engages our emotional selves in a significant way – music is often considered the “language of emotions” and this is such an important part of growing up and understanding the human condition.  Furthermore, involvement teaches and develops many very important “life skills” such as empathy with others, teamwork, problem-solving, creativity, and so on.

Also many studies on academic achievement show that students who have been involved in music achieve, on average, at a higher level.  A primary school in England that was considered a “failing” school in 2010 on just about every objective measure (achievement, attendance, academic standards, etc.) responded by adding music into their overall curriculum wherever they could, as well as giving every child music lessons, etc.  The result was a complete turnaround such that that school now *exceeds* national averages on all of the objective measures!

What advice would you give to someone who would like to play music but is not sure about what instrument they should choose?
I would advise speaking to an “expert” in the field of music instrument teaching & learning (e.g. a music teacher) as well as doing some actual exploration or “trying out” on some possibilities.  Students can be more or less suited to particular instruments based on their personalities, musical aptitudes, physical attributes, etc.  What we do know is that there is a suitable instrument for everybody!

What advice would you give to a child who has started to learn an instrument but is struggling and believe they’re not making progress in their music playing journey?
Hang in there!  It is part of the learning process to experience learning “plateaus” at various times when you just don’t seem to be making progress, etc..  These are usually followed by more rapid improvement “spurts” so you just have to keep at it.  The benefits are well worth it!

How important is it to begin learning with a quality instrument?
This is really important as a poor quality instrument will hamper progress and also tend to suffer breakdown, lack of durability, etc.  If you invest in a good quality instrument at the start and take appropriate care of it, it is not unusual to get close to the price you paid if you do need to sell, upgrade, etc.  This means it’s a “no brainer” to make a wise choice of an appropriate, decent quality instrument throughout your instrument learning journey.  Once again, seek expert advice and be *very* wary of instruments sold online (unless you can verify that they are appropriate quality/condition) or in stores where their main business is non-music items – e.g. groceries, etc.

There are many reasons why someone would join a school music program … the social aspect, learning for fun, learning with a career in music as the goal … What realistic goals should students set themselves to begin with?
Just set out to do your best, enjoy yourself, and learn at your optimum pace.  The most important key to practice is *regularity* – a little bit often is always better than larger chunks too spread out.  Most people who learn instruments will not make a living as performing musicians, but they can have a lifelong participation and enjoyment of it and get all the same benefits as anyone else.

What’s the main criteria for the school which will be chosen for the major prize? What factors do you take into consideration?
Applications that demonstrate that the other key components (supportive administration, excellent teaching staff, physical plant, student interest, etc.) will be considered more favourably.  Submissions will be reviewed and evaluated by a panel of experts, including outside of Yamaha, to choose the winning school.  There are also two “consolation” prizes for the next closest candidates.

Victorian schools wishing to apply must complete the online application by March 16th. For full details please visit

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Posted in Artists, Special Features    //    Post Date - September 28, 2017

There’s no joy in a tune if it’s out of tune. Even the world’s finest musicians can sound cringe-worthy if their A’s are flat or their C’s aren’t sharp. Just because you’ve tuned your guitar before you walked on stage, doesn’t guarantee it’s going to stay that way for the…

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Posted in Accessories, Artists, Gear, Special Features    //    Post Date - September 28, 2017

In part one of our guitar tuning feature, we spoke to a number of local players about the tuners they use and why. In part two we now look at some of the tuning options currently available on the market. TC Electronic Distributed in Australia by Amber Technology PolyTune is…

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