There’s no denying it. Guitars are cool. Whether you are into rock, EDM, hip-hop or punk, guitars will always take the Number 1 spot in the coolness rankings. However, the work required to learn to play the guitar is not always as cool as the end result.
Because there is a new guitar school in Buderim, Sunshine Coast, with a fresh approach to guitar lessons, and we are hooked!
What is Matrix Guitar School Sunshine Coast?
After decades of playing in bands and teaching guitar, Jeff Willbanks lives and breathes rock’ n’ roll. And this legendary rocker is on a mission to ignite that love for music in Sunshine Coast kids through his unique guitar lessons.
Matrix Guitar School is different from most in that group sessions are the norm.
“Most people think solo music lessons are best to learn to play guitar, but they’re not,” says Sally Willbanks, co-founder of Matrix Guitar School and wife of Jeff.
“Children, in particular, have much more fun and get much more out of group classes.”
But it’s not only the fact they are in groups but also how Matrix Guitar School groups the kids that makes the difference.
“We take a few different levels and put them in the same class. So they’ll be playing the same songs but different parts,” says Sally.
“The beginner might play the basic chords or the bass line, whereas the more advanced kids are playing, strumming more and fingerpicking more. So it becomes a homogenous group, as each kid learns to play guitar at their own level.”
It’s guitar lessons hidden within jamming in a mini band.
“The kids see the same group weekly, becoming friends. So, we are finding it quite a great social aspect for them,” Sally adds.
Jeff agrees, saying, “Kids, especially when they’re little, can find having an adult sitting there telling them what to do a bit daunting.”
“In groups, they can have fun and bounce off each other. Of course, I keep them focused on the concept or lesson, and we keep moving forward and guiding them to learn and improve.”
Jeff noticed that, with this approach, kids keep returning to his guitar lessons in Buderim.
“When I changed to this structure, the kids seemed happier; they didn’t quit as often. I have students that have been around well over a year, and there’s just no sign of stopping our guitar lessons because they’re having fun and getting better too.”
Why learn to play the guitar?
- Learning to play an instrument is excellent for memory
- It develops agility, coordination and fine motor skills
- It stimulates both the left and right sides of the brain
- It increases IQ, boosts concentration and improves focus
- It relieves stress and provides a creative outlet
- It builds confidence
- It builds discipline
- You can use it in many ways: sing and play; play electric, acoustic or bass; play alone or in a group.
- It’s cool!
Matrix is not just kids’ guitar lessons. It’s a guitar school
Jeff and Sally wanted their Sunshine Coast guitar lessons to be more meaningful than the typical weekly guitar lessons for kids.
“The social aspect is a huge part of learning to play guitar with Matrix. This is why we called it a guitar school, not guitar lessons,” explains Sally.
“With other kids of a similar age, they start chatting, their shyness is gone, and they play better and learn more.”
Kids learn a bit of the history of music during the kids’ guitar lessons too!
“Jeff will teach the kids the history of rock during the sessions and give them background on some of the greatest rock bands, such as Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd,” says Sally.
And this is the music they also learn to play each week.
“We play the fun stuff they’ve all heard in commercials and movies. A lot of Rolling Stones and things like that, and it’s that type of music that you can’t help but hear all the time,” Jeff explains.
This relatability feeds into kids’ success from the get-go at this Sunshine Coast Guitar School.
“I make sure that kids feel success straight away. We start on a simple song — the Jaws theme song or something that’s just a few strums. And they leave their first class saying, ‘Hey, I’ve learned a song!’.”
“You’ve got to make it something they can have small progressions every time they come. When they sit down, I say, ‘You guys are going to leave noticeably better today than when you got here’.”
“Doing this each week, you string it together and keep coming back. You get better and better, and you feel that accomplishment. The growth, satisfaction and creativity never stop.”
This experience with music is something you can never get from watching videos on YouTube or following a songbook.
“Nothing beats having someone show you up close how to do something, then you mastering it with a group of peers and jamming together,” says Jeff.
Matrix Guitar School Facts
- The first lesson is free
- They have guitars and amps, so you don’t need anything to get started
- You can play bass, acoustic or electric
- For ages 8+
- Great for neurodiverse kids
- Guitar lessons are held in Buderim, Sunshine Coast
- Lessons are booked through a simple app