Meet Anouck André from France. Anouck began playing the guitar at the age of 17 with lessons from her father, Serge André, a professional jazz musician and composer. She trained under Philippe Letort, Eric Louis and Rick Graham, and attended the prestigious Music Academy International in France, having graduated in 2007.
Since that time, Anouck spends her time performing, teaching guitar, writing for Guitar Xtreme, and creating YouTube videos for music lessons and gear review. She has performed at music trade shows NAMM in Anaheim, CA and Musikmesse in Germany. In addition, she is always involved in programs and contests to help promote guitar technique.
Anouck’s latest challenge begins tomorrow, November 1, and is called the 30 Days Guitar Challenge. Read on to learn more and take the challenge!
GGM: You started playing guitar at the age of 17. What inspired you to start playing and do you play any other instruments?
AA: I guess that like a lot of teens, I was attracted by the aura of cool that emerges from the guitar! Also, at that time, I was a huge fan of Nirvana and I had a few text written, so it was like the logical flow for me to try to put some music on it, and the easiest way was to learn the guitar. I took a few piano lessons with my dad in my early years, but we decided to stop because it was like World War 3 at home each and every time we had a lesson. I was not the perfect student and he was very demanding. So that’s the reason I quit piano (which I regret a little), and I also took drums lessons for a couple of years.
GGM: Who are some of your musical influences?
AA: I have a lot of influences for sure. I would said that my first influences were Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, System of a Down, and then I got more into Jazz and Fusion with musicians like Chick Corea, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Al di Meola, Charlie Hunter, Pat Martino, Billy Cobam, Kenny Garrett, Guthrie Govan – just to name a few.
GGM: Having attended Music Academy International in France, what did you major in?
AA: I followed the Guitar Courses which are like general courses where you learn a bit of everything, so I had the chance to access to a lot of different topics like technique, harmony, ear training, improvisation, business, and so on. I also took three specialized workshops which were Jazz, Jazz Concept, and Fusion. I decided to choose Jazz and Jazz Concept for my exams.
GGM: Tell us a little about your gear.
AA: I have worked with the French brand Lâg Guitars for a bit more than a year now. I own three electric guitars: a Lâg Arkane (a shreddy 24 frets guitar), a Lâg Jet which for me is the perfect balance between a MusicMan and a strat, and a Lâg Imperator, which is more a Gibson oriented kind of guitar that offers beautiful and round deep sound. On the acoustic side, I have a Lâg T400 ACE and I encourage all acoustic players who are looking for an acoustic or classical guitar at an affordable price to take a look at them. The guitars are incredible!
On the amp side, at the moment I am mainly playing with my Axe FX II with a Matrix Preamp and a Matrix Cab II. I know that a lot of people are not ready yet to admit that modelisation can be good but in my opinion …it can and it is! I also like tube amps for sure – I have a little Blackstar at home that I ‘m still playing sometimes but the simplicity and the quality of the Axe FX II really seduced me.
GGM: Who are some of the companies that endorse you?
AA: I have the chance to work with Lâg for the guitars, 4Seasons Pickups who released my own pickup signature model this year, Fractal Audio, Matrix Amplification, GruvGear, Intex cables, Reunion Blues, TC Electronic (for whom I shoot gear videos), and Wide Ride Straps (the only straps on earth that fit me cause I’m not very tall and I play with the guitar very high…yes that’s not really a nice rock attitude!).
GGM: You’ve had the opportunity to play at music trade shows like NAMM in Anaheim, CA and Musikmesse in Germany. Can you share with us those experiences?
AA: Absolutely fantastic! Both are very important trade shows so I have to admit that it was impressive, and it was definitely good times. There are a lot of nice musicians to meet and to jam with, a lot a good music everywhere, a lot of gear to discover, and some cool parties to attend at night…that is simply a dream. When you come back home, you are just ten times more motivated to practice and you really feel like you’re still on a high with the memories of those good times.
GGM: Tell us about the “30 Days Guitar Challenge” and how can guitarists get involved?
AA: The “30 Days Guitar Challenge” will start on November 1st. The principle is inspired by all the motivational sport challenges, like abs or squat challenges. Of course, music is not a sport and in my opinion not a competition either, and that’s not the message of this Challenge!
We are all dealing with the everyday life and sometimes it’s hard to take the time to pick up the guitar and play. The 30 Days Guitar Challenge is a way to establish a discipline to ourselves, without losing the notion of pleasure and fun! The concept is simple: everyday, during the month, a new video will be put online with a new lick, or guitar concept, the tabs and the backing track. The licks will be kept short because this routine doesn’t have to become a burden if we want it to be efficient. It’s the necessary time to develop a pattern, to get used to something.
Thirty days is the minimum necessary time to quit a bad habit or to start a new one.
After 30 days of doing something, your brain and body begin to be ‘conditioned’ to repeat a new habit. So, if you’re participate in this challenge for 30 days, there is a good chance that you will keep up the habit to practice the guitar every day after the challenge.
This challenge is for all guitar players who want to practice, learn new things, and have fun.
The level of the licks may vary from one lick to another, so everyone from the beginner to the advanced player can find something to learn. Different styles will be represented too in order to keep it fun and interesting. So people who want to try can join in the 30 Days Guitar Challenge on Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/user/anouckandreguitar and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/anouckandreguitar They can also keep an eye here, http://www.anouck-andre.com/events/30-days-guitar-challenge/ where all the videos will be gathered day by day starting November 1, 2014.
GGM: What’s something you’ve achieved in the past year that you are most proud of?
AA: I’d say that the fact that I have my own signature pickup, by the brand 4Seasons, was really something new for me. That’s almost pretty incredible, when I think about that, to tell myself that there is a piece of gear with my name on it!
GGM: I hear you have plans to release a solo album in 2015. What can we expect to hear on the album?
AA: It’s going to be a Jazz-Fusion oriented album. I don’t like to put music into categories because there is always someone to tell you that this type of music is not to put into this category, but into another, etc…. But my heart and my influences are definitely into Jazz and Fusion music!
GGM: As a guitar teacher, what’s one of the most important tips you would like to share with a beginner guitar student?
AA: There are so many things! But If we step out of the ‘You have to practice every day to be good’ box, I would advise them to listen to a lot of different types of music, to a lot of different musicians, and to never let someone tell you if you are good or not. Take advice from benevolent people, take constructive criticism, don’t deny your weaknesses but work hard to fix them, and don’t let someone define your value. I’m not saying that in a pretentious way, I have experienced all of this, and I have some of my students that have been broken by ill-intentioned people. It takes time to rebuild your self-confidence. Nobody knows what you can become! So just be a good person, honest with yourself, and sincere in your music.
To learn more about Anock and her 30 Days Guitar Challenge, visit her site HERE.
Facebook fanpage :https://www.facebook.com/anouckandreguitar