RGT Guitar Tutor Ariel Kars Interview

In this edition of the RGT Guitar Tutor Interview Series, we are sitting down with Israeli guitarist and guitar tutor Ariel Kars.

While it is known as the leader in guitar education in the UK and Ireland, RGT also has a strong presence throughout the world, including countries such as Israel, where Ariel works as an in-demand guitar tutor and performer.

After first being exposed to the RGT syllabus and organization through Total Guitar Magazine, Ariel has since used RGT books and teaching material at the music school he founded and currently runs, Jamoosica.

We recently caught up with Ariel to discuss his adoption of the RGT syllabus in Israel, his band Right Rabbit, and his experiences attending past RGT Guitar Tutor Conferences in London.

To learn more about Ariel, please visit the guitar tutor Ariel Kars Facebook Page.

To learn more about RGT tutors and exams worldwide, visit the Global RGT Tutor FInder Page.


RGT Guitar Tutor Ariel Kars

RGT: How did you become aware of RGT, and how have your students in Israel responded to the RGT books so far?

Ariel Kars: I came across Total Guitar Magazine about 20 years ago, around 1994 I guess. I bought some issues and I think it was the first time I was aware of RGT, through seeing ads in the magazine.

It was great to see that there were other people out there who think teaching guitar should be fun, as well as beneficial.

My students love the RGT syllabi, although I do have to translate RGT material to Hebrew and adjust it to Israeli standards in certain ways, but the core knowledge remains the same.

There is very little guitar material currently in Hebrew, and most of it is classical with no Tab. So I do a lot of translations from all different sources, including RGT, to give my students access to a wide range of learning sources.

RGT: Can you talk a bit about what it is like teaching guitar in Israel? What genres of music the students like to study, do parents encourage their children to study guitar, that sort of thing?

Ariel Kars: Israel is a few years behind the rest of western civilization in different ways – and this is a long story I’m not sure we should get into.

So music and especially guitar teaching methods here are in many places still like they were in the 50’s – very classical, jazzy and folk orientated.

Old guitar teachers dislike Tab and do not know how to teach it. It sometimes seems rock was never invented, Israelis don’t know much about rock or rock culture – but not to worry, I’m here to show them the light.

Still, my students are totally updated musically and naturally they want to learn contemporary material.

I think Israeli music education is slowly changing in a good way, as people are more exposed to the larger world in today’s culture.

The responses I get on my music school, Jamoosica, is mostly, “Nothing like this has ever happened in the Galilee,” which makes me happy as Galilee is a rather remote area of Israel.

It’s near the Lebanese border – in the periphery. So establishing a “School of Rock” here is an interesting enterprise indeed.

Lots of parents here are really happy to send their kids to study guitar. Not only because music is a high form of art, but because it’s fun.

Not only because they wanted to play as kids themselves, but the teachers in the ‘80s told them that their fingers were too short or other nonsense like that – but also because music takes kids away from computer and cellphone screens, and it seems to really work well for kids diagnosed with ADHD and other such syndromes.

Surprisingly, all of a sudden this kid who has no patience and can’t concentrate in school is listening, practicing and shows no signs of violence or lack of concentration in his guitar lessons. Curious, isn’t it?

RGT: You attended the RGT Conferences in London a few years ago, can you tell us about your experiences at those conferences and why you chose to fly to London to attend them?

Ariel Kars: There are no guitar tutors conferences in Israel, so I had to fly over. I love England and have lots of friends there, so it was another reason for a fun holiday.

In Israel, September is a holiday season and I’d love to get away from family reunions. Also, it is extremely hot here from May until November, and so I have to get away.

The RGT conferences are too good to be true. Where should I start? First, it’s great to see you are not alone in the business.

It’s encouraging to see so many people making a living as music teachers. It really helps you to see what you’re doing is right, as well as where you can improve as a teacher.

It is very tutorial, and I can honestly say my decision to open my own small music school was based on what I learned on those two RGT conferences I attended.

Also, gathering later on in the pub and talking to other teachers is priceless. I hope I can make it to next year’s conference again.

RGT: As a member of The Right Rabbit you are a busy performer. How do you find that your performing influences your guitar teaching and vice-versa?

Ariel Kars: That’s a very good point. As a performer I try to get my students to attend my gigs and see the real thing in action.

A lot of them tell me that I opened their minds and made them choose a path in life after seeing live shows.

Also, being a performer makes you a better guitarist and a better teacher, because you can also teach the students everything surrounding guitar playing such as sound, band savvy, stage and self confidence, using gear, handling audiences and countless other things of that nature.

RGT: You started your own music school, what was the toughest challenge when setting up your own guitar teaching business?

Ariel Kars: I recon the hardest thing was becoming a business person.

Lots of musicians will agree it is not in our nature to deal with money, payments and accounting, but it is something you have to do if you want to make a living, support your family and bring home the Hummus.

So I did learn quite a bit about running a business this year, and there’s still more to learn. After that, the rest is really quite simple.

RGT: If you had one piece of advice for other guitar teachers that thinking about adopting the RGT Syllabus, what would it be?

Ariel Kars: My advice is they should adopt it as soon as possible. The RGT syllabus really helps you distinguish the wheat from the chaff, you’re doing your job better, you’re getting to the point, you are more focused, and a better teacher altogether by incorporating RGT material into your lessons.


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