The Blog

Guitar Workshop “Exploring the Fretboard” – Saturday, March 31st

Parker is teaching a Guitar Workshop on Saturday, March 31st from 10:00-11:30 am. The workshop is titled “Exploring the Fretboard” and is great for intermediate to advanced teens and adults.

This session will focus on how to use five open chord shapes to map out the entire fretboard using the CAGED system. This chord based approach to soloing is helpful for the beginning to advanced improviser. If you are tired of playing the same licks or if you are looking to improvise for the first time, this is a great opportunity to learn among fellow Guitar Shedders.

Differences between harmonic concepts, practice techniques and ear training will be discussed. Below are the details…

  • Saturday, March 31st at Guitar Shed
  • 10:00-11:30 am
  • $30 for current students
  • $40 for new students
  • Limited to 20 students

To sign up either send an email to, or register in the student portal.

March 14, 2018 0 Comments

Spring Student Showcase – 3/24

Join us for an afternoon of music at The Pullman featuring Guitar Shed students and teachers. Limited to 25 perfomers. This is a great opportunity to perform in a relaxed, informal environment. Our Spring Student Showcase is free and open to the public.

Saturday, March 24th – 2:00-4:00 pm

The Pullman

1992 Hosea L Williams Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30317, USA

(404) 371-1115

Sign up by emailing

RSVP to the Facebook event here

Kids and families are welcome!

March 2, 2018 Comments Off on Spring Student Showcase – 3/24

Guest Author: Marc-Andre Seguin

About the Author

Marc-Andre Seguin is the webmaster, “brains behind” and teacher on, the #1 online resource for learning how to play jazz guitar. He draws from his experience both as a professional jazz guitarist and professional jazz teacher to help thousands of people from all around the world learn the craft of jazz guitar. Marc-Andre was kind enough to reach out and create a custom blog post for our students at Guitar Shed. I mentioned to him that one of the main things our students are struggling with is being able to keep the form of a song. Read on for some very insightful tips and advice. Thanks Marc-Andre!

Tips to Learning Chord Progressions

Learning a new song song, especially the sequence of chords, can be a long and daunting task. Here are a few tips to help you memorize the order of chords in any song you wish to play. Although the first suggestion is quite simple, the rest of the article is really something you should take your time with. If you manage to incorporate this into your musical understanding, you will reap the benefits in the long term and have an easier time understanding music in general.

Break the song up into sections

If you take the time to divide the song into sections and then smaller chunks if needed, you’ll have a much easier time remembering the music as a whole. For example, take the time to identify the choruses as opposed to verses. Usually, these will have different progressions and will have lengths of 4 or 8 bars. It will make things a lot less daunting and easier to chew on. Some songs have also bridges to consider.

When starting out, it’s a good idea to actually write the chords out on a piece of paper. Draw out a grid with 4 bars per line (I simply draw 5 vertical lines with even space between them to make up the 4 bars). Then, making sure you count the beats, write in the chords. For every beat that repeats the same harmony, write a single slash to keep track of the harmonic rhythm, which is simply a nice way of saying when the chords change. Keep track of each section and label them when needed. Once you’ve written out the whole song, seeing the music in parts like this will help you memorize the music by breaking it down to smaller, more manageable pieces. Here is a short example to illustrate a simple chart:


| G / / / | C / / / | G / / / | D / / / |


| G / / / | / / / / | D / / / | / / / / |

At this point, if you are a beginner or simply having trouble committing songs to memory, it’s a matter of memorizing the chords, by name, until you can play each section by heart. It’s a tedious process, but it’s part of the bigger picture which will enable you to see patterns and accelerate the learning process.

Calling the chords by roman numerals, rather than by name

Eventually, once you’ve spent enough time simply learning songs chord by chord, it’ll be time to enhance you’re theoretical knowledge to eventually help you learn faster and even transpose music quickly.

The first thing that you’ll need to be capable of doing, is identifying the key of a song. A fast and almost foolproof way of doing this is checking out the last chord of the piece. To be sure though, the simplest way at this point is to first write down all the unique chords present in the piece of music you are looking at. Then, starting from the root of each of those chords, write down the corresponding major or minor scale that start from that note. If you have a 7th chord in a piece that’s not a blues song, chances are that the key won’t be from that scale, so you can skip those. Once you’ve written out all the notes, compare each and every note in the scales you wrote down with the roots of the other chords in your song. If something is out of place (for example you might have a Bb chord in your list when you write out the C major scale – that scale doesn’t include B flats) go to the next chord until you find the perfect scale that fits the roots of all the chords.

Once you’ve determined the scale you are in, you will now be able to attribute roman numerals to the chords and effectively perform musical analysis to explain the music you have. Simply attribute the numerals to each chord in the progression relative to their position in the scale. For example, if you determine that the song is in C major and you see an F chord, that F would be IV (being the fourth note in C major). Repeat this procedure for the rest of the chords. If you wrote out the song in sections like mentioned previously, you can focus on sections and learn the progression in smaller chunks. You might end up with something looking like this for a particular section (with the respective harmony of your music):

| I / / / | VIm / / / | IV / / / | V / / / |

Eventually, this type of analysis will be made in your head and will come very quickly, especially if you do it often. On the guitar, it’s easy to then perform these sequences if you play with bar chords, streamlining the learning process to simply remembering the changes as jumps corresponding to the scale tones rather than a sequence of seemingly open random chords.

Another advantage of this type of analysis and playing is that once you become faster at recognizing the harmony changes as numerals, transposing music will be much simpler. By simply applying the numerals to the new key, it will be easier to call upon the correct chord this way than transposing each and every chord in the progression.

Recognizing common progressions

The more you apply roman numerals to chords, the more you will start to see recurring formulas. Although music itself is limitless, the progressions aren’t and our ears seem to gravitate towards a handful of sequences, preferences that are usually explained with theoretical concepts. You probably have come across a very famous progression called the blues. This relatively simple progression spans 12 bars and visits the IVth and Vth chords of a scale and inspired countless of songs, melodies and solos. Here it is in it’s simplest form:

| I7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | | IV7 / / / | / / / / | I7 / / / | / / / / | | V7 / / / | / / / / | I7 / / / | / / / / |

You should be able to play this at any key and visualize each change before it happens. This kind of rigorous learning will cross over to other progressions and make your life learning things a lot easier. Here are a few other common progressions you should be aware of:

– | I / / / | IV / / / | V / / / | I / / / |

– | I / / / | IIm / / / | V / / / | I / / / |

– | IIIm / / / | VIm / / / | IIm / / / | V / / / |

Although there are a lot of things to learn, you should definitely invest time in teaching yourself to identify song keys quickly and break down the chord progressions into numerical grids. You’ll be surprised how fast your understanding and ear training will develop and help you anticipate harmonic movement.


February 14, 2018 Comments Off on Guest Author: Marc-Andre Seguin

Guitar Ensemble

We are excited to announce the return of Guitar Ensemble in the spring of 2018! Students ages 8-12 are encouraged to enroll.

During the classes students will focus on ensemble playing, rhythm, dynamics, good tone, and creativity. This is a great way to augment private lessons and give your children the opportunity to make music with their peers. The classes will culminate in a final performance at the summer recital on June 10th at City Winery!

All sheet music will be provided. There will be no make-up classes, but we are happy to adjust invoices prior to payment if you will be absent. In order to perform in the summer recital, students must attend at least 10 of the 12 classes. The Guitar Ensemble is directed by Alex Gordon and limited to 8 students.

March 11 – June 3 (No class May 27)

Sundays from 1:30-2:20 pm

Tuition is $25 per class. To register, either signup in our online portal or send us an email. Tuition will be pro-rated and added to your monthly invoice.

January 29, 2018 Comments Off on Guitar Ensemble

Guitar Workshops

I am excited to be conducting a few workshops in the upcoming months! Here’s what’s on tap…

GMEA (Georgia Music Educators Association) Conference

  • Friday – Jan 26, 2018
    • 8:45 – 9:45 am
      • Exploring the Fretboard – Improvising using the CAGED system
  • Saturday – Jan 27, 2018
    • 11:15 – 12:15 pm
      • Guitarists Need Rhythm – Teaching Strumming and Finger Picking Patterns through Songwriting


  • February 4-11, 2018
    • Guitarist Need Rhythm – strumming and finger picking patterns (Beginner / Intermediate)
    • Make it Sing – finding your voice on the guitar (Beginner / Intermediate)
    • Exploring the Fretboard – chord shapes and scales up the neck (Intermediate / Advanced)

ASTA (American String Teachers’ Association) Conference

  • Saturday – March 10, 2018
    • 7:00-8:00 am
      • Art of the Jazz Duo: Where Chamber Music Meets Improvisation
      • Duets offer an unparalleled opportunity for two musicians to converse in an intimate, exposed setting. Many jazz musicians have used this to their advantage, creating works that sound closer to modern chamber music. Presenters Greg Byers and Parker Smith will explore the rich history of jazz duets, demonstrate strategies each half can employ, and outline how students of any ability level can listen and interact with a partner.

Guitar Shed

  • Saturday – March 31, 2018
    • 10:00-11:30 am
      • Exploring the Fretboard – Improvising using the CAGED system
      • This session will focus on how to use five open chord shapes to map out the entire fretboard. This chord based approach to soloing is helpful for the beginning to advanced improviser. Differences between harmonic concepts, practice techniques and ear training will be discussed.
        • $30 for current students $40 for new students
January 18, 2018 Comments Off on Guitar Workshops



Have the best week of your summer jamming at Guitar Shed! CALL 404-500-5375 TODAY or email to reserve your spot…or sign up in the parent portal!

What to expect: Our camp is 15 hours of musical instruction that feels more like having fun with friends than it does practice. Throughout the week, the students will learn arrangements of fun, popular songs while working on technique, music fundamentals, and playing cohesively with other musicians. At the end of the week, the students will feel more confident about their playing and have memories to last a lifetime.

Who can sign up? Students with at least one year of playing experience ages 11-15

Camp Capacity: 15 students

Tuition: Tuition of $250 for existing students is required to reserve your spot. Tuition is $275 for new students. If your plans change, we can refund 50% of your paid tuition if you let us know BEFORE the scheduled camp begins.

When and where is the camp:

July 9-13 2018 — Monday-Friday 9:30am-12:30pm at Guitar Shed— 1610 Hosea L Williams Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30317

Why Woodshed? 

“Woodshedding” is slang for practicing your musical instrument….and “Shedding” is short for “woodshedding”…that’s how we came up with the name Guitar Shed!

January 8, 2018 Comments Off on CAMP WOODSHED

Winter Recital Details

Our Kids Recital is this Sunday and the Teens and Adults Recital is the following Sunday! We are very excited to hear you all perform! Read on for all of the details on both recitals and feel free to reach out with any questions…

KIDS RECITAL – Sunday, December 10th

TEENS AND ADULTS RECITAL – Sunday, December 17th

Photo Release: We will have a photographer at both recitals, if you would prefer that you or your child not be photographed please let us know.
Attire: casual, only dress up if you want to 🙂
Poster: Pick up your free poster at the Shed if you haven’t already.

Let us know if you have any questions and…..stay tuned!

December 4, 2017 Comments Off on Winter Recital Details

Want to teach at Guitar Shed?


Experienced piano, violin and voice teachers wanted at Guitar Shed. Must have previous experience teaching in a music school and ability to work with students of all ages (especially kids 5-12) and skill levels. Must pass background check and demonstrate proficiency on your instrument. Music degree is a plus but not required. Please spend a good amount of time on our website. After visiting our website, send resume and cover letter for consideration. Background in music therapy and early childhood education is a plus! Available days are Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays (and potentially Saturdays)

Send resume and cover letter to 

November 17, 2017 Comments Off on Want to teach at Guitar Shed?

Guitar Technique Workshop – December 2nd

With a little instruction and a bit of practice, anyone can learn to play with proper technique! Poor technique can hold back any guitarist from reaching their true potential. Playing correctly will improve ALL aspects of playing, from speed to stamina to clarity, and makes learning your instrument much more comfortable and enjoyable. While it’s best to learn to play properly from the start, it is never too late to fix bad habits! Whether you’re a singer/songwriter looking to improve your chord transitions or a lead player who wants to finally nail that solo, learning how to work on your technique will help push you in the right direction.

This workshop will cover:
-Basic playing techniques (holding the guitar, picking/strumming, left-hand technique)
-Lead guitar techniques (i.e slides, bends, vibrato, tapping)
-Stylistic techniques (i.e. palm mutes, funk style rhythm, reggae staccato)
To sign up email or sign up in our student portal.
Teens and Adults only.

$30 for current students
$40 for non-students

October 27, 2017 Comments Off on Guitar Technique Workshop – December 2nd

Gift Certificates are here!

Tis the season! Our gift certificates make a great gift for your loved ones.

Gift certificates are $145 and include four consecutive 30 min. and registration. Setting it up is easy, just fill out the form below or give us a call and we’ll get your loved ones on the schedule.


October 25, 2017 Comments Off on Gift Certificates are here!