Great job in the Fall Student Showcase at The Pullman everyone! At Guitar Shed there is a performance opportunity for each season. We have a Spring and Fall Student Showcase as well as a Summer and Winter Recital. Keep an eye out for more performance opportunities in addition to these soon!
At our Fall Student Showcase this past weekend we had some first time performers as well as seasoned veterans. All of our Guitar Shedders played beautifully! Thank you for having the courage to perform in front of a live audience. I encourage you to treat each performance as a unique learning opportunity and treat them objectively. It takes some effort to be able to objectively view both the positive and negative aspects of your performance. Make sure to use all aspects of your playing as a tool to keep your ego in check.
There is much to be learned from the performance process and a variety of internal and external factors can affect your desired outcome. By performing regularly, you are able to diminish performance anxiety and grow exponentially as a musician.
After listening to a segment on NPR about generation “iGen” I couldn’t help but think about the role music plays in mental health. iGen refers to children born in the mid 1990’s or later and is the first generation to spend their entire adolescence in the age of the smartphone. Most of our young students at Guitar Shed fall into this age range and are doing great things to not succumb to the pitfalls of their generation. They are playing music!
You know what is great about music lessons? During a lesson we are playing music, and if we do use our phones (which is very rare) it is for a tuner or a metronome…not Snapchat or Instagram. Students and teachers are developing a relationship in the real world without distractions.
Music lessons also get people out of the house! There is a reason we don’t do in-home lessons or online lessons at Guitar Shed. Community. We see all of our students and families every week and watch them grow with each performance. We know about their struggles and victories, encouraging them every step of the way.
Studies show that teenagers in iGen are much physically safer, but on the brink of a mental health crisis. Some of the negative impacts that have been linked to too much screen time are loneliness, depression, isolation, sleep deprivation, increased suicide attempts, lack of focus… the list goes on.
An article about iGen in the Atlantic gives the following advice…. “Put down the phone, turn off the laptop, and do something—anything—that does not involve a screen.” Although iGen is the target of this discussion, we adults are not immune either. There are countless benefits to playing and learning an instrument, but now we all need music more than ever.
Many of my students know that I like to utilize a few different software programs in our lessons. Here are the main three that I use on a daily basis.
Price: $4.99 mobile app $7.99 desktop
This is my favorite metronome to use because it is easy to use and there are several features for the advanced musician as well. Many kids complain about metronomes because the sound of the “click” is annoying. This app is great because you can choose from several different percussion instruments (i.e. bongos, snare drum, wood blocks, etc.). You can also build your own drum grooves to make a drum loop that sounds very realistic. Within each instrument you can control the volume, probability, and subdivision length. All of that at a very friendly price!
Price: $39 desktop only
I tell all of my students “this is what got me through college.” As a music major I had many assignments to transcribe complex pieces. The most important feature of this software is the ability to SLOW things down without altering the pitch. There are several other programs out there, but I have been using this for 10 years and they are continually updating it with improvements. In the “old days” musicians would slow down the speed of a record player to try and learn songs by ear. This is the 21st century version of that same concept, time to get on board and use your ears folks!
Price: $12.99 mobile app $19.99 desktop
This app is a game changer. A “Real Book” is a collection of charts that has been used in Jazz for decades. This software takes that concept to a whole new level. There are robust play-a-long features, the ability to create your own charts and vast forums online to download songs from. All of the charts in the forums are free and as you can see from the screenshot, my collection includes bluegrass, blues, jazz and more. If you are looking for software and jam tracks to play-a-long too, look no further.
Want to write songs but don’t know where to start? Anyone with a basic knowledge of music can write a song! Learn how to put together a chord progression, a melody, and lyrics to create a lasting piece of art to call your own. We will discuss common song forms, study some techniques of the great songwriters throughout history, and every student will leave the workshop with their own original song!
Brandon has been writing songs for 10+ years, both as a solo artist and with various bands over the years. He has approached songwriting from both a self-taught perspective and under the systems of the classical tradition. We will learn some of the basic “rules” for songwriting, and in true rock ‘n’ roll fashion, learn how to break them.
$30 for Current Students
$40 for Non Students
Sign up in our online portal at www.guitarshedatl.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Big thanks to all of the performers and attendees at our first Student Showcase! Piano, guitar, violin, voice and ukulele were all represented along with a variety of age groups.
It takes courage to get up in front of an audience and perform. Several internal and external distractions have the ability to derail any performance. A musical mistake or error can be defined as a difference between the intended and actual musical outcome. How we deal with these unexpected outcomes is up to us. In my private lessons, a lot of what we work on is how to recover from these mishaps. How do you pick yourself up and move forward? Most of the time, the audience is unaware of a mistake and the only time they notice is when the performer makes it obvious.
To quote Zachary Poulter in Teaching Improv in your Jazz Ensemble, these “experiences prepare students for a world of increasing ambiguity by enabling them to confront and transcend uncertainty.” Every time you get up on stage to perform, you are one step closer to becoming a better musician and a better human. So keep learning, keep shedding and keep performing!
Thank you to our neighborhood pub, The Pullman for hosting!
Looking to purchase an affordable keyboard for a beginner? This is a guest post is from our piano teacher Christopher Case that will be able to point you in the right direction…
“I have done a lot of looking and I really like the Williams keyboards as far as sound and functionality goes. They are a little pricier, but solid and without a lot of the flashy bells and whistles that most beginners don’t need. Just a solid piano style keyboard”
Williams Legato Digital Piano ($199)
“The Yamahas are a reliable option as well. The used ones on here are slightly cheaper. These are known to sound good and be durable, and they tack on some extra sounds and drumbeat type things.”
Yamaha YPG-235 ($199)
“This Casio might also be a good choice if you want to keep it under $150, although I do think the lack of keys would be an issue. Still plenty to get you started without breaking the bank.”
Casio CTK2400 ($117.95)
I received my first guitar for Chanukah in December of 1996. I was 10 years old and I can vividly remember unwrapping the large box in our living room and seeing the hardshell case. At first I thought it was a trombone (not sure why) but then as I pulled the case out of the box I realized it was an acoustic guitar. I had been asking for a guitar for what seemed like eons, so the moment was surreal. My mom thought the guitar would be just like the gameboy, sega genesis, computer, baseball cards, movies, and million other material things that I needed to have and discarded along the way. Fortunately for both of us the guitar stuck.
It was a modest Mitchell acoustic guitar and it came with a book and videotape. My excitement was met with some initial frustration and confusion when I opened the book and watched the video. Like any kid, I wanted instant gratification and wanted everything to sound amazing right away. This was not my first time picking up guitar; but up until then my exposure was limited to watching adults strumming chords and friends showing me simple one string riffs on their guitars. Hearing and seeing all of this new information for the first time was overwhelming and I didn’t know where to start. Also, it did not sound amazing.
For the moment it was back to my one string riffs and turning the pegs on the end of the guitar so they all lined up (kids don’t try this at home). My curiosity and determination won over and eventually I was able to play some recognizable melodies. This was the beginning of a lifelong journey that continues to this day. I’m still looking forward to learning that next song.
If your child expresses a specific interest in an instrument, get them one! Sign them up for lessons. You’ll never know if it will stick unless you try.
What is a chart? In musical terms, a “chart” is short for a written arrangement of music. Don’t worry, there are no bar graphs, tables or spreadsheets!
For those of you that have taken lessons with me, you know that I am BIG on making charts. In short, charts take out the guesswork and allow you to play along with recordings and other people with full confidence. Over the past year I have been uploading select charts from my personal collection to our library page. I just uploaded a new batch of charts including songs by Stone Temple Pilots, The Beatles, The Who and more! Please use these only for your own educational purposes and enjoyment. Disclaimer: they are free to download and may contain some errors or be incomplete.
Feel free to explore and see if you can start charting out songs you are working on now!
P.S. Charts are also very helpful when writing or sharing your own songs
….our online Guitar Shed Library that is. I am constantly looking for ways to improve my teaching and a
student of mine suggested in a guitar lesson that I should upload some charts to the website (see we are actually learning from each other).
I have begun the process of adding new songs that students are working on every week. Not only does this show other students at Guitar Shed what songs are being learned, but it saves some valuable lesson time. Now I can just print out a chord chart and we can dig right in. Better yet, students can print out a chart at home if there is a song in the library they are interested in learning. Right now, there are only about 30 songs on the site but hopefully one day there will be hundreds.
Also, feel free to explore the rest of the page for other educational resources. Yesterday, I added a list of GUITAR SHED PRINCIPLES that is also posted in the lobby at Guitar Shed. Until next time, stay tuned and keep shedding!
Sign up for our first songwriting workshop with Jimmy Galloway on Sunday, February 28 from 3-5 pm. Jimmy is the man if you would like to learn how to get your right hand in shape, use partial capos, use altered tunings, use loops in your live show, have your gear questions answered, or anything else guitar related. Limited to 15 spots at Guitar Shed in the rehearsal room.
Current students sign up on the calendar via the Guitar Shed portal. Non-existing students click here to send an email and sign up. $20 admission for current students. $25 public admission.