Let’s face it, middle school is tough even for the most well-adjusted emotionally intelligent pre-teen. It is a time of transition, where kids are taking on more responsibility, a busier workload, balancing a busy schedule and trying to fit in. No they are not kids any more, but not young adults either. Tweens are certainly in between. After talking with some of our parents, I got the sense that several of our middle schoolers were having a tough time adjusting to the new school year. Especially our girls. And our girls are awesome, they play every instrument at Guitar Shed and they continue to impress me with their creativity and work ethic. I spoke with my wife, and she immediately said “Why don’t you do a girls night?!” (whenever she is in need of some friendship a “Girls Night” always does the trick…and gives me an opportunity for some alone time). I said, “great idea” and “Girls Night” was born! This will be a time for girls age 10-16 to let loose and have some fun with fellow Guitar Shedders. This a free event with pizza and karaoke. Nichelle will be in charge of the karaoke and you’ll get to hear her belt out some great tunes as well. Trust me, she can SING! Space is limited, so email us or RSVP in the student portal to guarantee your spot. Girls are also welcome to bring a friend.
Looking ahead, we’ve got a busy fall at Guitar Shed with several great events coming up. This year is the first year we will be participating in Oakhurst Porchfest with both our Teen and Adult Bands performing. Brandon is teaching a Guitar 101 Workshop in late October and we have just announced our Winter Recital Dates!
Signup begins for the Kids Recital (only open to ages 12 and under) on October 1st in the Student Portal. This recital is limited to 70 performers, so make sure to signup early to guarantee a spot! Let us know if you need us to resend your login information or if you have any other recital questions. We are very excited to be back at City Winery and looking forward to having our Teens and Adults Recital at Venkman’s as well in January!
October 5 – Girls Night
October 13 – Oakhurst Porchfest
October 27 – Guitar 101 Workshop
December 9 – Kids Winter Recital at City Winery
January 13 – Teens and Adults Recital at Venkman’s
Our Fall Student Showcase is Saturday, September 15th at The Pullman from 2:00-4:00 pm. Registration is limited to 30 students and you can sign up in our student portal. This is what we like to call an “informal” performance opportunity, (performances that don’t include a big stage and a big audience). Other informal performance opportunities could include playing for your friends and family, at an open mic, in a song circle, at a campground of a music festival or for your significant other. With each performance, our hope is that students become more comfortable playing music in front of an audience. This is also a great platform to test out new material that you have been working on.
Scheduling performances give you a concrete timeline and goal to work towards. This time of year, students and parents are working on getting into a new groove and establishing a practice routine. I recently listened to an interview with Yo Yo Ma on NPR about the value of incremental practice. He describes how he has been playing the Bach Cello Suites since day one (his first lesson when he was 4 years old). Not that practicing is akin to homework, but he does mention that there are days that the homework is a bit harder and days when it is easier. I encourage you (and your children) to establish a practice routine with the new school year that is realistic and works well with your schedule. I don’t like to quantify practice sessions, but playing your instrument several times a week is a good goal!
With much of our lives focused on instant feedback, whether it is getting instagram likes, taking a test at school, playing a video game, there are fewer and fewer meaningful long term goals that we have to work towards. Playing music is a lifelong pursuit and I am still playing the same songs that I played when starting out, Twinkle, Oh Susanna, When the Saints Go Marching In, and other folks songs. Not only am I still playing these songs, but I am still learning them. Learning how to interpret them in different ways, learning how to teach them and learning the history of them. Have you ever read a book as a child and then re-read it again as a teenager and then as an adult? Even though it is the same book, your relationship with it and interpretation changes with each read.
Children are always modeling the environment around them, so next time you tell your kid to practice… pick up a book, pick up an instrument, paint a painting, write in your journal, build something, or cook a meal… use that time do something for yourself as well. Go forth and create!
Brandon here! I’m reaching out to let you all know about my upcoming Guitar 101 workshop on Saturday, October 27th. I’ll be discussing the basics: proper technique, good practice habits, playing single notes and chords, reading tablature, and much more. This workshop is being offered to beginner teens and adults ranging from total beginners to self-taught players who may have missed out on some of the fundamentals and find themselves at a plateau.
If you are a parent of a younger student, this is a great opportunity to be exposed to some of what your kids are learning. It would allow you to help your children practice and might even spark your own interest in learning to play!
The Guitar 101 Workshop is a one-time class on October 27th, from 10:00am-11:30am in the Guitar Shed lobby. The class costs $30 for current Guitar Shed students(and/or parents) and $40 for new students. If you’d like to sign up or if you have any questions, email us or call Guitar Shed at (404) 500-5375.
Thank you to all of our campers who participated in Camp Woodshed! We had two very talented groups of performers that both learned two songs in one week. Here’s what they played…
“Everybody Wants to Rule the World” Tears for Fears
“Believer” Imagine Dragons
“Use Somebody” Kings of Leon
“Can’t Stop” Red Hot Chili Peppers
Parker started each day with stretches and readings and then turned things over to Nichelle for vocal and rhythm warmups. Each day we had a masterclass from one of the teachers at Guitar Shed and two rehearsals (one live and one with headphones on). The masterclasses included guitar (Brandon), bass (Sean), drums (Nico), keys (Chris) and a class focusing on musical genres (all counselors).
We made sure to take advantage of Coan Park across the street and would take our snacks across the street each day. There kids would play frisbee, play on the giant marimbas and soak in some vitamin-D. At the end of the week we had a pizza party and performance from both bands. Check out our facebook page for more pictures and some videos from the week. Next year we hope to have a camp for our younger students as well. Look forward to seeing you all next year, stay tuned!
Thank you all for two successful recitals! It is such a joy to watch all of our students grow with each performance. For some of you this was your 6th recital! We strive to create a safe environment where mistakes are not frowned upon and creativity is encouraged. Thanks to all of our performers for having the courage to get up on stage, and to all of our attendees for your unwavering support!
At Guitar Shed we stress the importance of lifelong learning. The recitals are not a test to be passed or failed. I encourage you to continue playing your pieces and make them your own. They can become part of your repertoire and you can revisit them throughout your life. We approach teaching kids, teens and adults very differently and there are benefits and challenges with each age group. All of the teachers at Guitar Shed are lifelong learners as well and we are always looking for ways to improve our playing and teaching.
At our Teens and Adults Recital we had everything from Mozart to Tina Turner to Ed Sheeran. Our Teen Band debuted with three songs as if they have been playing together much longer than a few short months and our Adult Band is hitting a groove with a full set of music. For our Kids Recital we had several sibling and family collaborations and a heavy dose of Beatles classics. We even had some original cosmic lyrics to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” that I am still humming. We are hoping to start a “Tween Band” in the fall for ages 10-12 so let us know if you are interested in joining the waiting list.
Check out the links below for the full recital galleries!
Kids Recital – City Winery – Photography by Addison Hill Photo
Teens and Adults – Venkman’s – Photography by Katherine Jianas Photography
Our summer recitals are coming up in a few weeks and most of our students have settled on a piece to perform. School is winding down, as are many other extracurricular activities. However, we are gearing up here at Guitar Shed!
As you are preparing for the recital, below are a few things to keep in mind….
- Pick a song that is appropriate for your skill level. From a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the easiest, ideally you should pick a song that is between a 6 and an 8. This gives you a challenge to work towards and will hopefully keep you engaged throughout your preparation. If you are new to performing, try staying towards a 6 and if you are a seasoned vet feel free to go for that 8. If you have already settled on a song, there is still time to make modifications or select a new piece if need be.
- “Over-prepare and then go with the flow”….this one is pretty self-explanatory. There are several internal and external factors that can derail any performance, however with proper preparation you can easily avoid some pitfalls and pick yourself back up if a mistake comes your way! Get plenty of rest, relax, practice and try to remain open to any unexpected changes. Your string may break, you may forget your music, forget the lyrics….but the show must go on. By over preparing you will be equipped to handle anything that comes your way.
- Talk to your teacher. Make sure that you have all of the information you need from your teacher. The proper tempo, any technical information that you might need, historical background on the piece, any burning questions about the recital experience? We are on your side and we are here for you! Not only are we on your side, but so is the audience. ALL of the audience members want you to succeed and have a positive performance experience.
- Lastly, remember that at Guitar Shed music is not a competition. You are exactly where you need to be! Thank you for participating and thank you for learning, shedding and performing!
It’s that time of year again! We are officially in recital mode and are getting ready for two great recitals! Click the links below to purchase tickets!
June 3 – Teens and Adults Recital at Venkman’s – 6 pm
June 10 – Kids Recital at City Winery – 12 pm
If you would like to participate in our summer recitals, please let your teacher know by May 1st. There is limited space available so please let your teacher know as soon as possible. In the meantime, feel free to pick up your free recital poster at Guitar Shed!
Click the picture below for a link to the Facebook album of our Spring Student Showcase! Thanks to everyone who attended and participated!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or register in the student portal.
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
1992 Hosea L Williams Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30317, USA
Sign up by emailing email@example.com
RSVP to the Facebook event here
Kids and families are welcome!