The Blog

Camp Woodshed Recap

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…

Brandon’s Band:

“Everybody Wants to Rule the World” Tears for Fears

“Believer” Imagine Dragons

Sean’s Band:

“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!

July 20, 2018 0 Comments

Recital Recap

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

June 18, 2018 Comments Off on Recital Recap

Recital Preparation

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!

May 11, 2018 Comments Off on Recital Preparation

Summer Recital Tickets

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 3Teens and Adults Recital at Venkman’s – 6 pm

June 10Kids 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!

April 13, 2018 Comments Off on Summer Recital Tickets

Spring Student Showcase Photos

Click the picture below for a link to the Facebook album of our Spring Student Showcase! Thanks to everyone who attended and participated!

April 1, 2018 Comments Off on Spring Student Showcase Photos

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 lessons@guitarshedatl.com, or register in the student portal.

March 14, 2018 Comments Off on Guitar Workshop “Exploring the Fretboard” – Saturday, March 31st

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

thepullmanatl@gmail.com

Sign up by emailing lessons@guitarshedatl.com

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 JazzGuitarLessons.net, 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:

Verse

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

Chorus

| 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

Cayamo

  • 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