The Blog

Guitar 101 Workshop – October 27th

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.

 

July 27, 2018 Comments Off on Guitar 101 Workshop – October 27th

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

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 Ensemble is Back! September 13 – December 13

We are excited to announce the return of Guitar Ensemble in the fall of 2017! Students ages 9-14 are encouraged to enroll. During the classes we 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 our recital on December 17.

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 14 classes. The Guitar Ensemble is directed by Alex Gordon and limited to 8 students.

September 13 – December 13 (No class October 18)

Wednesdays from 7:00-7:50 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.

August 23, 2017 Comments Off on Guitar Ensemble is Back! September 13 – December 13

Student Showcase Recap

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 Ensemblethese “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!

 

March 27, 2017 Comments Off on Student Showcase Recap

Guitar Ensemble is Back!

We are excited to announce the return of Guitar Ensemble! Begins Sunday, March 5. Register in our student portal or email lessons@guitarshedatl.com

February 3, 2017 Comments Off on Guitar Ensemble is Back!

Acorn Amplifiers

Christmas came early for us this year at the Shed! Last week our friend, Tyler Petito (founder of Acorn Amplifiers) hand delivered a prototype of a new amp they are working on. Many of our students have Acorn Amplifiers stickers on their guitar cases, but what they might not know is that they are one of the premier amp builders in the country. They are located in nearby East Atlanta Village and also repair all of our amps here at the Shed.

As you can see, this amp is a beauty! The woodwork, grill cloth and logo make for a unique vintage vibe. With an open back design, this amp has plenty of space to fill up your room with soaring, tube amp tones. Look a little closer and you’ll see a penny embedded in the upper right corner of the amp from the year 2016 (the year the amp was made). Personal touches like this are what sets Tyler and co. apart. The vintage design is matched by classic tube amp tones that break up right where you want them to. We can’t stop playing this amp, and hope you enjoy playing it during your lessons here at the Shed as much as we do. This Acorn may be young, but it is maturing nicely.

 

December 21, 2016 Comments Off on Acorn Amplifiers