The Blog

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

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

CAMP WOODSHED


CAMP WOODSHED –  JULY 9-13 2018


Have the best week of your summer jamming at Guitar Shed! CALL 404-500-5375 TODAY or email lessons@guitarshedatl.com 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

Fall Student Showcase Recap

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.

Keep Shedding!

September 13, 2017 Comments Off on Fall Student Showcase Recap

iGen + Music = Happiness

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.

August 31, 2017 Comments Off on iGen + Music = Happiness

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

Fall Calendar 2017 – Important Dates

  • December 17
August 3, 2017 Comments Off on Fall Calendar 2017 – Important Dates

Saturday, September 9th – Fall Student Showcase

Join us for an afternoon of music at The Pullman featuring Guitar Shed students and teachers. Limited to 20 perfomers. This is a great opportunity to perform in a relaxed, informal environment.

Sign up by emailing lessons@guitarshedatl.com

RSVP to the Facebook event here

Kids and families are welcome!

July 28, 2017 Comments Off on Saturday, September 9th – Fall Student Showcase

Summer Recital Recap

Thank you all for attending and participating in our Summer Recital. We had standing room only at the Red Light Cafe and a very supportive audience. I am continually impressed by the poise and stage presence of our performers, many of whom have never been on a stage before! Our recital included nursery rhymes, complicated pieces with shifting time signatures, ensemble pieces, duets, well known covers and original songs. You can view video from the performance on our Facebook page.

Thank you again to the Red Light Cafe for hosting and to Cindy Wnek for her photography. It has been such a joy to see our school come together and perform an entire night of music. No matter how big or small, I believe that there is much to be learned from each performance opportunity. So keep learning, keep shedding and keep performing!

Summer Recital photos are up! Enjoy!

Posted by Guitar Shed on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

June 28, 2017 Comments Off on Summer Recital Recap