Our Kids Winter Recital is Sunday, December 9th at City Winery! We are excited to hear everyone perform and looking forward to a full afternoon of music.
We have close to 80 performers and are planning on everyone listed to be in attendance.
Please arrive at least 45 min. before your set time, we will start at 12:00 sharp. You are welcome to come and go as you please, but we ask that you wait until the end of a set to leave.
There is plenty of parking available in the deck below City Winery. In addition, there is parking available surrounding the venue. They have great food and drinks and Ponce City Market is next door, so get there early and make a day out of it!
Feel free to reach out with any questions. Most importantly, have fun on stage! This is your time to shine.
It has been a busy month at Guitar Shed and we are looking forward to our upcoming Winter Recitals! Our Kids Winter Recital on 12/9 is full, but please email us if you would like to be added to the waiting list. The Teens and Adults Recital on 1/13 is filling up fast, so make sure to register in the student portal to guarantee your spot. Tickets are now on sale for both events. We encourage all of our students and families to attend, even if you are not performing. We would love to see you there!
We’ve got a special Guitar 101 workshop this Saturday from Brandon Marsolo. Great for all of the beginning guitarists out there! Also, Halloween is just around the corner and if you wear your costume to your lesson you get one of our cool new Guitar Shed holographic stickers!
Some of you may have noticed our new “Birthday Board” in the lobby. We have two teacher birthday’s coming up this week! Nichelle’s birthday is on Tuesday and Brandon’s is on Friday. Make sure to wish (or sing) them Happy Birthday!
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!
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!
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:
| G / / / | C / / / | G / / / | D / / / |
| 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.
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
“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!
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…
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!
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