February 18, 2014

Its been a couple of months since my last blog, and I apologize to all the (thousands) readers who have been waiting, in angst by now, for this present posting.  I have good reason for being taken away from blogging duties, a result of the demands of some new, exciting projects, and the demands of university.

I joined a variety band named ‘About Last Night’.  I’m excited for our potential. So far it is a four piece, (Tristan) drums, (Kevin) bass, (me) guitar, & (Rachel)  female vocalist, utility player, stunt woman, and front person.   I estimate we start gigging in a month.  It is a really good chemistry of skilled players and has been fun.  For those of you who have been in bands you may be able to relate about finding the right people.  The band world is often a lot of fantasy and mystery, in other words, brain damage.   So I’m very thankful for these folks.  The same goes for my new duo partner.  Mark plays guitar, bass guitar, and sings.  Between the two of us we must know over a thousand songs, so we’re taking what we consider the best of those and building an excellent song list of country and rock tunes.   Its wonderful to be able to learn from the people you play with.  This duo, which doesn’t have a name yet, will be gig ready mid April.

On the business front, Golden Guitar Studios got its first guitar student via this website in early February.  I was pleasantly surprised to be found on internet, hope its a sign of things to come.  When the website achieves adequate visibility,  (comes up on the first google search page), available teaching slots should fill up quickly.  My new student (B (Major)) is a talented sophomore, actually a type of sponge.  I’m looking forward to a lot of music from him.

As for university, I have been declared an Arizona resident and will be able to start doctorate work in August.  That process was a roller coaster.  I’m sure I’ll make snide comments about it in future blogs, but first I must recover from the trauma and let disgust and pessimism subside.  There are two requirements to fulfill in order to be cleared to register.  First are the immunizations – they want your blood.  Next, I must take the GRE – graduate records exam – very similar to the high school SAT.  This will be the second time I’ve taken it, scores are only good for five years.  I’m so glad that I must spend the next two or three months memorizing 500 vocab words and reviewing math formulas – again.  I was informed it has no bearing on admissions.  Then, just earlier today there is an article on CBS news that says these kinds of exams are rather useless, that many universities don’t even require these tests at all.  And, the exam industry makes a lot of money.  O yes, I love it when my time and money are wasted. But, I would love it more if I could use that time to work on a Bach Lute Suite or the Tansman Cavatina or Capriccio Diabolico.  Ah yes, more mystery.  Until next time.  :)

post 2 11/18/13

Here I am again, round two – the blog of a non-blogger.  I don’t know why I am so resistant to technology – it seems to de-humanize, perhaps.  I didn’t have a cell phone until 2005.  Ok, I admit its convenient, but often I have wondered how many times it could skip across the face of a calm lake before finally disappearing under ripples.

Anyways, I guess the subject today will arbitrarily be on (thirty sided coin flip)… what a student (people interested in guitar lessons, bass lessons, ukulele lessons, improvisation lessons, and theory/composition study) can expect when studying with me.

First off, my main goal is to help the student find their music.  (The fact that the student has a major portion of responsibility in all this is a peripheral topic to be covered another time)  Different people will have different goals, time contraints, musical interests, musical experiences, etc.  If someone who is playing professionally wants to learn how to improvise over jazz tunes, we will definitely do different things than a ukulele student involved in a ukulele choir.  The following is a general approach for beginning and less experienced students:

I’m a ‘believer in fundamentals’ kind of guy.  I encourage everyone to learn how to read music, and for some I insist.  (In a future post I’ll offer an argument about the importance of reading music)  Within the first few lessons, we’ll talk about rhythm, music notation, basic musical concepts, and start to play melodies.  And contrary to popular belief, reading music is fun!  Another subject we’ll cover is called ‘Technique’ and refers to the physical movement needed to play well.  For this we start with simple picking and left finger exercises and progress to the point (many years later) of bedazzling acrobatics.  Our next subject is beginning music vocabulary, which consists of chords and scales.  We’ll play songs pretty much the first time we learn 3 or 4 chords.   We can jam (improvise) pretty soon after we learn our first scale.  For applying chords to a song, I usually start with a blues progression and some popular selections.  There are so many songs, the student definitely gets a say in what songs they want to learn.

Between technique, note reading, chords, scales, and songs, a beginning student can can have a lot of interesting things to work on, progress quickly, and have a blast.  I suggest practicing a minimum 25 minutes, three times a week.  Remember, great players practice many hours everyday.  Until next time, thank you.

Golden Guitar Studios – post 1

It’s November 10, 2013, a cool early morning in Chandler, Arizona.  This is the first blog of Golden Guitar Studios, the first blog this author’s done. What is a blog anyway?  This may be a learn as you go deal.   I’ll start  (arbitrary but logical?) with what GGS does / offers.

First, I offer guitar lessons, bass guitar lessons, and ukulele lessons.  Students come to me, or communicate via skype.  I also offer improvisation lessons, and theory / composition to people of all instruments.  It is such a treat to work with a vocalist or fiddler.  I pursue almost every style.  Classical, jazz, rock, blues, country, bluegrass.

Second, I perform.  Currently I play in a country / rock duo.  We gig a half dozen or so times a month.  I’m looking forward to working with a bassist doing jazz / blues.  We’re supposed to begin rehearsals this Tuesday. I also play solo classical guitar for almost every occasion you can imagine.  Third, I compose.  I have six tunes you can listen to on goldenguitarstudios.com.

There is a huge amount of subjects to discuss all tied together in this thing we call music, so it will be easy to talk about.  For the poor guy or gal who gets lost (because of strange twists in circumstances) and actually finds this blog and then actually reads it, I hope you come back again and read more.