Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | February 20, 2020

The Times They Are a-Changing

“The Times They Are a-Changing”

So here’s a little snippet of music history for you. Many have heard the 1964 protest song, “The Times They Are a-Changing” written and performed by Bob Dylan and covered by many other bands and artists. For my younger students that haven’t come across Dylan yet, I suggest you “Google” him.

Dylan wrote the song as a deliberate attempt to create an anthem of change for the time, influenced by Irish and Scottish ballads.

This was a little before my formative years in Guitar but certainly influential for changes in music that was popular at the time. YouTube is a great source of music knowledge so consider looking up a Pat Boone ballad and contrast that with an early Rolling Stones performance to give you an idea of the amount of change. Then think about what changes have happened since!

As you probably know my passion lays in Classical Guitar, but that too has had great eras of change. One such change came about with the music of John Dowland during the renaissance era which is thought of as 1400 to 1600 AD.

Remember that the printing press was invented in 1439 and until then all music was hand transcribed and certainly not available to the masses. Music was more jovial court dance orientated which I’m sure you would have seen in many historical films.

So along comes the printing press and John Dowland (1563 -1626) who is an accomplished composer and Lutenist, the Lute being similar to a Guitar. His music was described as melancholy and often sounding like a funeral accompaniment, which was a huge change at the time. I wonder if this music was played at his funeral, on this day, 20th February, in 1626.

John Dowland’s instrumental music has undergone a 20th century early music revival, has been a continuing source of repertoire for lutenists and classical guitarists.

Here’s an early printed cover of the music and a video of my rendition of Lachramae Antiquae. I hope you enjoy the piece and think about how music changes.


Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | February 2, 2020

What do I learn next ? Old Town Road

What do I learn next ?

It’s a common question from students at all levels, so I have come up with a few suggestions for you.

I’m sure there will be something to suit your tastes and ability level on our web page “What do I learn next? ” and here’s another one for students around level 1 in modern guitar.

“Old Town Road” has only 4 chords and you probably play them already so why not give it a go.


Here is the video of the song performed by Lil Nas X


Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | January 27, 2020

One small step. One giant leap.

Some times a small step in guitar lessons can be a giant leap for students. I was reminded of this recently by 2 students in our lessons. One young, one old and they were both having the same concerns.



Learning the guitar takes lots of practice and concentration and then there’s the next step………

Playing with someone.

Yes it’s a big step in your learning but one that is absolutely essential to master. Students find it hard enough to concentrate on technique, read the music without having someone playing at the same time, but it’s the basis of most guitar performance so it’s just another step in learning and often a giant leap.

In modern guitar it’s the combination of melody and chords and in classical it’s likely the 2 pieces of solo and accompaniment.

So how do we learn this skill ? Just like every other skill we learn, it comes down to understanding and practice. In modern pieces we must learn/understand both parts before they can come together. You may start by learning the melody then the chords so that you are comfortable with both. The fun begins when you bring the piece together with another guitarist.

Here’s a video I made with modern guitar student Ian. It’s “All I have to do is Dream” from the Hal Leonard More Easy Pop Melodies book. A great way to make that leap to playing with another guitarist.

Ideas for making this step/leap are various but I think the easiest is to learn to play the melody to a backing track of the chords. Either slow down the music or have it recorded at a slower pace and that way you can concentrate on getting it correct one bar at a time.

It’s very useful to break up the piece into sections, playing the melody and then the chords. You might play the whole piece as a melody first then switch to chords to repeat and then break it into smaller parts for the switch depending on the piece.

When you have the melody and chords learned and practiced the next step is to go live. That means we need to start playing the piece as a duet in lessons. Start slow and work up to an easy speed as this step can sometimes be a bit of a leap. Some students concentrate on keeping their timing by initially counting out aloud which helps them concentrate on their part and not get drawn into waiting for a lead from the other player.

Each student may have their own special way of making this leap but all contain the elements of understanding the piece and practice. I encourage students to make recordings in lessons so that they can be used later in practice sessions.

I suspect some of you may find this step a challenge, but mastering it will mean a real leap in your learning and enjoyment of guitar.




Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | January 14, 2020

What do I learn next ? What about Shotgun ?

Here we are again at the beginning of another year of guitar lessons. Maybe your asking yourself  “what do I learn next?”  Well here’s a song for you that I have taught to many students recently. It’s Shotgun by George Ezra.

Also check out my “What do I learn next ” page on the website.

Want to see it performed then check out this video.

As always, if your interested in learning this piece please let me know.


Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | July 18, 2019

A long time ago in galaxy far far away….

Is this about “Star Wars”? Well, not really, but it does have a space connection.



So let me start by asking, what do Shakespeare, Galileo and Rembrandt have in common?


No idea ?  Well in addition to being leaders in their respective fields, they were also contemporaries of Anthony Holborne (1545-1602) who was one of the most significant composers of the day. He composed for lute, cittern and instrumental consort during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 (1533-1603.).

Here’s the Space Connection.
In such high regard is he held that a recording made of his music in 1976, was sent into space aboard Voyager 1 and 2 space probes in 1977. I wonder how Holborne would have reacted to his music (written in the late 1500s) as of May 2019 being 11 billion miles from earth proceeding toward the edge of the solar system and beyond.

Getting “back to earth”, today’s video is of me playing one of Holbornes pieces. This arrangement is by Adelaide’s famous Jason Waldron and is called “Lute Galliard 17”. A Galliard is a form of Renaissance dance and was popular all over Europe in the 16th century and will soon be popular again on a “galaxy far away”.

I really enjoy playing and teaching this piece so please let me know if you would like to learn it as it can customised to suit different levels and by the way, it involves “Drop D Tuning”.

It is a beautiful piece of very old music and so I my final words are
“Anthony Holborne take a bow-you really are a star!

Hope you enjoy the video.

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