Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | July 19, 2020

Too much screen time ?

Are you one of those people who are guilty of too much screen time during this COVID time ? It seems lots of my guitar students are spending lots of time on movie and TV streaming channels.

How do I know what you’re up to ?

Easy; you have been requesting lots of movie and TV themes to learn. Some of the classics have been:

Mission Impossible, Good Bad and the Ugly, Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, Dr. Zhivago, The Outlander , A Country Practice, Cinema Paradiso, Friends, Dances with Wolves and James Bond.

Great pieces to learn at various levels.

Some students have requested the theme from the movie Schindlers’ List. As you know my passion is classical guitar, so here is Schindlers’ List in a classical arrangement. This arrangement is by Adelaide Guitarist Jason Waldron. If you don’t know Jason’s achievements then get Googling to get the low down on his amazing career in classical guitar.

Did you know that Hal Leonard also puts out song book of Movie Themes for Guitar. 

I hope you enjoy this piece.
Leigh.

 

Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | April 8, 2020

Guitar vs Virus

 

We are certainly in unusual times at present with many students, both young and old, having a massive change of work and study routine due to the Covid19 pandemic. It seems that the measures undertaken in Australia are holding the spread down and we hope that this continues into the future.

I have a few suggestions to help my Guitar Students during this time. Firstly in relation to “Guitar Health”, make sure that you give your guitar a good clean. I don’t mean with soap and water or sanitiser but with one of the many fretboard cleaners available from your local music store.

If you don’t have that on hand then a simple wipe over with a clean damp cloth will suffice. Remember to wash your hands before and after the cleaning process. Also make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before and after each practice session. Covid 19 may live on surfaces for many hours so this before and after practice regime will ensure the health of your guitar and you.

Many parents of young students, now on school holidays and soon to be engaged in remote learning, have said they are grateful for the routine that regular Guitar practice brings. They have had a huge shift in lifestyle recently with the loss of sporting activities and social interaction at school. Remember to set up a regular practice time and try to stick to it.

On the subject of practice, make sure that you incorporate some fun time into each session. Don’t make it all work and no play (no pun intended). Make a list of the pieces you like best and make sure you incorporate some into each practice/fun session. Look back over your work for the last year and brush up on completed pieces. Remember above all, that Guitar practice should be fun time.

At present I am still teaching lessons on a one to one basis as normal at our Glenelg location (and via Zoom where requested) , and of course making sure that the lesson area is clean and safe. If anything changes I will let students know.

On a more cheerful note see below for my idea of the Virus Theme Song.

Happy Easter Everyone.

Cheers
Leigh

 

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.

Cheers
Leigh

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.

Cheers
Leigh

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.

leigh-crop-face

 

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.

Cheers
Leigh

 

 

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