Arpeggios in the 2nd position. Click the link for the notation and TAB. g_major_arepeggios_6_2.pdf Enjoy
Here is a short video of the D mixolydian scale played in the 9th position starting on the 6th string with the 2nd finger. Notation and TAB below. d_mixolydian_6_2.pdf
D Mixolydian Scale in The 9th Position. Click on this link to upload the notation and TAB
Below is a short video of the A major scale. Played in the 9th position starting on the 5th string with the 4th finger, hence the name! This scale pattern is a favourite of mine because all the notes are played without any position changes making it easier to play fast. Start slow and build your speed! Enjoy! Find the TAB and notation below a_major_12th_fret_copy_copy.pdf
Michael JohnsonCHOOSING A GUITAR TEACHER
Guitar Teachers are found through a variety of methods, through friends and family, word of mouth, advertising or through a local Music shop. All of these are perfectly fine and valid. This article is intended to inform a potential student or parent to make this choice a little easier when looking for a teacher.
You don't need a qualification or licence to be a guitar teacher. Anyone can set up and start charging students for lessons. People often don't ask or consider whether their guitar teacher has any qualifications in either Music or education. Is it necessary for a guitar teacher to have qualifications?
Often people will choose a guitar teacher through hearing someone play but a great player doesn't necessarily make a great teacher. I believe that there are a couple of important aspects to effectively teaching an instrument. These include subject knowledge, communication skills and understanding different learning styles of students. These factors can be subjective as well. Different people come to Music in different ways. Some students are analytical and tend toward the theoretical side of Music where others are more intuitive. Usually a combination of both is best.
Music qualification gives the teacher deep knowledge of the subject matter. Aspects such as music theory, proper technique, an understanding of harmony and detailed study of great musicians in a particular field. This is of course a great background for an instrumental tutor to have. If this knowledge can be effectively communicated to students then this is a fantastic basis for a productive student teacher relationship.
Of course there are plenty of amazing guitar teachers that have no qualifications. Anyone that has reached a high level of competency on an instrument has effectively “studied” to get to where they are. The ability to form a rapport with students is just as important as subject knowledge. As is the ability to identify and implement areas that need to be worked on in order for the student to grow and improve.
Essentially you need to find a teacher that is able to affectively communicate the information that you need at the stage that you are at in your development as a musician. This will change throughout your development. Many great players will have different mentors throughout their development. And of course many have gotten to where they are through listening to the masters on recordings and imitating them through hours of hard work.
If you are choosing a teacher for your child qualifications in Music and Education can be a good place to start. More importantly look for someone that can affectively communicate with students and make the lessons a positive and enjoyable experience. A recommendation from a friend is good also but what suits their child may not necessarily suit your child due to different learning styles. Good luck. Be patient and persistent, some days will be better than others. Practice is always the vital ingredient what ever way you learn and the old cliche that it’s a journey not a destination certainly rings true when learning an instrument.
For this weeks artist spotlight I can't go past George Benson.This man is a monster guitar player that has successful careers in both Jazz and Pop music. Not only does George have jazz guitar chops that put him up there as one of the most influential players of all time but he is also a beautiful vocalist. He is a 10 time Grammy Award winner and has a star on the Hollywood walk of Fame.
George was a child prodigy that sang and played guitar and released his first album at the age of 10. As a young man he started playing Jazz and Bebop and as well as releasing his own albums he worked as a sideman with the likes of Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard and Stanley Turrentine.
Benson’s landmark album “Breezin’” introduced him to a whole new audience and earned him the first ever platinum Jazz album in 1976. This album also featured Benson’s vocals on “This Masquerade". At this time George also recorded “The Greatest Love of All” a song later made famous by Whitney Houston as well as recording with Stevie Wonder as a guitarist and back up vocalist. His collaborations with legendary producer Quincy Jones produced some of his most popular Pop/Jazz recordings.
George continues to record and tour with the worlds Jazz elite including Al Jareau, Marcus millar, Steve Lukather and Wynton Marsalis. His discography includes 36 studio albums and 5 live albums.
Put on your whits safari suit and strap yourself in for this video of George performing with Carlos Santana in the 70’s.
This weeks artist spotlight is on George Harrison of the Beatles. Although the majority of the amazing output of this iconic band was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, George wrote a couple of the most beautiful pieces in "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something". Something was considered by John Lennon as one of the Beatles finest works and features a sophisticated chord progression.
Harrison sited Django Reinhardt, Carl Perkins, Chet Atkins and Chuck Berry as influences. He had a beautiful crisp clean rock and roll tone always on the verge of breaking. He derived this sound in the early years with his combination of Gretch guitars through Vox amps which later developed into a variety of equipment, often Stratocasters through Fender tube amps.
Post Beatles Harrison had a successful solo career that produced hits such as "My Sweet Lord" as well as collaborations with Ronnie Wood, Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, and Tom Petty as well as well as co-founding "Travelling Wilbury's".
Sadly George was the second Beatle Lo leave us passing from throat cancer in 2001.
This video features George with Eric Clapton.
I’m often asked by parents how to encourage students to practice. These days kids schedules are busy and our expectations are high. Parents feel a responsibility to give kids a range of opportunities. I know where I live there is almost a sense of shame if you're not giving your kids all the opportunities available. Around here we expect our kids to be football playing surfers that can play an instrument, and excel at school. Kids are also absorbed with electronic devises, games, social media, friends, TV and an ever-changing landscape of distractions. So there is not a lot of available time to practice an instrument.
The trick to practice and growing and learning as a Musician is consistency. 10 minutes each day is way better than an hour on Saturday and then nothing all week. Repetition is one vital element in developing the necessary fine motor skills needed to play an instrument. Simple repetition. This is part of the grunt work of being a musician. We need these basic motor skills in order to have some tools to use in being creative and expressive.
As a student or parent of a student this means finding some kind of routine that suits the student and the people around them. This will be different for everyone and where it fits into your schedule is not important, its the consistency that matters. For some people it will be the same time every day, for some it will vary each day, I know my kids have a lot of idle time before school because their classes don’t start until 9.30am. The time of day doesn’t matter, again, consistency is the key. This is also one of the many wonderful life lessons a student gets from learning an instrument, discipline, routine and the benefit of hard work and effort.
It should also be noted that everyone is different and some students will need more encouragement than others. For students that really take to Music the playing and learning, the joy of expression becomes the reward. The thrill, gratification and kudos of performing does it for many but for some until that becomes the reality a little enticement and encouragement goes a long way. A little while ago I was chatting with with a group of musician friends and it actually surprised me that the majority of them admitted to being bribed and enticed into practicing their instruments in the early stages. That wasn't the case for me, I just loved it and wanted it, but like I say everyone is different. Of course positive feedback and encouragement should be your main tool but if this fails that new skateboard, Xbox game or day at the movies can be a useful carrot!
Another important play is providing the space and a good environment for practice, wether it be in the students bedroom or somewhere else in the house that is dedicated to playing and practicing. Wherever it is it should be comfortable and well lit. Distractions should be minimal and try to avoid areas of high traffic. (People traffic that is, and cars!) If the instrument is in a case make an effort to remove it from the case and place it on a stand, getting it out could be one more impediment for the unmotivated student. There should also be a music stand, a metronome and any other items that are specific to that instrument.
Lastly try to remember that playing music should be a fun and enriching experience, positive and enjoyable for ourselves and our kids. Too many people have a negative experience and never return to Music feeling it’s “not for me” due to a moment of discouragement or frustration. Getting through these times is always a challenge but the rewards are worth it. The main thing is to try and keep at it and make it fun! Music should be an outlet of expression for ever, a lifelong learning experience that inspires us to continually improve. All this in the name of communicating and bringing joy to those around us.
Please feel free to comment, engage and share. Thanks
We made it! Another term. Hope everyone enjoyed Term 1 2016, settling into a new school year. Great to have new students starting their musical journeys and students that have been with us continuing to learn and grow. Special shout out to students that performed during the term. Some at school and some out in the world. Some even earning some coin! Hope everyone gets a chance to have a break and spend some time with your family these holidays. I know I’m looking forward to doing exactly that as well as practicing, preparing for the term ahead, playing a few gigs and hopefully getting a surf or two.
Looking forward to playing at a wedding this Saturday night and on Sunday you can catch me and Ziggy Mirza at Yoda in Avalon from 5.30.
I am also considering running another Guitar Ensemble this coming term. It my vision is to have an ensemble with kids of varying ability levels that can get together and rehearse and play arrangements for multiple guitars. I have found this is one of the best ways for students to accelerate their musical learning as well as improve their listening skills, team work, focus and concentration. If you are interested in enrolling your son or daughter for this ensemble please let me know and if we have the numbers we will go ahead.
Thanks to everyone to supporting your kids in learning to express themselves and grow through Music. If you have any questions about lessons, ensembles or any suggestions for Soundwaves Northern Beaches please don’t hesitate to contact me.
I look forward to catching up with everyone in Term 2.
Photo Courtesy Mathew Toll
Guitar Ensemble Performance is an essential part of a guitarists development. The benefits of Guitar Ensemble playing are many and help the guitarist not only as a musician but also in their personal growth. I find that my Guitar Ensemble students progress quicker than most students as they are learning repertoire and parts for each other as well as improvising and keeping time.
This is a guide for people that are purchasing a guitar for the first time either for themselves, for their child or as a gift. I intend to inform the reader of the different types of guitars that are available for purchase and what type of guitar will suit the needs of the person for whom the guitar is intended.
As a guitar tutor I am often asked what type of guitar is best for a new student. It is a very important question as the type of guitar will effect a students' experience in learning and playing guitar. Enjoyment and a positive experience will lead to the student wanting to play, practice and improve on their chosen instrument. If the student isn't having a positive experience then they will tend to not enjoy their practice and quickly loose interest.
A well made instrument will not only sound better but will also be easier to play and lead to the student enjoying playing and improving.
Type of Guitar
Students will often want to go for a steel string acoustic guitar or an electric guitar as this is what they will most often see being played buy their musical hero's. Although it is possible to buy one of these guitars that is suitable I will usually recommend a nylon string or classical guitar for the beginning guitarist. There are a number of reasons for this as I have outlined below.
A reasonable quality instrument can be purchased for minimal cost. As far as guitar technology goes classical guitars are as simple as they come. This means that they are generally cheaper than an instrument with steel strings. A functional instrument can be purchased for minimal cost. Of course a concert standard instrument will be a lot more but a basic beginner classical guitar should one of the cheapest options available to you.
Nylon strings are a little bit softer and easier on the fingers than steel strings. It takes some time for a guitar players finger tips to toughen through the abrasive nature of pressing down guitar strings. This effect is worse when using steel strings and beginning students will often complain of soreness. Nylon strings are a lot softer and less abrasive than steel.
How do you know wether it is nylon or classical string? Firstly a nylon string guitar will usually look like the instrument in Figure 1. They may come in various colours. You can also check the thinnest 3 strings. On a nylon string guitar these will be made of clear nylon, on a steel string guitar they will be made of steel.
With a nylon string guitar you also need very little extra equipment. A pick if you choose to use one and a guitar strap if you want to stand and play. If you choose an electric guitar you are going to need an amplifier.
For some students a full size guitar will effect their ability to play comfortably and effectively. Guitars are available in various sizes, usually categorised as 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 size. it is definitely worth purchasing a smaller guitar for the younger student. A smaller guitar will be easier for the student to handle and play. With that in mind though it should be considered that the younger student will grow into the instrument.
I would generally lean towards buying the smaller guitar as it is easier to handle and then perhaps if the student is progressing well a high quality full size guitar can be purchased further down the track. The smaller instrument can always be handed on to a younger sibling or friend. I still use one as a travel guitar.
Solid body electric guitars and steel string acoustics are also available in smaller sizes and there are some beautiful instruments available in smaller scale.
In further posts I will explore buying a guitar for the more experienced guitarist.