Intensive Lessons and Clinics
Guitar for Songwriters
Are you looking improve your craft? Break free from the songwriter cliches? Mix up your strumming patterns? Play more interesting chords?
Too often songwriters become stuck in a cycle of repeating their same guitar tricks. There are many reasons. Most importantly, to a singer/songwriters THE SONG COMES FIRST, and the guitar part is added to accompany the song. Guitar lessons for songwriters require daily experimentation with the guitar and keeping a journal of small ideas for future use. Some often neglected parts of a singer/songwriters guitar playing often include-
Playing with a capo and transposing so that you can find THE BEST key and range for your voice and style.
Examining the relationship between melody and harmony so that you will never have to compromise a melody
Playing “Jazz Chord” shapes, turnarounds, and altered chords and adding them to your existing songs
Learning a variety of strumming and fingerstyle patterns (classical etudes, travis picking, delta blues picking, basic flamenco techniques, samba and bossa nova rhythms, african rhythms, etc.) so that you are able to pursue your ideas and songs with a variety of styles and accompaniment patterns.
Playing fills and walking lines to lift and transition your phrases
Music theory, analysis, and modulation so that you can hear and extract the ideas from recordings that you find intriguing
Experimenting with moveable shapes and open strings to create textures and more modern sounding accompaniment.
For most people, mastering jazz guitar is a lifetime of work. It requires refined technique, great ears, a good feel and sense of timing, and learning and playing countless tunes. Music reading skills, working knowledge of music theory, and mastery of all 12 keys and related modes and chords is also essential. The payoff in the Jazz guitar discipline is tremendous. Choosing this path can will expand your abilities in nearly any other style, including rock, pop, blues, folk, and nearly anything else. A few examples of what is covered in Jazz Guitar Lessons include-
An introduction to modes by learning chords and melodies to all of Miles Davis’s classic album Kind of Blue (1959).
Examining songs from “The Great American Songbook,” older pop songs with great chord changes, and jazz guitar classics from Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, and Les Paul.
Learn how to alter your chord grips so that you can play all the major, minor, altered, diminished, half-diminished, 7, 9, 11, and 13 chords COMFORTABLY and EFFICIENTLY.
Learn why you would play an altered chord, dorian mode vs. melodic minor, etc.
Be able to hear and recognize the scales and modes before you play them
After a basic cycle of 5ths and 2-5-1 chord progression exercises you will be able to play Fly me to the Moon, Autumn Leaves, All the Things You Are, and Killing Me Softly (they all use the same chords)
Playing solid traditional 2, 3, and 4 note chords in the style of Freddie Green.
Learn how to navigate chord charts, big band charts, and lead sheets.
Learn concepts like inside vs outside, modal vs. tonal, blues licks, altered chords, guide tone lines, trading fours, poly rhythms, and respecting forms so that you a comfortable improvising over anything, anytime, anywhere, with anyone.
Many guitarists will remember the first time they ever heard Doc Watson, Clarence White, Tony Rice, or David Grier. The tone, technique, tunes, and intensity of the genre is fascinating, highly addictive, and can take supercharge your musicianship and chops. If you are a looking for an introduction to Bluegrass Guitar styles or already play Bluegrass and related traditional music there are many things that can be learned to help you improve.
Learning a HUGE variety of tunes including flatpicking contest standards, Irish, Blues and Swing, Gypsy Jazz, Country, Polkas, and Waltzes
How to build speed, control and power so that you sound your best when playing songs like Blackberry Blossom and Ragtime Annie at warp speed.
Basic music theory so that you can transcribe and learn by ear
Learning “bass runs,” passing chords, and substitutions to improve and diversify your rhythm guitar playing.
Intro licks, fill in licks, ending (tag) licks, Tony Rice licks, Doc Watson licks, Django licks, and how to create great variations on your own
Singing lead and harmony parts while playing.
Playing in a band, microphones and pickups, dynamics, ensemble work, and banjo jokes
Lead Guitar and Improvising
Do you have what it takes to play lead guitar? Do you want to jam and trade solos with other musicians? Can you play chords and know some songs but always pass when it is your turn to take a solo? Want to learn the tricks and techniques of the blues greats, epic jam bands, or play solos over your own music?
Learn to play moveable scale shapes over the entire guitar so you are not confined to a single position.
Learn the CAGED system and how to use it so you are equally proficient in every key.
Learn to take a lick and play it in any solo.
Expand your knowledge of bends, slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, tapping, double stops and arpeggios so that you can play a simple lick or melody with infinite variations.
Explore blues licks, rock guitar solos, pedal steel licks, jazz and bebop phrases, cliches, and funk vamps so that you can carry them across genres.
Systematically learn to play by ear so that you can play improvise a guitar solo over ANYTHING, even if you don't know the song, chords or key.
Use software to transcribe your favorite solos so that you can unravel the mysteries of the guitar gods.
There are many amazing academic music programs all over the world. If you are planning on going to college for music, it is best to prepare for the audition well in advance. Many amazing young players are turned away from college music programs because they are lacking requirements needed to pass the audition. College and University auditions require being familiar with note reading, sight singing, aural skills, classical etudes, and western music theory.
Learn what the requirements are exactly and how to practice them so there are no surprises in the audition.
Make your prepared pieces sound the best they possibly can.
Brush up on your sight reading skills (no tablature!) so you comfortable playing in different positions, are able to recognize scale and arpeggio patterns, and can recognize key signatures and their positions on the guitar.
Get your scales (major, natural/melodic/harmonic minor) and their associated modes arpeggios down!
Work on performance techniques and deal with anxiety so that when the time comes you are focused, prepared, and relaxed.
Knowing basic music theory, such as key signature recognition, chord types, and cadences will help you pass the written exam.
Get an introduction to sight singing and ear training so that you are comfortable hearing and singing simple melodies without the guitar.
Advanced Music Theory and Practical Applications
Music theory is fascinating. It is the area of music where art and science collide. It ties together music history, physics, composition, arranging, and there are endless possibilities to create and rearrange any type of music. It is similar to learning a language. Some of the many areas to study are-
Learn all the scales and chord types and the differences between them.
Train yourself to hear chord progressions (using the music of the Beatles) in any key so that you can instantly recognize a chord progression.
Learn how to harmonize and arrange a melody so that you can create infinite chords to familiar song.
Understand how 3 and 4 note chords function in a key, and how to use suprise chords to enhance a composition.
Analyse classical, pop, and jazz music with the guitar so that you can come up with solo arrangements of non-guitar tunes.
Understand how to use the diminished, augmented, and altered chords and scales in a variety of contexts