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AWC Guitar

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First update in a long while…

With the last couple of years being an absolute horror show with much change, I think a quick update is in order.

Tuition

I have a new day job working for Surrey Arts managing instrumental tuition in schools in the Waverley and Mole Valley districts. This involves quite a lot of stuff during the week, so in the interests of work / life balance I am now only offering a limited number of lesson slots on Saturday mornings only. Visit the contact page to view availability.

Instruments offered

I am offering tuition on the following instruments. I always have done, but realise I haven’t made it as clear as I could have!

  • Electric Guitar (pop, rock, blues, jazz etc)
  • Acoustic Guitar (folk, gypsy jazz, etc)
  • Classical guitar
  • Bass guitar
  • Ukulele

Online, In-person or Blended

I am very happy to teach in any way that suits you, whether that’s in-person or online. It’s worth thinking about the advantages of a blended structure, too. This means alternating between the two formats to get the best of both worlds: think of the online lessons as “input” where I show you a concept, share the resources and set the “work”. We then come together in-person to play in real time and workshop the songs or ideas you have worked on in a practical way. Get in touch if you’d like to explore this, it can work really well.

Tambourine Love?

I work a lot with a very talented singer called Penny Fazackerley (click on her name to find out more about what she does) and we made this video of a song she wrote.  The story is kind of fun: almost a decade ago she posted on Twitter that she wanted to write a song but didn’t have a title.  I suggested Tambourine Love, for no reason at all.  So she wrote the song.  Skip forward to Lockdown 2020 and she performed it on her YouTube channel.  I then thought it would be fun to get a bunch of our friends together and do what every musician is currently doing – make an online collaborative video.  Good excuse to learn the basics of Final Cut Pro, too…  Below is the original, and then the final “produced” video.  It was really fun to do, so I hope you enjoy it!

Finshed Video – feat. Jon Wills (drums), Peter Falconer (piano and keyboards), Dan Gaylard (bass).

Original Demo

 

10 Free Ukulele Lessons for Kids

Seeing as I can’t leave the house, I thought I’d do something productive that might help other people who can’t leave the house.  In particular those with young kids who are stuck at home trying to find things to occupy them.  So…

I’ve set out and recorded 10 lessons for kids who might want to play Ukulele.  The idea is that with a little bit of parental help they’ll have something to practice, which might buy you a few minutes a day.  As well as the obvious musical benefits, of course.

There it is.  10 lessons to work through at your own pace, with full backing tracks and videos to play along with.  No prior knowledge or ability required!

Click here to head straight there and start learning!

Uke photo.jpg

Ukulele

Got myself a Uke!  It’s a Kala SSEM Tenor.  Which just means it’s a big ukulele..  I’m going to start putting some more stuff up soon, including a free course of lessons for young beginners with backing tracks and videos to combat the lockdown boredom!

Anyway, I made this

 

Latest Lesson – Play EVERY Major and Minor Triad only changing one note at a time. (Two studies)

In this excersise you’ll learn a sequence that takes you through every major and minor triad, starting on D major and only changing one note at a time.  Then, in the second video a study based on this concept.  Click here for a bit more detail, it’s under Neo Riemannian Theory.  First example TAB: AC03

Once you’ve done that you can try this next one, which is a more musical study based on the same idea of navigating through all 24 maj and min triads in sequence.  Second example TAB: AC04

New Guitar!

For a while I’ve been looking for a new acoustic to replace my old Takamine ESF-40C.  It’s a nice guitar that I got when I was about 18, but it’s worn out now and ready to retire.  Had a look at a few Taylors, including the 214, but ended up going with a brand called Faith.  The guitar I got is a Neptune High Gloss, it’s a baby jumbo shape without a pickup (I’ll put my own in).  It’s a bit cheaper in price than the Taylor 214 but has solid rosewood back and sides, I was quite surprised that the Taylor is mostly laminate and not entirely rosewood.

Anyway, I’m very happy with it and here are some pictures.  I’ll probably do a video soon, too.

Updates

I feel like I should be making more effort with this, here’s an update for the sake of it!

Was recently asked to be part of a production of Evita at The Prince’s Hall, Aldershot. Would have been very easy to turn it down with all the teaching and other stuff going on, but I decided not to. Really glad I did it, it was great fun and I really enjoyed blowing the cobwebs off my reading chops! Great cast and band, too.

Assorted photo evidence:

Other than that, I’m still keeping busy with FRiSK and Tzigauners and am hoping to record some more music this year, because it’s been far too long.

And, I’ve started learning Norwegian. No reason, just need something else for my brain to do…

FRiSK, performing (last night) at Lains Barn (Wantage). The song is called S.O.B but I can’t remember who it’s by:

The Christmas Miracle of Practice

Recently (lets say the last six months) I’ve been more or less completely consumed with my work at ACM.  It’s such a great place, but as an inevitable consequence of it’s sheer size and number of students, it is a mad house and everyone is busy all the time!  The kids I’ve been working with have all been doing practice journals as part of thier project for the term, it’s an opportunity for them to set themselves some targets and work towards achieving them while, importantly, tracking and evaluating their progress as they go.  Just for the fun of it I thought I’d do the same over a short period of time, so I picked a piece I’ve wanted to learn for a while and made little videos illustrating my progress learning one of the tricky passages in it.  The piece is Tango en Skai by Roland Dyens, and here are a few videos going from not knowing it, to being able to play it as a stand alone phrase, and then being able to play it in context.

Day 1: Learning the notes.

Day 2: making corrections and further practice.

Day 3: consistent playing at slow tempo.

Day 4: the run in context.

It’s not a perfect rendition at all, and my approach wasn’t particularly scientific but I really enjoyed this process: it was a tangible and motivating reminder of the magic of practice.  I mean, it’s not rocket science, but it’s easy to forget it sometimes…

Screenshot 2018-12-24 12.17.11

Enough of that though, it’s now Christmas eve and everything has wound down nicely.

LeQuecumbar

Some photos from our recent outing at LeQucumbar, Battersea. It’s a great venue that specialises in Gypsy swing, so it was great to play there. Cool vibe!

The band featured, me (obvs); Tom Williams (gtr); Dan Gaylard (bass) and Phoebe Gorry (vox).

Hopefully we’ll get down there again soon!

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