Tag Archives: guitar

Creative Guitar School Concert September 22

On September 22, 2018,  we celebrated our 8th Creative Guitar School Concert.

Congratulations

I must say thank you, to all guitar students that participated and shared with the audience, their love of music and guitar at our Creative Guitar School Concert. It was wonderful to hear so much hard work come to life, with music that touched all our hearts.

I am looking forward to our next concert, and to hear your progress and compositions. Definitel,  I am eager to join your journey, to self discovery, through music and the guitar.

Join us at our next concert, sign up for a interview and learn more about music yourself and playing with others

Concert Objectives

The objective of all Guitar Courses, at our music school,  is for students to interact in group settings, to develop melody, accompaniment and spontaneous compositions, which is referred to as improvisation.

In all courses, we learn to understood the skeleton of a song, and the skills required to create variations in the melody, background and accompaniment. Students play solo, in duos, trios and quartets; we play jazz, pop, funk, flamenco and blues styles.

We understand how songs can be played in different styles as we learn to modify melody and accompaniment, with the appropriate chord scale relationship.

And we have a lot of fun, as we create on the go. This feels good.

 Guitar School Concert Group photo


Every 10 weeks a Creative Guitar School Concert

Guitar courses last for 10 weeks. As a result, at the end of the course, we all get together, have a nice lunch and celebrate a two hour Creative Guitar School concert, at a public venue.

 Guitar School Concert

At the concert, we have performances of present and past guitar students, on electric, nylon and steel strings guitars. The variety of styles performed , reflect common contemporary urban musical expression as Blues guitar, Jazz guitar, Funk, Rock and Flamenco ( Spanish Urban ) 

Live showcase of compositions

As part of the guitar course requirements, all students must compose a song. A composition would be similar to an essay in a written language. This essay is proof of understanding, of the topic, the students has learnt.

Not only will you develop, a deeper understanding of the musical knowledge, when you compose, but,  you will also learn to explain to others how to play your composition. There fore, all students must learn to use the appropriate language to explain the actions; all students must learn to read and write.

Fun and Practice 

This is all great fun, since while you are learning you can hear immediate results of your progress, at our concerts.

But to really enjoy yourself , you are required to practice daily, to develop aural, rhythmic and performance skills, to help you develop further your creativity. These will not come naturally but only through constant practice.

For example: You will not be able to play a song if you cannot hum the melody. If you cannot hum or sing, what you wish to play, you will spend many hours finding your way through the guitar, with the uttermost frustration.

You must sync all movements to a pulse, the beat. Therefore you must practice with this objective, always in mind

Creativity and Well being 

At the Creative Guitar School you will learn the underlining skills required to play songs, develop them and be expressive in your task.  Creativity is the tool of our expression. The final consequence is that you will feel good about your playing,

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Join us at our next Guitar School concert, sign up for a interview and learn more about music yourself and playing with others  



How to improvise on the guitar

How to improvise on the guitar  

Five reasons why it feels good to learn to improvise on the guitar.

1. Create fresh replenishing emotions

To improvise on the guitar, is a creative way of telling a musical story. Let´ s imagine we have a paragraph of 24 words that we narrate, with the objective of explaining a feeling. Consequently, we may also keep on repeating the paragraph, but with different degrees of variations, to further develop the emotion.

To improvise on the guitar is to create variations of the musical story. It gives you the pathway to extend the interpretation, to modify, adapt and change it to your needs and on the go.  As a result, improvisation on the guitar, can produce extremely satisfying emotions, as I believe it is the true gateway for personal expression. 

2. Interaction with others

We all know how much fun we can have, when we play with others. Music can also be a lot of fun, and improvising can be the ultimate game of enjoyment.  

I relate guitar improvisation to the perfect communion of souls, in all possible conscious dimensions. Furthermore, our musical interaction just fills up the space around us, as we bond with fellow musicians and the audience.

Music and guitar improvisation is another humble path to an experience, where we all come together, to share our beloved human values. When we improvise on the guitar, in any style of music as blues, jazz, funk, rock, flamenco, we create the opportunity to interact emotionally with others, without the need of words, nor values, nor judgements of any kind.

Guitar improvisation will make you feel extremely unique, because you freely express yourself in a context, where you are accompanied and heard.

3. To explore ones inner self

I believe life can feel good when we break the rigidness of daily obligations. Therefore, a bit of controlled chaos feels good; learn to improvise on the guitar and you will enjoy a refreshing musical adventure of colours, sounds and emotions. When we improvise, we take on this adventure our dreams and souls.

When we play music knowing exactly what is ahead, and what we have to do, then it feels like we are on a road, set by others to achieve a boxed goal.  However, if we are able to explore other pathways, other boundaries, other colours along the way, and interact with joy with others,  the creative guitar experience will be emotionally rewarding.  This non programmed road trip will become the real musical adventure. We will arrive at the same destination as the programmed road trip,  but  feeling very satisfied, and eager to wake up the next day to jump on board and explore another pathway. 

4. Satisfaction

From my experience, when I improvise and create variations,  as a consequence of my interaction with my other band members, I feel very satisfied afterwards.  Satisfaction is not an easy feeling to come across, and it is the feeling that most will regenerate my whole body and soul. 

Also, the more I improvise, understanding the emotional goals, choosing the right harmonic melodic tools for the job,  the greater the final satisfaction.

Let’s improvise together. Come and join us at the Creative Guitar School, in Melbourne, and learn to play the guitar, to improvise in contemporary musical styles on electric guitar, acoustic guitar or nylon string Spanish guitar

5. To be unique

Music is not a visual experience, nor a competition, it is an auditive experience, that you can enjoy with your internal rhythm, soul and with your closed eyes, unless you are driving. 

However,  there is a lot of guitar music our there,  that is a reflection of what we can do, and not what the musician is trying to express, tell or convey. Music is the gift we can use to develop a virtue, to share with others; our uniqueness, our story. 

A story is not about how quick you can run, or how much you can scream. A musical story is really about sharing an emotion.  Yes, when we scream we portray an egoistic feeling, but the true virtue would be to make the audience feel the need of this excitement, and get them to scream with you. 

It feels good to improvise on the guitar and to be unique in our story telling,  as we can accomplish a very special human interaction, that no other musical form of expression will allow. 

What tools do we need to improvise effectively 

As a guitarist, you will need to master all the musical tools required to know inside out, the melody and harmonic structure of the song. This means, that at any time and moment, you are playing a song, you can effectively,  switch from the role of the soloist to the accompanist, or vice versa.

Once you have the song mastered,  then you are now ready to start creating variations, to keep the song flowing, based upon the interaction with other band members, the audience and your feel, either as the soloist, or the accompanist of the lead guitar.

In order to improvise on the guitar efficiently, you need to learn specific melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic tools, to create variety in tension, in dramatic intensity, as the song develops.

For example, let ´s say you have played your song once, and you want to be able to play the melody, (the lyrics of the song) with more intensity the second time through. A change of octave,  an increase in rhythmic intensity or harmonic tension, will give you all the desired momentum, to produce your climax. 

There are literally hundreds of tools at your disposal, to help develop your creativity on the go, but all you need is just a few, to get going, and to start feeling the flow of creating music.

Improvisation and Guitar Courses

All students, in all guitar courses, I impart at my Melbourne Creative Guitar School, learn to improvise. At a guitar beginners level, you will learn to create basic variations of melody and harmony. As you progress throughout the levels, you will master a vast array of tools, to accomodate all your emotional needs.

I encourage learning through group interaction. Therefore, I teach all basic courses in Group environments . These classes have a maximum fo 4 students per class.

I further encourage the group interaction with the concerts I schedule throughout the year. All students perform live every 3 months. Before the performance, we also organise a nice barbecue to get the stomachs activated and the energy levels up high.

Students will also have the opportunity to enjoy feedback of all their musical accomplishments, since I hold the classes in my recording studio.  Therefore,  we are able to record the group progression, and enjoy how much we have learnt, at the different stages of the musical journey. 

 

How to find the notes on the guitar fretboard

How to find the notes on the guitar fretboard?

Musical notes represent sounds of definite pitch. When we perform, we are constantly searching for sounds and notes, there fore, we need to learn how to find them on the guitar fretboard.

How to find notes on the guitar fretboard

We generally will not remember, with precision, where they are, by solely memorising, visually the position, or by using any form of logic. You will remember where to find a sound, better said a combination of notes, as no note comes alone, by identifying the sound previous to its location on the guitar fretboard.

Once you are able to sing what you want to play, you will be ready to find the sound on the guitar. All groups of sounds, phrases, melodies, passages, are generally in a specific tonal centre . This means, that the note you are looking for, will be one, of more or less, seven notes to choose from.

Sing before you play

At the Creative Guitar School, I will teach you where to find the notes by learning the scale patterns, but above all, how to find the desired note effectively, by recognising its pitch, and singing it before you play it on the guitar fretboard.

Further more, the pitch on the guitar fretboard can increase in different directions. If you first understand that the sound you are looking for, is going up or down in pitch, then you will not be confused, by which direction you take on the guitar, to find this increase of pitch.

In our first lesson, of all beginners guitar courses, we learn all the notes of the C scale, on all strings. We learn them quickly, by singing and naming them in tempo. We quickly identify the distance between notes, and understand the concept of semi tones and tones.

I strongly urge all students, to repeat this exercise daily, in tempo, to get quickly acquainted with the sound, and as a consequence the notes on the guitar fretboard.

When you practice guitar, please keep in mind that all exercises must be repeated daily, to ensure you can properly memorise the task. However, repetition can sometimes be tiring. Do not worry, I am there for you, to give you new weekly challenges, and to modify any exercise, so you may maintain your constant interest in your daily practice routine .

Why do we learn chords on the guitar?

Not all musical instruments can play chords, however, it is presumed that beginner students, first must learn to play chords on the guitar.

A chord is only part of the tools we can use, to create the accompaniment for a song. A song has tempo, groove, melody, background lines, bass lines, harmony and sections. We need to learn all the basic tools, required to play a song from the beginning to the end. A song is really a melody, the vocal line, and all the rest are tools, to help that vocal line come alive.

Chords can be used to define the groove of a song. A drummer definer the groove with sounds that are not specific lyrical pitches, a bass defines the groove by playing melodic lines in the low register, that define the chords.

As a guitarist, when you play a chord, you define the groove of the song, with more than one note at a time, and since the difference in between chords, create changes in intensity, we get a sort of flow, a forward motion in our playing.

However, we also need to learn to play melodies, the vocal line, which is what the song is about. At the Creative Guitar School, you will learn how to play chords, create your own rhythms and especially, learn how to play the melody of the song, and create variations, to keep the flow going.

The melody, the vocal part with no lyrics, is the essence of a song. You need to master how to play melodies immediately, to avoid frustration, and to avoid getting stuck, in what to do on the guitar.

How to create strumming patterns?

At the Creative Guitar School, l I teach you how to develop your own strumming patterns. For such, you only need to know the ingredients of the patterns which are: the subdivisions of the beat , accents, how to identify a groove and reproduce it.

You will be surprised on how quick you are able to create your own powerful grooves and strumming patterns. This is must for all your musical productions.

However, you need constant practice in your daily routine to achieve the musical goal with satisfaction. You must strive to always play in tempo, as such will reduce the time you will take to learn. It helps focus and reduces unnecessary, never ending repetitions. The more you play in tempo, the quicker you will learn .

When should I start concentrating on technique?

In the initial stages of your learning, you must be able to identify melodic values, rhythmic patterns, understand song structure, maintain a tempo, ect.

Once you are efficient in the basic musical knowledge, then you will be ready to develop speed, accuracy and  guitar technique to help you further your expression.

Technique, may come naturally, by completing the exercises and learning of all songs. However, as a teacher, I will quickly identify your learning obstacles, which we all have, and I will give exercises to overcome specific technical difficulties.

In order to improve your technique, you must practice at the slowest speed possible, anticipating position change and sound. You must try to avoid, to place your finger in any position, if your are not sure of the sound you are looking for. Please, have first, the sound you want to reproduce, in your mind, sing it, and then place your finger where you believe that sound is. If you do not have the sound in your head, you will not remember where to find it again.

This obstacle may be overcome by reading, but reading may block our capability of hearing the sound. When we read, we follow placement and tempo instructions, and in the early stages of our guitra learning, we will not hear the sound until we have played it. The process of learning can be daunting and very frustrating.

I already know my scales, what is next?

Scales are groups of 7notes that identify a tonal centre, the resting point of a song. The scale is a tool we use to make melodies, to create bass lines, to improvise, to create variations of chords, to create fill . In other words learn the scale and start playing . The scale will give the location knowledge, where the sounds are, that you are looking for on the guitar.

You will need to learn how to create melodies, bass lines, melodic harmonic groove. At the Creative Guitar School I will teach you how to have never ending fun, with this beautiful instrument in all styles of music, either if it is jazz, rock, blues, funk, flamenco .

Please remember that all students at all levels regularly must compose and record their song at my Recording Studio.

I would like to invite you all to my upcoming concerts in Melbourne and beyond.

How to practice the guitar with joy

How to practice the guitar with joy

Guitar Accuracy

When we are learning a song,  we all try to achieve accuracy in it´s chords and melody;  the what we will do,  when and why, at all levels and at all stages, of our musical life.

However, I believe accuracy is the consequence of hearing the sound before we place our fingers on the guitar fretboard or strings. We must understand the sound, hear it and be able to sing it, before the final finger placement. 

If we miss this step of hearing, singing,  we may engage in a non stop practice schedule. The more you can hear and sing, what you want to play on the guitar, the more satisfying the experience will be, and the quicker you will learn. 

Accuracy in the melody and accompaniment,  is an important goal in our practice routine. Try not to guess where your fingers have to be, but first sing the sound, then find it.   If you cannot sing the sound, you will need to imagine it first. 

When we imagine a sound, we engage in the process of understanding.  This process should be done at a comfortable speed, at which you can accomplish your goal. Once this process flows, then you will be able to apply the accuracy to the tempo, and play the musical phrase on the guitar, or any other instrument, at the desired speed. 

The objective of all practice is to have fun, and avoid unnecessary repetition, to try to emulate what we will do, when we share our performance, and music live, with our beloved audience, that is eager to listen to you.  The how to practice the guitar with joy is a constant must in all daily routines,

How to practice the guitar with joy

How much discipline do we need in our guitar training

How about if we needed no discipline, only eagerness to finish a goal in a satisfying manner.  If we are eager to learn, and always ask the right questions, to get to the desired goal, music will be a very enjoyable experience. 

If you feel bored, distracted, then you are learning with no worthy emotion to remember. There fore, you are practising incorrectly and hot having fun.  Always ask your self, how can I play what I wish, as soon as possible, and have fun along the way.  

Generally, if you are not having fun on the guitar, it will be because you are playing with no tempo, your are not able to sing what you can do, you do not understand the groove of the song, and do not understand the harmonic tension of each passage you are playing.

Too much discipline and too much repetition, will create an emotional blockage. It takes a very long time to get over the feeling of disgust, or lack of desire, that this blockage will produce in you. Please learn to place a limit to all your learning, and stop much before you feel: this is to much for me.  Learn how to practice the guitar with joy.

All my tips refer to all styles of guitar including: jazz guitar, blues guitar, flamenco guitar, funk guitar and all other styles.

Structured learning 

A musician needs structure to be able to learn and play all styles of music. A  guitar teacher should share with you the adequate educational structure to help you achieve the desired goals of the music you wish to play at a short term or long term.

Learning structure should target the question how to learn effectively with joy. 

This how to learn should be fun. It must avoid unnecessary repetitions, work with solid tempos, make you sing what you wish to do; compose your own music. Also, create variations of rhythm and melody, understand the why of how to accompany on the guitar, and how emotions are portrayed, as you develop your interpretation in a song. 

Structure and Guitar Improvisation

Music can be great fun when we create constant variations of a given song. However,  we only can fun on the guitar if we know the song very well.

What does it mean to know a song well in any style including blues guitar. If you are able to count a song in, maintain a solid tempo, sing the melody of the whole song, non stop, and play the chords at the same time, then you know the song, and your ready to explore variations .  You are on the right track of how to practice the guitar.

At the Creative Guitar School we learn how to create harmonic, rhythmic variations of the melody and of the accompaniment. We learn over 100 tools to help us create all desired emotions. We must learn to be proficient in the handing of the tools,  so as  to choose correctly on the go, as we in our daily interpretation of given songs.

Once you are at the stage of mastering the creative tools you will, then never want to stop playing. Music and the creative flow is like no other feeling you will experience in your life.  I would describe it as pure peace of mind, as an observer of existence, in motion.

Learn music have fun. Let your self go, and see life  as a viewer of emotions that colour our existence with love and pleasure, 

Upcoming Guitar Courses 

I am very happy that the majority of students finish courses and move on to the next. As they move on, previous levels become empty,  so I schedule courses to start every 10 weeks. The next guitar course will be starting on the first week of July, from Monday to Thursday evenings, between 5 and 9 pm. If you wish to enrol, please get in touch as soon as your can, to organise an interview so I may asses your guitar skills, and put your into the best group for your learning experience, and journey in music. 

As of June I announce a new price increase. However, I maintain present prices for all ongoing students, that do not take breaks in between courses and continue during the whole year. 

Music Production

All guitar students have now included in all guitar courses the opportunity to record in class compositions to achieve proficiency in music production at my recording studio here in Melbourne where I facilitate most of my guitar courses.

I do hope my tips on how to practice the guitar with joy can be helpful on your music journey in life. Please also post my site for all updates on  2018 and 2019 Melbourne Concerts and Tours.

 

Guitar Technique How to Develop

How to develop guitar technique

Guitar technique is part of the constant coordination we utilise,  to play sounds on the guitar. You may develop technique by repeating mechanical movements, or you may develop technique by placing fingers on frets and strings, as a consequence of the sound you hear in your head.

The difference between one approach and another, can be that of avoiding boredom, pain and frustration.  It just makes true sense, to put your fingers in a place,  because you can hear the sound in your head and not only guess where the sound is, by visual cues. 

 

guitar technique lessons

Is this difficult to achieve ?

No it isn’t.  It is actually easier, and more satisfying, to play the guitar this way. But, you must dive into the world of singing.   Don ´t worry, we all can sing. It does not matter if you sing totally in tune. The rule is, if you can sing it,  you can play it. If you can not sing it,  you will be a slave to unnecessary repetition.

Initially, this involves a slow learning process, but the satisfaction you will feel, will be enough to get you practicing hours on end.  You will hear what you are doing, and anticipate where you have to place your fingers, to enjoy the desired sound.

But how do we start singing, if we have never done it before? How can we sing, and then find the sound on the guitar?

It is much easier to sing a sound and then find it, than to actually memorise the sounds as the consequence of putting your fingers on the guitar. 

L.I.S.P

I suggest a simple, but effective manner for learning all melodies. It is called the L.I.S.P approach.

L: Listen 

I : Imagine

S: Sing 

P: Play

With the under-math of a constant tempo, time frame, I teach my students to listen to melodic fragments, to imagine them ( in tempo ), to sing them and to play them.

At the same time, I also teach my guitar students, the necessary pathways on the guitar, where those sounds will be found.

 I  teach the guitar students,  to identify the sounds, in relation to the total center. That is,  we learn to hear sounds, in relation to each other, and to the chords. There fore, we learn to feel the sensation of the sound, where the sounds are. We learn to play the music in tempo, we learn to sing the sound and while all this is going on, we are using mechanical movements, guitar technique, to look for the sounds;  to play and produce the musical passages. 

Articulation

To articulate correctly, is to help deliver with clarity musical passages.  As a guitarist, we must learn to be aware of the lyrical quality of music, and how to relate it to the instrument; guitar technique. Once again, if we can sing the melodic passage, we then have the core ingredient to relate to, to imitate.

When we sing, we can produce long notes, short notes, loud notes and soft notes. In musical terms, we relate this legato , staccato and dynamics.

If you are starting off on the guitar, you should be aware of the lyrical character of music, and immediately try to perform all passages, in this manner. However, only through musical  structured repetition, will you develop the guitar technique to achieve the desired goal. 

You will constantly learn to develop your guitar technique at all guitar courses at my Music School. The technique will also be a consequence of the style , whether you follow  play acoustic guitar lessons, blues guitar lessons , jazz guitar lessons  or flamenco guitar lessons.

A slow start 

Starting off on the guitar is a slow learning process,  but also a personal adventure where we will express our emotions and let go of daily life. I strongly suggest to make music every day, to practice with kindness, never with a harsh judgement , to accept our limitations, and open up to the new unexplored world of music .

How to develop more guitar technique 

The more melodies you know, the more songs you can play, the better your technique will be. 

However, in order to make sense of it all, the guitar student must have a thorough knowledge of chords, scales, chord scale relationships; in triad and seventh harmonic settings.

In all courses and levels at the Creative Guitar School, all students develop a solid guitar technique, either with pick or finger-style.  I gradually will introduce to you exercises, so you may articulate with clarity, fast and slow passages. I will gradually introduce you to solo guitar, where the guitar has no need of accompaniment, and you will play both the accompaniment and the melody of the song, at the same time. 

All students explore blues, jazz, folk and flamenco guitar styles. Once again, since guitar technique is a consequence only of what you can hear,  students quickly grasp the L.I.S P concept and progress swiftly, if they implement a discipline in their learning.

Music learning is a discipline that requires constant daily training and repetition. I strongly recommend never to practice beyond the limit of discomfort, and always to produce music in a manner, where you are able to play a song from beginning to the end on the guitar. 

Group lessons

I impart advanced guitar courses on one on one sessions and through my masterclasses, regularly held in Australia .  I recommend studying levels Levels 1 and 2 in a group environment. As a guitar teacher, I favour group environments as yo will have the opportunity of seeing how others learn and the outcome will be most satisfying.

When you are stating to play the guitar you will achieve great satisfaction but also got through stages of frustration.  If both of these cases, sharing with others your concerns and success, can be a most rewarding musical experience

Melbourne Guitar Concerts

For all those interested in my upcoming  Guitar concerts in Melbourne and Australia please click on the above links.  

Guitar Improvisation lessons

Guitar Improvisation lessons

What is improvisation

To improvise on the guitar is to create, from simple to complex, melodic and or ,  harmonic variations of a song, or a section.

We always need to create variations in the songs, to match how we feel as we play along. You might vary the melody to achieve the most dramatic climax, we might start the song playing the groove in a sparse manner, and build it up as we play along. We might need to do to the opposite and bring the song down, to less intensity, or we might create even more complex variations as we do in genres as jazz.

Guitar Improvisation lessons

We all have in us, the need to flow, to express ourselves with constant changes of tension. However, we require training,  guitar improvisation lessons to understand how to translate these emotions into music.

How to improvise

The ultimate goal of all guitar improvisation lessons , is to allow us to understand what sounds right, how to hear it, how to sing it and how to play it.

To achieve these goals we need to understand how to compose a song, and the relationship between chords and melody; the scale. We need to be able to play a song, the melody and accompaniment. We need to know our scales and chords, all over the fretboard.

Then we are ready to improvise, to create new melodies, new harmonies. We are ready to explore creating on the go short long-phrases with more or less density. We are ready to explore non harmonic melodic notes, guide tone lines, upper structure triads, chord tone soloing, motive soloing and development, augmentation, diminution, syncopation, double time, tetratonic scales and much more.

Do I need to know all the theory to be able to improvise

Not really. Just sing what you would like to do, and play it .  If you can sing it it will sound good.

However, guitar structured learning will allow you to find new ideas quicker, and also to have more and more ideas, just explode in your mind.

Theory should be a classification of what you can hear and play. I strongly suggest to explore new concepts only, once you have played them and felt them.

For example:
You love the way Stevie Ray Vaughn achieves an extreme climax in the middle of his solo. Your first step is to play it, to memorise it. Then, afterwards, as a teacher, I would give you all the tools in our guitar improvisation lessons,  to choose from,  to create your own; harmonic tension, melodic tension, rhythmic density and register.

I suggest that we learn to improvise,  by expanding on what we hear, and what we like from others.

Generic types of soloing

I distinguish two opposite ways of creating a guitar solo in any style.  We may be lyrical,  like Santana , whose lines are very vocal like. Or we can create phrases , that talk in depth, about the chords, the way a jazz guitarist like George Benson or West Montgomery would play.

Electric guitars have more sustain than acoustic, nylon strings, Spanish or Flamenco guitars. We need to adapt our form of playing to the manner in which the instrument  is created; an electric guitar with saturation or distortion can be even more lyrical.

At all guitar courses and guitar improvisation lessons I offer at the Creative Guitar School in Melbourne, both online and in class, students learn all the required tools to be able to improvise in all styles and with any type of guitar.

Please note that you will learn in my guitar improvisation lessons, to apply creative tools to both the solo, the melody and the accompaniment of such.

The joy of guitar improvisation

Guitar improvisation is one of the biggest thrills you can have in music. The freedom to interact live in concert with other musicians, is a skill that you will want to develop. You must learn how to improvise, from the early stages of your guitar learning.

We develop this freedom of expression, when we are able to master, the guitar tools we need, to create variations on a song. A song, in the majority of cases has a melody that can be sung. The chords accompany that melody to help it come out, and also to help underlay the groove of the song.

When we improvise, we generally maintain the same structure of the song, and the same chords. We always have in our head the melody of the song, and based upon that and the harmonic setting,  we have a reference with which all members of the band, will interact with, to create the constant variations that come with the music flow.

What styles suit best

All styles can allow for varied degrees of improvisation. It will all depend on the skill of the band members, to allow this scenario to come alive.

Jazz is the style that allows most improvisation. Jazz is not a groove but a way of performing any given song.

Styles as blues, pop, funk, flamenco, all allow for improvisation.  This is what  makes the music come alive. The band members interact with each other, and with the audience. We create a constant dialogue based upon the tools of  improvisation; the heart beat of the performance.

Some ideas to help you redevelop your solos.

I assume you have an understanding of scales, arpeggios and harmony, and are ready to get playing on the guitar.

Stretching the time
The next time you play your guitar solo, in a any style as flamenco, latin, blues, pop; try stretching the time. This means that, slightly play ahead or behind of the beat . When you play ahead you can create the feel of rushing the solo, when you play behind the beat, you can create the feeling of dragging the tempo.

To practice this technique, and incorporate it into your guitar tool box, so it automatically pops up when you need this feel,  you must practice extensively.Let me give you an example of how:

  1. Choose a section of 8 bars of a song.
  2. Play over the chord changes, creating phrases that fall right on the centre of the beat.
  3. Then, play over the chord changes, and create phrases that start on the beat; drag behind and then fall back on the beat.
  4. Play over the chord changes; start playing right on tempo and finish your phrase ahead of the beat.
  5. Do the opposite.
  6. Play over the chord changes, start your phrase ahead of time, very accelerated and slowly bring the speed down , to play right on tempo.
  7. Try combinations of the above .

In all styles of music, you will be able to stretch in some manner the time. This will become part fo your expression, only after practicing it on your acoustic, electric, or Spanish guitar until your are able to have fun with it.

Improvisation on the guitar can be great fun. Once we know the chords, scales, arpeggios and how they relate to the harmony form, then we only need to keep on learning new ideas on what to do, understand the why, and we are off to explore a world of surprising textures and musical pleasures.

Improvising in the studio, during recordings sessions.

The most vivid, explosive recordings,  only occur when musicians and guitarists can interact, together, at the same time in the recording session.

A lot of recording sessions do not cater for live interaction of the studio musicians. In my recording studio in Melbourne, I strive to achieve constant improvisation in all guitar tracks and sessions.

A recording should be an audio photograph of what occurs in a concert. Please enjoy my live concerts and studio performances on you tube.

Online Guitar Songwriting lessons

Online Guitar Songwriting lessons

I will soon have available my online guitar songwriting lessons, and course, suitable for all songwriters and performers who wish to explore through advanced harmony, the ultimate feel for a song .

Advanced harmony can be made simple if it is explained without complicated terminology. These online guitar songwriting lessons and courses, will give you an in depth harmonic melodic knowledge of the guitar, that will transform how you perform, compose, arrange  and produce your performance of your desired song.

Online Guitar Songwriting lessonsThe outcome of all modules ( Making advanced  harmonic textures accessible to all guitarists and songwriters)

This online guitar songwriting course is divided into three modules:

  1. Module 1: The Birth of the Song. In this module you will learn tools/strategies to make sure your song has the most unique : chords, melody and the most powerful and uplifting structure.

You may apply these tools to compose your song, change it to make it feel better or simply to deliver a more in depth interpretation of your song,  live or in the studio.

    1. Module 2: Pre Production.  All the creative tools, at a basic level, you can play with, to define the most adequate rhythm section, melodic- harmonic backgrounds, counter lines; and to reinforce the melody of a song.
    1. Module 3: Music Production. The Final Recording.

Each module will give you access to over 50 audio examples,  three hours of videos, a 45 page self explanatory e book and a power point presentation of the ebook where all files are interlinked.

These online  guitar songwriting lessons and course, is an extension of my book on arranging and orchestration in the Spanish Language: El Arreglo un Puzzle de Expresión Musical

The need of relating emotion to music

In all my years as a guitar teacher and writer, I have always pondered about how to learn music in a manner that we find the balance between thoughts and feelings. In music, if we think a lot we will not play efficiently , also if we just feel the music, and not establish a conscious understanding of what we are doing, and why, we all end up in deep chaos and frustration.

I believe, in our music learning , we must first feel, then put words to the feeling , classify it, in a manner that when we have the need for such emotion , we will automatically revert to our conscious classification.   However, if we learn to play the guitar , if we follow any online guitar course, that shows, explains concepts through words, with no context and related feelings, we will never understand, nor remember how to make sense of it all.

In my new online guitar courses , especially  my Online Guitar Songwriting lessons, I will share with you a conscious understanding of emotion that will definitely  open up a new way of hearing music , learning , playing and songwriting.

Module 1 The Birth of the Song 

Who is this module for

Songwriters and guitarists of all levels,  that wish to deliver a more emotional interpretation of a song, by applying advanced melodic harmonic concepts used by major composers and performers; this course makes these advanced concepts accessible to all without the need of traditional in depth study of harmony and arranging skills.

You do not need to know how to read music, nor know all the scales and chords available. However,  you must have an understanding of basic open string chords.  It will also be beneficial if you can sing songs and play chords at the same time,  and  can play along the recorded original tracks of your favourite songs.

This modules will develop exisiting songs, however once completed, you will be able to compose your new songs, bearing these new emotional tools from scratch.

What will you learn

In this module you will learn tools/strategies, to make sure your song has the most unique chords, melody and the most powerful and uplifting structure. You may apply these tools to compose your song, change it to make it feel better, or simply, to deliver a more in depth interpretation of your song, live, or in the studio.

Available harmonic melodic tools to achieve your unique sound

A song is made up of a melody and chords. We use the chords to accompany the melody. Both melody and accompaniment are glued together by rhythm. Your essential tools to interpret, change your song will be to know:

  • All available diatonic chords, inversions and their chord scale relationship. There are only 7 diatonic  chords to choose from. If you are also aware of the feeling they produce in relation to the melody, you will then have the ability to choose the most adequate and unique harmony.
  • How to create excitement with chords, shifting the harmonic tension of a chord , by varying the melodic line and bass lines.  I refer to this as making chords move, making them come alive,  and therefore produce, with the guitar, an accompaniment that not only makes your melody shine even further, but makes the song extremely engaging, with variety of intensity from beginning to end.
  • How to vary your melody to outline and reinforce the final harmonic context, and achieve the desired impact you need to deliver your song to the audience,  in the most expressive and engaging manner possible.  Once you have chosen the most adequate chords, and how to play them with intensity, you will then have the need to modify your melody, to make it sound even more unique .

How to apply them with satisfaction in context

These tools will now give you access to the second part of the module, where you will apply the concepts to a given melody, to achieve the 100% satisfaction goal ; so you can say aloud,  Yes, this is what I was looking for !

On completion you will have practiced :

  • To choose the most appropriate key for your voice to shine.
  • To analyse the harmonic tension you feel at each moment, and choose the adequate chords to reflect such.
  • To create variation in this harmonic tension by creating bass lines, inversions and reharmonisation, or adding melodic lines to the top of Existing chords.
  • To alter the melody of the song to achieve the desired emotional impact.
  • To control the intensity you want to produce at each section of your song.
  • To finalise a satisfying relationship of chords, melody and structure; ready for the pre production stage, where other musicians will interact with you.
  • To say I really adore my song; the final melody, chords and lyrics.

All the above concepts can be applied to any given form of guitar playing as flamenco guitar, jazz guitar, blues guitar and also all types of guitars as electric guitar, acoustic guitar or nylon string Spanish guitar. 

Blues Guitar Lessons- The Essence

The Joy of Playing Blues Guitar

I love muy blues. I adore playing blues on the guitar, as the feel it produces, will make my day.

When I started playing blues, my guitar teachers introduced me directly to contemporary blues, with a lot of chord changes, and did not focus on the origin of the blues.

Due to my thirst for the true feel, I started listening to the classics as Muddy Waters,  and asked myself how these original artists were able to achieve such clarity in the blues feel.

This way of approaching melody and chords has inspired and laid foundation for most contemporary music. In Level 2, all Creative Guitar students start mastering the beauty of blues  and the joy it produces, as part of our daily playing . Blues guitar lessons are incorporated in level 2, 3 and 4 courses .

The Secret of Blues

I believe that there is more than a secret in blues guitar playing; there is a realm of delicate harmonic tension balance that we must caress to keep the magic flowing.

Blues is like a cloud of sound that floats on top of our chords.  Blues comes alive when we create the contrast between the blues sound and the harmony of our tune.

The first step we must take, to feel this sound cloud, is to understand what key we are in, or the tonal center of our song. The first chord of our blues will define our tonal center. If our first chord is a G, then we can assume that we are playing a major blues in G.

Note: I assume you are aware of the blues progressions and the blues scale.

Blues Guitar lessons Melbourne

Have you ever felt that when you move away from the G chord, you need to play something else that you cannot find?

Have you ever felt that the blues cloud, the blues feel ,disappears as you play other chords?

If you do not have this feeling, then I must assume you are playing the blues correctly. However, if  you do, then consider that the more you move away from the G chord, the more you will need to play the blues sound, and the less you will need to play the other chords completely.

How do we keep the feel

If you are loosing the G blues sound, when you play the C chord, then only play the root and add more G blues sound to your playing. In the same manner, when you play the D chord, avoid playing the full chord and add more blues sound to it. ( the G Blues )

In all blues styles, you will hear that the magic occurs when we contrast the sound of the chord with the tonal center blues scale.

At the Creative Guitar School, in your blues guitar lessons,  I will guide you through the different blues styes and how the relationship of harmony- melody and blues scales, interact to achieve the desired sound.

Can I play the blues sound over any chord progression ?

Yes. For example; if your song is in C , you can play the C blues scale over any chord, and if done right, it will work.

As I mentioned,  blues does form part of most contemporary music, we enjoy in our daily lives. In your guitar lessons,  I would strongly suggest learning more of this style, as it will give you a natural advantage in achieving a unique sound in your playing. Blues is a colour that creates a special contrast, that can add harmonic and melodic richness to your playing

What to learn ?

In terms of knowledge, in your blues guitar lessons, you will learn how to define the rhythm guitar or the lead solo guitar, in various keys, 8 or 12 bar progressions, and styles.

You will also learn,  in your blues guitar lessons, where to find the notes that sound blues all over the guitar neck; in various keys. And how to play a solo that creates contrast between the chords and the blues.

You will learn to create phrases, based upon logical melodic questions and answers; call and response.

You will learn to talk with authentic blues phrases; by acquiring vocabulary used by the classics.

You will learn the major pentatonic scales of all chords, the mixolydian scale, major minor arpeggios, and all  harmonic- melodic tensions available.

In summary,  a whole set of musical tools, to tap into , to give you unlimited resources for all your creative needs.

Your ideas will not stop popping up, and soon you will be able to find them and play them on the guitar.

As a professional session guitarist,  I also heavily rely on these skills, so to be able to develop diversity and quickly tap into the different musical genres I am asked to play on .

Note

I do not recommend, a beginner guitarist, should start off only with blues guitar lessons. All guitar students need to have developed a sense of rhythm, harmony, melody and technique, before immersing themselves in this beautiful language.

That is why,  at the Creative Guitar School, students must complete level one of their learning, before moving into this style. You need a good sense of rhythm , melody and harmony to enjoy the beauty of blues.

Extended listening

These are some of my favourite blues players I listen to.  The list will take you through a variety of styles in this musical language.

Magic Sam Style Blues Son House, Muddy Waters, and and John Lee Hooker Styles

Elizabeth Cotton,, Tampa Red, Robert Johnson, Blind Blake,  Big Bill Broonzy, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, Corey Harris, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Lightnin Hopkins, Tommy Johnson, , Tampa Red, Blind Lemon Jefferson, BB King

School Concert

Students love to perform at our frequent concerts. I also enjoy to see how students work together, play together, and develop their musical expertise; socially.  It is fun , engaging and above all very satisfying.

Discipline 

Music requires discipline in our learning. All my guitar courses are based on structured learning. There fore, in order to complete the guitar courses, to your own satisfaction, please allocate 20 minutes every day, during 10 weeks, for all your guitar exercises.

Group effort

All guitar courses, that develop the basic level of learning, require that the student commits to a daily practice routine so as to keep up with the rest of the group courses,

Groups also get together outside class hours ,to help each other  in their  musical adventure and to prepare for the concerts.

I hope to see you at one of our next Guitar Concerts . Sign up to get the latest news on all our events , courses  and my specialized Melbourne Concerts.

 

New Guitar Courses starting October

Updates on upcoming courses

  • Beginners 1 

Wednesdays at 8pm starting October 10.  Two openings left

Tuesdays at 7pm starting October . Two openings left

  • Creative Guitar 2

Mondays at 8pm starting October 8. Two openings left

  • Private lessons available slots left

Mondays at 10 am and Thursdays at 11 am

 Guitar courses

Monday and Tuesday at 7pm

Level 2
For those who have completed level one and need to work on:

  • Left and right hand technique
  • A melodic and harmonic performance understanding of
    • dynamics
    • structure
    • subdivision
    • melodic recognition
    • harmonic recognition

The objective of all learning is to play with ease songs; both chords and melodies.

You will need:

  • 30 minutes of daily practice
  • To get together with your fellow class guitarists at least four times outside class hours;  to prepare more efficiently the concerts.

Tuesday at 8pm

Level 2
For those who have completed level 1, and wish to enjoy playing a selection of songs, have time to study and produce one new song, every two weeks, both chords and melody, in triads and 7th chords.

You will need:

  • 30 minutes daily practice
  • To get together with your fellow class guitarists at least four times outside class hours;  to prepare more efficiently the concerts.

Wednesday at 7pm  

Level 3
Focusing on composing and playing your own songs.

You require knowledge of:

  • Chords in all keys
  • Two scale patterns in all keys
  • Two pentatonic patterns in all keys
  • You must have composed  a song previously
  • You must me able to play at leat two songs; melody and chords off by heart
  • Have completed pages 1 to 23 of Paul Hindemith

You need 30 minutes daily practice

Monday at 6pm

Will be dedicated exclusively to melodic and harmonic ear training. For those who would like to improve  hearing, singing melodies and writing them.

Students will also learn to read and write music.   We will use garage band to help develop melodic and harmonic skills.

September 22 , 2018 School Concert

Attention all guitar lovers

I am very excited about our upcoming major School Concert. I am proud of all of you, for your hard work and continuous dedication, to make music and the guitar, part of your daily lives.

Here it is :
Saturday September 22, 11 am
Armadale Uniting Church
86A Kooyong Rd,  Armadale VIC 3143

We will meet at 11 am and have a light lunch ( please limit cakes and chips and bring a small plate of food.  I will be there at 10 to start setting up and will need help in doing so, and also in packing up.  Please let me know who can help out?

We should start performing at 12.30 and finish by 2.00

Thomas Lorenzo Melbourne Concert Series

A quick reminder to purchase your ticket for my upcoming concerts by clicking on the link.

Upcoming Guitar School Concert September 23

Upcoming Guitar School Concert September 23

  • 23-0-2017      Time: 13.00 – 15:00

Armadale Uniting Church
86A Kooyong Road
Armadale, 3143
VIC, Australia

upcoming-guitar-school-concert

Ticket price: Free
info@thomaslorenzo.com
https://www.thomaslorenzo.com.au

Join us for our Creative Guitar Experience and upcoming guitar school concert.  All  our guitar students will showcase their guitar arrangements and compositions in large and small ensembles. We have over 35 students ready to storm the stage and bring delight into all our lives.

At the Creative Guitar School,  I focus on developing self expression through personal creativity. But this must be accomplished with the joy of sharing who we are, and what we feel with others. Not only must we express, but do so in manner where others can understand the emotion we wish to portray.

Music is a language that requires a clear exposition of melody and accompaniment.

Concerts are held at the end of a 10 week cycle. On the same day, and before each event, we organise a get together with food, drinks and a barbecue. The concert is recorded on video and shared privately with all attendants.

I would also like to invite you to my Melbourne Guitar Concert series. Please follow the above link for more information.

Please fill in the following form if you would like to know more about our School: courses, levels, prices and when new courses are scheduled to commence.