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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. 

 

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.

 

Guitar Lessons, How to learn effectively?

Guitar Lessons. Enjoyment and self expression

I wish to take you on a journey to explore the secrets of this magnificent instrument, the guitar. Furthermore, open an extended gateway for your ongoing personal development and well being in your life.

Music is the language of emotions and the guitar is the tool we will use to tap into those unique, beautiful, inner feelings, we all have.

I wish to guide you on your journey.  Our learning experience will produce a tool box which will give you the skills you need to play whatever you wish, and how you wish. The ultimate goal of your guitar lessons is enjoyment, through self expression.

 Guitar Lessons Courses What will you learn?

The guided pathway

At the Creative Guitar School, I cater for all levels of learning in a  diversity of styles through your guitar lessons. I would now like to address the learning goals of those who are just starting out.

All musicians need to start out. Furthermore, we all deserve the right to reach our goals. However, we may find obstacles along the way and crash into them. When this happens, frustration may settle in and the guitars may end up on our walls.

I want all guitar beginners in a years time, from when you start your guitar lessons, to be able to play, off by heart, the following or similar tracks.

We generally learn three tracks,  per course, of similar material.

Students learn a total of 6 simple songs of their choice in two levels in their guitar lessons.

    • Compose a few songs like the following:

Students compose one song per level

Play three concerts. Please follow this link to see the 2016 and 2017  Guitar students and teacher concerts

.

Play along , off by heart  tracks by: Police, Ed Sheeran, Justin Beiber, Paco de Lucia, Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Norah Jones, Bb King, and James Brown.

How to study and progress with joy

We will learn to play on the guitar all the above, off by heart and with joy. I must insist, that you have to feel good about what you do,  every step of the journey. You have to have fun.

A students needs to understand what they know, what they do not know and how to get to the next step of their learning, with care and patience.

The more we are able to feel what we are doing, the quicker we will learn. We will only remember physical movements for a short period of time. But, we will remember a song and how to play it for life, if we  relate movements to specific sound and emotion.

Structure

I assume you have listened briefly to the above material.  How do we go from knowing nothing, to playing all the above material?

We need to first establish that everything we play, must be related to  a structure: it must have a beginning, an end and a tempo.  We learn to play the guitar swiftly, only if we reproduce the same scenario that occurs in the professional world,  in a simple musical context.

In your guitar lessons ,you will start off by learning chords and rhythm. If you follow the exercises correctly,  in 3 weeks time, you will be playing a song from top to bottom.

Aural training

In order to learn efficiently, you must be able to hear what you do , feel it and know where the sound is to be found on the guitar.  You need to memorise melodies and the corresponding harmony associated.

You need to hear the harmony in advance, so as to anticipate the desired emotion. In order to hear, you must sing or mumble and you need to create. Only when you create, will you be able to make sense of melody, harmony, rhythm and structure.

You cannot memorise a mechanical movement outside a musical context. There must be a targeted desired sound and emotion so you may memorise what the movement is for.  I will guide you, with specific exercises to help you hear and find the sound on the guitars.

Goals

In a short period of time,  you will be able to play simple melodies, solo guitar, play in a group setting, play bass lines, counter lines, create diversity in rhythm and have lots of fun.

You  also need to follow discipline which is based on repetition with love and respect for your limits.  There should be no need for frustration or negative thoughts in your learning.

Very soon you will experience positive results and find the joy of sharing music in a group setting, creating your own melodies and hearing how they come life.

Technique

You will notice that I have not mentioned the word technique, as such really is only a consequence of all the above. We need movement to create music and all the above exercises, require solid technique,  for us to be able to feel them and enjoy the experience.

How much do I need to dedicate per day for my guitar practice ?

I have designed the courses so that if you dedicate 20 minutes, every day, during 20 weeks you will have accomplished all goals.

Guitar learning requires constant dedication and work, but the results are extremely rewarding.

Group learning

I have designed a series of exercise to be completed in group settings,  to encourage guitar students to interact and get together outside classroom hours. This will help you in your training .

Concerts

All  guitar students will get a chance to play at the School concerts.  Ee celebrate the events every 10 weeks.

You can do it

There is no secret in learning to play the guitar. We only need dedication and above all, to understand what we are doing and why. Music is not just about playing  chords, it is about playing a song in a tempo, with a beginning, an end, with changes, sections, and intensities.

You tube videos, generally,  show us how to play a songs with chords. But, not what to take into consideration to be able to coordinate all the movements, in a sequence and in relation to a specific tempo.

All songs are glued together by tempo. All the exercises you will enjoy in your guitar lessons are based on playing in tempo. Which would be like feeling a constant heart beat to your playing.

Interview

Please call me to schedule an interview for your guitar lessons. I need to asses your skills and recommend you the appropriate group for your learning, based upon your musical knowledge, aural and visual learning skills.

The next level

Once you have completed your first two levels, you will be ready to understand how to learn any style or music of your choice. You will have all the tools you need to undergo further challenges and the resulting joy of such.

You may read about all guitar lesson levels offer through guitar lessons at the Creative Guitar School through this link.

Times

All courses are scheduled during the evenings. Private guitar lessons are scheduled during  morning and afternoon hours. Please refer to guitar lesson prices and conditions through the following link.

More info

If you would like to learn more about my professional activities, outside the educational scenario, please refer to my Melbourne Concert Latin Flamenco Guitar Site.

 

Students Social Club Creative Guitar School

Students Social Club Creative Guitar School

‘The desire to give our best to others ultimately brings the best out of us’

Would you join us for some fun?

We are all different, all unique. We have one guitar, or a dozen guitars. You like big sounds or small sounds…a soft acoustic breeze or a storm full of electric sounds. We can play one chord or big harmonies. Yet we all share the same passion, the same love for music. We go to the same school, but we miss each other!!

No more of this! We are now part of a social club, created by us for us. A club embracing our differences, loving our uniqueness, sharing our passion…and igniting our talent!

Playing together, jamming together, creating together, giggling together…encouraging each other.

We now exist on:

And somewhere in Victoria, where the wind blows nothing short of fine tunes!

WARNING: Any use of the word ‘we’ in this document actually refers to and includes You!

Students Social Club Creative Guitar School

Why be part of this?

Wrong question! ‘Why not?’ is the right question. But if you insist, the answer is because we will;

  • have access to each other
  • have stronger purpose in our guitar learning,and above all
  • because it’s fun!

How does it work?

Well, pretty simple. Join the facebook page, subscribe to the youtube channel and follow the instagram account!

From there, we all get to participate, comment, ask questions and share the fun.

Students Social Club Creative Guitar School

What on earth will we be up to?

  • Team up with each other to jam on our favourite songs
  • Share videos of our latest team projects on social media (something to be proud of!)
  • Ask each other questions and bounce ideas (well hey, we’ve got each others’ back!)

Who is this really for?

Every student of the Creative Guitar School…Really, no kidding!

We are all coming together to support each other and make friends both virtually and for real!

Oh…Did we mention that this was going to be fun?!