Once again, 8va Classical Guitar Studio is offering our Free Classical Guitar Summer Classes! The format for the free classes will either be for a 1 hour group classes, or 30 minute private classes. Each student is subject to the one time studio registration fee of $40. This fee can be waived for those who are financially in need. Summer is a busy time and classes are flexible to accommodate the summer holidays and family events. These lessons require each student to supply a classical guitar for the duration of the program, as well as bring a binder for notes, handouts and page pockets for music. Practice is necessary to progress with classical guitar. This is not a trial program, but an opportunity to explore music and get a start on learning classical guitar. With each application, please include a letter detailing your interest in classical guitar, what you know of classical guitar, the time you have to commit to practice, what you expect from the classes, and how the Summer Classical Guitar Program would impact your musical experience. Space is limited, successful applicants will be selected by their expressed desire and commitment to music. The Classical Guitar Summer Program is made possible through 8va Classical Guitar Studio’s mandate to promote classical guitar and provide access to formal studies of music through classical guitar by removing barriers that would otherwise prohibit access to quality music learning.
Oh to enjoy the wealth spring of youth and the energies therein! The best laid plans of time can be laid waste to a lack of energy and fatigue. This is a growing dilemma facing those precious moments allocated for guitar practice. You can try and struggle through a rigorously scheduled practice time when your head is clouded with thoughts of sleep and not make any headway. Being properly rested is an essential ingredient for productive and focused practice. I have noticed lately that losing even one hour of sleep will have drastic effects on my alertness the next morning. If I’m not fresh when I wake up, how can I maintain energy through a long day of work and chores and be able to sit and practice.
Naps are awesome, but to recover from a lack of sleep takes more than a quick cat nap and does not guarantee recovery from fatigue of a long day. Worst still, that said nap could extend into that well scheduled practice time.
So the key to a productive practice session is not only effective time management, discipline to use that time productively, but also to monitor your energy. I have found that I have to be more realistic as to the activities I can manage in the time that I have and still be able to adhere to productive guitar practice. It’s a challenge for sure. Gone are the days of endless practice in the wee hours of the night and being able to sleep in until noon, A luxury of youth that has gone past.
Time bandits was an awesome movie. Sadly, the real time bandits just suck big time! I’m talking about the little things in the day that eat away at your available time. They seem unavoidable and they always crop up. Laundry is a bad, never ending time thief. I don’t mind the quick break every 40 minutes to switch a load from the washer to the dryer. Folding laundry isn’t so convenient though. Usually that’s when I like to take in a bit of a TV break. I don’t feel half as bad watching some silly program when I’m folding laundry, because I’m folding laundry. Email, Facebook, eating, making food to eat all adds up in the day and takes away from practice time.
Early on in my guitar studies, it was emphasised to have a schedule and a practice plan. It’s all fine to say that you will practice 1 hour, or 3 hours every day. It’s quite another if you don’t actually have that time to practice. You don’t want to feel guilty that you aren’t focused on your practice when it actually impossible for you. This just leads to a vicious cycle where you beat yourself up. My first attempt at my recent schedule looked great, I blocked out my work and sleep for my work days, kids activities. Then I looked at all the wonderful white space and was excited about how much practice I could get. Then I realised, I didn’t block out sleeping time on my days off. Sleep is so important!! My schedule was far less open.
This morning, I normally would have been dead to the world after finishing my night shift. This week though, I’m off due to medical issues. I woke up at 8 am and spent 2 and a half hours getting ready. This included a half hour for stretching. Focused mainly on legs, neck and arms. Neck and arms are critical to be loose and limber for guitar, and legs, because of all the sitting I do. My legs complain a lot! I had to be careful not to put any torsion on my midsection. Luckily, my back has been doing well. I had a good half hour warm up session. A little break now and back to more practice. My goal today is sight reading and review of some basic pieces. Then I will pick up Julia Florida again, review what I have down, and add to it.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted and life has been full, but not so much with guitar. Renovations, restructuring and a new business have filled the day to day agenda. There is also uncertainty in the future with layoffs in my work. Not so much as IF I will be laid off, but rather WHEN. So we put that all in perspective and the last thing you would expect is a road trip for a week of guitar study. It sounds crazy, but that is exactly what it will be, and I think it couldn’t happen at a better time!
There have always been obstacles for me in the pursuit of guitar study. Not just for me though, but I believe for everyone who has ever picked up an instrument. Bills to pay, obligations, finances, jobs everything seems to push music to the back. So many people I’ve talked to say they used to play guitar but…. I wanted to play piano but…. there are always issues. So now I’m going to challenge every one of those issues and over come them to make this happen!
So my health has impacted my productivity. Prior to issues, I easily practiced 3 hours a day, 3 to 4 days a week. This would include 1 hour at about 4 or 5 am, another hour at 10 am, then another hour around 5 pm. There was room for extra practice sessions there depending on errands and need for sleep. Since my last bout of health issues, my sleep has returned more to normal. Sleep in if I could, up in the a.m. and to bed in the evening with little energy. Trying to squeeze that 3 hours of practice in a day seemed impossible.
We have recently undergone some intense renovations which decimated my rough but practical and ergonomically laid out music studio, and in it’s place grew a wonderful hair salon. Ok, it’s not a guitar studio, but the hair salon makes a heck of a lot more money than guitar! One of the worst things for practicing an instrument is having it packed away somewhere out of sight and out of reach. Same with all the support materials. This for me was a problem. With limited energy, taking time to dig out materials, set up a work space, practice, then pack it all in was killer. Add to it the competition for space with all the family activities going on makes it even more difficult. To resolve this, I’ve started converting my girls room into my makeshift music study. I will steal some dresser space for my immediately necessary books and music. A folding chair behind the door, and my guitars in her closet. When I want t practice, I just throw open the chair, pop open a guitar on the bed, pull out a foot rest and grab the books near me and get to it!
There is still some cleaning up and de-cluttering to be done. It’s difficult to practice when there is chaos and clutter strewn around. A practice area has to be conducive to productive focus. This also means that clutters elsewhere have to be taken care of too. Clutter seems to have a way of being strewn from one area to another by shear proximity. It has to be nipped in the bud before it grows. One further complication, my office was also part of my studio. So my workspace has now retreated to the kitchen table. Here, it competes with daily meals. Not so convenient to have my organisational stacks of to do papers strategically on my desk anymore. So I now have to be more coordinated at my paperwork.
Current obstacles I’m facing are my health, recovering from a recent visit to emergency, growing a new business with the salon, and a career change due to layoffs. With all this, I have to re-apply myself to build up to 3 hours a day at least of practice. Likewise, I also have to get my main piece ready for the master classes. I’m as eager as you to see how this will turn out, the ending of which, will surely prove to be another beginning!
It’s a busy world, school, work, activities, functions and events. There are so many demands on time and money. It becomes hard to decide where to draw a line for the spending budget, or making effort for an additional activity. The addition for musical study for kids is never wrong. That is provided that the child is interested and willing to practice. Likewise, it’s important that no matter what instrument is chosen, that you find a qualified, dedicated teacher. There are always those neighbourhood kids that are good at guitar, who will be happy to show your child how to play guitar some. Not always a bad idea, can be convenient and can be great fun. Likewise, it can be a gateway to more serious learning. Take for instance, Steve Vai, showing up on Joe Satriani’s doorstep with a guitar without any strings in one hand, and a pack of strings in the other asking for lessons. Neither one did too badly thereafter at all.
Enrolling your child in legitimate music lessons however does not have to be expensive. Any legitimate music studio will issue receipts that are applicable for the Child Arts Tax Credit, which is always a help at tax time.
Currently space at 8va Classical Guitar Studio is very limited. For any prospective student that is interested in classical guitar lessons, I will do my very best to accommodate. My focus is for providing opportunities for learning, and I will make every effort so that no child should have to miss out.
To inquire about lesson times or for questions regarding 8va Classical Guitar Studio, call 306-527-8861, or email at email@example.com.
It’s one week until the start of the 2015/16 school year. Wishing everyone the best in their preparations and back to school supplies shopping.
I have been negligent in updating the web page, so here we go, back on track. We have gone through some major renovations in our home which has resulted in the physical dismantling of 8va Classica Guitar Studio. As a result, lessons are now being taught in the living room. While not my ideal setup, it is by far, not a bad one. We have the benefit of ambiance of a grand bay window, lots of natural light and fresh air during the summer. If I had my way, I would permanently set my studio up there, except it would not be well received by the rest of the family. We are undergoing further renovations and work that will need to be completed before I can start the renovations for the guitar studio.
Once the renovations are complete, 8va Studio will be brighter, more comprehensive and musical than before! We will have a student waiting area and bathroom, as well as a refreshment center for parents and waiting students. There will even be a play area for students younger siblings. I will also continue to make efforts to provide the best learning atmosphere for the study of classical guitar, providing all proper necessities and more for the comfort and convenience for students and music study.
I am very encouraged by the progress and enthusiasm of my students. Seeing their excitement with each achievement and resolve to surpass new musical challenges is a great reward. The byproduct of this learning is beautiful music. Student achievements so far for this summer include students learning to read music and developing early sight reading strategies, playing through their first RCM graded piece, and the start of the first duet piece. Work also included detailed attention for proper technique, developing technical exercises and scales.
I am especially excited for my youngest student. Having such a young start with classical guitar and their current progress is very promising. You never go wrong with music!
I hope everyone had a great Christmas and have exciting plans for the brand new year ahead. I had a wonderful time with my family, despite a run of the flu and the extreme cold weather. The last couple months I have been distracted from my usual focus, and this is where I make my New Year’s resolve. I’m going to be a bit selfish and work on more ‘me’ time. That is, more professional musical development and less busy work in other musical activities. I also will be working on my quest for sleep and improving my own general health to further support my musical activities. Rest, health and music when combined with family make for a great quality of life.
My musical focus will be spent on a focus for my advanced repertoire study, development of my musical understanding and more recordings. My goal for this year will be on performance, both live and recorded.
A special thanks to Cobb Swanson Music for their great $2 boxing day sale! I was able to pick up several great theory books that I will be distributing to my students. Sure, they are old, but theory doesn’t change, and for $2, that’s a nice bit of change in return. The books that we will be using are the “Lawless Theory Course Preliminary Rudiments” 2nd Edition. I studied from the “Lawless Total Theory” for my RCM theory exam. All the information I needed for the exam were contained in that one book. This is the first portion of the book that I used which will get my students started in an sound understanding of music theory.
The next book is “Keyboard Theory – Intermediate Rudiments” by Grace Vandendool. Don’t be confused by the keyboard theory portion of the title. If you are going to pursue the RCM theory exam, you will be exposed to both treble and bass clefs and need to be familiar with reading and writing in both.
Another of my dreams is being fulfilled, one of our Christmas presents includes a 6″ reflecting telescope to arrive early this month. Along with the telescope I have also subscribed for a family membership with the Royal Regina Astronomical Society. I have always wanted to organize guitar outings, and now I may be able to combine them into a larger event that including musical BBQ and Star Party. I will be posting updates as its progress as I go.
Warm up before practicing, keep warm by playing and before we know it, spring will be here!
Finding the right teacher is so very important. You might like your teacher because they are in a cool rock band, or you get along really well and you enjoy the lessons. That is fine for in a social or hobby perspective, you are learning some, but you really enjoy the time spent and that’s what’s important for you.
If however, your goal is to learn to play classical guitar, you have to ask seriously ask yourself and your teacher a couple questions. First, can they play classical guitar? Do they really know the material and especially, the technique? Second, can they teach the technique and material?
The classical guitar technique books are awesome, no doubt about that, but to understand the technique goes beyond a picture and couple paragraphs in a book. Can your teacher sit down and explain the fundamental techniques to you, and adjust your lessons to your individual needs. It’s more than just telling you to curve your fingers, straighten your wrist, your teacher needs to be able to help you understand the form and develop practices that will focus on improving your fundamental technique.
After a few lessons, your teacher should have a small checklist of things specific for you to check when you are at home practicing on your own that will help reinforce your technique, and you will not be able to find that specific checklist in any book. They are specific to you. This short checklist will change as you progress, and they will begin to focus more on refinement as opposed to generalizations.
To choose the right teacher you have to know what are your own personal goals. What objectives do you wish to achieve? Are you interested in only playing a few easy pieces for your own enjoyment, are seriously looking at advancing in ability, perhaps maybe to proceed to college or university? Your goals my change over time. What may have been a casual interest for you in time may blossom into a passion for greater things.
So the final thing to consider for your teacher is what are their goals for you? Are you just a regular paycheque for them? How far are they willing to take you with their lessons? What is their plan for you to help you move on to bigger and better things, are they willing to let you go to explore elsewhere, and if you do, are you welcome to come back?
With 8va Classical Guitar Studio, I strive to provide for the needs of my students. I am constantly looking for ways to improve both my teaching skills and to address the many unique needs of my students as everyone has their own special circumstances in regards to lessons.
As well as lessons, I work at developing the market in Regina for classical guitar. Connecting with as many resources and venues as possible. This will provide opportunities for my students to explore beyond the confines of my studio. It is my desire to provide opportunities for my students to connect with higher learning for music. Collaborating with other musicians and teachers as well as having opportunities to perform.
Registering with 8va Classical Guitar Studio is your key to an open door of music learning. One where the student and learning is the most important. Policies are a formality while learning is the reality. If you are interested in learning classical guitar, ask to find out how lessons with 8va Classical Guitar Studio would work for you. If you want to know more about classical guitar, feel free to inquire with me as I am more than happy to discuss all aspects of classical guitar and activities related to classical guitar in Regina.
With 8va Classical Guitar Studio, I am looking to spread the gift of music for Christmas. From now until the end of December, I am offering 3 months of private one on one weekly lessons for the price of 1! This offer is for new students to 8va Classical Guitar Studio. That’s $120 worth of lessons for $40. Great for stocking stuffers, or a gift card that fits easily in the strings of a new classical guitar for that musical prodigy in your family. There’s no better way to start off the New Year than the joy of learning a musical instrument! A one time studio registration fee of $40 applies for all new students.
It has been a fantastic year for me guitar wise. Lots of changes and growth in the classical guitar community. With the growth and development that we’ve seen, and the work that has been invested, it is sometimes hard to believe that we aren’t further ahead. This resulted in an attitude check on my behalf. The reason is, classical guitar in Regina is still a very very small and isolated market. So the fact that it has grown as much as it has so far is really a credit to that hard work that we have invested.
There is still a lot more work ahead of me, and this also requires a re-focus on my objectives to ensure that I’m on track and not overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. Winter for me has been the most productive season for guitar development. Less yard work, cold weather, and very cold weather inspire me to wood shed in my basement studio. To capitalize on the frosty season of hibernation, I am looking to focus on my practice more efficiently, and spend my time more productively musically wise. When I’m awake, and can’t sleep, practice guitar. Watching TV, practice guitar. Not practicing guitar, then working on my theory and harmony. When I’m not focused on practicing my music, I will be helping my kids with their music practice. All this and further developing my music pedagogy, learning to become a better teacher for my students and the guitar community.
All that and to clean out the basement too. That may be a bit much, but I’ll tackle that task one corner at a time!