31. January 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

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.

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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.

31. January 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

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!Calgary

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!

 

21. August 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

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 guitar8va@gmail.com.

 

21. August 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

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!

26. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

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.

26. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

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!

06. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

It is very important to expose yourself to as much music as you can.  Studies, etudes, and smaller pieces.  This is also very important for sight reading.  As Jason Vieaux teaches, your sight reading shouldn’t be more than 2 grades below your playing ability.  For most that I talk with, that is an area that needs further development, and is another topic all together.  The goal for any guitarist is to learn more pieces, and to play them well.  For the beginning guitarist, this may seem an extremely difficult task, with all the effort of learning technique, learning to read music and to try to learn a new piece may be enough to discourage one with a casual interest.  For an enthusiast, this is just the start.

To help a student through the initial difficulties of learning new pieces, it helps to keep everything in perspective.  Lets compare learning music to another task, say writing a book.  Using a reference that most people will understand due to it’s popularity, we will look at Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.  The book is 309 pages, with 17 chapters.  It took 5 years to write.  Mind you, the author claimed that in this time she was planning out later books.  We can compare this extra time to additional work that a guitarist must make in practice.  So 5 years works out to be 60 months.  With 17 chapters it works out to about 3 months per chapter.  This time to write one chapter of a book works out to be about the same time to learn a new piece, 3 months!  Mind you, some pieces, like some chapters in a book, may be larger or more complicated and take more time to learn.

Now, once a chapter in a book is written, it’s done and off to the publisher.  Not so with classical guitar.  With music, once you’ve learned a piece, you have to maintain it.  Keep it in shape to prevent errors from creeping in and to keep it in ones memory.  For a given author, once the chapter is written and in the book, they can sign it, give it out, read it aloud to their audience easily word for word.  The written story is available any time for any member in the public to access.  For the musician however, although we don’t have to go through the whole process of crafting the story each time a piece is played, you essentially have to ‘type’ out the manuscript fresh, word for word for the listening audience.

When you look at learning a piece in this fashion, you can appreciate the time that it takes to properly learn a piece.  Remember though, that as you are learning one piece, keep practicing your sight reading by continually playing other pieces that are new to you.  In this way, you will build your repertoire and garner a deeper understanding of your instrument and music.  You may also find other pieces that you will wish to commit to the full learning process and add to your repertoire.  But most importantly, have fun, enjoy and don’t give up!  The worst piece in your repertoire are is the one not played!

03. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

The school year has started, lunches are packed and kids are hard at work with their studies.  This also starts a fresh new year for myself as a teacher, and for 8va Classical Guitar Studio.

There is so much work to be done above and beyond the regular practice and study I need to do each day.  In addition to the administration I do for my studio, and the RCGS, I am also embarking on a great new music program teaching classical guitar at St. Augustine School!  I am really looking forward to expanding classical guitar in Regina to a new, eager group of kids, who are the future of classical guitar in Regina.

Keep your eyes peeled for postings of recitals and performances with the new classical guitar class.  I can’t wait for both our solo and ensemble performances.  Music has never been so exciting!!

01. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

Had a great time performing with the Regina Classical Guitar Society for the Canada Day Celebration with the Lt. Governor’s Garden Party.

Here are a few pictures from the event.

 

 

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