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Welcome to my website! Here, you will find everything related to my musical activities. I hope you have fun exploring the contents of this site, as I have creating it! This site is still in its infancy stages, but I will be adding content very regularly! You may notice that I write a lot. I can’t help it, I’m neurotic that way!
Healthy violin technique (12/15/2018) - Yes, I know I am a guitarist but I’ve loved the violin for a very long time now and have been very fascinated with violin pedagogy for some years now. In my own spare time, I do a lot of research on classical violin pedagogy. I’ve interviewed a number of violinists and violin teachers and for an instrument with such a rich pedagogical history, I was very surprised to learn that still today there are lots of misconceptions and highly contradictory information being passed around. This intrigued me greatly, and it made me want to investigate it more. I came to understand that violin pedagogy for many teachers is almost like a cultural tradition, where knowledge is passed down from teacher to student with very little independent research or questioning of why one does X […]
The art of transcribing – Part 6 (12/2/2018) - As always, be sure to read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. I am now switching to a video format for some of these blogs. You can listen to it as if it were podcast, since the video isn’t too important in this one. In this video, I show you how I figure out music 100% by ear without any instrument or reference other than the music. This is an important aspect of ear training; it is essentially listening to music intelligently by engaging your mind. People often ask which solos they should transcribe. That’s not the right way to think about it. When it comes to developing one’s ear, one should generally go for what one likes. Since you and I may have different tastes, it wouldn’t be advisable for you to figure out […]
The art of transcribing – Part 5 (10/27/2018) - As always, be sure to read parts 1, 2, 3, and 4. It’s been a while! In this one, a fellow submitted a transcription of Django Reinhardt for critique. By and large, it was a good job, but there were certain ornaments that were not correct but that are very typical of Gypsy musicians. In the Gypsy community, there are certain subtle techniques that they subconsciously do that many people outside their community miss or misinterpret. Some of them are revealed in this transcription. I often show a lot of these to my homestay students who want to work on sound and technique. What’s that you say? Homestay lessons? Want more info? Click here! One of the most important lessons to learn from Django Reinhardt is to understand how he thinks. He often thought in […]
Choosing the right guitar for Gypsy Jazz – Part 1 (12/1/2016) - I get quite a lot of emails from people all over the world asking me for advice on which Gypsy Jazz guitars to buy. While it is true that Gypsy Jazz guitar construction is unique and quite different from what the majority of guitar luthiers are used to, I feel that some of the advice I would give would be the same for just about any kind of acoustic instrument. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so simple. The good news is, nowadays, while still a niche market, Gypsy Jazz guitars are now mass-produced at very attractive prices. There are a few competing brands out there and, in my opinion, not only are they quite decent for the price, they have excellent resale value. I would almost always recommend buying one of these guitars to start out […]
The art of transcribing – Part 4 (10/5/2016) - As always, be sure to read parts 1, 2, and 3. In this fourth part, we will be focusing on transcribing solos where the timing is not always in sync with the rhythm section. This can prove to be a huge challenge. It requires a strong foundation in music theory, and a strong knowledge of the idiom, which in this case, is straight ahead jazz. When I mean that the timing isn’t in sync with the rhythm section, I don’t necessarily mean this in a negative way. When it comes to good musicians, this floating time is often intentional. In this particular instance, we will be looking at a solo by Swedish jazz guitarist Ulf Wakenius. This is from volume 3 of his lesson series available at DC Music School. Ulf Wakenius is known for playing […]