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Basics of Guitar: What Should I Expect at My First Lesson?

452442203_065c368152_oExcited about your first guitar lesson? Not sure what to expect? Read on as Goodyear, AZ teacher David A. offers his advice on how to prepare, the basics of guitar you can expect to learn, and more! 

 

By the time I turned nine years old, I had spent six months begging my mom and dad to get me an electric guitar. When I finally had one, I was extremely eager to play it. The problem was, I didn’t know how. However, that was all about to change, because… I was about to have my very first guitar lesson!

The Big Day: The First Lesson

So today’s the day… Lesson number one with a TakeLessons guitar teacher! Perhaps you are feeling both excited and a little bit nervous?

First, let’s talk about what you need to bring to your lesson. In addition to bringing a positive attitude and desire to learn guitar (after all, you have been looking forward to this day, right?), it would be a good idea to bring your guitar, if you have one.

If you have an electric guitar, you will generally not have to bring an amplifier (“amp” in guitar-speak) or a guitar cord, as most teachers have these available at their studios. While no two guitar studios look exactly alike, it’s a pretty safe bet that you will probably see a guitar (or perhaps 10!), amps, assorted guitar effects pedals, music stands, and other guitar-related paraphernalia. In my case, I vividly remember walking down a flight of basement stairs and entering the strange-looking yet fascinating lair of my amazing guitar teacher. Although I had seen pictures of rooms like these in music magazines, I had never seen one in person, and this was definitely a magical thrill that, to this day, I still remember with joy.

What You Can Expect to Learn

At your first guitar lesson, be sure to let your teacher know which guitar styles interest you. This is important, as it could ultimately affect the method in which you learn guitar. Do you want to burn up the fretboard as a rock guitarist? Do you prefer the chord and scale sophistication of jazz? Perhaps country is more your style? Or even classical? With regard to style, another aspect to consider is whether or not you will want to learn to play with a pick, fingerstyle, or perhaps both. Just keep in mind that while different guitar styles can involve a variety of teaching methods and approaches, there is still going to be the need for you, the aspiring guitarist, to learn some necessary basics of guitar, like an introduction to the fretboard.

Your teacher will show you the letter names of the six guitar strings. There are guitars available with more than six strings, such as a 12-string guitar, but most people begin by playing a six-string guitar. If you bring your guitar to the lesson, you may learn about the different parts of the guitar, such as the neck, headstock, and bridge. Your teacher can also check to see that your guitar is tuned properly. On this note, if you have a guitar that has very old worn strings on it, it may be a good idea to put on new strings; your teacher can show you how to do this, or may even do it for you. Depending on the duration of your first lesson, you may learn some of the notes on the strings, or even some basic guitar chords. You can also expect to begin learning about proper fretting, picking, and strumming technique.

Having Fun With Guitar

The following is true: I still get a kick out of playing my guitar as much as when I was nine years old and just learning the basics of guitar. Whether you aspire to become a professional guitarist or play for a hobby, learning the guitar should be a fun and rewarding experience that you can enjoy for years to come. While learning the guitar does involve acquiring skills in technique and some music theory, with the right positive attitude and willingness to learn, you too can become an accomplished guitarist in your own right. It all starts with that first guitar lesson!

DavidADavid A. teaches guitar, piano, singing, songwriting, and more in Goodyear, AZ. He has performed in numerous and varied musical situations, including with The University of Maryland Jazz Orchestra and the Pavement Chasers Tribute to Adele. He currently performs as a freelance keyboardist and guitarist in the Phoenix metro area.  Learn more about David here! 

 

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Hollywood

5 Iconic Moments that Shaped the LA Music Scene

5 Iconic Moments that Shaped the LA Music SceneSome might say that Los Angeles couldn’t exist without music. While that is certainly true, there was a time when the music scene in the City of Angels had yet to take its form. Los Angeles has long been known as one of the hottest places in the United States for music, but it didn’t get that way overnight.

Defining moments throughout the city’s musical history not only helped make it a major player in the industry, they also illustrated the talent, creativity, and diversity of the LA music scene. From symphony to hip-hop and everything in between, Los Angeles has been at the frontier of musical greatness since the early 20th century. To think it all began when Trinity Auditorium hosted Los Angeles Philharmonic’s first show in 1919.

How Hollywood Played a Part

The LA music scene was heavily influenced by the presence of Hollywood, largely due to it being the home of the rich and famous. Naturally, this attracted many musicians and singers to the area, to live and work making melodies for the many motion pictures being released. The Hollywood Bowl amphitheater was built long before, but held its first concerts in 1922. It went on to later host many iconic artists, including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, the Beatles, and Cher.

Radio Music’s Beginning and Ascent to #1

In 1922, the first LA radio stations emerged. Two of the first stations were KFI and KHJ, both AM-frequency channels. The start of these two stations was crucial to shaping the LA music scene because they broadcasted the songs of local musicians to Los Angeles. In the 1960s, KHJ became the nation’s most popular radio station by playing a fast-paced, top 40 countdown of hits. This was monumental because it turned the attention of the music industry to Los Angeles. It also showed that LA was a trendsetter in the industry.

The Palladium Opens

In 1940, the Hollywood Palladium opened with performances by Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. This event led to a number of future shows in Los Angeles by similar jazz artists, making it one of the leading locations in the country for jazz performances. The Palladium’s historic opening night cemented the venue, and Los Angeles, as one the best places in the country for live music. The Palladium’s proud tradition still holds its place today as wonderful performances continue at its Sunset Boulevard location.

The Beatles Beat All

August 28, 1966, at Dodger Stadium: the Beatles are playing, and the crowd goes wild. The performance is their second to last concert ever, with their final tour ending the next night in San Francisco. The fact that arguably the greatest band in modern music chose the City of Angels as one of their last live performances displayed just how important the LA music scene had become. It also put the attention of the entire music world on LA for the night. With bands like The Doors, The Byrds, and The Turtles also achieving fame locally and nationally at the same time, this night made it clear that LA was the leading city in the rock n’ roll world. Whiskey a Go-Go, after all, had become one of the best locations for rock concerts in America. The Beatles’ concert confirmed that LA was the place where the best would come to play and where the most creative would go to achieve greatness.

Guns N’ Roses Plays at The Troubadour Nightclub

Guns N’ Roses formed and first played in LA. They put the city at the cutting-edge of heavy metal and hard rock, and that all began on June 6, 1985, when the band performed at The Troubadour in West Hollywood. Their energy, charisma, and downright insanity brought new life to the LA music scene and reasserted that the city was capable of cultivating any kind of music. Great shows at The Troubadour still continue, but that night was one of the venue’s most memorable.

NWA Releases the Album Straight Outta Compton

In 1988, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and the rest of N.W.A. released one of the most controversial albums ever: Straight Outta Compton. While a few of their songs led to radio bans nationwide and even got Dr. Dre’s recording company a warning from the FBI, the album did bring issues of racism, street violence, and drugs out from under the rug. Additionally, it catapulted LA to the forefront of the hip-hop universe and reaffirmed the importance of self-expression in music. It is undoubtedly one of rap’s most important albums, and it came right out of Compton.

These iconic moments have helped define the LA music scene in myriad ways. These events, and others, show the diverse array of music that has been created and played in LA. So many different styles of music came of age in LA and that tradition is being carried on by the eclectic mix of talented musicians that abound here today.

Photo by Alexis Fam

 

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Country Music

San Diego Country Music: Where to Listen, Play, and Two-Step

Country MusicStomping cowboy boots performing the two-step, hands clapping along, 10-gallon cowboy hats, flannel shirts, bolo ties, and men and women with slow drawls – these are all images we tend to associate with the country music scene. And, while it’s commonly known that the country music scene and culture is alive and thriving in places like Nashville, Tennessee, west Texas, and other southern states, many people think it’s hard to find good country music, bars, festivals, and bands in other places.

Fortunately for those of us living in San Diego who love country music and its culture, the rock, alternative, and indie music scenes have not drowned out country music. In fact, the San Diego country music scene is pretty robust once you take a look around!

San Diego Country Music Radio Stations

Tagged as “San Diego’s #1 for New Country,” KSON-FM is the best radio station to tune into when you are craving some country music. Whether you want to hear about country music events and news, need some country music ballads to create the perfect atmosphere for work, or want fun country songs to listen to at a tailgate or party, KSON-FM features a fun and interesting mix of new country and classics. Listeners can find the San Diego country music they want to hear by turning to either 97.3 or 92.1.

With several highly rated country music programs, KSON-FM is sure to help you get your San Diego country music fix. Starting off the weekday mornings with John & Tammy, a duo that’s brought in the highest ratings for the station in its history, listeners may not want to get out of their cars to go to work or school. And with a full lineup for the rest of the day and week, featuring a special Sunday morning country top 40 with Bob Kingsley, KSON-FM continually ranks in the top for not just San Diego country music radio, but across all genres.

Must-Visit Country Music Venues

Honkytonks, hole in the wall country bars, and rustic music halls are featured prominently in several cities throughout the U.S., notably Nashville. However, country music lovers in San Diego don’t have to miss out on their favorite music or the fun of hanging out with others who also love it with the wide range of places in San Diego that cater to country music fans.

A notable addition to the San Diego country music scene is InCahoots, a two-step night club that was ranked as number 1 by voters on BestOf.com. With several levels, including an outdoor deck, country music lovers have plenty of space to relax to country music or get their dancing in. Catering to seasoned two-steppers and beginners alike, InCahoots offers free country dancing lessons five times a week. On Wednesdays, the club partners with well-known radio station KSON-FM for “KSON Night,” which features several drink specials after 7 p.m.

Local San Diego Country Music Events and Festivals

Though Nashville’s Country Music Awards Festival and the I Heart Country Music Festival may be some of the more recognizable country music events in the United States, San Diego is close to several large country music festivals and events that any country music lover would be proud to attend. Namely, the Stagecoach Festival is one of the top country music festivals in the U.S. that draws thousands of people from across the country.

Stagecoach Festival, one of the top country music festivals in the US, tops the list. Held in Indio, California, it’s a mere two and a half hours away from the heart of San Diego. Since the first festival in 2007, the Stagecoach has hosted many of the top names in the country music business, as well as up-and-coming artists. Ranging from bluegrass country music and folk to top 40 country to roots, alt-rock country, and more, this festival has every nuanced genre of country music you could wish for. The festival allows attendees to camp out, similar to the famous Coachella festival. With past musicians such as Taylor Swift, Brooks and Dunn, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban, anyone attending this festival is sure to have an unforgettable experience.

Learn to Play Your Favorite Country Songs

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could actually play your favorite country songs on the guitar, or sing just like your favorite country musician? Taking private guitar lessons is a great opportunity to take your country music fandom to the next level. With TakeLessons.com, you can easily find music teachers in your area who can teach you the basics and work with you on your favorite songs. Who knows – maybe you’ll be the next country star!

Photo by @giovanni

 

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March into Spring

March into Spring with TakeLessons

March into SpringSpring is almost here, and we’re definitely feeling the fresh energy of the changing seasons this month. To celebrate, we’re running two fun contests. Whether you’re already taking lessons with us or not, now is a great time to get involved for a chance to win free lessons! Read more

lil bub

Lil Bub Parties Hard in Andrew W.K. Music Video

Lil Bub is arguably the Internet’s favorite cat. Just this past week, Lil Bub had the great honor of appearing as a guest on Puppy Bowl X, Animal Planet’s super cute alternative to the Super Bowl. Lil Bub has also starred in her own documentary and published a book.

Not too shabby for a kitty born with several genetic mutations that nearly kept her from adoption in the first place. Luckily for Bub, her owner Mike Bridavsky saw true star potential in this tiny cat and she was able to find a loving home.

Now, Lil Bub shows off more talent in “Star Party Animal”, a music video for the song she wrote with party king Andrew W.K. Check out the video below and party hard!

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10 Pinterest Boards Creative Parents Need to Follow Now

Drawing Exchange at the Big Draw, RISD Museum Establishing a lifelong love of the arts and music starts with being creative together. Spending an afternoon with your child painting or singing songs are both great ways to foster creativity in your child. You can even use fun, creative projects to educate your child about science, reading, and life.

Pinterest is also a treasure trove of ideas and projects for kids and parents to share. There are so many creative parents doing wonderful things and using Pinterest to share their ideas with the world. If you’re new to Pinterest, or new to parenting, these boards will give you ideas for everything from crafts to mealtime, plus extras for the grown-ups too. Read more

3 Steps to Prep Your Studio for Back to School

piano studioAs summer winds down, teachers everywhere are preparing for the back-to-school rush. And as a private teacher or tutor, you might see your schedule filling up as old students come back from summer vacations, or new students find their calling in band or orchestra classes in school. To stay ahead of the game, here are three steps you can take to prepare:

1. Check your inventory. Whether you teach at your studio, online, or travel to your students’ homes, you need a good set of supplies on hand. Set aside some time to go through your collection of sheet music, books, and other supplies, and determine what you need for the year. If you teach contemporary pop music, for example, consider purchasing sheet music for the current hits, so you’re ready when students ask for it. If you’re tutoring students, see what new or updated resources are available. And don’t forget the little things either – you can find great deals this time of the year on notebooks, folders, highlighters, and more!

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In-Home, In-Studio, or Online? Here’s How to Decide

When it comes to lesson location, are in-studio, in-home, or online lessons better? The convenience of in-home lessons is undeniable, but there are a few other factors to consider when making the decision.

- Will being at home be a distraction?
If your home life is hectic—family members going back and forth, pets running in and out—it may be difficult to concentrate. Ditto goes for if your child is the type who wants to show off his new toys or gadgets instead of paying attention to his teacher. If you anticipate distraction being an issue, consider booking the lessons at your instructor’s studio.

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