In the heart

Scholarship Entrant: Ken from bloomfield, ia
Essay Question: How has music changed your life? Please describe a specific example and share what music means to you.
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when I lesson to country I feel all the joy and pain the hurt the good times and bad songs can pick me up our set me down some will bring a tear to my eye

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all my life

Scholarship Entrant: Raymond from jersey City, new Jersey
Essay Question: How has music changed your life? Please describe a specific example and share what music means to you.
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I’ve been a musician all my life. I had my own salsa orquetra . But now my life has changed I’ve been serving the Lord now for a few years and I lead the worship team I have cancer and I always pray that God will heal me through my music to honor him and this week he heard me the tumor started to shrink. I want to continue playing my misic my equipment isn’t that great. But we do what we can with what we have. I wish to win to be able to sound great. Thank you.oh I’m 60 years old

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How Music has changed My Life

Scholarship Entrant: scott from Pelham, NH
Essay Question: How has music changed your life? Please describe a specific example and share what music means to you.
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How has music changed my life? It has given me a goal in life to keep striving for. No matter how hard it gets it makes me want to keeping pushing forward. Whether it be a new song, a scale, or music theory I just keep pushing harder and harder even if I only have a little bit of time to practice during the week.

When I was young I walked in on my parents while they were watching the movie the Jazz Singer starring Neil Diamond. Of course it was during the last scene when I walked in. I saw Neil Diamond on stage singing his hit song America. I was completed amazed at what I was hearing and seeing. That one scene in the movie changed me forever. Watching him sing that song with nothing but passion and an over whelming desire to perform made me want to do the same thing. Now your probably wondering if I have seen the entire movie, and I can say yes I have multiple times. Even watching the rest of movie made my desire to play music stronger. I mean what a great movie about a singer song writer that wants nothing more than to record and preform his music. Through out the movie his own family didn’t want him to follow his dream, but he did any way. To me that’s amazing.

What does music mean to me? Well, at times its a great stress relief, but more and important its a love of something that no one can take away from me. With out music in my life I don’t know what my life would be like. A day does not go by without me listening to music. I can’t live without it.

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The 12 Essential Chords You Need to Play Country Guitar

12 essential country guitar chords

Learning guitar is all about technique, chords, and progressions. If you’re an aspiring country guitarist, there are a few chords you need to learn. Here, Katy, TX guitar instructor Zachary A. breaks down the 12 essential country guitar chords you need to know.

Country music was derived from traditional Western folk music, and roots music that originated from the Mississippi Delta. When it comes to playing country music, there are 12 essential chords that you need to master. These chords are used in thousands of popular, well-known country songs.

essential country guitar chordsHere’s  a country chord progression that you should learn, practice, and master.

D-G-A-A7-D-G-A-A7-D

Remember, mastering the guitar can take years of practice. You don’t have to be the best guitar player in the world when you’re just beginning your journey. When you’re learning chords, memorize the finger placement so you don’t have to refer back to the diagrams. Playing a series of chords in a progression is the most efficient way to memorize chords.

Country Music Theory

Now let’s look at the basic music theory behind country music. Country music uses a lot of major guitar chords. It also uses the dominant 7th chords. These chords can be built in any key using any scale with a tiny bit of music theory knowledge.

Building Major Chords

Major chords are made up of three notes: the tonic, third, and fifth interval. These three notes are pulled directly from the scale of the chord that you are playing. Let’s look at the C major chord as an example. The C major scale is C(1)-D(2)-E(3)-F(4)-G(5)-A(6)-B(7)-C(8). It consists of natural notes (no sharps or flats). To build the major chord, take the first, third, and fifth notes from the C major scale (C-E-G).

Here’s another example with the D major chord. The D major scale is D(1)-E(2)-F#(3)-G(4)-A(5)-B(6)-C#(7)-D(8). Take the first, third, and the fifth notes, which are D, F#, and A.

Building the dominant 7th chord is just as simple as building a major chord, but we add one more step to the process. First, take the first, third, and fifth notes from the desired scale. The next step is to take the seventh note from the desired scale.

For the D dom7 chord, use the D major scale (D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D). Use the first, third, fifth, and now, the seventh note. This gives you D-F#-A-C#.

For a minor chord, take the first, third, and fifth notes from the scale, but this time, use the minor scale rather than the major scale. Try this with the C minor chord. The C minor scale is C-D-D#-F-G-A-A#-C. When you pull the first, third, and fifth notes, you get C-Eb-G. This process is a lot easier when you memorize the major and minor scales. Remember the steps: W-W-H-W-W-W-H for the major scale, and W-H-W-W-H-W-W for the minor scale.

If you want to play and build a progression, select three or four of the 12 essential  chords, and make up a progression or sequence. You can make up tons of different progressions with the 12 essential chords. Playing these progressions will help you transition from chord to chord. You can use any rhythm when you play. When you practice, you should focus on making smooth transitions (no gaps or hesitation) from one chord to the next. Start out slow, and then pick up the tempo.

Build Your Own Progressions

I will use E major to show you how to build your own progression. Use the E major scale, lift the tonic (E), third (G#), fifth (B), and the seventh note (D#). When you build a major triad over these four notes, you get the four chords of the I-III-V-Vii chord progression. This rule will work for any chord progression you want to build.

There are hundreds of songs out there that use the 12 essential country guitar chords. Alan Jackson’s song “Drive”uses G,D, and C, and repeats the G-D-C-C  pattern for the majority of the song.

“Check Yes or No,” by George Strait, uses a I-IV-V chord progression in the key of D. The D-G-A pattern repeats throughout the song.

Now that you know the essential country guitar chords and the history behind them, it’s time to start practicing. You can use these classic country songs to practice the chords and perfect your technique.

Need some help perfecting your country guitar skills? Find a private guitar instructor near you!

Zachary A

 Zachary A. is a guitar instructor in Katy, TX specializing in beginning and intermediate students. He is currently earning a degree in music theory. Learn more about Zachary here!

 

 

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ideas for teacher appreciation week

The ABCs of Teacher Appreciation Week [Infographic]

May is just around the corner. Do you know what this means? It’s almost Teacher Appreciation Week!

Between May 7th and May 11th, you’ll have a golden opportunity to show your teacher how much you care for all that she or he does. And sharing a gift with a fun note or card can be the perfect way to express your appreciation! Are you or your child taking lessons from a private music, sports, singing, or language instructor? Then there’s no better time than Teacher Appreciation Week to show your gratitude for all the hard work that your teacher does.

So, what to get for that extra-special teacher in your life? Don’t sweat it. Coming up with fun gift ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week can be easy as ABC! Check out some great ideas below to spark your creativity in showing thanks to your beloved instructor. These gifts are easy to make (and fun for kids to help out with, too)! Finally, be sure to check out the links to these ideas at the bottom of this post for even more inspiration from some gift-giving experts!

ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week

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Sources

All Thing Apple

Brainy Bookmarks

Clever Candy

Dynamo Drinks

Eloquent & Earthy House Plants

Fancy Floral Arrangements

Groovy Gift Cards

Heartfelt Handwritten Notes

Inexpensive Gift Ideas

  • “I Couldn’t Have Picked a Better Teacher” Strawberry Pack – Dixie Delights

Jam-Packed Gift Jars

Keys & Accessories

Let’s Get Physical!

Magical Gifts for Musical Teachers

Necklaces, Bracelets, & Charms

Outdoorsy Gifts for the Adventure-Seeking Teacher

Quick & Easy Gift Ideas

Resources for Teaching

  • “Thanks for Being a ‘Staple’ to My Success” Stapler –  Desert Chica
  • “Thanks for Sticking With Me!” Tape Gift Pack – The Happy Scraps
  • “Thank you for pushing me to do my best!” Push Pin Gift Pack – Liz on Call

Super Soaps & Sanitizers

Terrific Tech Gadgets & Gear

Upcycled Gifts

Vital Presents for Voice Teachers & Acting Coaches

Wonderful Writing Utensils

Xtra-Ordinary Gifts

Yummy Goodies & Treats

Zany Gifts for the Quirky Teacher in Your Life

Have more fun ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week? Leave a comment below to share what you’ll be getting for your favorite teacher!

 

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playing guitar is my saving grace to sanity

Scholarship Entrant: David from franklinton, la
Essay Question: How has music changed your life? Please describe a specific example and share what music means to you.
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Playing guitar is my saving grace to my sanity.

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Pre-performance checklist flowchart

Checklist for Singers: How to Prepare for an Upcoming Gig

Are you a singer gearing up for an important gig? If you’re feeling nervous about singing, don’t sweat. Here, online voice teacher Tyler J. share his timeline for success…

 

The gig is booked, you’ve invited your friends, and you realize on the night of the show that you haven’t even rehearsed yet. Your heart rate speeds up, your stomach turns, and you break out in a cold sweat. “I’ve barely rehearsed, I’m totally going to screw this up” repeats over and over in your mind as you pace back and forth counting down the hours until downbeat. Have you ever been in this situation? Of course you’re going to feel nervous about singing in this scenario.

It’s something that many performing musicians have experienced, but it fortunately can be remedied well in advance. Following the checklist below is a great way to know you’re well prepared, and will help you confidently take the stage when the time comes.

Checklist for Singers

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While at first this may seem like a lot of work, when you space it out over a few weeks it’ll seem much easier. I highly suggest working through this checklist with your vocal coach (and if you don’t have one, look no further than right here on TakeLessons.com!). These are just some of the tips for singers that will help you become an amazing performer. Your teacher can also provide honest criticism of your performance, help you memorize lyrics, and help to keep your voice feeling strong and comfortable. If you’re prepared, you’ll be able to step on stage with confidence and deliver an excellent performance.

Need help finding a vocal coach near you? Start your search here!

Tyler J

 Tyler J. teaches multiple styles of singing and guitar via online lessons. He recently earned a Master of Music in Commercial Music from California State University Los Angeles and can also help students with composition, music recording, and audio engineering. Learn more about Tyler here!

 

 

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5 country guitar licks every guitarist should know

5 Country Guitar Licks Every Guitarist Should Know

5 country guitar licks every guitarist should know With it’s distinct style and signature sound, many guitarists want to learn to play country music. Here, Katy, TX guitar instructor Zachary A. shares the five country guitar licks you need to know…

Whether you’re trying to emulate you favorite country guitarist or you just enjoy the twang of country songs, these five guitar licks will help you establish a solid foundation. The majority of country music licks are derived from blues and major pentatonic scales. In this article, I will provide the sheet music and the tablature layout of the five essential country licks you need to know. These country licks will help you build speed and efficiency in your country solos.

These country guitar licks have been used by all the country music legends like Albert Lee, Ricky Skaggs, Ry Cooder, Brent Mason, and many, many more. When you practice, you don’t have to play everything super fast. Personally, I think it’s the melodic, moderate tempo licks that really bring home the country vibe. Remember to learn the scale first, and then work on perfecting it. When you’re learning these licks, or any scale or solo, I recommend using a metronome. A metronome can help you gain speed and develop your sense of time.

In my opinion, there’s no one who personifies country guitar quite like Albert Lee. He is a true virtuoso on the guitar. Lee recorded “Country Boy” in 1979, and it became an instant hit. Here is a lick from “Country Boy.” This lick may seem intimidating at first glance, but it’s not too overwhelming when you break it up into two-bar sections.

Country Boy guitar lick

Here’s a country guitar lick from Ricky Skaggs. Play this lick in G major Mixolydian mode. This lick is one of the more well-known country guitar licks.

Ricky Skaggs Country Guitar Lick

This country guitar lick is from a Danny Gatton solo. Gatton was an unbelievably fast guitar player, and he would frequently cover several American music genres in one wicked solo. In this lick, he starts with a bend from the 5th of the chord, then moves to bend the 2nd of the chord up to the 3rd. After that, he surrounds the low 3rd of the chord, and finally resolves everything by moving up to the open G.

Danny Gratton Country Guitar LickThe licks in figures 1 and 2 are both in the chromatic scale, in the key of G7. The chromatic scale is very straightforward; it’s all 12 notes that we use in Western music. When you play chromatic scales, you can really build up your speed. These scales use chromatic filler tones, which makes these licks seem almost never ending.

Country Guitar Licks Figure 1

You can hear these two licks in numerous Albert Lee and Brent Mason tunes. Lee and Mason are both virtuosos on the guitar, and they both have a strong command of the chromatic scale.

Figure 2, is a chromatic lick in the key of G.

Country Guitar Licks Figure 2

Remember, you can treat these licks as templates for new country guitar licks. It’s always fun to take a simple lick and add to it. Take these ideas, add to them, or invert them. You can also take part of the lick, and then go in a different direction; it’s up to you as the musician. Looking for more great country songs to play? Try these easy-to-learn classic country songs.

Looking for a great guitar instructor in your area? Search here for guitar teachers near you!

 

Zachary A

 Zachary A. is a guitar instructor in Katy, TX specializing in beginning and intermediate students. He is currently earning a degree in music theory. Learn more about Zachary here!

 

 

 

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Music In My Life

Scholarship Entrant: Patrick from Boynton Beach, Florida
Essay Question: How has music changed your life? Please describe a specific example and share what music means to you.
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Music has affected my life so greatly. I’ve been able to use music as a means of release from the stress and emotional trials I have faced. I feel like whenever I pickup my guitar or sit down at the piano I can forget about all of my troubles and just enjoy the the sounds I can create. At the age of 16 I was robbed at gunpoint and was traumatized by the whole ordeal and I became very isolated and all I had was music to comfort me. I want to take my playing to a whole new level but I can’t do that without proper music lessons and the expertise of professional musicians. Music is my hobby, my passion, and my best friend.

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Family Tradition, Lots of Guitars & NO $

Scholarship Entrant: Michael from Phoenix, AZ
Essay Question: How has music changed your life? Please describe a specific example and share what music means to you.
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Music has changed my life by making me constantly BROKE! It started with records.. (I now have 2000+) Then my dad gave me my first Acoustic. The Guitar is a Family Tradition so as my Grandfathers & Father did I started Playing & Collecting Guitars.. It all brings me great Joy, But at a cost of most of my disposable income… Id do it all again

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