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School Director Jim Josselyn In Acoustic Guitar Magazine

I wrote an article for Acoustic Guitar Magazine about chords and how to improve your knowledge of chords back in the 90's - back in the day when a magazine was something you actually held in your hand :)  I wrote one for them again just this year on a similar topic with a fancier title - "Expanding Your Harmonic Palette" - and included a video explaining the article and demonstrating its finer points. If your a guitarist and you watch the video I hope it helps you improve and that you enjoy it. It could also be considered a free trial first lesson, because the information here is terrific, but it's only the beginning. Click Here To Watch The Video



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September 2017 News n Notes

Family Fun day was a ton of fun!

Thanks to all the performers - Matt Fernicola, Colton Kayser, John Sheehy, Ross Bernstein and Ed Pillion - for their wonderful music and Magic! Thanks to Amanda for her Music Together demonstration class and to our face painter, masseuse and to Luigi's for the wonderful food!

Congratulations to Cheryl and Diana, the winners of our raffles, and thanks to everyone who came. We look forward to another great Family Day this Spring!


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Cool Dad Music Did A Story On Us

Jim Appio, AKA Cool Dad...

...and writer of the terrific local music scene blog "Cool Dad Music" did a really wonderful story on our school, and his connection to school director Jim Josselyn and faculty member Colton Kayser. It's a terrific profile on us and a quick, witty read. Click the image below to read the piece and to check out our friend Jim's great music blog. 


A great story about our school

Forget "brain games" - grab a guitar!

I just came across a fascinating article and I thought the main thrust of it was relevant here, so I'll summarize and share. The "brain-training" industry is an enormous and fast growing financial powerhouse. In October of 2014 a group of doctors warned of exaggerated and false claims of the effects of popular brain games on consumers. Earlier this year, Lumosity, one of the biggest players in the space, was fined 2 million dollars and ordered to give thousands of customers refunds.

The article goes on to show what the spooky looking music/brain graphic below does: Learning an instrument is an outstanding way to stay sharp. Many doctors are quoted in the article, and they are far more eloquent than I am, but here's the take away: if you're an adult and thinking you may be a little more forgetful than you used to be, or your losing a little of the ol' brain power you used to have, don't waste valuable time and money playing games on your phone. 

Grab a guitar and start making beautiful music. 


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10 Ways To Get Out Of A Creative Rut

If you've been playing and studying music for any length of time, there will be those inevitable periods when you find yourself in a creative rut. The challenge is knowing how to work your way out and get back to the business of making your art. These tips can help.

Bring in new collaborators

Find a friend or neighbor to practice or jam with. Make a new friend at school who plays. See if the studio you study at has a band program and join, today! Play music with other people!

Join another project 

And then find another situation to make music in with even different people. Sing in the school choir or at your church.

Ease up on the pressure

Dr. Noa Kageyama, a performance psychologist on faculty at Juilliard School of Music says that a good way to break free from a troublesome rut is to “give ourselves permission to be bad on purpose and how the journey can actually lead us to discover something cool.”

Try a new instrument

If you find that your hands keep reaching for the same tired chords on the guitar time and time again, see what happens when you replace the guitar with a ukulele or mandolin. Similarly, if the piano isn’t speaking to you, find some time on a Hammond B-3 or Wurlitzer electric piano to see if something new sings out.

Try different classes of instruments, too — if you’re a drummer stuck in a creative rut, see what happens when you pick up a penny flute, or if you’re a singer, try your hand at the funkiest new synth you can find. Getting handy at a new instrument can open doors for you creatively!

Try a new hobby

“If you’re a guitarist, try taking a photography, painting, or paper-making class,” says Kageyama. “Learn something new like chess or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, even if it may not ever directly overlap with your music-making.”

The reasoning, Kageyama says, is that learning new skills stretches us to naturally find inspiration. “The goal is for musicians to evolve and not just get to a certain point and stay there,” he says. “If you cross-train and put yourself in situations where you’re a beginner again, it forces you to grow and evolve.”

Try drawing from a new genre

When you feel stuck in a place listen to a style of music you aren't familiar with yet. There is no such thing as "old" music - Bach and Beethoven are still pretty great, and always will be. Listen to some jazz, the blues, world music, Brazilian pop, whatever because one advantage we all have now is that just about every thing ever recorded is online to listen to for the low, low price of free. 

Try a new identity

Some of the most iconic artists of the last century have regularly reinvented themselves. Don’t hesitate to follow their example and see where it takes you. At worst, you have an interesting experiment that’s led you to try new things, and you can drop it at any time. At best, you have a vibrant new creative direction that can push you forward in amazing ways.

Take a break

It may seem counter-intuitive, but putting down your instrument for a few days can ultimately be a good thing. When you pick things back up, you may well have new perspectives and ideas — and if you’re feeling burned out, a rest period from your music may be just what you need to come back ready to create.

Take a trip

New places, people, and experiences can change the way you see everything, including your music and music career. If you’re feeling stuck and have the flexibility to take that road trip, family visit, or backpacking adventure you’ve been longing for, give it a try. When you return to your music, you’ll have fresh inspiration to help you kick things into gear.

Be patient

Even the most brilliant and accomplished artists hit slow periods when it comes to creativity. Keep calm and keep making music. Your next sonic experiment could be the one to rocket you forward in ways you never could have expected.





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