It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

Well it’s definitely that time already in the music teaching biz!

If you are like me, you know it is way too early for Christmas music, at least for listening. However, with student performances and CD recording projects coming up SOON it has been my experience that the day after Halloween needs to be the official start of practicing holiday music.

Gotta love the Frank Sinatra Christmas Songbook…has NOTHING to do with him other than the picture on the cover.

 

For those looking for music I strongly recommend the FJH series of Methods and Xmas books. I’ve been using them for 7 plus years now. Their books are a bit more contemporary than the ol’ standards. My students laugh cause I know what page every song is on….they test me but they never trick me.

Tips on practicing for the holidays…

-Don’t bite off more than you can chew! Pick one or two songs with arrangements at your skill level. Learn those and then dive into another. If you start too many at one time you might burn out and lose your steam.

-Practice at least one song you play the notes or tab and a couple with just chords. People love to sing their favorites this time of the year and you can strum away and accompany them.

-Have fun!! Making music with others is a blast. Be confident, but, don’t take it too seriously!

BONUS TIP: Unless you are really comfortable sight-reading make copies of the songs you intend to play and leave the book at home! If you have the book people WILL start to browse and make requests which can be an uncomfortable situation for beginners.

Good luck with the guitar this holiday season!

Related posts:

Guitar for your holiday events

Bing-a-Ling-a-Ling

Upcoming Shows, September

Here are my upcoming public performances through the end of September.
There are two  shows.

Both are solo performances featuring a mix of classical, Latin, popular and flamenco styles.

Friday, September 21 at the Roxy in Encinitas. 7:00-9:30PM

Very cool place that has been supporting music forever in San Diego. They have something for every taste. Great food mostly vegetarian but don’t let that scare you, try the falafel burger or their pizzas. Roxy also has specialty coffee drinks, full bar and desserts.

All ages are welcome!

Sunday, September 30 at Orfila Vineyards & Winery in Escondido. 3:00-5:30PM

This is the place to go if you want to relax out in nature for a couple hours. Orfila overlooks the vineyards and mountains in the distance.
Taste some wine, grab some food(they are supposed to have a gourmet food truck) and listen to music.

Kids are definitely welcome even though it is a winery.
In all I have five gigs the next two weekends so I will be a busy guy. Two weddings, a fiesta and the two public events above.

It’s been blast seeing  everyone at the recent shows and it is always great to see familiar faces so hope to see you! You might even get your photo on the website! Check my blog.

Also check my performance calendar.

 

 

 

Orfila Winery, A San Diego Guitarist Blog- Performance Aug 24, 2012

Had  great weekend of gigs! Friday evening at Orfila and a cool wedding on Crystal Pier on Saturday.

Orfila is a winery located in San Diego’s North County near the Wild Animal Park…its still hard for us native San Diegans  to call it Safari Park.
Not exactly sure what is it; the mountains in the background, the gardens overlooking the vineyard, the wine or the music but Orfila has the mojo for relaxation. Everyone who has been there to see me play has a great time.

I had a blast playing a mix of classical, flamenco and rock/pop guitar for them once again. Here are a few pictures from the night. Thanks to all of you who made it out!!!

My next Orfila event is September 30 3:00-5:30, a Sunday afternoon.

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No Olympics on TV Burnout??? Listen to Some Music!

That was some serious TV watching every night for the past two weeks. Riveting coverage of sports that we only care about every four years. But it was riveting.

 

Now what are we all gonna do? Watch re-runs of Chopped, Modern Family or Big Bang Theory? You could read a book or do a project with your family. All good ideas.

Here is my nickels worth of free advice…LISTEN TO SOME MUSIC! Not on your TV, not on your computer on some sort of music device!

A little too retro?

 

Find some old jazz or classical piece. Play some of your kids favorite music. Play your kids some of the embarrassing music you grew up with. Better yet make your own music… every home has a guitar or piano tucked in a distant corner, right?

Give the giant screen on your wall a break for 30 minutes tonight. You will feel like you really did something different…because you will have done something different.

We Lost an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award Winner Today – RIP Marvin Hamlisch

That’s right, Marvin Hamlisch was one of only eleven to ever win all four prestigious awards not to mention he also won multiple Golden Globes, as well.

Unfortunately, the composer passed away today at age 68.

Locally, Hamlisch’s name was synonymous with the San Diego Symphony’s Summer Pops, as he was the principal conductor.

Another huge musical loss in 2012, RIP Marvin Hamlisch!

Got Mud in Your Face, Big Disgrace

I have to say there is not much about being a dad for the last 3.5 year that hasn’t been pretty amazing! It’s awesome to watch a little baby grow up and learn new things everyday.

As a musician though the coolest thing  is when your kids display a little musical talent….or at least an interest.

Hearing my daughter sing her nursery rhymes and TV cartoon theme songs creates more than a little pride for sure.

But, what is really cool is she is starting to rock out a little bit…her new favorite lyrics that she proudly sings over and over everywhere she goes are….

 

We Will Rock You

Got mud in your face

…big disgrace

……kicking your can all over the place!

Then the chorus  ……We Will We Will Rock You!

Gotta love it!

American Idol Live! Tour, San Diego Concert Review -July 26, 2012

Let me say I do watch American Idol. I didn’t see the first five years or so but every season since I have, but I never vote.  Growing up a rocker into Van Halen, Zeppelin, Judas Priest, etc., it is a bit out of my element.  However, when my wife’s cousin Mary (of Mama Mary) got tickets and asked us to go I was actually pretty excited. Maybe even a little afraid that it would be a cheesy pop concert but I was excited to see the show and hang out with Mary and her husband.

The kids did not disappoint!!

My fears that it might be a Brady Bunch Popfest were unfounded. Surprisingly, as well, the stage setup was not beastly over powering the singers. With all the hype Idol brings I expected a huge overbearing scene. It was, however, state of the art and perfect for letting the singers do their thing.

So here are some of my thoughts on the show…keeping in mind that I am a guy that loves music but not usually into vocals so much.

The Good!

First of all let me say there was no pitchiness Dawgs!

All the girls sounded amazing! So much serious musical talent for such young musicians. They don’t just sing but use their voices as instruments.

Highlights included;

Elise Testone’s version of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love.  Since I usually go to rock concerts it was a chance for me to feel in my element and rock out a little.

Erika Van Pelt, nailed Pink’s Glitter in the Air!

The duo of Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh hit some serious harmonies together and their musical phrasing was impressive! Their respective solos were great as well.

Very cool to see San Diego native Jessica Sanchez return to a hometown hero’s welcome. Sixteen years old are you kidding me? That girl can flat out sing!

On the boys side I would have to say my biggest surprise of the night was Colton Dixon. He sells it out! There is a difference between good singers and good singers who put their heart into it, good job my man!

Phillip Phillips, what can you say? First of all he was my pick from day one of the auditions when he sang Michael Jackson’s Thriller. All bragging aside he like Colton, but even more so, has stage presence, a great voice and likeability.  I would say he even stole the hometown crowd away from Jessica, a bit.

But the best singer of the night maybe one of the best ever is Joshua Ledet!!!! The boy can SANG! I said it not sing…SANG! His version of James Brown’s It’s a Man’s World was PHENOMENAL. Regarding my earlier statement that I like to attend concerts of musicians over vocalists does not APPLY to Joshua. Not sure what else to say but AMAZING!

The Not So Good?

Deandre Brackensick with his super falsetto and Heejun Han with the sweet crooner voice just did not quite live up to the others…keep at it though guys!

The flow of the concert was also a little off especially in the first half. I think it is just the nature of the show not being one recording artist and their own fans creating a bond.

Valley View Casino Arena…come on San Diego we can do better than that worn down piece of junk! I remember seeing shows there in the 80’s and it was not a great venue then…lots of memories though.  And sorry to Valley View…everyone is San Diego just calls it the Sports Arena!

The Must Be Mentioned!!

The band! Yeah, believe it or not there are real musicians backing these kids up and they have the best backing them up. Flawless rocking out in the band and some great guitar work throughout the show but most notably on Testone’s version of Whole Lotta Love…Don’t forget these guys!!!!

Alright, there’s my thoughts. I am going to go read Mama Mary’s blog  for her thoughts and you should too!

 

Click here to view the American Idol Live! Tour Setlist