This is IMPRESSIVE, Cure For Bieber Fever

I saw these kids on the Today Show, they are amazing! In the video below they appeared on David Letterman. Dave was joking and teasing at first then amazed after their performance.

No offense against the Justin Biebers and Jonas Brothers and farther back the Britney Spears and even farther back the Debbie Gibsons and the New Kids on the Block and on and on. The list is endless of industry created acts. Of course they all have talented voices and can dance well and most of them are pretty …even the boys.

However, not one of them got anything on the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys! These three brothers play their instruments with a virtuosic command many long time studying musicians wish they had. They say the name came from the fact the little brother playing banjo was too small to actually hold it up when he started out and would lay down to play.

All the best to these three!!

Here is the link to their website.

Enjoy!

Superbowl XLVII Musical Wrap Up

At 12 notes & the Truth I talk music. So there is no way I could skip over the music of the largest happening on the planet, The Superbowl.

Let’s start at the beginning shall we? Alicia Keys version of the Star Spangled Banner. I’ll start by saying I am a fan of Alicia’s. I think she is immeasurably talented and consider her if not an influence of mine, certainly an inspiration. So it pains me a little to have to say that I absolutely ‘disliked’ her rendition. Waaaaay too long, waaaaay too slow, waaaaay too self-serving. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong choice….

I am one that does not appreciate much deviation on our National Anthem. In my opinion it is self-serving to make it YOUR song, it is America’s song. If you are gonna change it and make it your own at least know your audience and where you are.  Jimi Hendrix’ guitar histrionics, version at Woodstock was completely in line with the venue, event and crowd populating the legendary concert.

The Superbowl is one of the largest global events of all time. The world is watching. The game is a fierce battle of two teams of huge, fast, strong athletes pumped up to do sports version of battle. Did you see the players singing along like…pick it up already…then when they were ready to go hit each other she is still diva-ing her way out of the song. The players actually looked physically effected by her rendition.

Jennifer Hudson and the Sandy Hook kids were great. It was cute, well sung by the kids and amazingly sung by Jennifer Hudson. And hey Alicia Keys…it had a little energy to it! Albeit perhaps a bit exploitive…yeah I said it, just my opinion.

Then there was a halftime show too, I believe…oh yeah Beyonce! All apologies to my musician friends who were tweeting and ripping her the whole time…..lighten up!!! Just because she doesn’t throw in any minor 9ths or riff on the Lydian dominant scale, c’mon? First of all what did you expect? She is a pop star, that is what she does. She also just happens to be a great singer and put on an AMAZING half time show! These guys tweeting, face booking, etc sounded whinier than the losing Harbaugh brother. (Who is still complaining about the last call, BTW…how about don’t fall behind by three touchdowns in the first half and you might not have had to come down to the last play.)

Beyonce and her act are what the Superbowl is all about. Mega-entertainment. The show was visually  appealing and interesting, as well. It would have still been entertaining even with the sound off.

A+ to Beyonce from me! The reunion with Destiny’s Child was cool but the weak part of the performance. I was expecting the whole time to see Jay Z appear and props to him for not. I was also expecting some guest appearances, maybe an Eddie Van Halen or other megastar musician join her…although the girl in the band with flames shooting out of her guitar was pretty cool.

On a side note but a cool part of my personal music experience of the game, came after the CBS postgame show. We were wrapping up our party with friends, saying our goodbyes when I heard, “Hand of Doom,” by Black Sabbath. I believe it was used for the intro of whatever show CBS cut to after their coverage…anyone else catch that?

What will they do next year? The game is going to be outdoors in New Jersey were it was 20o at game time…not sure what musician is going to want to take that one on…good luck to who ever it is. Maybe the NFL will even think outside of the box one of these years and find or create a halftime show of their own. Maybe even get a comedian, pee-wee football game, and not exploit some poor megastar musician and paying them millions of dollars they don’t even need….or maybe exploit me to come play my guitar 😉

Top 10 Posts of 2012 on ’12 Notes & the Truth’

Thank you to everyone who visited the site this year. Since starting in March there have been just shy of 10,000 views.

Here are the top 10 blog posts by numbers of viewers in 2012.

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

You can’t deny the power of this show. Love it or hate it, it has mass appeal! I was a devout hater for the first few years but have been won over by the talent of some of the kids!

2. Van Halen Week in San Diego – Concert Review

Van Halen, the reason I play guitar = the reason I am here 30 years later playing and writing about music. So glad to see their resurgence in 2012.

3. Scorpions & Tesla in San Diego, Your Concert Review

The Scorps were one of my favorites growing up. To this day one of the best concerts I ever saw in ’84, awesome to see them still at it and popular as ever.

4. A Musical Tribute to the 2012 Olympic Games in London

This post had a lot of global appeal as all countries are included. I thought it was pretty creative.

5. This Performance May be Why the Term ‘God Bless America’ is Used as a Curse Phrase

The cyber world is truly made up of puppy, kitty and cute kid videos…and unfortunately people like to see a good train wreck as well…which is what these poor singers gave during a World Series game in San Francisco.

6. Michael Schenker Said No to the Rolling Stones, Ozzy, Aerosmith…

I am truly grateful to see Michael Schenker is so popular over the globe. I have always been a fan(and feeling on an island) and glad to see this post has been so popular over the year.

7. Mick Jagger on SNL Season Finale May 19

The Rolling Stones just don;t go away. Another post that I have been surprised got so many hits throughout the year.

8. Worst AC/DC Album??

One of my favorite bands. The title sounds negative, but, I wrote this as a tribute to how good they are and wondering which early album did not hold up in AC/DC fans minds.

9. Van Halen Week in San Diego – 10 Facts You Might Not Know About Van Halen

Again awesome to see them have such a big year in 2012.

10. What does a Playboy Playmate, Pussycat Doll and Big Screen Actress Have in Common With a San Diego Guitarist? A Wedding Blog

What a great title to get people to your blog, and I guess it worked. I was honored to play guitar for Rachel Sterling’s wedding over the summer.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you all for following my blog! I appreciate all of you who follow and chat about my favorite subject…..MUSIC!

Thank you to all my wedding and performance clients, fellow musicians and students….it is a pleasure to share music with all of you!

Happy Birthday Joe Walsh, 65, Life’s Been Good

I remember being a little kid listening to Joe Walsh’s, “Life’s Been Good.” It was the coolest song ever at the time. Cool guitar riffs(yes I was hooked on guitar even as a kid) and funny lyrics. I have mentioned before in my blogs that I am not much of lyrics guy, but, c’mon what little kid doesn’t laugh with their friends over lines like, ‘I have a mansion forget the price …Ain’t never been there they tell me it’s nice.’  Actually, the tune has held its own for 34 years now….so it wasn’t just for kids.

I will always think of Joe Walsh, as mentioned above, as a combination of iconic rock guitar riffs and a silly side, including some of his performance faces…he took the ‘guitar face’ to new heights. To me he is the redeeming musician in the Eagles. His stylistic rock licks lifted the Eagles from country band to Rock Supergroup status. His mark is most notably etched on tunes like Life in the Fast Lane, The Long Run, In the City and his shared guitar work on the epic Hotel California solo.

Joe’s been at his career for just under 50 years now. He has achieved legendary success as a member of The James Gang, The Eagles and his solo gig.

Here is to Life ‘Being’ Good for years to come…keep rocking Joe!

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

Student CD Project

How cool would that be to have your own CD? Well your student can and they make GREAT gifts for family and friends.

The cost is $75 for a recording session, mixing and mastering and up to 5 gift CDs, extra CDs are $1 each.

I usually do the recordings for the holidays but it is available throughout the year. Some students prefer to play holiday music but any songs they are working on is OK.

THE MORE PREPARED THE STUDENT IS THE BETTER THE RECORDING WILL TURN OUT!!!

~ Professionally mastered audio

~ Up to 5 Gift CD’s

~Add strings, bells, rock band and more to enhance the performance

~Recorded holiday message from students to family

~One to two hour recording session

Additional charges maybe be required for extensive editing

Here are a few examples:

Up On the Housetop w/  a rock band background

Up On the Housetop two young sisters singing and one playing some of the guitar

Amazing Grace w/ a choir background

Jingle Bells w/ Bells

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.

 

 

 

Tough Day at the Office: Musings of a San Diego Guitarist –July/August Weddings

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged about my wedding performances so here is a combined effort from the last four. Each was unique and as always great people to play for! Congrats and best to you all!

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One of the cool things about teaching and performing so long in San Diego is building up a clientele which become more like friends. Here’s a brief back story behind a recent July wedding…

I had been teaching a student for a few years when her uncle got married and they asked my guitar duo to play for the wedding which we did. A year or so later this super sweet guitar student of mine passed away. With a heavy heart I played for her memorial. This recent July wedding was another chance to play for the family…I’m always honored to play multiple events for my clients!

This wedding was also unique as I got to perform with two outstanding singers. One was an opera singer and the sister of my previously mentioned student and the other a family friend who sings musical theater. It was a pleasure to work with them both and their contrasting styles and talents.

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So I got an email in July asking if I was available to play a wedding…koto, violin and guitar.  First thing I thought was “that sounds interesting” and immediately jumped on the chance to play with some new musicians and a unique ensemble. Plus I always enjoy playing at Loews Coronado resort one of San Diego’s incredible wedding venues.

If you don’t know, the koto is a Japanese instrument kind of like a harp that lays flat. The sound is truly amazing and I found myself listening attentively during our performance.

We played a mix of typical classical wedding pieces, as well as, western pop for the cocktail hour. Personally I would have loved to play some traditional Japanese music to bring out the koto’s personality.   No rehearsals and it went great! I look forward to playing with this ensemble again.

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Looking for a great wedding venue in San Diego? Recently, I found an amazing somewhat unknown spot in Balboa Park’s Administrative Courtyard. The venue is really beautiful, located in Balboa park and has views of the downtown skyline, Coronado and other parts of Balboa Park. In addition to all these attributes the courtyard is located on the east side of Park Blvd. which makes for easy access and parking not afforded at some of the Park’s more popular locations.

Great couple too! Good luck to you both on your move across the country!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Seagrove Park in Del Mar is always a great wedding venue and with temps around the county reaching the high 90’s and 100’s I was really looking forward to playing atop the bluffs overlooking the Pacific! …then cocktails at the Del Mar Hilton adjacent to the Del Mar Racetrack/Fairgrounds.

The couple had some special requests for their ceremony music. I learned “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel and Andrea Bocelli’s, “Con Te Partiro” or in English “Time to Say Goodbye” which will definitely be added to my wedding repertoire.

Booking this wedding was a little different as I did not work with the bride and groom at all. I was contracted through a New York DJ and party planner who I hope to work with again…maybe in the Big Apple next time! Thanks Martin!

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Coincidentally, two of these events I got to work with the good folks at GD Productions. It is amazing to be playing guitar for so long in San Diego and then back to back weekends work with the same vendor who I had never worked with before…check them out for all your party needs!

Well that’s it in a nutshell …the last month of guitar and weddings in Sunny San Diego.

Click here for previous wedding posts!

Guitar Practicing Tips – Know Your Open Strings

One of the first things you will want to learn as a guitarist is the letter names of each of the six strings.  Sure you can learn a bunch of tabs and chords and play songs but what about when you are jamming with your friends and they say something like, ‘your D string is out of tune?’ It sure would be embarrassing if you didn’t know which string they were talking about! I actually remember in college we had composer John Duarte pay us a visit. Some of the students who were playing his pieces were asked to perform for him in a master class setting. One student did a great performance of a Duarte piece. As is custom in a master class the composer/guest is to give some helpful critiques and suggestions. Mr. Duarte suggested the student play a certain passage on a different string to achieve a desired sound.

The student froze. In front of the composer, his teachers and an audience full of guitarists he froze. He couldn’t find the notes he needed and it was embarrassing for everyone there let alone the poor guy on stage.

DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU! The first step you need to take is to know your open strings! Once you memorize these there are easy ways to find any note you want on the guitar. If you want to play bar and power chords knowing all the notes on the 5th and 6th string is essential and again it starts by knowing the open strings.
Here are two acronyms that are helpful to remember your open strings. Both were created by students of mine. One from over 15 years ago and one from a recent class.

Here are the open notes starting from the 6th string(thickest) to the first (thinnest)

E   A    D    B    G    B    E

Starting on the 6th(thick) string to the first(thin) string …by Patty

Eat    A    Darn    Good    Breakfast    Everyday

Starting on the first(thin) string to the  6th(thick) string …by Orlando

Easter    Bunny    Gets    Drunk    At    Easter

Don’t like these? Create you own version, whatever it takes to get you to memorize the open strings!

Click here for past practicing tips.