Lucky Guy!

When I first got into teaching I was so thankful just to have a few students. I still feel grateful to have families bring their kids to the studio week after week.

Then when you realize they care about you too…it makes you feel really good! I am always taken back when clients/students think of me and my family at the holidays. It is never expected but always appreciated! Thank you all for the cards and gifts over the holidays.

Student Cards 2012

Here is to a musical 2013 on the guitar!!!

A Guitar Christmas, Joe Pass, Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Do you listen to Joe Pass? If yes, pass GO and collect $200. If not you better catch up on some listening!

Listen to how many different ways he treats the melody throughout the piece, true mastery, ENJOY!

Note: The video below was accidentally embedded but a great one as well so I will leave it on here. Wes Montgomery on guitar and Jimmy Smith Keys.

A Guitar Christmas, Jimi Hendrix, Silent Night/Little Drummer Boy/Auld Lang Syne

This is a new one to me. I am sure tired and true Hendrix fans have already heard this one, but,  I never even knew it existed.

You know when you got to a Christmas party and the host has a holiday playlist where every song sounds like Frank Sinatra? Nothing against Frank I am a fan myself, but, I need a variety in my holiday playlist. Classical to Metal, Latin to Country, New Age to Punk….that makes an interesting list in my opinion.

There is just something about hearing holiday music interpreted by great musicians and this medley is definitely all Jimi!

So glad to have found this gem to add to my collection.


A Guitar Christmas, Gary Hoey, Deck the Halls

Ho Ho Hoey!

Gary made a name for himself with his Ho Ho Hoey Christmas recordings. I have to say I had mixed feelings on Mr. Hoey in his early days. As great a player as he is, he never truly inspired me the way Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai and other players did. I didn’t find him as original or unique.

Over the years I have come to really like and respect his playing. He is a great studio guitarist/composer and has carved a serious niche for himself. He writes for NASCAR, MLB and other high-caliber entertainment genres.

He is also featured on many videos. I was lucky enough to have one of my songs, “Sunny & 70,” follow one of his on a surf movie a few years ago, “Sea Level Pressure.”

This version of Deck the Halls is in typical Hoey fashion. Takes a melody and adds his own spin to it. This piece is a little heavier than some of his others but worth a listen, Enjoy!

A Guitar Christmas, Brian Setzer, Nutcracker Suite

This is one of my favorite Xmas songs to break out and listen to each December.  I love the big band rockabilly treatment Setzer gives to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite with just enough guitar in there to make it rock.

Even if you think you are not familiar with the Nutcracker you will definitely recognize most parts if not all. Unfortunately, our commercial society bastardizes great classic music into cartoonish soundbites to sell products.

Enjoy yourself a swingin’ Merry Christmas!

A Guitar Christmas- Al Di Meola, Carol of the Bells

For those of you who don’t know about Al Di Meola,  you are missing out especially if you are a guitar aficionado. Di Meola’s style is a blending of Latin influences with jazz fusion. He is known for blistering solo work and has collaborated with a wide variety of musicians. These partnerships range from rock/metal guitarists Steve Vai and Joe Satriani to fusion jazz master Chick Corea.  From  flamenco giant Paco De Lucia to pop singer songwriter Paul Simon.

Happy holidays, hope you enjoy the guitar inspired Christmas music.

A Jazz Musicians Christmas

“Playing nice and simple for the ol’ folks…

If they heard my b5’s and minor 9’s I’d be headin’ for the unemployment line…”

I heard this song the other day and had to post it. Musicians all have to play gigs at times where the music means more to the consumers than the musicians(beats digging ditches I always say!) This song a jazz musician lets out his hardships about playing Xmas music for the holidays and not being able to throw in his favorite jazz licks.

Pretty funny and maybe a new Xmas tune to many of you.


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!

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