All in Music

Earliest Musical Memories

When I was a little kid my family and I would walk up to the small church on the corner on Sunday nights. And sit on really hard wooden pews. And sometimes a huge bus would pull up and park in the church driveway, and a singing group would come out of the bus and give a concert. And I would like that a lot, especially if the music was lively...

Jazz Band Update

I started to start a jazz band back in August. My idea was a little untraditional. Instead of a standard fixed line up for the band, I decided I wanted to have a “collective” of musicians who could play whenever they are available. There were good reasons for this...

Starting To Start A Band

I’m starting to start a jazz band. Starting a band can be difficult. You have a vision in you head but no one else can read your mind. So you try to explain it using words. Unfortunately, words are mostly inadequate when it comes to explaining music. And then...

Tear Down Those Musical Walls

A common question guitar instructors ask their students is “What kind of music do you like?” Being a guitar instructor I have asked this question myself knowing that the answer is usually going to be one particular style of music. It may be country, or classic rock, or blues, or metal. It doesn’t really matter. The point is

Songs Worth Learning - 21

The Boys Are Back In Town - Thin Lizzy

Thin Lizzy was an anomaly. An Irish hard rock band (often verging on metal) with two lead guitarists and a black singer/bass player who wrote engaging poetic lyrics about various characters and every day life. They were huge in the U.K. but only had a couple of hits in the U.S in the 70s. Their biggest hit over here was The Boys Are Back In Town. It is worth learning for several reasons. 

George Martin, The "Fifth Beatle" Dies At Age 90

In 1962 The Beatles were a raw rock and roll band that nobody in the music industry wanted to produce. But George Martin, a young producer at EMI Studios with a classical music and novelty record background, heard a creative spark he thought he could nurture. And over the next eight years he guided the lads from Liverpool from a raw vocal guitar band into a musical phenomenon, and arguably the most popular and influential band of all times.

Songs Worth Learning - 20

Walk Don't Run - The Ventures

This classic surf song was actually first written and released as a jazz song by the great jazz guitarist Johnny Smith in 1954. It was later recorded by Chet Atkins and played fingerstyle. The Ventures heard the Chet Atkins version, which had a slightly “country” breakdown but was still overall on the jazzy side.

The Best Things In Life Require Risk

I am mainly a guitar player but a couple of years ago a guitar student of mine asked me if I taught bass. I said “I don’t play bass, but have wanted to learn how for a long time. How about we learn it together?” She agreed and we started alternating guitar lesson one week, bass lesson the next. 

Taylor Swift = Superhero

I never really thought too much about Taylor Swift until recently. To me she was someone who wrote love and breakup songs that many girls loved. My girl guitar students were usually excited to learn the song “Ours” and my guy students usually groaned at the mention of her. But in the past few months she has elevated herself in my opinion in several ways.

Songs Worth Learning - 18

Bridge Of Sighs - Robin Trower

Robin Trower initially achieved fame and success in the band Procol Harum (Whiter Shade Of Pale.) Then he launched a successful solo career in the early 1970s. In an era when originality in music was actually prized and encouraged, Robin Trower was often unfairly criticized for sounding too much like Jimi Hendrix. Imagine that happening today.

Songs Worth Learning - 17

Dust In The Wind - Kansas

In the 1970s guitarist Kerry Livgren was mainly an electric guitar player playing in the progressive rock band Kansas. He decided he wanted to learn to play fingerstyle guitar and he create an exercise to practice. That exercise was the chords in “Dust In The Wind.” His wife heard him playing it and said “That’s really pretty, you should put words to it.” Livgren said “No it’s just an exercise.” But his wife didn’t relent and eventually Livgren wrote lyrics for it. 

The Lamp Tie Rap

I will now rap a rhyme about lamp ties:

I went outside and it was damp  
I got knocked down ‘cause my tie was a lamp
I started to jerk and do a shocking dance
I looked so weird I had to move to France