About Me

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Atlanta, GA, United States
When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lesson #3

I'm continuing to blog about taking guitar lessons with Dave Frackenpohl at Georgia State. This helps me absorb the lesson, and I hope that it is helpful for others following the same path.

  • Last time, Dave had me use strict up/down picking when playing the dorian and mixolydian scale forms that he assigned me instead of economy picking. For this lesson's assignment, he's having me apply strict up/down picking to scale patterns (1231, 2342, 3453, etc.).
  • We worked on Maiden Voyage, which is a great tune for learning to think in dorian instead of its root major scale. Dave showed me some sweep picking licks to use. We'll continue working on Maiden Voyage, incorporating the sweep arpeggios that he showed me.
  • I had transcribed a West Montgomery solo from a recording of Fly Me to the Moon. Wes played in octaves throughout the solo, which is quite a workout for me! I was able to learn the 1st half of the solo and could play it reasonably well, if slowly. Next, I'll figure out how to play the second half.
  • I'll be learning Out of Nowhere for my next lesson. Dave wants me to learn the melody, but you can bet I'll be learning the chords, too. It's a nice song. I'll be adding it to my vocal repertoire for sure.
  • Out of the Barry Galbraith Guitar Comping book, I'll be working on the first half of an F blues exercise.
  • Dave also assigned me Now's the Time, a Charlie Parker tune that is an F blues.
  • Dave noticed that I tend to push the tempo when I solo. To help solidify my sense of time, he gave me a metronome project. Using Fly Me to the Moon, he wants me to put the metronome on 60, think of each metronome beat as 2 and 4, and stay with the metronome when I play the melody or solo. Then, I'm supposed to do the same thing with the metronome on 30, think of each metronome click as "4" (with 1, 2, and 3 silent). Next to this assignment, he wrote the words "this is challenging." Thanks for the warning, Dave!
These lessons are great! They're just what I need. I'm especially happy that Dave assigned me a blues exercise and a blues tune. Playing blues is a big weakness in my game. Most jazz guitar players start with the blues. I skated right over the blues when I started getting into jazz. The first jazz song I learned was Misty. I can play beautiful ballads, but I'm just a poser when it comes to blues. This lesson assignment will help set me straight in that area.

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