Archive for the ‘Teaching’ Category

California Tour Pictures

My March 30-April 11 Tour in California came to 25 musical events in 13 days and 1200+ miles traveled!

This included:

  • 9 Lectures & Masterclass at 3 Universities
  • 7 Public Performances in 6 cites
  • 3 In-person private lessons
  • 6 Online lessons

I met amazing musicians, enthusiastic students, kind and curious fans, and ate amazing tacos!

I played and recorded on some beautiful guitars and was able to visit some beautiful parts of the state.

Huge thank you to all of my hosts for either patiently waiting out Covid or bringing me in at the last minute.

To all of the students: your questions inspire me to be better and better!

Thank you,
Aaron

Ps. If you are a FB friend you can see beautiful Encinitas photos by Robert Bender HERE.

San Francisco State University with Larry Ferrara and students

Museum of Northern California Art (MONCA) and Lynn and Warren Haskell

South Bay Guitar Society, Los Altos

South Bay Guitar Society, Los Altos

Center for New Music with Brent Miller

Program – Center For New Music

The train from SF to Bakersfield was particularly awesome and only $50.

Amtrak Train SF->Bakersfield

Mid-day concert of new lullabies & works for electronics at CSU Bakersfield

Coaching Guitar Ensemble CSU Bakersfield

Post-Concert CSU Bakersfield

Jim Scully of CSU Bakersfield

Set up!

Cal Poly Pomona with students of Buzz Gravelle

Bender Family in Encinitas

Karob Studios, Encinitas*

Playing a Pepe Romero Jr. *photo by Robert Bender

In Pepe Romero Jr.’s studio*

Playing for the Encinitas Guitar Orchestra*

With EGO director Peter Pupping*

Warming up in Encinitas!*

Rasgueado Lesson with Kenneth Bender*

Korean Tacos!!

Korean Tacos!!

A mocajete, Bakersfield!

Tacos and tamale

First breakfast in San Francisco

The Route!

*photos by Robert Bender

Book – Glenn Kurtz’s ‘Practicing – A Musicians Return To Music’

I think it was 2008 when I met the writer Glenn Kurtz. Like myself, he was an alumnus of the New England Conservatory and had studied with David Leisner. It was Leisner who recommended Glenn reach out to me.

Reading-Recital in NYC, 2013

Glenn’s book, his first, ‘Practicing – A Musicians Return To Music had just been published by Knopf and he was looking to include a some guitar music during his reading at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge. I agreed on the condition I would receive a signed copy, which I still cherish. In 2013, Glenn and I performed a few reading-recitals together in Boston and New York. We paired excerpts from his books with the matching pieces. A truly unique and wonderful experience, which attendees still ask me about!

‘Practicing – A Musicians Return To Music’ is an exquisite exploration of guitar history and teaching, and gives a nice glimpse of conservatory life from the eyes of a young musician. The personal story is based on his journals from the time and his desire to explore the musical flame that was such an important part of his life for so many years, but which was no longer. The personal trials and feelings of self doubt regarding “the path” of being a young musician are at time heart-wrenching, but they are always real. Though Glenn did not become the next Segovia, and I have no doubt that is completely fine with him, he inspired my saying, “once a guitarist always a guitarist”. Glenn is a beautiful writer and I highly recommend this book to all, guitar lovers or not.

Book Link–> https://amzn.to/3ssYStn

Have you read the book or heard Glenn read or speak about it? Did it inspire or possibly scare you?

Practicing: A Musician's Return to Music: Kurtz, Glenn: 9780307278753: Amazon.com: Books

https://amzn.to/3ssYStn

 

Ear Protection, part I

In the early-2000’s, I noticed that when I traveled by plane I would land and be exhausted for at least 24hrs. I figured it was just being on the plane, but after a few trips and speaking with fellow musicians, I came to realize it was the noise of flying from the aircraft that caused such issues. For the last 10 years of travel, I have made sure to always have ear plugs or noise canceling headphones with me, and the changes were immediate: no headaches or nausea, and I could go straight to a concert. Life was good!

That said, I also found that skin inside my ears to be very sensitive, and it limited the amount of time I could wear earplugs. For the last 3 years I have used:

https://amzn.to/3dFGNjC

I am also looking into a pair of custom earplugs. I’ll let you know how that goes.

 

Book: Effortless Mastery – On Practicing

Dear Guitarists and Musicians of all types,

As you are working and thinking about practice, I wanted to share a book I found to be very helpful and inspiring in my musical journey: Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner. I read this in my early 20’s, and it is safe to say it influenced me greatly. It was really the first book, or person for that matter, to introduce methods of how to practice to improve, and not just play the music from beginning to end on repeat.

It isn’t perfect, but it can be a great inspiration to find what works for you.
Happy Improvements!

https://amzn.to/3w7Thsw


It’s a good read with helpful tips and concrete ideas. For those who know me, you’ll probably recognize some of the language I use.

Just in case you want to read about something not work related 😊 .

Happy Practicing!

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tutorial – Using Variation

A brief video demonstrating how one can practice a “lick/run” using rhythmic variations and groupings. The music is from Tango En Skaï by Roland Dyens.

Here’s a video of the complete piece (with lots of variation):

 

Coffee: La Pavoni

Many who follow me on socials have learned about my love of coffee, specifically espresso. In 2008 I had the pleasure of traveling to Sardinia and Bologna, Italy for concerts. On this trip, I noticed that espresso tasted quite differently than in the US, and it did not cause the negative effects on my body that I was accustomed to. Since then I have delved into the exploration of espresso!

I recall visiting the home of Maestro Pepe Romero for a New Year’s Eve Party, and seeing his counter tops covered in espresso machines, at least 6! He told me most of them were gifts from his students who knew that he and family loved espresso. Soon after he was in Boston for concerts, and we stopped for an espresso on the way back to the airport. He told me espresso was very important to musicians and especially guitarists. He did not say why, and I did not question him. He’s Pepe Romero and he was preaching to the choir!

My newest addition to our espresso family is the Stradiveri by the Italian company La Pavoni.

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

https://amzn.to/2UJuU6k

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning Espresso

Books: Mysticism of Sound and Music

The Mysticism of Sound and Music: The Sufi Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan

Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927) wrote one of the most influential books on music and sound that I have experienced. Recommended to me when I was an undergraduate by the late New England Conservatory educator/provost and sitar player Peter Row, the book delves into the power of sound as experienced through the Sufism and music of South India. It is not enough for me to say it has had an effect on my approach to music and life. I think of it daily with every tuning of my strings. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

https://amzn.to/3sFhODm

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tutorial – Practice Calendar

 

This is a video I made as part of a group lecture given for the 2021 Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) on the subject ‘Developing Successful Practice Habits’ on Friday, June 25, 2021.
Music: Lullaby For Children Of The New World by Ricardo Odriozola

What are some positive habits that you use?

Using a Practice Calendar

I made this video for the 2021 Guitar Foundation of America Conference as part of a group lecture on Practice Habits. It focuses on the integration of the use of a Practice Calendar into our daily practice. The video is 5min. What do you think? Do you have a way of keeping yourself organized?

Ways to De-Stress

It’s a stressful time. It is.
Dealing with the unknown and needing to react quickly to the latest cancelation or news is not easy. Here are 5 ways to relax by yours truly!

“Not some godawful
Classics-for-Baby”
Fanfare

1 – MUSIC

Of course!
I released ‘New Lullaby’ in 2010 knowing our culture doesn’t sleep well enough or listen to much music by living composers. The result is 14 New Lullabies from 13 American composers, from the warm and sightly dark to the lullaby you shouldn’t hear the end of because you’re asleep. It has continued with over 55 premieres!
Check out the album on BandCamp: alcguitar.bandcamp.com/ (best for Artists)
Physical CDs from: Amazon
Autographed CDs from my Store: alcguitar.com/store (great for Artists!)
Join the New Lullaby Project FB Group!!
Youtube Playlist of New Lullaby Videos

2 – Neu-Becalm’d

After a major house fire in 2007 and finding I couldn’t sleep more than 4 hours or quiet my mind, my wife discovered Neu-Becalm’d™. It is a nutritional supplement that gives the brain-targeted nutrients to aid in the balancing of neurotransmitters. Problems such as mental and emotional focus, or substance abuse may be caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Very helpful for performance anxiety and quieting the mind. This was life changing!
I do not recommend drugs of any kind (beta blockers, weed, etc), but this is only amino acids. I do believe in it enough to be a distributer.
• You can find it at my Website Store: alcguitar.com/store (we will match prices)

3 – Food

Jasmine Yeh at Banff

During my Banff Music Residency in January (remember January!?) we held a New Lullaby concert with performance art and visuals called ‘The Oscillating Dream Space’. Artist Jasmine Yeh (NY) served up “chill food” and Laura Sofia Perez did visuals. It was amazing!!

I can’t recommend enough finding the right food to compliment your body and assist your mind. It is not comfort food. Chill food is food that helps you relax by its chemical makeup, ie. melatonin (amino acids!).
• A few include: Fruits and vegetables (tart cherries, corn, asparagus, tomatoes, pomegranate, olives, grapes, broccoli, cucumber)
• Grains (rice, barley, rolled oats)
• Nuts and Seeds (walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, mustard seeds, flaxseed)
In other words: Cook!

4 – Garden

‘Tis the season. Go work in your garden. There is not much that compares with digging in the dirt. Don’t forget to wear gloves if you’re a musician. Our Dwarf Iris’ came out and they bring smiles. We need smiles!
That’s it.
Go dig and start planting!

5 – Walk

Go.

via GIPHY