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Eddie van Halen at the Smithsonian

I'm a great admirer of Eddie van Halen. Not least because of all the guitarists I grew up admiring, Eddie was one of the few that I couldn't ape, and found very difficult to copy his style of play. There's one thing for sure: there's nobody who plays like Eddie. This is a facinating interview that covers a great amount of his career - one of those rare interviews that might be more inspirational than spending your timing listening to an ablum. 

 

Link to the interview

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Exam results

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Exam results

Congratulations to Ruth, who passed her grade 3 bass exam after only playing the bass for 10 months. Huge congratulations! 

 

 

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Sound Cradles brand new video

My function band, Sound Cradle, have just released a brand new video this year.  It features a bunch of songs that we play regularly and we're really happy with how the video turned out.  If you're looking for a band for a wedding or a party, we have years of experience in playing functions and we never disappoint.  You can see the video below, or view it on our website.


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Lessons in 2015

As of January 2015, I won't be taking on any new students.  My wife and I are about to embark on being parents, so while I am already fully booked, I also won't be looking to teach for a lot of the summer.  The next time I would expect to be taking on new student would be in August 2015.

Thanks for showing an interest in starting lessons, I hope that those of you looking for a teacher find one.

 

 

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More excellent results

Luke, looking pretty pleased

Luke, looking pretty pleased

A couple of big Well Done's are owed to two of my students, Luke and Barrie, who both recently passed their Rockschool exams with Merit!  Luke achieved a Merit at Grade 3 and Barrie a Merit at Grade 1.  Both are brilliant results.  Well done to both of you!

Barrie, very happy!

Barrie, very happy!

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More Exam Results

Great result!

Great result!

More congratulations are required for another of my students, Mark.  He got a distinction in his RGT Grade 4 Acoustic Guitar exam.  This is a hugely impressive result as this was his first ever exam.  I know he is really happy with his result and is looking forward to doing more exams in the future.  Well done Mark!

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Congratulations!

Max.  Happy.

Max.  Happy.

A big congratulations to my student, Max, who recently sat his first Rockschool exam. He achieved a pass at Grade 4 for his guitar playing. Brilliant result for him, I know he's really pleased with his mark.  Here he is looking delighted. 



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New RGT accompaniment books published

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New RGT accompaniment books published

I have been trying to add more resources for guitarists and tutors preparing for exams, and it's a lot of work to do it. I'm delighted to see that RGT have realised some new books for preparing for their Acoustic guitar exams. They have released a Grade 2 and 3 accompaniment book for preparing for that part of the acoustic exam. This is great news as this is another part of the exam which requires a lot of resources and time to prepare for. You can find the new books here

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Further content added to the shop

In the last few days, I have added some more books of exercises suitable for preparing for Rockschool guitar exams.  I have added books of exercises for:

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  • Grade 4 Melodic Recall tests (part of the ear training) for guitar
  • Grade 5 Melodic Recall tests for guitar
  • Grade 5 Sight-Reading tests for guitar

The importance of practice for these tests cannot be underestimated, and it is a lack of resources for preparing for these tests, whether you are a student or a tutor looking to help their students prepare for exams.  I do plan to add more in the near future; I generally create them as I need them for my own students.  There are, of course, more ways that just these examples to prepare for the tests, but it is useful to have a large bank of tests in the format of the exam tests.

I hope you manage to get lots of use out of them and you can find them all on my store.

Keep Rocking :)

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More exam exercises

As I continue to put students through Rockschool exams, I will continue to produce more and more exercises for using to prepare students for their exams. The new ones that I have added are for the Grade 4 Guitar Improvisation and Interpretation tests.  Its very easy to find ways to practice for these tests, however finding tests and examples in the exam format is quite tricky.  

To start with I've put 5 examples up, but I'm hoping to add another 10, so there will be 15 in total.  You can find them here.  Once I have them finished I will add them to the shop, but as they are being produced, I will keep them on the resources page.

 

UPDATE 23/1/14 : 5 more exercises have been added now, hoping to add a few more by the end of the week.

UPDATE 24/1/14: Final 5 exercises for now have been added.  That should be enough to prepare most students, particularly when preparing with the Rockschool books themselves.  I hope people really find these useful.

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Welcome to the new website

A brief note to say hello and welcome to the new website.  I've been re-designing it and over the next few weeks I will be adding more features and eventually a store selling various resources.   

I welcome all comments and I hope you enjoy the new website.

Note: for students, the old website is still available for all your pages, you now have to use   this instead.

 

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needing saxophone tuition?

While this is slightly outside of my normal posts, I can highly recommend Helen Dallas for saxophone tuition.  She is happy to teach all styles, ages and ability levels.  If you are looking for a saxophone tutor, or are know someone who is looking for saxophone tuition, please get in touch and I will give you contact details.

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rockschool aural training and sightreading examples

In using the Rockschool exams, I have become frustrated with the lack of resources for aural training and sightreading practice, particularly the later.  While Rockschool offer a few examples of each type of test, they are just that: examples.  They are by no means suitable for training a guitarist how to become a competent sightreader or have a brilliant ear.  I'm sure this is just a temporary stage as Rockschool increase their resources, but for those sitting their exams now, there needs to be some kind of practice.

I have a student sitting grade 4 guitar soon, and so I have prepared a collection of practice exercises.  I think there must be other teachers who can use this so I'm going to post a link to a zip file containing them.  A few things to take note of:

 

  • The file (at the moment) contains 20 chord recognition tests with answers, 20 melody tests and 10 sightreading tests.  This is by no means a complete collection.  It takes a long time to prepare these but I do plan to add to this collection, with an aim of having 30 tests of each.  I plan on adding to them fairly soon, hopefully within the next few weeks.
  • The sight reading comes with 2 clapping exercises for each corresponding test. These aren't required at Grade 4 but are great practice for reading rhythms.  The first of the pair is a rhythmic excerpt from the associated test, and the second is a similar example.
  • All the audio is very rough.  If people actually use these I will clean up the audio.  
  • The sight-reading is missing backing tracks.  This isn't a priority, but again, should people actually use these I will invest some time into preparing them.
  • I only have grade 4 tests because that's the only level I've had to prepare students for.  If I have other students sitting others levels in the future I would do the same for them.

 

I would really appreciate some feedback if you find these useful.  Just post a comment below.

You can get my resources here.  I hope you find them useful.

Update on 2011-05-12 13:20 by Stephen

I have now included another 10 sight-reading examples, there are 10 more of all the exercises coming in the next week or two.

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christmas holidays

Welcome to everyone visiting my site during the christmas holidays.  I hope you have a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Please note that while normally I aim to respond to all enquires as promptly as possible, over the Christmas holidays I may take a few days to respond to enquires.  This applies from today (20th December) through to 4th January.

Thanks again, and Merry Christmas.

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New Christmas Lesson Deals

As previously announced, I will be offering a special lesson package of £50 for 3 hour long lessons in the new year.  I am happy to announce that a second package will be added to this: £60 for 4 hour long lessons.  Both will remain available for booking until SUNDAY 9TH JANUARY.  They are proving popular so book early to avoid disappointment.

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Grade 5 Theory Classes

Grade 5 theory classes will be available in the new year in preparation for ABRSM theory exams in March and June. These will be perfect if you are looking for help working through a Grade 5 workbook or tuition in particular topics.

Classes are available for both individuals and groups according to demand. Discounts are available for group bookings.

Follow this link for contact details.

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Special Christmas Lessons

Throughout January, Stephen will be offering 3 hour-long lessons for £50 (normal cost £60).  These lessons are perfect for someone who is starting out and wants to learn a few chords to strum along to their favourite songs.  Or perhaps you know someone who has been playing for a while and would like to learn some more advanced techniques, or just needs to ask questions about "that solo that I just can't quite figure out!".  It doesn't need to be guitar players, piano players are just as welcome.

These lessons will only run through January, and there are limited spaces so book early to reserve your space. Follow this link for contact details. 

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Welcome to my website

Hi there to all my students and also to everyone visiting the site.  

I am still in the middle of setting it up however I will be adding far more content, particularly for my own students.

In the meantime, thank you for visiting and hopefully I will speak to you at some point.