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Jazz guitar lessons

Music Geek’s Corner – What is Parallel Harmony?

Music Geek’s Corner – What is Parallel Harmony?

Solo Musician For Events - Sheldon Conrich

I thought I’d share a concept with you music geeks who crave a bit of extra harmony knowledge. A lot of people are familiar with playing a song in a key. This is a simple concept consisting of a set of chords that belong together like a family. Most of the time we use the key of C major as a sort of default key to be able to apply rules and ideas. From C major we can then convert all our knowledge to the rest of the keys.

So the key of C consists of the following notes as you may well already know: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. And from here we can convert these into chords C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am and Bdim.

With this knowledge we can play quite a lot of famous songs like ‘Let it Be’, ‘Save Tonight’, ‘La Bamba’ etc. So if I assume you know about basic key knowledge (Major keys, Minor keys and modes) then we can jump right into parallel harmony. By the way it’s important to know that chords can be extended to longer sounding harmony like Maj7, min7, 7th, 1/2dim, Dim7 . These will be used a lot, so if you don’t know then get to know!

So what is Parallel Harmony?

Duo and Trio for events - Sheldon Conrich

Well parallel harmony introduces the notion of shared chord changes which come from parallel keys. So what are parallel keys? Well they’re any key that starts with the same note. So for example some of the parallel keys for the note C are:

C major, C harmonic minor, C melodic minor and C Dorian.

I’ve decided to use only four parallel keys to begin with to make this a bit easier to play around with. So let’s look at what notes and chords feature in all of these keys.

The Notes

C major – C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

C harmonic minor – C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, B, C

C melodic minor – C, D, Eb, F, G, A , B, C

C Dorian mode – C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb, C

The Chords

C major – C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim, C

C Harmonic minor – Cmmaj7, D 1/2dim, Ebmaj7#5, Fm7, G7, Abmaj7, Bdim7

C melodic minor – Cmmaj7, Dm7, Ebmaj7#5, F7, G7, A 1/2dim, B 1/2dim,

C Dorian – Cm7, Dm7, Ebmaj7, F7, Gm7, A 1/2 dim, Bbmaj7

Using Parallel Harmony

What is a phrase - Michael Brecker

Now that we have the chords written out it’s about finding cool ways to mix and blend these parallel keys together to create something interesting and different. Subsequently the melodies that you use for a chord will correspond to the scale the chord comes from. I.e. If you choose Dm7 from C dorian then your melody notes will come from the C dorian mode. Got it! So down to the practical stuff – the combos.

These are just some parallel harmony chord choices I’ve decided to use. You can obviously play around with your own stuff. By the way, this technique can make your progressions go very jazzy or neo soul.

  1. Cmaj7     Ebmaj7   Dm7          G13
    (Major) (Dorian) (Dorian) (Major)
  2. Cmaj7    Abmaj7      Gm7           G7
    (Major) (Harm)   (Dorian)  (Harm)
  3. Cm           A 1/2dim   Abmaj7  Fm
    (Harm)  (Melodic)  (Harm) (Harm)
  4. Cm             Ab             Eb                 Bb
    (Dorian)  (Harm) (Dorian)  (Dorian)
  5. Cmaj7     Fmaj7    Em7       Ebmaj7
    (Major) (Major) (Major) (Dorian)

Ok so now you should know a little bit more about parallel harmony and how to construct your own chord progressions. Once you’ve got used to the four scale options above try adding more modes into the mix. Explore more parallel harmony from the major scale, harmonic minor scale and melodic minor scale. Then try different keys on your instrument. Always do this on your instrument so you can feel the changes. Some changes work theoretically but sound or feel wrong. Happy playing and good luck.

Any questions feel free to get in touch.

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DJ live and DJ for events - Sheldon Conrich

What makes a great Wedding DJ?

What Makes a great wedding DJ?

When looking for a wedding DJ it is important to find the right person for your day. But with a sea of DJ’s out there who do you choose? What are the factors that will affect your decision? Where should you look and what makes a great wedding DJ? I will hopefully answer a few of these questions for you.

A Wedding DJ with Experience

It’s very important to be able to trust that your wedding DJ knows what he or she is doing. A lot of the time, great musical decisions come from years of experience DJing at weddings and events. A wedding DJ is very different to a club DJ. And a wedding DJ is also very different to a friend who always picks really cool songs at parties. Experienced wedding DJs always think about two things – energy levels and who’s on the dance floor. Those two factors will make a big difference to the songs chosen at that moment in time.

A Wedding DJ with mixing skills

There are a lot of DJs out there who can mix from one song to the next which is great. There is a skill in being able to match the beats of songs and blend them together. But with modern technology it’s the latter part that the real skill of a wedding DJ can be found. Finding the right time in a track to mix the next song is key. Also how the track has been mixed in is very important. A good wedding DJ will need to decide on some of the following mixing factors – how long the blend will take, whether or not to use any special fx, what eq tricks to use, sampling, looping tricks, key matching etc. All of these are very subtle but it makes for a much smoother and ultimately better experience for guests on the dance floor.

Genre and song repertoire

If you’re at a wedding there will likely be a range of guest ages. Each of these groups of people will have different tastes, likes and dislikes in music. Yet the goal of the wedding DJ is to get all these people on the dance floor for as long as possible to create a great atmosphere. So the key to any great wedding DJ is down to their large repertoire of songs. If you have a DJ who can mix pop to r&b, to swing, to house, to drum n bass to indie etc it will give your guests the greatest chance of all enjoying themselves throughout the evening. Just having these songs on their playlist will not be enough. It’s about knowing which of these songs work well after each other and reading when to play them through out the day.

How to find a great wedding DJ

Well this is a very tricky one because how many weddings does the average person go to in their life? Not as many as you think. So how do you find a good wedding DJ if you’re not at a lot of weddings? Well some of the work will be done by approaching music agencies who can provide you with a list of recommended and experienced DJs. Other options include asking friends for recommendations from events they’ve been to. If you’ve got the time and good ears then it may be the case to keep a listen out as you go to bars, clubs etc. You may potentially catch a gem of a DJ and can grab his or her number.

Book a Wedding DJ

 

Wedding DJ Sheldon Conrich

If you are looking for a wedding DJ and need some advice feel free to get in touch. As a musician and DJ I’ve been performing at events for over ten years and have vast experience in this area. I’d be happy to chat about anything musical you need for your special day.

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Solo Musician For Events - Sheldon Conrich

Recommended Music Agents – Booking Musicians

6 Recommended Music Agents

When you’re putting on an event it’s important to have a chat with people who know a bit about music. Your first call should be to some recommended music agents. Music agents tend to have a large network of musicians and performers which will ultimately make your life much easier. With their years of experience they’ll know exactly which musicians will be perfect for you. If you’re organising a drinks reception, looking for wedding music, running a live music night or organising a private party it’s worth perusing through some music agents rosters.

Below are 6 music agents I’ve worked with in the past and continue to work with. I would definitely recommend having a chat with them.

Dan Rosen Entertainment
Freak Music

Book on Headliner
Essence Music Agency
Lastminutemusicians

If you have any questions about music agents, hiring a musician, organising music for your event or anything else feel free to contact me. As a musician I’ve been performing at events for over ten years. I have a lot of knowledge about what you need to know before hiring a musician.

Feel free to listen to my sound cloud tracks or click on my solo, duo and trio showcase videos below.

If you are thinking of using a music agent for your wedding and would like to ask any questions

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Guitar techniques - Common mistakes to avoid

Guitar Techiniques – Common Mistakes to Avoid

Common Problems found with Guitar Techniques

Guitar techniques - Common mistakes to avoid

If you’re learning to play the guitar then you may just be getting into learning some guitar techniques. Some of these guitar techniques include sliding, bending, hammer ons, pull offs, finger picking, strumming and many others. It is important to remember that these techniques will improve greatly over time with some care and attention. However if you don’t concentrate on improving your guitar techniques it will show further down the line. So what are these common mistakes to avoid?

Fret Buzz

Guitar String notes

I’m sure you’ve experienced this as you’ve strummed or played a note, the dreaded note buzz. It’s a common mistake made and can actually follow guitar learners for some time. So here are the three things to make sure you do to avoid getting fret buzz.

  • Make sure you’re fingers are close to the fret
  • Make sure you push hard enough
  • Make sure your finger is on its tip

If you follow these three rules you’ll avoid fret buzz in no time.

Crumpling Barre Chords

jazz cafe guitar n me

A lot of people dread the barre chord because they find it causes cramping and discomfort in the fretting hand. This is quite normal and is generally what happens at the early stages of playing so just stick with it. However a common mistake you should avoid can be found when moving from one barre chord to the next. A lot of people find their fingers squishing together as they move along the fret board. So to avoid this try thinking about these as you move your barre chord along the neck.

  • Loosen your fingers before you move but maintain the overall shape
  • Take your thumb off the back of the neck before you move
  • Be clear as to what barre chord you’re trying to achieve before you arrive at your chosen frets

Dead or quiet hammer ons

Joe Pass Guitar Scales

When it comes to guitar techniques we can’t miss out the hammer on. This bad boy features in the majority of classic solos and chord progressions. But a bad sounding hammer on can really dishearten the learning guitarist. Especially those trying to copy their favourite songs and failing because of a poor sounding hammer on. You’ll hear buzzing sounds, or a quiet note or some times no note. Here are some things to think about before you try a hammer on.

  • Raise your hammering finger high
  • Attack through the fretboard rather than stopping at the note
  • Attempt to squeeze the note as you land
  • Aim the hammer close to the fret

There are plenty more common mistakes made when learning guitar techniques. If you would like to know more about how to improve this part of your guitar playing feel free to get in touch. I teach guitar from Monday to Friday in Borehamwood and via Skype/Facetime. If you would like guitar lessons with me get in touch.

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Weddings abroad - Flights

Getting Married Abroad – Things to know

Getting Married Abroad – Things to know

If you’re planning on getting married abroad over the next year you may be at the early stages of planning. There are several things you will need to know if you want everything to go smooth sailing. Amazingly it can actually be a lot easier to plan a wedding than if you live in the same country. But only if you do it right. Here are some things to think about.

Choosing your destination

Getting Married Abroad

When thinking about where to get married abroad it’s important to have a good balance. This balance needs to be between your ideal wedding destination and what’s affordable for your guests. If you’re getting married abroad then you will have to factor in travel and hotel costs for yourself and your guests. So if you live in the UK and decide you’d like to get married in Thailand you may find very few of your friends being able to take the time off work and being able to afford the trip. For those in the UK there are many great wedding destinations in Europe. Though with Brexit looming I’d book it as early as you can before freedom to travel around Europe becomes an issue.

Book your travel arrangements early

Weddings abroad - Flights

It’s important to make sure you give your guests plenty of time to book their flights or mode of transport. I would suggest that at least six months is a large enough time to allow everyone to find cheap flights or train tickets. Also making it clear to your guests which airport is closest to your wedding destination will be greatly appreciated. Especially if there are multiple airports around the city like London has (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead, City).

Find a local Wedding Planner

You may want to plan all of your wedding from top to bottom and that’s great. But if you don’t live in your wedding destination then you need to liaise with a local wedding planner. There are many reasons for this. One is that they can go to the various places in person and talk to the vendors in the local language. Generally these wedding planners will have knowledge of local suppliers and will be able to get a good deal for you. Also a local wedding planner will save you a bundle of money in travel costs as you won’t have to fly back and fourth too much before the wedding.

Ideally book a hotel package

The Marriot

If you can I would recommend finding a hotel package that covers the following: Dedicated ceremony area, in house catering, in house PA system, hotel room deals for wedding guests, hotel shuttle to and from airport and a wedding planner. The more elements that are covered by the hotel when getting married abroad the less things you have to deal with. Believe me when I say planning a wedding is very stressful. Largely because the small things take up so much of your free time. Add into the equation of getting married abroad and you can see that it’s a potential mixing bowl of stress. So do your homework and find out what your wedding hotel can offer you and your guests before booking.

Booking your wedding musicians

Sheldon Conrich - Full band

This is a tricky one for a few reasons. It is much easier to view wedding musicians from your own country as they will be local to you. It’s also easier to communicate with musicians from your own country because they will speak the same language as you and will likely be able to perform your favourite songs. But it is important to remember that if you book musicians from your own country then you will need to pay for their flights, accommodation and food throughout their stay. You will also most likely have to hire in a local PA and lighting rig as you won’t want to ship those over. Local musicians obviously will be cheaper for you but as mentioned it will be harder to view them, communicate with them and request specific native language music. One very important thing to remember if you book a musician from your own country is to give them as many contact numbers and email addresses as possible. The musicians need to communicate with the hotel, wedding planner, local sound engineer/PA company and airport.

Plan Away

I hope this has helped you if you’re planning on getting married abroad. If you would like any more help or advice just drop me an email. If you’re looking for a musician or group of musicians to perform at your wedding abroad, feel free to get in touch. My team of musicians are very experienced in performing at weddings abroad and will work to give you the best musical experience possible.

 

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What is a phrase - Michael Brecker

What Is A Phrase In Music?

What is a phrase in music?

What is a phrase - Michael Brecker

When you hear your favourite musicians perform there will be something about their playing that attracts you to them. You may not be able to put your finger on it, but you just know that you like what they’re doing. I feel a lot of this attraction comes down to the way the music is being communicated. Depending on your personality and musical likes, you’ll look for different things when listening to music. But inside the genres are nuisances which separate one performer to another. These differences are largely down to the way each musician phrases their solo or chord playing. And these unique phrasing choices give each performer their unique musical personality. So what is a phrase?

Fundamentals of music

To answer the question ‘what is a phrase?’ we need to understand a little bit of the fundamentals of music. What is music? Well the key components to any piece of music are melody. harmony and rhythm. Melody deals with the single top line – the thing you sing along to. Harmony deals with the chords – the bed on which the melody sits on top of. Finally the rhythm ties everything together by creating repeated and varied patterns of sound.

Where does phrasing come in?

Ok so with the knowledge of melody, harmony and rhythm we bring in the notion of patterns. In music patterns are usually small bursts of musical ideas which repeat in slightly varied ways. These patterns can come from the melody and rhythm or focus more on the chords and rhythm. Take for example “Wonderwall” by Oasis. There are essentially five chords played in slightly different orders throughout the song. However the specific phrased strumming pattern combined with these chords gives the song it’s unique iconic status. If we change the rhythm, or change the chord structure we may well lose this iconic sound.

Another example would be the solo to Johnny B Goode by Chuck Berry. The song itself is essentially a rock and roll blues. There’s nothing unique about a rock n roll blues as it follows a structured 12 bar format. Yet Johnny B Goode has an iconic solo. It is the combination of the melodic choices along with the rhythms used that sets Chuck Berry’s solo apart from the rest.

Developing musical phrasing

What is a phrase - Oasis

Hopefully now you are not asking “what is a phrase?” and asking “how do I develop my musical phrases?”. This is something that for me is probably the most important thing to practise in music. Anyone can play a bunch of chords. Anyone can take one pattern of the minor pentatonic scale and play a bunch of notes from it. The difference between a world class player, to a good player, to an average player to a beginner comes down to the phrases they choose. Some times I listen to certain players and think “How on earth did they come up with that?”. Saxophonist Michael Brecker’s note choices, rhythms and lengths of ideas are fresh every time you hear them. As are someone like Kenny Burrell on guitar. Yet they must have developed these skills some how.

For me, it’s important to listen to a lot of music. The more music you listen to and the more varied it is the more phrasing you are naturally exposed to. If you only listen to one style of music then you will only pick up that style’s rhythms, harmony and melody. That’s fine but it will not make you sound unique or different. You’ll be a clone of your chosen genre. By listening to a wide range of styles and intently, you will pick up ideas that you can bring into a new song or solo that you’re learning.

Imitate then Innovate

The best way to develop great phrasing at first is to imitate the solos and strumming patterns you like the most. Listen to your favourite musicians playing and try to copy them best you can. Remember you’re not actually copying them, you’re copying all their musical influences without realising it. From there you can take their solo and start altering the note choices, lengths of ideas and rhythms. At this point you will no longer sound like an imitating musician but rather a fresh free thinking performer. Now this process is something that takes decades to do and I’m still refining, improving and defining my own style. As I expose myself to more music, understand the mind set of the person I’m listening to, I begin to see where I can bring in my own essence to the music.

Keep doing it

Sheldon Conrich - Guitar Teacher

A final thought for you. You may have no idea where to start when it comes to developing great musical phrasing. Ultimately trust your instincts and keep at it. Keep listening, playing, making mistakes, improving and having fun. At some point it all comes together with time, practise and dedication.

If you do need any help improving your phrasing or still want to know what is a phrase feel free to get in touch. I teach guitar and piano lessons at my studio in Borehamwood and Skype/Facetime lessons online.

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Kew Gardens Wedding - Peakcocks

Stunning Kew Gardens Wedding

Have a Stunning Kew Gardens Wedding

Kew Gardens Wedding - Peakcocks

This weekend whilst viewing a July wedding venue in Richmond, my wife and I decided it would be a good idea to head to Kew Gardens. The only other times I’ve been to Kew are for music festivals and gigs so it was the first time I could venture around. We decided to take the train ride around the seven stops to get a feel of the place and then jump off to explore. We learnt that Kew gardens is 300 acres and was built on concrete. Despite being built on concrete they have managed to grow a mini paradise in the middle of busy Kew.

The Wedding Ceremony

Kew Gardens Weddings - Civil ceremony

As we wandered around the grounds I realised that on a hot summer’s day, having a Kew Gardens wedding would be a stunning affair. We found an impressive civil ceremony glass conservatory which was set up for the day’s wedding. You can see it has a lot of space so perfect for large weddings, and brings in loads of light so it’s great for photos.

Stunning Photo Opportunities

Kew Gardens - Japanese    Kew Garden Statue

If you do decide to have a Kew gardens wedding then it is clear you’re likely to have some great photo opportunities. Literally in every direction there are amazing views. We headed over to the Japanese quarter to look at their dedicated Japanese garden. If you’re looking for a photographer for your wedding feel free to get in touch with one my team of wedding photographers. Fiona and Alice are happy to chat with you about your photography needs.

Kew Gardens Wedding Music

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Obviously a place like this with such beautiful scenery would not be complete without music. There are several dedicated venues within Kew Gardens for the party element of the wedding. If you do have a Kew Gardens wedding coming up and need some music for the day feel free to get in touch. My dedicated team of musicians will be happy to provide you with exactly what you’re looking for. Though by the looks of those drums above they might be in a bit of pain by the end of the night!! If you want to check out what’s going on at Kew Gardens just click on the link.

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Sheldon Conrich - Full band

Music For Weddings and Events

Performing Music for Weddings and Events

Over the past week I have performed in a number of musical set ups including solo, quartet, full band and DJ live. Each event was completely different to the next including a corporate do, a 70th birthday, a Bat Mitzvah and a wedding. Each event was located at different venues from Oxfordshire to Rickmansworth and each client was looking for different things. So how is it possible to get the music just right for weddings and events?

What does the client want?

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For me, it’s about finding out exactly what the clients are looking for. My initial meeting and the follow up call a month prior to the event are really important for understanding a client’s needs. In those meetings I try to find out what sort of guests will be at the event – age and personality, how large the venue is and what they want from the me.

For example at Gillian’s 70th birthday, I was asked to perform a mix of ambient background music to create a relaxed mood for her friends and family. The venue was a small hotel in Rickmansworth and I was asked to perform in their restaurant. The size of this room was relatively small and for the 30 guests of ages between 65 and 85 it was important I played appropriate music to their taste. Because I had all of this information I could prepare a mix of jazz, motown and acoustic songs to set the right mood.

Also it was important to allow her friends and family to talk without having to shout over the music. Often singers and musicians have their volume way up as they want everyone to hear them. But this can be detrimental to the ambience of a room and can heavily backfire if you need to perform background music.

Knowing the venue

Soho Farmhouse - Oxfordshire. Weddings and Events

It really helps to know what a venue is like. I mean this in size, shape and equipment provided. On the weekend I performed with the function band DJ live at the Northbrook Parking Wedding Venue in Surrey. Because I had performed there before I was aware of things like sound limiters, sound restrictions for music in their courtyard, where to park for loading, how long it would take to get there etc. Having this knowledge before performing at weddings and events is so helpful. If I haven’t played at a venue before I will often do a reckie of the site. It helps not to have surprises on the day of the event.

Being able to Improvise

Some times things happen at weddings and events that you’re not expecting. When this happen it’s important to be able to improvise and think on your feet. Two examples of this happened at the two other events I performed at over the past week. The first was a quartet at Soho Farmhouse with a great bunch of musicians. The client had decided that during our second set she wanted to set up a karaoke machine for her co workers to sing to. We were asked to join in and help the singers out. What actually happened was the words came up but the music couldn’t be heard. And so as a band we turned ourselves into a live karaoke machine performing requests with the guests. Luckily we knew the songs thrown at us and the night went well.

At the Bat Mitzvah there was a delay to the food coming out which meant that the client asked us to extend our Israeli set. It was then down to us to keep watch for a signal as to when the food would be ready so we could wrap up the music and let the guests sit down for lunch. Having a good group of musicians around you is really important when these sorts of things happen.

Highlights of the week

Soho Farmhouse - Helicopter

Some of the highlights of this week’s events include:

  • A helicopter taking off during the middle of an acoustic set – 50 yards away from us
  • Performing live karaoke
  • Finding and playing a song for a guest who had been searching for it for over 15 years
  • Having a great gig with the Cocktails and Dreams band
  • Inviting an 85 year old man to join the Function Band Dj Live on stage to sing ‘Mack the Knife’
  • Bumping into Northbrook Park’s resident peacocks

Northbrook Park Peacock - Weddings and Events

I look forward to this weekend’s weddings and events and I’m sure they too will throw in their own surprises. If you are looking for a musician for your wedding or event fee free to get in touch.

 

 

 

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Sheldon Conrich - Guitar Teacher Borehamwood

Advice for those planning to learn the guitar

Advice for those planning to learn the guitar

Learn the guitar with Sheldon

If you’re planning to learn the guitar and have that inner guitar learning buzz, that’s absolutely great. Today I wanted to give you some advice and some things to think about before you embark on your guitar learning journey.

Don’t spend too much at the beginning

You may have seen your favourite guitarist using an SG, Telecaster, PRS or Gibson Les Paul. And so you may be thinking you want to learn the guitar just like them. Just be aware that at the early stages of learning  it is important not to invest too much money into something you haven’t mastered yet. I have several guitars as a professional guitarist and teacher but these have been collected over the years. They all serve different purposes depending on what musical set up I’m in and what type of music I decide to play. Start with affordable guitars from companies like Yamaha, Epiphone, Fender etc and leave the Martins, Les Pauls and Strats until you feel competent with what you’re doing.

Your minimum outlay should be a cheap electric, acoustic or classical guitar. From there you may want to get a bunch of picks, a tuner, spare set of strings, capo and string winder. If you’re an electric guitarist then you’ll also need to get a lead and a small – probably 10 – 15 watt amp to begin with.

Be realistic about what you want to achieve

Learning to Play Guitar

When you see a guitarist playing in a band you may think it looks pretty simple what they’re doing. You may have a notion that in 6 months time you’ll be shredding up and down the fret board and strumming your favourite songs around the camp fire. I would urge you to be realistic about what you want to achieve when you learn the guitar.

For the first six months or so you’ll invariably learn a bunch of chords and simple songs to apply these chords to. You’ll hopefully develop a handful of usable strumming patterns and if you like soloing you’ll learn some simple melodies and solos. Obviously if you want to achieve more than this, it is possible, but you need to put the time and practise in regularly.

Are regular lessons important?

Sheldon Conrich - Guitar Teacher

This question can be answered by looking at your personality and how busy you are as a person. If you want to learn the guitar you’ll need guidance. Now this could come from a book, YouTube, CD, DVD or one on one guitar lessons. If you are someone who needs very little motivation to do something and can keep going regardless of hurdles then the self teaching path is probably best for you. As long as you keep asking questions and find mediums to answer those questions you’ll improve.

If you are someone who needs structure, if you’re busy and have little time to search for lessons and ideas, and need someone to motivate you when learning becomes hard then you’ll need a regular guitar teacher. Having lessons with a guitar teacher on a regular basis will keep you on the straight and narrow. Before you can pick up bad habits these will be ironed out. If you get easily frustrated or confused a guitar teacher will bring you back to the correct technique or chord position.

How much should you Practise?

The thing about learning the guitar or any instrument is you have to put the practise time in. One key reason for this is that you need to develop the muscle memory. Your aim as a guitar player is to get to the point where your fingers do the work for you and the guitar almost plays itself. It’s like when you’re driving on autopilot. In order to get to that level you’ll need regular daily, yes daily, practise. Even if you get 10 minutes in a day that’s better than none. This is why it is important before making the commitment to learning the guitar that you recognise how much of your free time it will take up. If you have a passion for guitar and want to learn then just be aware that some of your daily free time will need to be practising.

Follow Your Instincts

If you want to learn the guitar and have your mind set on it then follow your instincts. If regular weekly lessons with a guitar teacher appeals to you then go down that route. If more casual YouTube guitar lessons is your thing then start with that. Either way, welcome to the wonderful world of guitar learning. If you do need guitar lessons and would like to book guitar lessons in Borehamwood feel free to get in touch. If you live outside Borehamwood I also offer Skype guitar lessons.

 

 

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Sheldon Conrich - Full band

Wedding Entertainment – How to create a great atmosphere

Wedding Entertainment – Creating Atmosphere

When a client is looking for wedding entertainment it’s because they’re looking for someone to create the right sort of atmosphere for their guests. Usually they’ll try to contact an agency or individual who specialises in wedding production. Why are clients doing this and is it really worth it? How do you find the right wedding entertainment team? What creates the perfect wedding atmosphere? I felt it was important for couples to get a feel for what goes into their wedding entertainment and production. By understanding just what’s involved it will hopefully help you decide who and what to hire for your wedding day.

The Staging

How to become a musician

It is quite a good idea if you have a wedding band or DJ to raise them on some kind of staging. There are many reasons for this but first and foremost it will help create the party atmosphere. By having the band slightly higher than the guests you’ll get that true performance effect and this will also help map out your dance floor boundaries. Staging is not too expensive but brings a really great dimension for your wedding band.

Wedding staging - Wedding Entertainment

The staging is usually the first thing that goes in when it comes to music production. Before any lighting or equipment goes up the staging must be laid down. I work with several stage production teams and they’re always the first in and last out. They will design it, build it and pack it down after the wedding, which usually sees them leaving the venue after 2am. Thanks guys.

The Lights

Up lights for weddings - Wedding entertainment

The lights you use at your wedding can really add to the atmosphere and in my opinion are essential for wedding entertainment. I know from performing at many weddings that having a few up lights and moving heads can make a big difference. So what are the differences and what should you be using at your wedding? Well at a very basic level you should be looking at some up lights. These are small LED lights that can be dotted around the edges of the room or behind the band sending light upwards. They can change colour, or be set to match your colour scheme for the wedding. They are relatively cheap and can have a massive effect on your wedding atmosphere.

Up lights and moving heads

You then have moving heads which essentially sit higher up and spin. These spinning lights move at different speeds and directions and can point to the partying guests or at the ceiling. They’re a lot of fun but are more expensive than the LED up lights. The set up and derig for lighting is a relatively quick job and you can throw as much production into it as you want. You can let the lighting team programme your lights for the whole night or have a dedicated person controlling them and syncing them to the music.

The PA system

PA system for weddings - Wedding entertainment

Another very important piece to the wedding entertainment puzzle is the PA system. Trust me when I say it’s not worth skimping on a cheap PA system when it comes to weddings. Although the shape of the venue and size of the room will effect the sound, a poor PA system can have a hugely detrimental effect on your wedding atmosphere. You’re looking for a system that brings clear sounds – vocals, instruments etc and has a wide range of frequencies from low bass to high pitch. A good mixing desk, wide range of mics for vocals, kits, acoustic etc will make a big difference for your engineer. And that brings me to the wedding sound engineer. If I’m on stage performing and suddenly there’s a load of feedback or the music cuts out – it’s down to the engineer. Our job as musicians is to perform and their job is to make sure the music sounds great. The combination of the two is how we create a great atmosphere at your wedding. So hiring a good sound engineer or team of sound engineers is as important as the wedding band itself. Over the years I’ve manage to find a few dependable PA system and engineer teams that consistently do a great job. Thankfully!

The musicians

Sheldon Conrich - Full band

The wedding entertainment would not be complete without the musicians. If you’re looking for a small musical set up or a big production for your wedding having good musicians is hugely important. If you can have versatile musicians that bring smaller and larger set ups for the day you’ll get a really great atmosphere going.

You’re looking for musicians who play regularly at weddings. There is a difference between touring session musicians for recording artists, studio musicians, pub musicians and wedding musicians. The difference really lies in type of repertoire these musicians play and the way they interact with their audience. For me wedding guests are not really audience (like at a gig) but more of an interacting part of the wedding show. So it’s all about making wedding guests feel like they’re part of the band, like they know us and not for us to bring an artistic inflated ego to the stage. The ego based musicians invariably get very bored of wedding entertainment and disappear very quickly. This is why you’ll see a handful of good wedding bands always talked about and the rest just fading into the background.

It’s your wedding

How to learn an easy guitar solo

And so you have it – the basics of what goes into your wedding entertainment from a musical perspective. It can take years of performing and networking before us as musicians find the right team of people to bring a client’s wedding to life. Thankfully those years are behind me and at every wedding I can trust the people around me will do a great job. If you’re looking for a musician, band or DJ for your wedding day feel free to get in touch.