Category Archives: tuition

“Soloing Concepts” videos

Dear all, I’ve started a series of tuitional videos on YouTube under the banner ‘Soloing Concepts’. This is going to be a continuing series of developing ideas that are designed to give you some concepts to apply to your playing and practice.

Part 1: Combining Disciplines

Part 2: Harmonic Variations

Part 3: Rhythmic Variations 1 , Rhythmic Variations 2

There are quite a few more in the pipeline, so please subscribe to my channel for updates!

Thanks for watching.

John.

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International Guitar Festival 2009

Firstly, welcome to my latest website/blog amalgam. It makes slightly more sense to parse the number of domains needed in my professional life, and this seems to be the most logical conclusion!

So, without further ado, on with the blog…

This year’s IGF is without a doubt the best one one I’ve been involved with thus far.  An incredible array of wonderful musicians, inspirational teachers, and a multitude of enthusiastic participants. All willing to chat gear, technique, and musical recommendations; and of course jam and banter in equal measure.

2009 brought us such luminaries as ace drummer Stanton Moore (with the incredible Wil Bernard on guitar) performing and teaching; workshops from Rob Harris and the Jamiroquai rhythm section; a face-melting concert from old IGF-hand Guthrie Govan & The Fellowship; and gigs from the IGF teachers, including John Wheatcroft’s gypsy jazz evening.

So, a pretty packed week, even without factoring in my teaching requirements!

This year, my Extreme Rock class (\m/) performed a diverse range of metal tracks – we learnt Motorcycle Driver by Joe Satriani (from ‘The Extremist’), Killers by Iron Maiden, and a Zakk Wylde-meets-guitar-orchestra arrangement of HillBillie Jean, by John Jay Smith Michael Jackson, as arranged by me in a caffeine-abetted marathon the week before.

My class did a sterling job at the Student Concert on Friday, so well done guys! Seamus, Michael 1, Will, Josh, Theo, Jack 1, Jack 2, Michael 2 and Alessandro – you all rock, and your great performance in the gig is testament to the hard work you put in over the week.

Thank you!

Post-concert, of course, came the farewell jam session, and I had a rather good time with Jonny Scaramanga, Hugh Richardson & Martyn James, with a chest-thumpingly intense rendition of Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love (according to Jonny, it was played ‘with unprecedented bodaciousness’). Of course, we took extended solos, and I even added the 9th into the A minor pentatonic, just to show that I play jazz…

Oh yes, and I played it on my latest acquisition – a new, un-modded Squier Strat. Yup.

So, all in all, a great week! Thanks to everyone who helped – all my old friends, and new ones from the week – your great company and hard work made it a week to remember!

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New Term – New Inspirations

I’m aware that the title may conjure images of some sort of Deepak Chopra-esque LifeCoach blog.

I will never, EVER, do anything as morally reprehensible as that.

Unless it becomes profitable.

So, until then, let me fill you in on some things.

Firstly, the International Guitar Festival was a huge success this year. Week 1, I had the great pleasure of working with the ridiculously skilled guitarist Dario Cortese – an absolute joy of a week! Please check out his work in Guitar Techniques magazine, and his MySpace rendition of Brent Mason’s ‘Hot Wired’. Dario has now got me completely obsessed with transcribing Brad Paisley songs – so if any of you see me even less than usual, that’s probably why.

Week 2 was the inauguration of the Rock Camp initiative, for which I thoroughly enjoyed leading the Extreme Rock course. Big kudos go to all in the class – they thoroughly RAWKED in the Student Concert, a great testament to the work they put in over the week.

It was, as usual, lovely to meet new musicians, and catch up with old friends – jamming the hours away in the Student Union. Always fun.

And the daily ‘Thrill Is Gone’ jams with a certain Martin Goulding will go down in the annals of infamy…

Meanwhile, just starting a new working term – always a good excuse to polish the playing chops.
I’ve found this video of Gavin Harrison particularly inspiring. For those who don’t know Gavin – he’s a drummer responsible for advancing the rhythmic pedagogy into the stratosphere. His development of multi-dimensional Rhythmic Illusions have to be heard and seen to be believed, and his work with (amongst others) Porcupine Tree, 05Ric and King Crimson constantly drive me to woodshed my own playing.


I’ve embedded a video of him playing an 05Ric composition that demonstrates his sheer musicality while playing ‘odd’ music, in addition to highlighting his beautifully smooth technical prowess.

Enjoy!
John.


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Carl Verheyen visits Wells

So, THIS is what it takes to update my site.
In case anyone was wondering what I’ve been busying myself with – my delightful employer, Wells Cathedral Music School, was blest with a visit from my favourite muso, Mr. Carl Verheyen and his band!

Anyone who knows anything about me and my guitar playing will realise how important this was, and how much I’ve been looking forward to it. Carl visited for THREE days with his stunning band (Walfredo Reyes Jr. on kit and Dave Marotta on bass), to give workshops with the specialist musicians, 1st a session on improvisation with the Jazz Combo, then a full Big Band session, where Carl led the band in a stonking rendition of Gordon Goodwin’s The Jazz Police.

Private lessons the next morning to some very fortunate students, and then the Mother of all gigs that night. Suffice to say, our 500-year-old Concert Hall has never seen so much rock in one room.

Many, many thanks are due to all my colleagues at Wells, especially Paul Denegri for the invaluable drive and help to make this all possible, and a big “we’re not worthy” grovel to Carl, Dave and Walfredo for just giving the greatest booster shot of inspiration to one of the luckiest schools around. You guys ROCK – and the drink in the pub after the gig will go down as one of the greatest, funniest social events of my life.

John and Carl Verheyen in The Fountain Inn, Wells

left to right: Walfredo Reyes, Jr.; Paul Denegri; Carl Verheyen; John Gregson; Dave Marotta

Carl, mid-workshop, with my Parker Fly!

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International Guitar Festival 2006

It’s been a truly hectic week down South, but I think I’ve just about recovered. Although my fingers are rueing the day I introduced them to Ab13#5.

I’ve been teaching ‘Jazz Fusion’ at the International Guitar Festival in Bath, with the truly superb Mr. Pete Callard. And what a time we all had.

The IGF has been a source of some of the most valuable musical education I’ve ever received, so it’s been fantastic to join the ranks of the educators, and impart much misinformation, with nary a hint of musical taste in evidence.

I’ve been fortunate now to meet some of the (in my opinion) greatest guitarists around today through this festival. Everyone bangs on about Satch this, Vai that, ad infinitum, but the wealth of talent and individuality present in the educational sphere is ridiculous.
I mean, look at some of the teachers on the course over the years: Guthrie Govan, Stuart Ryan, John Wheatcroft, and my main man Pete Callard. All top-line musicians (and these are just a microcosm of all the great people involved), who are on a level with any famous musician you could name. So, the chances I (and others) have had to meet these people and just marvel at their collective abilities have been invaluable.

Here’s a photo of our Jazz class [click for full-size]

Lovely people, with an excellent choice in teachers.

And the people writing on the whiteboard:

[again, click for full-size glory]

So, all in all, a great week.

Hopefully I’ll see some of you there next time!
John.

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Filed under blatant hero-worship, Guitar, music, tuition