Play Barre Chords and Live to Tell the Tale

Last spring, a group of students at The Passim School of Music who had just taken my Guitar 4 class said to me, “Whaddya mean there’s no Guitar 5?!?” So I created the class and we’ve continued to meet each semester since then. Many of them began studying with me as rank beginners and with …

Tuning With An Electronic Tuner

Like so many things about playing the guitar, tuning with an electronic tuner isn’t hard, it’s just really nice to have someone show you how to do it.  Let me know how it goes!

Football or Music, It’s Really About Community

I actually do give a crap about football, especially when the Patriots are playing. I can’t watch a whole game though when I care who’s going to win, it’s too stressful. If I were home for the Superbowl, I would turn it on for the half time show (I LOVE …

Club Passim on Super Bowl Sunday

I went to the Kerrville Folk Festival for the first time in 1989 to sing with my friend David Holmes in their annual songwriting contest. I had never been to Texas before and had no idea what to expect but had been a Nanci Griffith fan for several years and knew that she’d been …

Productive Struggle: Finding The Magic Outside Our Comfort Zone

For the last couple of months I’ve been studying guitar with my Passim School of Music colleague, Avi Salloway. He’s helping me realize a long time dream of being able to play lead guitar. I’ve long been able to write a guitar solo in advance but haven’t had the skills or confidence to …

Failure or Regret: Which Would You Rather Deal With?

So here’s the thing: if you come to one of my classes at The Passim School of Music, the worst thing that will happen is that your playing will sound like…….. you’re a beginner. My friend Ksenia Mack always tells her students, “Don’t worry, you’ll never sound this bad again.” ;-) You have great …

Are You Like Elle?

Recently, my friend Elle said to me, “I just want to hang out with people who care what an Am chord is!” Can you relate?   Like most of my students, she’s not interested in developing a career in music, she just needs to hang and play music with like-minded …

"I Want My Lessons Every Two Weeks"

Most of my students are like me; over functioning, over scheduled New Englanders.  So I understand when they ask me if they can meet for their private lessons every two weeks. Because they’re busy, they’re concerned they won’t have ample time to practice between lessons to get the most bang for …

The Worst Reason To Cancel Your Lesson

Every now again, one of my private students will call to cancel their lesson because they didn’t have time to practice that week.   I discourage them because not practicing is the worst reason to cancel.  When you miss a lesson, you lose the momentum that gets built up studying …

How To Hold The Guitar

Beginning students ask me about this when they’re first taking lessons and often with the idea that they’re the only person who’s having a hard time getting comfortable holding their guitar.  If you’ve had this experience, you’re not alone.  Holding the guitar, placing your fingers on the strings, strumming not …