Meet Our Guitar Teachers – Video Performances

Hi everyone,

Here’s a chance to meet our guitar teachers who cover London and the surrounding areas.

On our website we feature a page of Guitar Teacher profiles, listing our teachers’ information, qualifications, experience and successes.

And here below is a video playlist featuring performances by a selection of our Guitar teachers – From home studio performances, to Classical Guitar competition recitals, to Glastonbury to The Albert Hall.

We hope you enjoy the great playing featured in the videos, and we’ll post soon when we upload some videos of our newest teachers too.

-Alex

Guitar Lessons London

Piano Lessons London

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Guitar Themed TBT Part Two

Welcome to part 2 in our Guitar-themed TBT (Throwback Thursday) mini series.

You can find part 1 here.

Again, we’re featuring 3 great Guitar videos from days gone by.  Just as part 1 contained performances from 1959, 1969 and 1979, now’s the time for 1989, 1999 and 2009.  So here we go!

1) 1989 – Night Of The Guitar

2) 1999 – Guitar Boogie – Tommy Emmanuel

3) 2009 – Joe Bonamassa Live 

Enjoy!

Guitar Lessons London

Piano Lessons London

New Teacher: Welcome Isabel Torres!

We’ve recently welcomed Portuguese Guitarist Isabel Torres on board at Bruce Music.

Isabel relocated to London a few years ago to study for a Music Degree, and has joined our team of London Guitar Teachers in early 2015.  She is a virtuoso Guitarist and performer and an experienced teacher, having started teaching at a very young age in her native Portugal.  She has particularly impressive experience with SEN (Special Educational Needs) students, and groups of young children.

She has performed live on Portuguese Television when aged just 16, and since moving to the UK has become a regular performer on the touring and festival circuits.

She’s comfortable playing just about any style of music, but is a specialist in Rock, Blues and Jazz

Here she is last month, performing some super-cool Jazz guitar!

To book a lesson with Isabel, or any other of our teachers, Get in touch!

-Alex

Guitar Lessons London

Piano Lessons London

Lead Guitar Phrasing – Part 3 – Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits

Welcome to Part 3 in our series on Lead Guitar Phrasing.  The subject of today’s study is the Mark Knopfler‘s playing on Brothers In Arms.  First, here’s the track:

So here are 5 key points we can take from this, to apply to our own Phrasing when soloing:

1) Leaving Space.  
We’ve discussed leaving spaces between phrases before, and referenced Miles Davis’ quote “It’s the notes you don’t play”.  However, on this track, and many others, Mark Knopfler takes this concept from a necessary technique to an art form.  During these spaces in the verses is arguably when his Guitar carries most weight and power, as when listening to the song, you can feel yourself urging and pre-empting the Guitar’s re-entry.  This combined with the Guitar being “high in the mix” (ie. noticeably louder than the other instruments), and a collection of concise, sparse and perfectly executed fills, makes for a brilliantly evocative Guitar part.

2) Minimalism 
This is a selection of short and medium length fills, there are no long fills at all.  This is an effective, controlled approach.  Rather like how you might stop listening to someone who’s been going on and on for 10 minutes, but take serious note when a silent type finally speaks up.  On a couple of occasions, there is no fill at all, and once the first verse, there’s a fill of just one note.  Even in the solos, there is absolutely no playing to excess whatsoever.  If you told any guitarist to solo over the Brothers In Arms Backing Track, you can be sure they wouldn’t play so little, or be anywhere near as effective, unless they’d already learned this lesson

3) Volume Swells 
Knopfler’s volume pedal is a big part of his sound.  Essentially a volume pedal is a foot pedal which sweeps from silent to full volume, and you can create similar effects using the volume knob on your guitar.  Using this he creates violin-like swells, notes that creep and fade in and out.  Essentially he’s hereby deepening the use and potential of dynamics in his playing.  Try it out with whatever you have at your disposal!

4) Pushing 
Pushing is coming in just before the beat, usually a quaver (or 8th note) before.  Knopfler does this a lot, coming in early with something emphatic, that sounds momentarily out of place, then soars as the music falls into place around his guitar part.  This adds expression, dynamics and the illusion of pace, and is exemplified by the solo-opening bend at 4:13

5) Fingerstyle 
The central, best-known aspect of Mark Knopfler’s technique is the fact that he nearly always plays with his fingers, rather than a plectrum.  Whilst this arguably has more influence over his rhythm playing, it does affect his lead playing in one major way.  The scope and range of expression provided by the fingers is much wider than with a pick.  This range extends at one end of the spectrum to a hard, plucked twang, and at the other to the lightest, feather-touch flick of the strings.  In general, there’s a soft, rounded quality to his tone that comes from his fingerstyle soloing.  Try it out!

Coming soon, the 4th and final (for now) part in this series.

Happy Knopfler-ing!

– Alex

Piano Lessons London

Guitar Lessons London

Lead Guitar Improvisation – Part 4

This is the 4th and final part in Bruce Music‘s Improvisation mini-series.  It’s about Listening.  

“‎Listening is the key to everything good in music”
– Pat Metheny

Listening is a huge part of your improvising process as a Guitarist.  Listening to recorded and live music, and listening to the rest of your band while you play.  Here’s how to use your listening skills to your advantage as an improviser.

1) Copying phrases by ear.
Listen to your favourite guitarists’ solos and try to repeat some phrases by ear.  There are two benefits to this.  One, you’ll improve your musical ear and soon be able to do learn songs quite quickly by ear, especially as you get more familiar with all the chord and scale patterns and shapes most commonly used.  And two, you can apply the skills learned to real life improvisation, as described in the next point.

2) Responding to your band.
This can be very subtle or very obvious.  Your Bass player just played a certain run of notes from a pentatonic scale.  Your listening and aural skills can allow you to respond by playing the same run yourself, or even a response or “answer” to it.  You hear your Drummer placing cymbal hits on a certain beat in every bar.  You can then adapt your playing to suit this.  Strumming more emphatically on this beat, or resting and playing nothing.  Whatever it may be, if you listen and keep conscious of the other musicians, you can compliment and adapt to their playing

3) Apply rules when jamming.
If you’re jamming with a friend or your band,  trading rhythm and lead every so often, you should determine that you will switch after a certain number of bars, or certain number of times around the chord pattern.  This is great practice at soloing while keeping the awareness of what else is going on.  It teaches you a stronger rhythmic feel, and an instinct for how different sections of a cycle “feel”.

4) Recognising styles/patterns
An extension of point 2 is recognising wider things, as a whole, when playing with a band.  If you’ve made yourself get used to certain familiar chord progressions, time signatures, styles etc. you’ll be able to recognise increasing numbers of things about the music your band’s playing.  You might not yet be able to recognise instantly what the specific chord progression is, but you should find things like, you can recognise major or minor chords, a rough idea of the beat, what style the music is in, and find the key you should be in.  You’ll be ready to go a lot quicker than had you not practised listening skills.

Other parts in the Improvisation series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Thanks for reading.

-Alex