August 1, 2009
Student Concert – Michael Tippett Centre, Bath Spa University
Thursday 30th July 2009
The class performs ‘Run’ by Snow Patrol
The class performs ‘Everybody Hurts’ by REM
Rob Shiels performs ‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles
(Thank you to Colin McKay for recording the performance.)
July 30, 2009
The Acoustic Apprentice Class of 2009
Class of 2009: (Left to Right) Heather, Avalon, Richard, Rob
Today we rehearsed all day! Our set list is:
- ‘Everybody Hurts’ – REM
- ‘Run’ – Snow Patrol
- ‘Blackbird’ – The Beatles (Solo – Rob)
Michael Tippett Center, Bath Spa University. Thursday 30th July, 7p.m
Rob baked us a final day coffee cake!
Thank you to my Acoustic Apprentices for a wonderful week of guitar, chat, cake and laughter!
July 29, 2009
The class rehearse with guest singer, Mel
We began the morning by rehearsing our performance songs for the student concert, playing through ‘Run’ and Everybody Hurts’ in preparation for our two guest vocalists to join us in the afternoon sessions.
After a long practice session we broke up the morning with a session on bass lines and how to apply them to chords and melodies, with a particular focus to the classic rock riff ‘Smoke on the Water’ – Deep Purple.
Richard performs a fingerstyle arrangement of Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’
Session 3 & 4
Our afternoon sessions were one again dedicated to rehearsing the performance songs with the vocalists Mel (‘Everybody Hurts’) and Nick (‘Run’), to whom we are extremely grateful to for joining us.
International student, Avalon, practices her RH finger picking pattern to Richard’s chords: G & Em
July 28, 2009
We began the first session with a recap on recognising song structures and with the student concert two days away we decided on the two full songs we are going to perform:
- Everybody Hurts – REM
- Run – Snow Patrol
Rob, a returning student to the class from last years course, has put himself forward to play an unaccompanied performance of ‘Blackbird’ – The Beatles.
Rob performs his rendition of The Beatles ‘Blackbird’
We began session 2 with a look at altered tunings. We dropped our 6th string (Thick E string) down to a D note to produce the tuning: DADGBE, commonly known a dropped D tuning. This allowed us to play one finger barre chords and experiment with blues riffs using a slide.
The class practice hard!
After lunch we regrouped with our sights set on learning a new song ‘Street Spirit (Fade Out) – Radiohead.
In preparation for this song, which is arranged for finger picking guitar as opposed to the original that was played with a plectrum, we played through some practice finger picking patterns to warm up.
We focused our attention back to our performance songs for the final session of the day.
Students Rob and Heather practice REM’s ‘Everybody Hurts’
July 27, 2009
Session 1 & 2
Richard teaches a percussion session, standing on one leg!
Our morning began with a session on harmonising. This covered some basic theory about constructing major scales and harmonising the notes of the major scale in thirds and sixths. We briefly covered tenth harmony, too. For this we played through a passage of ‘Blackbird’ – The Beatles.
We continued this topic into session 2 and explored the percussive side of the acoustic guitar. Using our fingers, nails, palm and heel of our hand to create rhythms.
We began our afternoon session working on recognising song structures and arranging multiple guitar parts for our performance songs for the student concert on Thursday evening (30th July). We focused on ‘Run’ by Snow Patrol and ‘Everybody Hurts’ by REM.
After the break we continued our performance work and learnt an arrangement of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’, which is arranged with both bass melody and lead guitar part.
The Chain – Fleetwood Mac. Arranged and performed by Richard Perkins.
July 26, 2009
Rob practices strumming his rhythms
Today we began our first session working on reading chord charts and recognising common notation symbols – repeats, slash charts and rhythm notation. This led us on to standard chord progressions found in popular music with a focus on recognising cadences – specifically the perfect candence (V7 to the I) with an emphasis on developing aural skills.
Our second session continued on the chord theme, integrating ‘sus2’ and ‘sus4’ chords into chord sequences. A great example of this was the use of the ‘sus4’ chord in The Who’s ‘Pinball Wizard’.
Heather learns 'Pinball Wizard'
After lunch we started learning Snow Patrol’s ‘Run’. This song uses a simple, but affective, even eighth note rhythm pattern played with down strums over the chords of C, G, Am and F.
The Spider Exercise
Our final session of the day began with a subject discussed over a cup of tea – building finger strength. We covered two exercises 1. The Caterpillar and 2. The Spider.
We then continued our study on acoustic blues with a major style blues in the key of E. This piece included a walking bass line and harmonised lines using thirds and sixths.
July 25, 2009
Heather playing RH harmonics
We began the session by tuning our instruments. This led to the first topic of the day – Tuning your guitar using harmonics.
Once we had tuned up we covered RH harmonics following the shape of the chord in the LH (see photo right). This included simple minor 11 and E-shape barre chords.
Rob working on 'Go To Sleep'
We continued our work on chords into session 2, covering standard open chords followed by enriched chord voicings i.e. Em6, Em9 and Em6/9 and so on. We then briefly played through the James Bond Theme.
After a question about time signatures, mixed with moving open chords up and down the fret board, we covered Radiohead’s ‘Go To Sleep’. This involved moving around a ‘G’ shaped chord in a 10/8 time signature!
They ask the questions, I supply the answers!
Geoff playing through the chords
After a break for lunch we began work on the REM song ‘Everybody Hurts’. This song involves a simple RH picking pattern over the chords of D, G, Em, A, Am, C, Bm and F# in a 6/8 time signature.
We began work on a generic blues piece in the key of E. The piece is built around a repetitive blues riff with lick based embellishments using a variety of blues techniques – bends, slides, hammer-on and hammer-offs.
July 25, 2009
The Acoustic Apprentice
If you’re a beginner or an ‘early learner’ with less than a year’splaying experience, then our foundation stage course could be just what you’re looking for.
Focusing on a thorough grounding in playing basics, this course addresses key areas of learning acoustic guitar, providing a solid base upon which to build in the future. Please note, students wanting to learn the basics of fingerstyle should join this course.
Course Tutor - Richard Perkins
Richard Perkins has a degree in Commercial Music from Bath Spa University and runs the successful Bath Guitar School. He performs regularly alongside award-winning guitarist Stuart Ryan under the guise of the Bath Guitar Duo and has been a regular member of the IGF faculty since 2005.