Tag Archives: teaching

Drums, NYC Music Scene (with Graham Doby) Ep044

Aaron Sefchick and Joe McMurray bring in drummer Graham Doby to discuss drums and the music scene in New York City.
Graham tells the guys about his musical journey, including playing jazz in high school and studying jazz drumming at George Mason University before moving to NYC to work as a full-time musician.  Graham remembers playing at different venues in Washington, DC while he was in music school, and Joe and Graham reminisce about ear-training classes at George Mason with Dr. Anthony Maiello.  The guys also contemplate the value of Berklee College of Music as it compares to other music programs/options.
Graham talks about the complexities of the NYC music scene: it’s competitive nature, it’s different circles of musicians (from professional jazz players to wedding bands to professional players of other genres), and it’s often low-paying or pay-to-play gigs.  Despite any difficulties, Graham loves being part of NYC’s scene.  There are great players, exciting opportunities, and cool people.
Aaron gets Graham to tell us about his experience opening for Parliament and the stories of his interactions with George Clinton.
Graham has built a recording studio in NYC to record other bands and to produce his own music.  The guys ask him to explain how he manages the noise and his neighbors in an apartment building.
Aaron, Joe, and Graham discuss how to book gigs for a self-managed tour.  Graham talks about his work with a non-profit group that provides music education for youth, senior citizens, and students with disabilities, which reminds Joe of Fret Buzz Episode 38 with Joe Hamm of El Sistema.
The guys talk about the business skills it takes to make a living playing music, from doing taxes to wearing multiple hats (teaching during the day and performing at night).  Graham answers the burning question about how NYC musicians deal with getting show equipment to their gigs considering the obvious transportation difficulties.  The answer: they often don’t have to worry about it because so many venues have house drum kits and amps.
Graham tells us about his plans for the future, including recording projects, more teaching, and staying in NYC for at least five more years.
Late Sea

Drums and Public School Music Teachers Part 2 of 2 (with Guest Host, Shaun Rodgers) Ep041

In the 2nd half of our interview, we continue our conversation with Shaun Rodgers.  In part 1 we talked a lot about Shauns current projects and teaching music in the Virginia public school system, and in part 2 we talk about the University of Maryland’s music department and about drum kits.  Shaun is a former colleague and bandmate of hosts Aaron Sefchick and Joe McMurray, playing drums in their original band, the Kairos Quintet.
Shaun graduated from the University of Maryland’s music department, and we ask him to detail his experience.  He tells us about his reasons for choosing the University of Maryland, the teachers (many of whom perform with the National Symphony), the amazing music facilities on campus, the classes, and the overall vibe of the school.
We dive into the world of drum kits.  Shaun explains his different kits, and how he chooses which one to use for each gig.  We discuss drumming techniques, choosing drum sticks, snare drums, the sounds of different drums based on the types of wood that they are made from, electric drum kits, and hand drums.
Shaun currently plays in several bands around Northern Virginia including:
–  Broken Ground Band: a 1990s/early 2000s cover band (www.brokengroundband.com)
–  Half Pint Harry: a band featuring tiny instruments (www.halfpintharry.com)
–  FarAway: an acoustic duo (plus drums) (www.farawaysongs.com)

Drums and Public School Music Teachers Part 1 of 2 (with Guest Host, Shaun Rodgers) Ep040

Shaun Rodgers joins the show to talk about drumming, teaching music in the Virginia public school system, and the University of Maryland’s music department.  Shaun is a former colleague and bandmate of hosts Aaron Sefchick and Joe McMurray, playing drums in their original band, the Kairos Quintet.  The guys reminisce on the collaborative writing approach and overall professionalism of that band.
Shaun tells us about the different bands that he is currently playing in around Northern Virginia including:
–  Broken Ground Band: a 1990s/early 2000s cover band (www.brokengroundband.com)
–  Half Pint Harry: a band featuring tiny instruments (www.halfpintharry.com)
–  FarAway: an acoustic duo (plus drums) (www.farawaysongs.com)
Shaun tells us about life as a general music teacher in the Virginia public school system.  He teaches Kindergarten through 6th grade and although it can sometimes be exhausting, Shaun points to the beauty of having a full-time salaried position in the musical realm.  We discuss why he is choosing to teach younger kids versus older kids (no after school programs!), semester planning, “Standards of Learning” (SOL), teaching young kids how to “school,”  teaching recorder in public schools, and the usefulness of the piano and guitar for teaching.
We then talk about melodic drumming, a topic that we have discussed in the past with Joe Hamm of El Sistema in Episode 038.  Shaun, who has an incredible ear, tells us about his past ear training and how it helps him to sing harmonies.  We also talk about the importance of designated listening for ourselves and our students.

Jazz and Higher Education with Dr. Shawn Purcell Ep039

Dr. Shawn Purcell, who teaches jazz guitar and jazz arranging at George Mason University and performs for the U.S. Navy Commodores, provides us with many insights into his story, learning and teaching music at a collegiate level, touring with the Ringling Brothers Circus, and his career as a military musician.
Shawn, Joe, and Aaron discuss methodical and efficient practice routines, working with new students to develop these practice routines, and the need to adjust these practice routines to prepare for different sorts of gigs and musical opportunities.
Shawn’s story takes us from his youthful days of Led Zeppelin, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Vai, and Van Halen to his college days in which he studied jazz guitar and the recording arts at Duquesne University.  Upon graduation he landed a gig touring with the Ringling Brothers Circus, for which he spent two years traveling around the country on a circus train and played guitar for a living.  His next stop was eight years as the guitarist for the Air Force’s premier jazz ensemble, the Airmen of Note.
in 2004, Shawn and his wife, Dr. Darden Purcell, moved to Nashville where he gigged and earned his Master of Arts in Music from Middle Tennessee State University.  He gives us details of his experiences in the Nashville music scene.
If you thought Shawn had already received a lot of music education, he and his wife then moved to Illinois where he earned his Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance.  After a period of teaching at the National Guitar Workshop, he landed the job as the guitarist for the U.S. Naval Academy Band, and a couple years later he won the position as guitarist for the U.S. Navy Band “Commodores” jazz ensemble in Washington DC.  Shawn tells us lots of information about becoming a military musician, the lifestyle, the necessary skills, etc.  He stresses the importance of being able to sight read!
Finally we get into a deeper discussion about higher education: how to become a music professor, what that experience is like, how universities work, etc.
Shawn was one of Joe’s jazz guitar teachers at George Mason University, and Shawn’s methodical and organized style of teaching helped Joe achieve tremendous growth as a guitarist and as a teacher.
Check out Dr. Shawn Purcell at www.shawnpurcell.com

Mods for Guitar, Amps, Pedals and Gear Part 1 of 2 (with Guest Host, Miles Harshman) Ep030

Who doesn’t love to talk about guitar tone?? Aside from the obvious fact that much of your tone comes from your fingers, it is also greatly affected by your beloved gear: your instruments, amps, effects pedals, etc. Lots of the gear that you purchase off the shelf can actually be improved or changed through mods / modifications to the internal circuitry – some of which you can do yourself. We bring in guitarist, amp technician, music teacher, and Berklee graduate, Miles Harshman, to give us the ins and outs of musical equipment.

In Part 1 of this conversation we dig into guitar tone, ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Stevie Ray Vaughan to Robin Trower. Miles talks about his love of different types of fuzz pedals, an effect that Joe rarely uses. While Joe uses several types of overdrive and natural small amp distortion, he commits to giving fuzz another try. Miles presents an overview of how tube amps work – their different gains stages, how the tubes break up, the feeling of a tube amp due to the sag/sponginess in the rectifier tube.

Miles tells us about his journey to becoming a gear technician, including building his first stratocaster in high school and his more recent telecaster with unusual switches.

We talk about clean guitar tones, and how hollow, semi-hollow, and chambered bodies affect the your sound.

Miles begins telling us about his experiences at Berklee College of Music, including the many ensemble choices, the enormous practice room amps, and the general atmosphere. Check out next week’s episode to discover who was Miles’ freshman year roommate!

Fingerstyle Guitar Part 2 of 2 (with Guest Host, Dustin Furlow) Ep029

In part 2 of Fingerstyle Guitar, Dustin gets into his process of arranging his compositions and how he goes about coming up with his melodies. The guys also discuss one of his original songs, “Elder Tree”, the role of an audience, how Dustin was approached by booking agents, the process of booking shows/tours, concertsinyourhome.org, Dustin’s connection to fingerstyle and his solo show, his practice routine and resources that he recommends.


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Fret Buzz The Podcast



Fingerstyle Guitar Part 1 of 2 (with Guest Host, Dustin Furlow) Ep028

Joe and Aaron bring in guitarist and vocalist, Dustin Furlow, to discuss all things fingerstyle guitar. The guys talk about influential fingerstyle guitarists including Tommy Emmanuel, Stephen Bennett (harp guitar), Andy McKee, Tony McManus, Garreth Pearson, Don Ross, Mike Dawes, Adam Rafferty, Adrian Legg, Alexander Misko, and Matt Thomas. They look into approaches to choosing the right keys for solo fingerstyle guitar arrangements, as well as alternate tunings such as DADGAD and open D tuning. The guys dive seriously into the details of nail maintenance and acrylic gel nails for fingerpicking.

Dustin, with his wealth of experience playing and performing with high end acoustic guitars, explains the benefits and downsides of many types of guitars, especially as they relate to fingerstyle guitar playing. They look at the differences in sound and playability of Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Larrivee, and Beneteau guitars, as well as choosing the right pickups and pre-amps to get the best live amplified sound.

dustinfurlow.com for more information