Our Amazon: Maxine Feldman


Photo by Toni Armstrong Jr.

Before Stonewall, on May 13, 1969, folksinger and trail blazer Maxine Feldman wrote “Angry Atthis,” a song about not being able to openly love her female partner. Songs like that didn’t exist before then. Maxine went on to perform and record for the exciting women’s music network in the seventies and beyond with songs about a myriad of topics, especially lesbians. Not only was Maxine a friend of mine, but she was a great entertainer who was vital to our culture.   Continue reading

Posted in LGBT music, music, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

Five essential guitar strums

with Kara

Kara Barnard and Jamie Anderson. Photo by Janice Rickert.

The question I get asked most by guitar students is “How do I know what strum to choose?” I could tell you I’m freakin’ brilliant and charge you $100 for a lesson. Or I could simply tell you that most songs* are either in 4/4 or 3/4 so you only need to know five strums, whether you’re playing guitar, ukulele, or a similar instrument.

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When should my child start music lessons?


We’ve all seen this video of young Korean kids playing the guitar:

Pretty astounding and it probably leaves some parents wondering if Junior should be starting music lessons in the womb. I’ve taught guitar for over 15 years and I’ve talked with parents who thought their two or three year old was ready for private lessons because “He loves music.” All kids love music and benefit from live music but some aren’t ready for lessons until a certain age. When should your child start lessons? Continue reading

Posted in music, Music instruction, Playing the guitar, Playing the ukulele | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easy to play stringed instruments

guitar mandolin ukuele

L-R: mandolin, electric guitar, electric bass, banjo, ukulele.

In this case, size doesn’t matter although ukuleles are little and pretty easy to play, even if you’ve never played an instrument before. In the video below, I play a bunch of different instruments and give you advice, most importantly to step away from the mandolin (unless you already play a stringed instrument or you’re so smitten with Chris Thile you want to propose marriage.). Although, I can teach you that instrument as well as guitar, ukulele, and songwriting. Contact me here. On to the video where I impart wise advice: Continue reading

Posted in music, Music instruction, Playing the guitar, Playing the ukulele | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ukulele lesson. Free. Yeah, free.

Often when you pay nothing for something you get what you pay for — advice from “experts” who couldn’t find their hind end with both hands, sites that fill your device with cookies, and well-dressed church ladies who show up with pamphlets about Jesus. Maybe you like all that, but it annoys me. Well folks, here’s something free and I promise not to bug you. I’ve got years of teaching experience and if you want to sign up for Skype lessons later, it’s all on you. Contact me here and we can make it so.

You just bought a ukulele ’cause they’re easy to play, portable, and it matches your outfit. Now what? In the video below I teach you two chords, a strum pattern, and a song that you can play. Cool, eh?

Ignore the fact that in the screen shot, I look like I’m sneezing. I just got this video camera and anything technical is challenging to me. However, I’ve been teaching music for over 15 years and I do know how to teach ukulele.

Want private lessons via Skype? I can teach you more chords, strumming patterns, how to play melodies, finger picking and more. Contact me here.









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More music instruction? Where do I sign up?

guitar teacherAt least, I’m hoping that’s what you’ll say. My blog gets 100 to 200 hits a day, many of them on posts that offer music instruction, from beginner guitar chords to what to wear while playing the ukulele. So far, I’ve offered everything for free (although there’s a donation button should you be inclined). Would you be interested in a higher quality of lessons — video and text you can access anytime? Whether the answer is yes or no, I’d like to hear from you.

Please take a moment to answer this quick survey. I promise you won’t be added to any mailing lists or receive extra spam about Canadian pharmacies. I do happen to live in Canada but I am not in the habit of sending out drugs. The authorities frown on that.

As always, I offer Skype lessons on guitar, ukulele, mandolin, and songwriting from anywhere in the world. If you live in Ottawa, come to my home studio and get a face-to-face lesson. Contact me here for details.

Lots of stories and tips for guitar players here.

weird guitar

I can teach on almost any guitar but this one will cost extra.


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Songs of Pride and Strength


It’s been a tough week, especially for LGBT folks. In times like this, I always turn to music. Continue reading

Posted in LGBT music, music, Women's Music | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment