The Guitar Aces, Happy to See Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn be Honored in Poway

The Guitar Aces Poway Studio, Group And Private Lessons
Proud to see Mr Padre be recognized in our community. He was a huge influence on Founder Mike Slayen learning how to practice guitar and work hard as a teenager.

If you’ve been in The Guitar Aces Poway studio you’d know Tony Gwynn is a hero of mine!

When I was a teen I learned how to practice guitar by always hearing broadcasters discuss how hard Tony worked on his craft of hitting a baseball. I thought, “Why can’t I do that too?”

This is something we always try to pass along to the students at their guitar lessons each week. No matter what you do try your best and work at it!

Thanks once again Tony Gwynn for all your hard work and dedication to the city of San Diego and Padres fans!!!

Th Guitar Aces, Poway, It’s Getting Spooky This Halloween Season

Kids Learn Major and Minor at Poway Guitar Studio
Halloween is a great time to discuss the differences between major and minor.
Its looking 'Spooky' at The Guitar Aces studio in Poway.
Its looking ‘Spooky’ at The Guitar Aces studio in Poway.

Well the weather is still warm but it really is fall here in Poway!

And at The Guitar Aces we are gearing up for Halloween at lessons….

It’s creepy and it’s cooky and altogether spooky…to steal a line from the Addams Family.

As much fun as Halloween is it’s also a great time of year to teach about the ‘minor mode.’

Throughout, the year we discuss how minor tends to sound ‘sad or even spooky’ vs. major sounding ‘happy.’

One of our favorite ways to get this across is take a major song like Jingle Bells and ‘Spookify’ it. ‘Spookify’ is a term one of our students came up with a few years back in reference to changing songs from major to minor.

Depending on the age/level of the student we show them how to do this.

For younger students/beginners we simply show the kids how to play the song in minor. So the difference is noticed more by the students ear.

For older/more advanced students we discuss how to actually make the change themselves by lowering the 3rd and 6th notes of the key. Here they start to develop the theoretical meanings of the differences in addition to the sound.

Always makes for a great musical October! Even scarier is after Halloween it is time to start holiday music…

Have a Happy and safe Halloween!

The Guitar Aces, Poway Studio Happenings

Well all the students are back in school and schedules are shoring up. Between guitar and sports and art and karate and dance…you parents are master planners at giving your kids the best! We are truly proud and honored you’ve chosen us to be a part of that mix!!

For those of you who have been waiting to enroll with The Guitar Aces now is a great time. As I mentioned the schedule is mostly set which makes scheduling your child a bit easier. And if you have aspirations of your child playing a few tunes at Christmas/the holidays there is still plenty of time to get them ready…yes even the beginners!

Young Poway Guitarist earns iTunes Cards for Referring His Friends
Enjoy your rewards Levi and keep up the great work on guitar!!

We at the Guitar Aces would like to give a huge thank you to Levi. This young man has single handedly brought in two referral students to start lessons…and we appreciate it! He has truly earned those iTunes gift cards. He is beginning his love of music at a young age(reminds me of me a little), has been practicing a lot and playing GREAT. Kudos Levi, keep up the hard work!!! And THANK YOU for bringing in your friends too!!!

Have a great guitar weekend everyone. Play your guitars. Listen to some guitar. Watch some guitar videos…Enjoy!, One of our First Aces, The AHA Moment

I have been playing guitar most my life…ever since I heard Eddie Van Halen back in the early 80s.

Almost as long, since I was a teenager I have been teaching guitar too.

The first handful of years it was mostly working with adults who wanted a hobby and teens who wanted to learn the new Nirvana song(or insert latest sensation).

In the 1990s I started a new venture teaching kids as young as age 5. The first class I had was two cute little guys both 5 years old. One was a very quick study and the other had a little more trouble learning. Both really cool kids and they got along so well it was always a fun class for me each week. Although somewhat frustrating that one was having more trouble with his songs.

One day an amazing thing happened. The little struggler was struggling so we worked on it and worked on it in class and the proverbial light bulb went off. He jumped up beaming, “I GOT IT!” Lo and behold he did!

The whole room lit up…

I did, the student did, his mom did, the other family did too. It really was an AHA moment in so many ways. First for the student himself. Everything he did after that came so much easier. But, for me, as well. Not having kids yet and experiencing their joy of success, it was the first time I really thought I wanted to have kids of my own someday.

As a teacher it taught me to never give up on kids that don’t ‘get it’ as easily as others.

An understanding that kids need successes! No matter how small or large they may be! As much as we as parents want our kids to be great guitarists or ballerinas or tennis players we really want them to be successful and empowered to grow up confident! I realized that teaching kids was about their self esteem through learning the guitar as much or maybe even more than the skills they learn.

I’ve had parents tell me years later that my classes helped their shy child break out of their shell. Or that school work improved because of the encouragement and teaching stye I offered. These are as great of compliments as hearing a former student still plays and enjoys or has gone on to successes on the guitar!!!

I do still see updates from that little 5 year old now finishing up college and doing great!

I never get tired of that AHA moment!

How to Keep Guitar Practice Happening When School Goes Back in Session

Please say it aint so!

Our Poway Aces are back in school and our Aces in Scripps Ranch and Camino Del Sur return after Labor Day. Summer is too short!

First of all I hope everyone has a smooth transition in returning to school schedules and early bed times and homework and all the other hectic things that come with a new school year.

Here are a few ideas to make guitar practice at home an easy transition. It doesn’t need to be difficult!

First, set a dedicated practice time whether it’s in the morning or after school or after dinner. This is your ‘guitar time’ and you and your student will know that… so no surprises plus it makes it easier to budget for the time. Adjust your guitar time if needed as you feel out your new schedule.

Keep guitar on the forefront. Talk about guitar during the ride to school, at the dinner table or any where you are chatting with your student. Not necessarily to lecture them or tell them to go practice. Say, “Hey did you hear the guitar on that song?” while listening to the radio riding in the car or causally discuss the songs they are working on. “Whats your favorite?'” “What are your best songs? Hardest songs? Trickiest parts of a song?”

If you experience a bit of a lull in practicing as school returns thats normal. Remember that things WILL get to the ‘new normal’ soon and don’t get frustrated.

Feel free to contact me, as well, I am glad to help with individual cases if they arise!

Here is a good ice breaking guitar song and it is seasonally appropriate. Guitar Legend Chuck Berry’s “School Days.”


August Calendar Page, Lap Steel Guitar

Guitar Photo Calendar Hanging in Poway Studio
Lap Steel photo from studio calendar.

The Fender Guitar calendar in our studio has a picture of a Lap Steel Guitar for August. The kids have been really curious about it so I thought I would post a video.

I’ve been explaining that it sits on a table over your lap and that you use a metal slide(bar) to slide over the strings rather than push down with your fingers….maybe better to have a visual!

There are plenty of other links on the video’s page if you’d like to see/hear