Our students come from all over the world to study music here in Los Angeles. To find out why, we launched the new series on Get to the Music — 5 Questions — featuring 6th Quarter LA Music Academy students. It’s also an opportunity for them to tell us about upcoming projects and plans for after graduation. Introducing, Seth Jamison!
Seth Jamison – LA Music Academy Guitar Department
A: I chose to attend LAMA because of my passion for music. I was faced with a choice of going to a regular university back home in Iowa or LAMA. I decided that I wanted to do what I loved more than anything else in this world: music. LAMA turned out to be the best choice for me as far as music schools go because it’s small and private, which allows for more participation and focus in classes.
A: I think the fact that you are virtually around the best musicians in the world makes all the difference. LA is definitely one of the top music scenes on the planet right now, so getting the chance to not only see the best musicians but also learn from them and play with them gives you an experience that you will not find anywhere else.
A: It’s hard for me to choose a favorite instructor. For me they’re all excellent at what they do. Jody Fisher, Bill Fowler, Art Renshaw, Dave Hill, and of course Tariqh Akoni are THE best teachers I could ever ask for. Without their dedication, their care, their knowledge and patience, I would have never improved like I have. So I have to give a huge thank you to all of them from the bottom of my heart.
A: Funny story. I actually didn’t start listening to guitar based music until I started playing Guitar Hero. I was addicted to that game. Later on, however, I decided that it would be awesome if I could play this on a real guitar. My mom had one upstairs in the attic that she never played. I picked it up. The rest is history.
A: After graduating I want to try and find a job. Ideally, I want to teach. Whether it be at a music store or just privately. I think it’s a very important and beneficial thing so hopefully that works out. I also have a few projects I’m in that I hope will work out. One of them is a hip hop group called EYM (elevate your mind). Right now we are in the process of recording our first album and making a music video while promoting ourselves through Reverb Nation and Facebook. Look us up. I am very proud to be a part of this group and I really think we can make an impact in the industry. I am also involved in a blues project. Hopefully we can regularly play around LA after March as well. More details on that later.
Dave Beyer is an in-demand professional drummer and educator in the Los Angeles area. He toured and recorded for 3 years with Melissa Etheridge, and has played or recorded with The Motels, Jewel, Joan Osborne, Gregg Allman, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Stephen Bishop, Helen Reddy, Jango, and Debra Davis. He has performed at major venues worldwide, including the Greek Theater, Universal Amphitheater, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Woodstock, Madison Square Garden and Royal Albert Hall; and has played on The Tonight Show, David Letterman and Ally McBeal, to name a few. Dave also stays busy as a session player, a producer and runs his own recording studio.
In this Quick Tip, LA Music Academy rock drums instructor Dave Beyer demonstrates several variations of the half time shuffle. For more info, visit lamusicacademy.edu
A: I was told that if I was serious about playing music I should attend the Los Angeles Music Academy. I wanted to learn different styles of music and have teachers that know what they are talking about.
A: The best part is that you are always around music, it may it be somebody jamming or practicing but there is always something happening. And the teachers are around to answer your questions and give you advice and let you know what is going on in the music industry today so that you are prepared when you get out of here. You are also around people who are in the same state of mind – musically.
A: It’s hard to choose favorites but if I had to I would have to say Ralph Humphrey just because he has so much knowledge in different aspects of drumming, be it in the studio or live – he knows what he is talking about.
A: I started playing because there was always music playing in my household and I grew up listening to different styles and I was hooked on it right from the start and since I’ve never looked back.
A: After graduating I will continue playing around town everywhere I can, keep up with networking contacts and continue with the studio dates I have booked with various artists.
Jody Fisher is the co-chair of LA Music Academy’s guitar department. Jody has written for most of the major guitar magazines, including Guitar Player, Just Jazz Guitar and Finger Style Guitar. As an educator, Jody has held the positions of Professor of Jazz and Studio Guitar at the University of Redlands, in Redlands, CA, the University of La Verne, in La Verne, CA, and the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts (ISOMATA), in Idyllwild, CA. He has performed with Alphonso Johnson, Betty White, Big Joe Turner, Bo Diddley, Bobby Troupe, Brandon Fields, The Coasters, Dennis Miller, Don Rickles, The Drifters, Harry Connick Jr., Jan and Dean, Joe Diorio, John Abercrombie, John Williams, Mike Stern, Rosemary Clooney, The Shirelles, The Spinners, and many others. Check out www.jodyfisher.com for more information.
Half-Step Dominant Approach Chords
This is a cool way to add sophistication to your arrangements. Here is the basic idea: Any chord can be preceded by a dominant chord whose root is one half-step above (and sometimes below) the root of the destination chord. A ”destination” chord can be just about any chord, in any progression. Let’s say you’re working with a iii-VI7-ii-V7-I progression, in C like this (/=1 beat):
The first destination chord is Em7, so the half-step dominant approach chord has to be rooted on F. The A7 may be approached by a dominant chord rooted on Bb. Dm7 can be preceded with some kind of Eb dominant chord. G7 may be approached with a dominant chord rooted on Ab, and finally CMaj7 can be approached with a Db dominant chord.
Here’s one possibility:
Obviously, you don’t have to approach every chord in a progression this way. Sometimes, just a tasteful approach to a single chord can really make a difference in a song. Remember that this idea can work over just about any chord in a song, so be sure to try this on changes that lie outside the more common chord progressions (ii-V7-I, I-VI-ii- V7, etc.). It’s also possible to use this device while harmonizing a melody, creating some unexpected and interesting harmonies. It takes experimentation and experience to find the “good” sounds. Have patience….
I chose to attend the LA Music Academy for two reasons. The first is that the caliber of teaching is the best in the world and the second is that the school is small enough that there it feels like you are part of one, large music family.
The best part about studying at the LA Music Academy is that you feel at home. It is a healthy, encouraging and motivating environment.
Jody Fisher is my favorite instructor at the LA Music Academy because he not only is a master at his craft but he has also taken a lot of time to carefully work out his own curriculum and has all of the information well placed in organized packets that students receive on a weekly basis. Jody is also incredibly patient and a great communicator. He always gives reasons why the things he teaches are important.
I started taking piano lessons at the age of 8 because I was jealous of my brother who was already taking lessons at the time.
Joe Porcaro’s musical spectrum ranges from jazz and rock to opera and symphonic. He has recorded with jazz artists including Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Freddie Hubbard, Don Ellis, Mike Manieri and rock/pop artists such as TOTO and Madonna. His credits includes numerous television shows and movies. One of the most highly regarded percussion and drum instructors in the world, Joe is the author of two drum books: Joe Porcaro’s Drum Set Methods and Odd Times, and the instructional video Joe Porcaro on Drums. Please visit www.josephporcaro.com for more info.
LA Music Academy Drum Department Co-Chair Joe Porcaro thoroughly explains the jazz ride cymbal beat, including different ways drummers phrase it. www.lamusicacademy.edu