Metronome Practice Tips

Rhythm is arguably the hardest part of learning to play music. This is probably because your sense of time is a “feel” that develops after many hours of practice and playing with other musicians. The best way to improve your time is to play with musicians with great time. Unfortunately, we don’t all have that luxury. No worries! The next best thing you can do is learn to practice with a metronome. In this video, I’ll show you how to practice with a metronome and even show you a few tricks to really get your rhythmic feel happening!


Don O'Brien Teaches Giant Steps

Giant Steps is a rite of passage for the advancing jazz musician. Originally written and recorded by John Coltrane, this tune explores three seemingly unrelated key centers, at breakneck speed! Here, our very own piano teacher Don O’Brien discusses and performs some of his favorite strategies for navigating these monster changes. Enjoy!


Beginner Guitar Lesson Series - How to Read Tab

Guitar Tablature or “Tab” is a great way to learn beginning melodies or “riffs” on the guitar. In fact, you’ll find tab to most of your favorite popular guitar songs online. With this quick and easy lesson you’ll learn the names of the guitar strings as well as how to read tab in no time. Don’t worry, ready guitar tab is pretty straight forward once you get the hang of it! Check out this PDF with examples of how to read tab.


Beginner Guitar Lesson Series - Picking

In this beginner guitar lesson, we discuss how to hold the guitar pick and offer suggested picking exercises to help get you started with picking on the guitar.

Be sure to check out this PDF with written picking exercises.


Guide Tones - How to improvise melodic lines

Guide Tones are a great device for improvising or composing melodic lines. In this video with Eastside Teachers Alex Ballentine and Jamey Cummins, we discuss what a guide tone is and share ideas for incorporating guide tones into your solos to craft beautiful melodies. Check out this pdf for a greater understanding of guide tones.


Rhythm Changes - Guitar Lesson with Jamey Cummins

Rhythm Changes is one of the most common song forms in jazz. In this lesson with Eastside Music teacher Jamey Cummins, we discuss his favorite strategies for both comping and improvising over Rhythm Changes. Jamey was kind enough to write out his preferred changes as well has chord shapes for the guitar. Check them out here!


November Open Mic Night

Check out some moments from November's '60s themed Open Mic Night at The Vortex!


May Open Mic Night

On Monday, May 8, Eastside Music school’s monthly Open Mic Night took place at it’s new home – The Vortex. The venue, owned by local artists, set the tone for the night with string lights, greenery and warm lighting. The night kicked off with Studio Manager Cameron Belcher’s redition of “Be Our Guest,” a number from the classic Beauty and the Beast, to get the energy up. The performers included first timers, veterans, loved ones and even spectators who heard the sound and wandered toward the stage. Overall, it was a great way to kickoff the month and showcase a preview of the talented students our school has to offer. See you next month!


Eastside Music and the City of Austin

One of the many reasons to start a business in Austin is the amazing resources available to the small business owner. I discovered the City of Austin Micro-loan program a few years ago. One of the great challenges of starting a business is finding startup capital. The micro-loan was a perfect solution for Eastside Music and it allowed us to grow the business. I’m thankful for the opportunity. Check out the story the City of Austin did on Eastside Music:


Alex in Haiti

Through a series of coincidences and good fortune, I spent the Summer of 2012 volunteering at a music school in Jacmel, Haiti. The experience was life changing to say the least. I don’t speak creole (the language of Haiti), nor did most of my students speak english. As cliched as it sounds, we were able to communicate through music and I truly believe I learned more from the students than I had to offer. I took away from the experience, but most of all I learned the value of community in music. I believe my time in Haiti had a direct impact on the mission for Eastside Music School. I hope to one day return to Jacmel, but for now I’m thankful to have this record.