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New Songwriting Class and Music Production Class at Lucky Dog Studios!



Our good friends over at Peggy Still School of Music and Lucky Dog Studios have two new classes starting this month! These are both great opportunities to support your child’s’ love for music or help learn some new things yourself!

Show them some love and support and sign up now!

Introduction to Music Production

  A three-part series of courses designed to introduce the techniques, lexicon, gear and technology in a modern audio recording studio. Emphasis is on high interaction and hands-on experience. Maximum class size is five. While not required, taking each class in order is highly recommended since they were designed to be taken as a suite.
We offer Audio Engineering classes throughout the year. There are 3 levels of classes, from beginning to advanced. Below is an outline about these classes.
Music Production 101: (4 hours)
Next Class: 10/27/12 10AM
Cost: $169
I. From Concept to iTunes: A walk through the process
II. The Studio Environment: Rooms, gear, and the people involved
III. Laying Down Tracks: Basic recording techniques explained and demonstrated
IV. Music and Computers: What is Pro Tools and how does it work?
Music Production 201: (8 hours with 30 minute break)
Next Class: 11/10/12 9AM
Cost: $299
I. From Simple to Spectacular: Recording a full band
II. Fix it in the Mix: Editing your song
III. How To Add Oboe Without an Oboe Player: Virtual instruments
IV. The Star of the Show: An in-depth look at vocal production
Music Production 301: (8 hours with 30 minute break)
Next Class: 12/8/12 9AM
Cost: $299
I. Making it Better: Setting up and starting your mix
II: The Big 3: Basic techniques of EQ, Compression, and Reverb
III. How Did They Do That?: Creating special effects
IV. The Final Touch: Mastering demystified
Introduction to Song-Writing
It’s only a matter of time before every musician starts thinking about writing their own music.
But where to start? What comes first, lyrics or licks? To rhyme or not to rhyme? A-A-B-A form or alternative structure? Acoustic or electric? So many tough questions to explore and answer…and try to make sound good!
Peggy Still can help you put it all together. Our experienced instructors will help you bring out and give shape to your very own song, helping you to build and apply specific skill sets including:
  • Understanding song form – how to arrange intros, verses, choruses and bridges.
  • Writing lyrics- how to put your thoughts on paper and make them work in a song.
  • Creating and adapting melodies – how to write melodies that flow and keep people listening.
  • Building chord progressions- learn to use chords that complement and accentuate each other.
  • Creating catchy hooks- make listeners remember your song.
  • Collaborating – how to work with a writing partner or complementary musician.
Each student songwriting pair (or solo student) will write and rehearse at least one original song during the three week class room session. At the completion of classwork, each student will get a get an introduction to the studio environment and talk about the kinds of technologies and processes that could be used to record their songs. Each solo songwriter or team will also perform their original song at the next Peggy Still Open Mic. Note: studio time is intended to give students and introduction to the recording process and techniques, not to record, produce and master a “radio ready” song. Students interested in building upon work completed in this introductory course can contact PSSM about scheduling studio time.
Course Outline
  1. Day One – Teams and Themes
    1. The purpose and power of collaboration
    2. Documenting your progress in notebooks
    3. Finding a theme
    4. Song forms- verse/chorus/bridge
      1. Exercise: Examples from popular music
    5. Building lyrics
      1. Exercise: free flowing thought exercise
    6. Length: breakdown in lines/measures
  2. Day Two – Poetry into Song
    1. Choosing a key: major/minor/modes ;understanding how to create a song within key
    2. Chord progressions – I IV V, ii V I,
    3. Deciding tempo; practicing with metronome
    4. Developing melodic ideas
      1. Exercise: ad lib solos and do-wopping over basic chord progression
    5. Instrumental hooks
      1. Exercise: Examples from popular music
  3. Days Three – Putting it All Together
    1. Solidifying song form, chord progressions, transitions between sections
    2. Incorporating instrumentals, hooks and solos
    3. Intro to studio microphone technique
    4. Intro to basic studio recording
    5. Recording basic tracks


Rain and Fire in Sedona



Ange Alex

A rainy day in Sedona? What are we going to do. Everything we have planned is outdoors. I am pretty sure that is why people come to Sedona, for the beautiful OUTDOOR activities, like hiking, biking, Jeep tours, viewing the red rocks and photography. 

What to do, what to do.

Oh, I know. I had the privilege of meeting some great artists that work in fire and glass! The perfect indoor activity when your outdoor plans are washed away!

The Melting Point in Sedona, conveniently located across the street for the Whole Foods (two birds with one stone, yeah!), is a group of artist focusing on creating and teaching others how to create as well.

When we entered the facilities, it was like entering a fine arts gallery. So many beautiful works of glass art. Jordan Ford is the general manager and one of the Artists. He came out of the workshop and told us the rules, then brought us into the fold. 

We were about to become glass blowers! 

Jordan had a love for the natural world from a very early age. He went on to study geology in college but that is when he discovered glass. He currently has Bachelor’s Degrees in both Earth Science/Geology and Visual Arts/Glassblowing.

Jordan says , “It’s the process of blowing glass that drives me. I find the physical act of making glass so overwhelmingly fascinating. I approach most of my work with a consideration for the more classical techniques – it’s the framework that I use as a jumping point for experimentation.”

Not only is Jordan incredibly talented, he is really personable and extremely funny. He made everyone in the room feel at ease and we all often irrupted in bouts of laughter.

Another artist that was helping us is Austin Littenberg. Austin became interested in the art of glass blowing at age 16 after watching a documentary. He spent over 12 years developing his craft and learning the technical precision needed to work at this level.

Austin views the many ways Art presents itself and is in tune with it all, and it shows.

Clearly these two artist love what they do, and I for one am grateful for their expertise and their willingness to show the world their art.

They worked with us to create a beautiful cactus, complete with three flowers, one for each kid, and a Sedona rock like base. We loved the patience they showed and the skill to make us feel at ease. We never felt like  we were about to do something we just couldn’t. It felt like we had been doing this before. That is the measure of a true instructor. 

Our work of art was complete and we left there feeling accomplished and quite honestly, amazing! 

Both Austin and Jordan have remarkable skills but also wonderful comedic timing. They were a absolutely pleasure to meet and I look forward to keeping up with their art in the future.

If you find yourself in Sedona and want to meet some really wonderful people, stop by The Melting Point and say hello! While you’re there, blow some glass!

How could I forget one of them most important things; They have a studio dog! Austin brings his sweet baby girl to work with him and she is an angel! We loved her! Make sure you give her some love when you visit!

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Artists to Watch

Cry With Us! Puddles Pity Party in Orlando



Ange Alex

I owe him a poem:

Here’s a story of a sad clown who one night in February was traveling through O-town. 

He brought a suitcase and a lot of gum, he brought music and videos and tons of fun.

He sang high but mostly he sang low, and he put of one hell of a good show.

He gave a bearded guy a cupcake and danced with a lady, a wolf he would make

There is no doubt he is a boss sir, he even got love from Kevin Costner.

Fans filled the plaza for a night of delight as the 7 foot clown gave us some real insight.

He sang Bowie and Queen and even some Who, also Cash, Lorde and “Let it go” too

Videos played of pets and babies crying, also beautiful artwork and people smiling.

Last night Orlando was anything but mad as we showed much love for a clown that is sad.

Ok, I’d cry too after that poem. Here’s some more info:

If you haven’t been to see a Puddles Pity Party show, you are missing out. 

The show had me smiling and laughing so hard my stomach hurt, but I was also moved so many times by the range of Puddles voice. True entertainment never gets old and I have a feeling he is going to last forever.

I loved the interaction he had with the crowd. He pulled numerous people up to help him on stage and all of them were good sports, one man even singing the entire song, “All by myself” karaoke style! The show was so well thought out and planned but with room for some hilarious improv. Especially at the end when he pulled the 3 fans from the audience dressed like clowns. At the end of them performing together, Puddles suddenly remembers that he is scared of clowns! Genius! 

Hands down one of the best performances I’ve seen in years.


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“20/20:Visionary”: Looking Back, Looking Forward



Photograph by Charlie McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

Last weekend (March 18-20) the Atlanta Ballet gifted the city with “20/20: Visionary,” three pieces, including a world premiere, presented at the Cobb Energy Center.

The world premiere, “Playground,” by British choreographer Douglas Lee, belied its name by being a shadowy piece danced between upright, rolling chalkboard set pieces. Prepared for a lighthearted, joyful expression of childhood, I was surprised that the work instead exposed the darker side of childhood memories. There were some light moments, such as the towering billboard inscribed with multiple lines reading, “Jackie must remember the steps” – clearly a humorous aside about Jackie Nash, one of the most capable company members and perhaps the quickest study in rehearsal. There were some easily-seen choreographic devices–a lot of theme and variation, even more pushing around of set pieces–but there were a few exceptional moments as well, including intricate, slow-motion manipulation of a dancer’s body by another dancer.

Pen-Yu Chen & Tara Lee in “Boiling Point.” Photo by C McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

The opening work, “Boiling Point,” by Darrell Grand Moultrie, was playfully performed at breakneck speed. Dancers are often told to “make it look easy,” and the company took that concept to heart. Highlighted against the men in black costumes, the women wore bits of metallic fabric, providing splashes of intense color and exposing powerful bodies with long muscles. The piece began with the stage space open almost to its fullest, and the dancers running across like a rushing river. They rolled, twisted, turned, and slid like water itself. The choreography juxtaposed synchronicity with counterpoint, traditional with innovation. There was a gargouillade, rarely seen even in classical ballets. The lines of the bodies were critical to the piece, and often layers deep. The flow was almost nonstop, with only an occasional flick of a wrist or toss of a head to provide momentary stasis. The standout was Christian Clark, who sometimes nearly managed to integrate himself into the group but then something distinctive and powerful in his dancing drew the eye to him again.

“Red Clay” from “Home in 7.” Photo by C McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

“Home in 7,” a work by Amy Siewert, closed the concert. A portrait of Atlanta, the ballet was a rich tapestry woven from music, spoken word, and movement. Performed in 7 segments to a libretto written and performed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and an intriguing, haunting string score composed and performed by Daniel Bernard Roumain, the dance, too, was a poem, shimmering like summer moonlight on the Chattahoochee. John Welker opened the ballet with tiny explosions of movement “Secrets.” Perhaps the most enchanting segment was “Home of the Braves:” 5 men using baseball imagery, holding their formation as they slid precisely between pitches and catches. “Red Clay” evoked August nights, intolerance, and redemption—Atlanta history, a story familiar to many. I first saw this ballet in 2011, and it has grown in depth as the dancers have matured technically and emotionally. Atlanta loves its ballet company, and never more than when it showcases its home city.

John McFall is ending his tenure with the company at the end of this season. For newcomers to Atlanta Ballet offerings, this will have been a dynamic performance. For long-time supporters, it will have been an opportunity to reflect on his legacy. There are a couple more opportunities to see the company under his watch, and then he will pass the torch to Gennadi Nedvigin, the company’s fourth artistic director. Stay tuned!

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