Wednesday, July 1, 2020

JULY Lifestyle Challenge

We do periodic lifestyle challenges that are always guided but very general. I thought I'd try something different this month. We all have huge lists of daily activities (from work to family to hobbies and more) and often the challenges we do get a tad overwhelming, even if well-intentioned.

So let's try a ONE GOAL PER WEEK challenge this month!

Pick ONE thing per week....hell, pick ONE thing for just this week right now and we'll worry about the rest of the month later!

Visit the May Lifestyle Challenge for ideas if you're new to this.

For me, I'll list them one for each of the 4 weeks of July:

1) I'm just going to try some new organizational tools in an attempt to weed out waste and increase my general productivity & presence. Thanx to my friend Eddy for a great "journaling" idea!

2) TBA

3) TBA

4) TBA

My bonus item: Having ONE gym day that gets heavier than other days (Wednesday, as of late). I go in earlier, do extra cardio, and try to do the regular resistance & body-weight work with some extra focus.

But our goal, remember, is pick ONE thing this week...and each week in July.

As always, you can leave comments on your goals below or contact me directly if you like!

Let's do it!!

Monday, May 11, 2020

The Music of James Bond

James Bond gun barrel design is also iconic!
Ian Fleming's "Casino Royale" was published in 1953 and with it, James Bond became one of the most iconic literary characters in history. The first movie, "Dr. No", was released in 1962, and with it, the James Bond became one of the most iconic film series in history.

Monty Norman was commissioned to compose the theme and John Barry was tasked with re-arranging the theme for "Dr. No", and with that, James Bond music became just as iconic.

In additon to the famous "James Bond Theme" (and the situational Bond themes heard in the series), there has been a tradition of one-off title themes beginning with the second movie, "From Russia with Love". Among the most successful of these songs are "Goldfinger" (1964) by John Barry & sung by Shirley Bassey, "Live and Let Die" (1973) by Paul McCartney and performed by his band Wings, "Nobody Does it Better" (1977) by Marvin Hamlish and sung by Carley Simon, "A View to a Kill" (1985) by John Barry with Duran Duran, "Die Another Day" (2002) written & performed by Madonna, and "No Time to Die" (2020) by Billie Eilish.
Gotta dress sharp to teach Bond.

Let's learn them all, shall we?

Monday, May 4, 2020

May Lifestyle Challenge

WITH EVERYONE STRUGGLING due to the stresses of the COVID-19 quasi-quarantine, I thought I'd skip our periodic lifestyle challenge.

However, in speaking to folks & seeing social media posts about the difficulties of lockdown & re-opening; the disruption and challenges to social, economic, physical, & psychological health; the humorous but telling "drinking at 10am, 3 naps a day, gaining weight" memes coupled with the very real increase in depression & hotline rates; and, bluntly, the people who have explicitly asked me to provide info or assistance with not only music (that's not unusual, obviously) but also diet, exercise, and "how you stay so positive"....well, I thought my initial thoughts might have been mistaken.


For those new to the challenges, it isn't to compete against others. It's to push yourself to greater heights, have some company & inspiration along the way, and a few ideas the help get us focused. For example, you can use this waving of the analytical knife to help organize your goals:

1) Exercise/Diet - Set a specific plan or goal(s). Keep us posted weekly (or more) on your progress!

2) Creativity - Music, art, writing, acting...set a goal to complete by month's end. Keep us posted!

3) Personal life - Re-affirm your personal relationships, get to that project/chore you've been avoiding, or just read a book you've always wanted to read!

4) Professional life - Set a work goal or change jobs or....just tell us what it is and keep us posted!

My personal goals include: 

1) Exercise/diet - Keep adjusting my workouts to continually keep my body guessing (without benefit of gym, this has been extremely challenging) and mix my eating up in similar fashion (including periodic short-duration fasts)...and I've been alcohol-free for a little over 2 weeks as I write this.

2) Creativity - Honestly, the majority of my creative output is currently focused on creative ways to generate income. 100% virtual lessons is working nicely, but many students have had to fall back onour scholarship program due to financial all my performance income is obviously gone. So, promoting music lessons, organizing upcoming workshops, doing song requests for tips, and the like has consumed much of my creative energy. And clearly I need to get even more creatove - haha! But challenges are always good, so on I trek!

3) Personal life - Spending extra time with grandkids to make sure they are handling the abrupt adjustments with minimal stress. 

4) Professional life - See item #2 above - haha!

Soooo.....share publicly or priately, and please don't hesitate to reach out for anything you may need!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


with Max Corona of WBVX radio
I was recently asked about press stuff I'd done. Most of the broadcast media is local TV, which is no longer available, and many of the radio things were never available, and the various local print pieces are also not available. That said, there are quite a few out there - from blogs to radio to TV and the like - so I'm trying to collect them all to put here.

I'll include pieces on me in general (usually as a teacher or player) as well as interviews I've done for the Lexi Music Awards (a show I founded and still produce). When possible, I'll include publish/air dates.

The list will NOT include appearances on national TV & radio (Woodsongs, PBS, Lifetime, MTV) as I wasn't being interviewed in most cases, and also won't include interviews or stories on students who mention me or SDML Academy of Guitar in the stories (various TV spots, Family Magazine, and others), or articles I've written for Zen Guitar or 8-notes or MusicDish or other web publications or print publications in the past. The list will also not include long-form shows where I've also been interviewed, like my 2017 appearance on Red Barn Radio.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

SDML Help for Music Instructors

Right to the point: The current COVID-19 situation caught many of us completely off-guard. Luckily for Paulie & JD & me at SDML Academy of Guitar, we had been using online resources for students for quite some time, and had even implemented our VGC (Virtual Guitar Class) many months ago, so the quasi-quarantine forced transition to the 100% virtual model was not as painful as it has been for many.

Due to this, we've been asked multiple times by individual instructors if we can help them. This brief post is an attempt to lend a quick hand.

The good news: There are dozens of options!

The bad news: There are dozens of options!