Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 18th Concert - Benicia 7pm

Phone:  415-297-3542 

Fourth Concert in "First Friday Concert Series" on July 18, 2014
Featuring Chris Yeaton and Adam Werner
At St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Benicia

Summary:  Gordon Rowland, founder of the "First Fridays Concert Series", is the creating force behind this exciting series featuring classical guitar music.  He has lined up many excellent soloists and ensembles to perform at the historic St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Benicia, California.  This fourth concert in the series will feature Chris Yeaton and Adam Werner on Friday, July 18th at 7 PM.
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Hawaii born, Chris Yeaton, draws from a lineage of great Hawaiian slack key tradition.  His musical inspiration and journey begins with one of Hawaii's most celebrated musicians, master Slack Key guitarist Keola Beamer, and would continue with Big Island Slack Key master John Keawe.  Yeaton credits his good friend and guitar guru, Gordon Rowland, for providing his first opportunity to perform on stage in front of a live audience.  Since then, he has become more and more interested in performing and sharing his music as well as sharing the venues with other musicians like him through Woodsong Acoustics.  Along with traditional slack key pieces, he now incorporates a blend of contemporary Finger-style into his playing, drawing from other renowned artists such as William Ackerman, Alex de Grassi, and Peppino D’Agostino.  Yeaton brings a unique style of beautiful and progressive Slack Key.  His second album − “Ho’o Pa’a, The Stand”− was released in January of 2006.  In February of 2005, he completed his first national tour with guitar masters Keola Beamer and John Keawe. 
Adam Werner is a solo acoustic guitarist with an interest in unconventional techniques, styles and applications to Finger-style guitar playing, with an impressive musical background of experience and education.  Adam continues to move forward and grow as an accomplished musician and artist.  Indigenous to California, Adam grew up with rock guitar legends, such as: Randy Rhoads, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, among many others.  Adam started his first rock band, IMAGINE, in the early 1990's and gained much respect as an innovative and progressive musician who incorporated odd meters, unorthodox key changes and intricate instrumentation with compositions that pushed the boundaries of rock music.  He soon found the desire to explore the acoustic guitar when introduced to Windham Hill and its artists, such as William Ackerman and Michael Hedges.  Soon after, Adam decided this was the direction he was destined to go.

Adam Werner’s debut label release, "Signatures," a 2008 Grammy Awards contender for Best New Age album, has become a new addition to solo acoustic guitar.  This album is a culmination of emotionally intense compositions with technically exceptional playing and profound musical energy.  Merging the traditions of finger-style techniques with provocative percussive elements adds extra flavor to this music.  A touch of electric bass, masterfully created by Kentaro Otsuka, is featured on this album. 

Gordon Rowland, founder of the "First Fridays Concert Series", is the creating force behind this exciting series featuring classical guitar music.  He has lined up many excellent soloists and ensembles to perform at the historic St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 120 East J Street in Benicia, California.  This fourth concert in the series will feature Chris Yeaton and Adam Werner and happens on Friday, July 18th at 7 PM.

"Benicia needs a consistent musical presence, one that draws on local and semi-local talent," says Gordon, "as well as a venue that can draw on great masters passing through the area.  In this case, Chris and Adam have included Benicia in their tour of the Mainland, having ventured over from the Hawaiian Islands to do so."

St. Paul's Episcopal Church offers the perfect venue for the intimacy of classical music.  The redwood paneling offers a special warmth and acoustically helps the music resonate.  The vaulted ceiling resembles an overturned boat, adding to the quaint atmosphere.  Located off Main Street, there are plenty of excellent restaurants near to St. Paul's, so one may make a special night out first with fine food and then end the evening with fine music. 
Tickets are available at the door.  For questions about this or future concerts in the series, contact Gordon Rowland at 415-297-3542 or  The website for the concert series is at

Tickets are also available at Good Stuff Music Store, 511 Main Street, Martinez, CA and St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 120 East J Street, Benicia (Tuesday through Friday, 9 AM-3 PM).

Some comments regarding past and current artists:

"Motoshi [Kosako] must Not be missed!  And Teddy [Randazzo] is a magical genius!  Don't let these guys get by you."

"What a wonderful evening.  Both Daniel and Francesca were a hit with everyone.  Some of the comments received were: 'The evening went too fast. I was mesmerized by the music,' 'This is what we moved here for.' The music along with the education was brilliant."

“There's assurance and invention in [Chris Yeaton's] strumming; he's learned well and carries the tradition with dignity. Yeaton's got a Hawaiian soul and is one to watch. In time, he should be right up there with his mentors." ~Wayne Harada, Honolulu Advertiser

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Hawaiian slack key with Chris Yeaton Friday July 18th at the Benicia Episcopal church 120 East J street @ 1st and J

Chris is joined by Adam Warner from Southern CA. They provide a well polished show full of spontaneous and delightful surprises. Tickets $15 at the 
Door which opens at 7:00 for a 7:30 show time. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Featured Artist ViBO Simfani - Friday May 2nd, 2014

World music at its best, ViBO Simfani bridges cultures from around the globe by fusing elements of classical, Latin jazz, and Brazilian styles such as Bossa Nova and Choro.  The end result is romantic, fun and mystical all at once.  With the sounds of violin, cello, guitar, percussion and vocals,ViBO Simfani brings new life to music from different cultures.

Don't miss their performance tonight (Friday May 2nd 2014) at our First Friday Concert Series

For more information on the concert series click HERE.

Doors Open at 7:00PM and concert is at 7:30.  Tickets $15.

Concert will be held at St Paul's Episcopal Church.

Call 415-297-3542 for more information.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Guitarwork Features Artist Mostoshi Kosako

Guitarwork presents the biography of talented artist Motoshi Kosako.  Click on our Featured Artist Page to read more.

Don't miss his performance on April 4th in Benicia at St Paul's Episcopal Church in Benicia.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Beginning Choices When First Starting

Beginning Choices 

When starting guitar the first choices you make will open or close doors to long term goals. This article is designed to minimise your investment of time, cost and frustration by increasing your awareness of early obstacles to progress that may clutter the pathway to rewards. The Guitar you choose will direct the way you play. I recommend a nylon string guitar for beginners. Nylon strings are softer on the left hand, reducing the temptation to compromise technique by straining, and the wide fingerboard encourages the left hand to good form and movement.


Steel Strings

vs. Nylon Strings

The narrow neck of a steel string guitar can tempt a student to strain one muscle group as he atrophies another. The strings are closer together on the steel string guitar, which makes it harder to discriminate between strings plucked by the right hand. Once good habits are comfortable it is easy to switch to a steel string model (Starting with nylon preserves options). Don’t put steel strings on a nylon string guitar or nylon strings on a steel string guitar. The inner bracing of the nylon string guitar is planned with tone production in mind. The steel string models have an inner bracing that is designed for greater strength (to support the greater tension of steel strings). A steel string guitar derives it’s tone from the higher tension, and the nylon strings resonate more from the wood. Both produce a beautiful sound with the strings they are designed for. Steel strings damage a nylon string guitar, and nylon strings have too little tension to sound good on steel string guitars.

 Many of my beginning students come to me with guitars that will hold them back. The most common problem is high action. New guitars don’t come from the factory to the retail store with perfect action. The cosmetics are perfect, but the action is usually adjusted slightly higher than it should be because shoppers check for string buzz . High action assures that slight deficiencies in fret level, truss rod adjustment, and bridge or nut alignments are not apparent. This problem is exacerbated when reputable shops return faulty guitars to a factory that processes the complaint by shipping that guitar out to larger retailer who offers discount prices but no service. This problem can be largely solved by shopping only where your guitar will be serviced. Follow up service is more important than cosmetics. If you buy a “pretty” guitar at a clearing house type of store you will pay the price in lessons, and fail to develop good style. Price tags and eye appeal are poor indicators of quality. An ugly guitar may make you sound good. Confer with your teacher who is invested in your progress rather than a salesman who is invested in his commission. Lessons Private lessons are most essential in the early stages before habits are solidified. Class lessons are not very good for the beginner because they don’t allow for the detailed guidance required to establish good technique. I teach classes on the many topics that lend themselves to classes. Ensemble playing requires a class. I do workshops and masters classes when I perform.
It gives me a chance to dispense literature and share ideas. But I am often saddened when a player can comprehend a great idea but will never play it because his technique took a wrong turn in the beginning and kept on that course until his muscle memory was locked.

Choosing a teacher requires some considerations. Ask your perspective teacher to sight read some music for you. Degrees are an indicator since most music majors can sight read, and answer questions about music fundamentals. Hear your teacher play to see how flexible he/she is. If your teacher is on the road performing a great deal ask how often the lessons might be disrupted, and if substitute teachers will fill in the gap. Some work harder than others in the beginning, but there is no one that is incapable of advancing in music. Don’t erode your self confidence by saying you can’t. A choice to stop is often appropriate and OK. But if you follow the practice schedule below you will find the rewards hard to resist. Practice Schedules vary from person to person. Here is a general outline (as a starting place) that is easy to work with, and productive. The first few weeks are short because building new skills require concentrated attention. Practice is the art of building new skills. Playing is the use of already learned skills. Since your reservoir of skills starts out empty, your first guitar experience is largely work. If you try to do too much too soon without the reward of playing you may tire. Adjusting your life to sitting with the guitar at the same time and place each day is a great accomplishment, as great as the practice itself.

Week one: Ten minutes a day at the same time and same place each day.

Week two: Twenty minutes a day at the same time and same place each day.

Week three: Thirty minutes a day at the same time and same place each day.

Week four: Thirty minutes a day at the same time and same place each day.

 Notice that I stopped adding time after a half hour. That is because this is practice time rather than playing time. Play all you want, and you will, because this half hour of concentrated practice daily will fill your reservoir with wonderful skills. I promise!