Amazing Start to the Cabana Concert Songwriter Series: Cynthia Brando + John O'Kennedy!

A huge thank you to Cynthia Brando and her music partner John O'Kennedy for the amazing show last night at BA Music Studio / Songsmith LA!

The concert was the first of its kind at the studio—past performances have featured Bobby and students and friends, but now we're open to any acoustic musicians coming through or living in LA. The poolside cabana makes a great stage and the crowd was enthusiastic! 

Until next time—stay tuned for who's playing next. Thanks! Photos below.

Next Songwriting Group: Saturday September 12!

Hello musicians and musicians-to-be, 

We had a wonderful songwriting group last night at the studio! 5 of us shared our goals, work thus far, tips, and got started on the group prompts. These are assignments we all do and the results are always really fun and inspiring to others. These serve a couple purposes:

  1. The prompts are songwriting exercises, so the pressure is off. Having a place to start means you don't tie yourself in knots trying to write The Great Song. As a result, things flow and often surprising things come out of it - like melodies, lyrics, or even whole songs you can use.
  2. When everyone writes from the same starting point, every result is different. You get to see what other people in the group did with the same prompt (chords, lyrics, or more to start from) and those things you didn't think of inform your writing next time.

Here are the prompts and also at right - yes, they were posted before the last class; we got them started and they're "due" next time. Ask if you have questions or need help - no experience is required here.

Next class: Saturday September 12, 3-4:30pm. Space is limited - please RSVP at Facebook; class is usually 5-8 people and consists of a group chat about progress and roadblocks; advice and technique; sharing recordings / playing songs on guitar or piano (past work is great, or new songs since last time); and looking at the prompts / group exercises, which Bobby creates and shares with you.

First class: FREE  /  $20 donation after. Snacks and swimming provided! RSVP on Facebook please! >>

Coming Up: First Songwriters Group of Summer

Hello, songwriters! I'm happy to announce the group is returning after a break for a couple months. I hope you're having a great summer!

We start up again for the fall on Saturday, August 15 Friday August 21 - date has changed! It's a great collection of people at different levels sharing new music and giving feedback.

When: Saturday, August 15, 2015, 3 to 4:30pm Friday August 21, 7-8:30pm -- free this month!
What: Songwriters Group Class for any level
Why: To share your work and get inspired to keep writing, get started, or collaborate!

RSVP for the August 21 class >>

In the past I've given a new assignment for classes every 3 weeks; this fall, I'm giving 2-4 assignments for the whole month, and you can pick which ones to complete, knowing that I may give you an individual assignment to guide your progress. This will enable you to work on assignments for your lessons to get feedback before the group!

These aren't due at the August class but you're encouraged to get started on at least one. You can present your work at the next class if needed.


Your choices are 2 or more of the following:

1.  LYRIC-FIRST WRITING WITH A LYRIC EVERYONE KNOWS: Take the lyrics for Yesterday by the Beatles. Write a new song with them with different chords and melody and even instrumentation. This is a challenge because you'll hear the original melody in your head. Change to minor key, come up with chords first, or hum a melody into your phone's recorder. Improv is key or start with a stock progression (a good idea for songwriting any day) using Autochords or a similar app. Another tip: try altering the pacing of the lyrics; don’t pause in the same places. You can expand the lyrics as well - add a verse!

2.  CHORD, MELODY FIRST WRITING: RE-WRITING LYRICS TO AN EXISTING SONG. You may alter the melody as you see fit, but keep the general chords, rhythm, and feel of the original song, which is TBA (stayed tuned or RSVP for more).

3.  LYRIC-FIRST WRITING AND SWAPPING: Write an original lyric on an index card (single side only, the quicker the better); set it to music, it should be less than 120 seconds long. Record it quickly without editing and share it with me. You'll trade lyrics with a partner, who will make a new song from your lyrics without hearing your recorded version. You'll make a new song from that person (or another's) lyrics. We'll share both recorded versions of yours and your partners' songs at group class.

4. CHORDS-FIRST WRITING: Write a song of any length based on the chords given. They can't be changed. :) 


At the class please try to bring one assignment in, even if it's just a partial.

You can also bring material you've been working on (recorded, or play for us!) and we'll do a structured feedback loop. You're always welcome to just attend and observe as well. If you need help getting started with songwriting (chords, lyrics, freewriting, object writing are several approaches), just holler! It's OK to come even if you've never written a song before.

Class is usually $30 but free for August 21. Snacks and drinks provided. Please RSVP and you'll get the full assignments, thanks! 

Group classes coming up: April 2015 - chords & songwriting!

There are a few group classes coming up in April; one on chords, and the songwriters group series that is every 3 weeks. The dates: Saturday, 4/4, 12:30pm: Songwriters group Thursday, 4/16, 7pm: Chords class Saturday 4/26, 1pm Friday, 4/25 7pm: Songwriters group - updated date


WHAT: Group Chords Class - Get Augmented

WHEN: Thursday, April 16, 7pm
WHERE: BA Music Studio, Glassell Park
WHO: anyone, you don't have to be a current student! 
Cost: $25.

Please RSVP as soon as you're able; minimum 3 students / max 6.

This is a basic intro to chords beyond major and minor; when they're used, how they're formed, and some great listening examples. If you're curious about jazz(y) chords and their use in pop, broadway, and standards, come find out! This class is highly encouraged before moving on to extended note chords (7ths, 9ths, etc.).

WHAT IS IT?
The first music theory night at the new Bobby Apperson Music Studio!
Come Strike a Chord' * Covering chords (what - how - why) and what to do with them!
This kicks off 2015 group classes on a variety of music & theory subjects.

WikiPedia says:
Music theory is the study of how music is written and played. Music theory distills and analyzes the fundamental parameters or elements of music—rhythm, harmony (harmonic function), melody, structure, form, and texture.

WHAT ISN'T IT?
It is NOT a piano lesson and you don't have to perform or get up in front of people at all. A lot of it is written - on the board, on your clipboard, and then demonstrated and played.

DETAILS
* For adults
* Covering chords (what - how - why) and what to do with them!
* Visual, written, verbal and piano / interactive group lessons
* 7-8:15pm at the studio (PLEASE BE ON TIME or a bit early!)
* $25 and some snacks and drinks will be available
* bring a friend or partner!

At the end you can vote on upcoming subjects, like:
More of the same
Songwriting & melody
Composition
Performance class / master class
Guest artist classes (voice, guitar, other)
Improvisation
Ear training (hearing intervals and chords without looking)
Harmony / Voice leading
Listening party and/or music history


Also in April:
Songwriters group Saturday April 4. 

12:30pm arrivals (12:45 class start).
Class ends at 2pm. $30.

Everyone is having fun with this group and the assignments are fun and inspiring; so is hearing what others are working on!

This session's group assignment is a melody (optional 2nd melody) for song development. Please bring current song work as well to workshop afterwards if you want.

RSVP for the Songwriters Group

After the 4/4 class, next songwriters group is April 25 (they are every 3 weeks).


Thanks, happy music-making, and happy April! 

A new LA music studio & new website for 2015 - plus exciting announcements! (Pics)

The new Glassell Park Studio, February 2015

Hi friends and musicians! 

Welcome to the new website. I'm excited to put a new layer of paint on my web presence, as well as a literal layer the new studio space in Glassell Park. 

Why did the studio move?

I haven't posted since December because I was in limbo; my previous space in Atwater Village (shown below) was rented behind a kind friend's home, and she retired and moved out of state last weekend. For awhile it seemed I might get to stay, but the new owners took over the detached studio space.

This gave me a great opportunity to regroup and go with the flow; I briefly looked for other spaces, and the rental market is nuts! Detached work spaces in residential areas are all either rented, or cost 2-3 times what I wanted. So, owning a home myself, I've created a space in the back of my house.

The new studio is our old TV room, so it's a part of my house; but the back of my house has a separate address and entrance, which works out great. I'm working to soundproof and separate things further from the rest of the house—my partner works from home, too!—and so far, so good. Students so far love it and I get to be close to my family, including my little puppy.

Studio News: First Songwriting Group for 2015

It's so exciting to be back in Glassell Park — a hip, up-and-coming Northeast LA enclave right between Echo Park and Highland Park, bordering Atwater Village, Glendale, Eagle Rock, and Mt Washington. Some updates:

  • First songwriters group class at the new studio: Friday, February 20. RSVP only. Want to join or get songwriting classes?
  • Saturdays are mostly full; but slots are still available for now for 2 days of the week. Lessons include piano, voice, and songwriting! Learn how to sing or play in the new year.
  • The first songwriting student showcase was a big success! Five students performed the last night at the Atwater Village space. See the gallery below for more, and videos will follow soon.

The Old Studio: Moving Out, but first: Performances!

Performances on the last night at the Atwater Village studio included Bobby, Tawal, Lexi, Seth, Felix, and Cynthia. Susan was there in spirit (next time!). It was a packed house, and not bad for a last-minute informal showcase! The next student showcase is in April or early May, so stay tuned.

The new studio in Glassell Park: painting, moving in, and all set up!

Lessons were a go without any break. It was a long weekend! Pictured: the final product (mostly), painting, moving the piano, the back entrance, and Glassell Park sights: Eagle Rock Blvd, Glasellland Sign*, Verdugo Bar and patio, Lemon Poppy Kitchen, and Ribet Academy. Also nearby: Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts.

*The Glassellland Sign will return to the hillside soon above the Glassell Park community center, 2 blocks away from BA Music Studio.

Bobby Apperson Music Studio is moving to Atwater Village!

Thanksgiving is upon us -- I love the holiday season! 

It's the perfect time to announce I'm moving! The studio is moving, that is. In the coming weeks I'll be moving to a recently renovated, dedicated Atwater Village studio; I'll no longer be teaching from my Glassell Park home studio.

The new space is big and private and behind a nice Spanish house on Atwater Avenue, just 5 minutes from the current studio. I can't wait to being seeing students there -- as well as doing all my writing and recording.

Stay tuned for updates and in the meantime, lessons continue in Glassell Park.

Current Glassell Park Studio

Moving to Atwater Village!