Special Offer: Give the Gift of ( Learning How to Make) Music


In the past days I have been approached for guitar lessons by people  that have time on their hands during the summer holidays and want to learn some more guitar or that would normally not be able to fit in guitar lessons in their busy schedules.

If you know one of these and are thinking about gifts:
 a 4+1 voucher guitar lessons may just be the perfect gift.

Prices vary depending on the duration of the lessons:

  •  4+1 * 45 minutes $120  (4* $30 plus free fifth lesson –>
    $30 discount)
  • 4+1 * 60 minutes $150   (4*$40 plus free fifth lesson –>
    $40 discount)
  • 4+1 * 90 minutes $240  (4* $ 60 plus free fifth lesson –>
    $60 discount)
  • 4+1 *120 Minutes $300 (4* $80 plus free fifth lesson –>
    $80 discount)

You can download and print your gift voucher here >>> and contact me for booking in your lessons: 03 3424232 / 027 480 3371 or johnmusicnz@gmail.com. Please advise you are using a gift voucher.

Dave Dobbyn: The Songbook


Dave Dobbyn: The Songbook Today I picked up a copy of Dave Dobbyn, The Songbook: A collection of Dave Dobbyn songs in a hard cover book. But… not just the other songbook.

The Book is divided in two halves; the first half contains a short story detailing the background of each song from Dobbyn, along with photographs and the lyrics. The second half of the book holds the scores for piano and guitar for every song. Dave Dobbyn: The Songbook is a beautifiul and innovative songbook, and in its dedication to the actual music, a tribute to one of New Zealand’s best known artists.

More about it can be found by clicking on the picture.

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CJ’s Musicworks alive and kicking


I don’t about you, but for me, I like to have my local music store where I can go down if I need picks, strings, fast fret or to ask as stupid question. And heck yes after by now thirty years of playing guitar I still have plenty of them. I like going to Charlie Jemmett at CJ’s Musicworks.


Additionally, I am picky on my guitar shops as I do not like it when Ibanez, my favorite brand is not adequately represented in a store. CJ’s has had a tough ride since the February earthquake but they have been back up on their feet reasonably quickly. In fact it was thanks to Charlie that I got to think about how the earthquake had its good aspects as well. As a result of the damage and mess CJ’s has changed their layout and looks more spacious.

If it had not been for the earthquake we would probably never have come around redoing the floor plan. It’s just too busy all the time.

I k now that a lot of people do not particularly want to go into town but for those that make music: this is the time to go out get over yourself and support your local music store. Situated right next to the SouthCity Mall parking lot on Colombo Street, Charlie and his colleagues at Musicworks look  forward to seeing you. 

As for our fellow guitarists: there is a mouthwatering collection of new Ibanez stock in. At least go and check that out, they are beautiful.

CJ’s Musicworks

CJ’s MusicWorks Christchurch at 569 Colombo Street is run by active musicians who, collectively have the widest knowledge of musical equipment you’ll find anywhere. With a huge range of instruments from drums to Grand Pianos this Christchurch store has something for everyone. Giving the best possible customer service is the ultimate aim and this shop has longstanding customers who come back because of the service and product knowledge, which is second to none.

And oh yes they are also on Facebook.

Michael Pokocky’s: One More Day: support a friend


From the pen and type writer of my good friend Michael Pokocky if you like what you read go see the rest here >>> and don’t forget to vote hey.

ONE MORE DAY

If France had anything to offer it was this: Love. And as long as we were about that we could get through anything.
As it turned out, France became a catalyst for our love, and romance took over our lives right from the beginning. It was a happy time and the beginning of a lifetime love affair with the people, places and things of France.
It was a place where I found that love could hold off my demons just as my writing did.
And for Anna, her love affair with her camera, and with black and white photos, would now take her free spirit to places within herself she never knew existed. She had found the key to her inner world. She blossomed there in the landscape of the inner world, and the kids felt it.
Never had I been so sure of anything. France did that to you. Anna felt the beat of her heart and followed it; I felt the call of my inner voice to write another book. But before I did I wanted to experience France — I wanted to taste it; to embrace it; to know one thing for sure, before I wrote.
We lived for a while in Paris and it was a cold winter. When the spring came we made excursions to different regions of France, some for a day; some for a few days or more. Then one day we found a small village in Provence. Its name struck me like a bolt of lightning: Julliard; and I felt like I knew this place. I had dreamt once that I was writing in a small village café. It was just a dream, but now, standing there, I wasn’t sure anymore; it seemed to me that my dream was a premonition. I’d like to have thought that. Then everything would make sense. So I believed in this and I was the better for having done so.
How ironic. All my life I dreamed of going to France. Every time I saw a picture I felt so passionate; and when I saw a black and white photo of France I was exhilarated. The photos without colour were mystical, mysterious.
We found a pension which was quaint and inexpensive, but we liked it and would have paid anything to stay there. Our bedroom had a large window and a fireplace. We slept with the window open, which reminded us of our little cottage by the sea in Chester, and we were warm together under a large down duvet. The fresh air was invigorating, but we were tired, so it quickly filled our lungs with sleep, and we dreamed with our bodies locked together and our hearts at peace.
I got up quickly the next morning and pulled a small table in front of the window and then I wrote by candlelight in my journal overlooking a valley in the dark blue of dawn. I saw how the light played differently than it did on the ocean in Chester, and the mountains back home. I knew we had found something special here; that’s how I started the day and that specialness sustained me throughout our stay there.
We found a courtyard the next morning with an archway made of old stone and underfoot the ground was paved with cobblestones. There was a florist, a bakery and a café. The building had shutters for the windows painted in a faint weathered blue, much like the colour of Annabella’s eyes, and below each window was a coloured wooden flower box. In the early morning sunlight the place took on a luminous quality, which Anna found interesting enough to photograph.
The freshness of the place, the smell of coffee, flowers spilling out into the courtyard, and the smell of French pastries delighted our senses. We sat quietly at a small round table in the far corner of the courtyard where we could be shaded from the sunlight and have a commanding view of the comings and goings of the locals.
It was there that I realized that I had found home. Now whatever that meant to me at that time was purely speculative, but I would see that my early instincts, which I trusted, were in fact a reliable barometer of my state of mind. I could not see myself anywhere else; I was determined to stay and was looking for a way to broach the subject with Anna.
I wasn’t sure about Anna at the time, however she was taking pictures of the places we visited and talked incessantly about the place.
“I love it here. It’s wonderful, don’t you think Daniels?”
“Yes,” I said in an excited tone.
Neither of us were thinking of Marchbanks. We were thinking Julliard. Its calling was strong, and we let it get under our skin. By now we had made up our minds; we weren’t going back to Marchbanks. We went looking for a place instead.
It was a day of choices that would affect our future in a positive way – in an extraordinary way. We were young, and rich, and in love, and free. We had fallen in love with a place that would nurture us, take care of us, feed our spirits, and carry our imaginations on the wind. It was love that bound it all together; love of many faces, which I never forgot, and became a powerful theme and an inspiration for a novel.
The morning after we bought a home, I went outside on the terrace, and I felt for the first time a sense of belonging. My search was over; I was right where I belonged. I believe Anna felt the same way too.
It was dusk and I looked up at the sky; the same sky I looked up at when I lived in Chester; the same sky I looked up when I lived in Ste-Adele. There was a stillness that allowed me to hear my inner voice with great clarity and I lived my life thereafter by what I heard.
The air I breathed was fresh and it filled my lungs and energized me. I went back into the house and wrote while Anna and Thomas slept. The sunrise came and so did the words for the story I was writing. I was writing about Ste-Adele, and it was a beautiful morning in the story; I was lost in the story and when I finished I was famished. I drove into the village to the courtyard where I went every morning since arriving in Julliard, and the bakery smelled of fresh baked; the florist was putting out flowers; and the woman who owned the café, was roasting coffee beans. The combination of the aromas was a sensory delight. It felt right; I felt happy; it was my life, and I embraced it.
Soon the courtyard café would be busy with people coming and going. I was always the first to arrive. There was that strangeness there too like in Chester, and in Ste-Adele, and it surrounded me and I knew instinctively goodness would come to me. I banked on this by now in my life; the strangeness was my friend. I came to trust the strangeness and the goodness that always came, and that made me feel extraordinarily comfortable. I knew the place; the place knew me. And this knowing sustained me. I lacked for nothing, but I needed the strangeness every day. It reassured me in the beginning, that I had made the right choices. And in the end it comforted me when I could not find comfort from my demons that I had brought with me.
But there was love in France, and even more love in Julliard, and I never suffered the pain of despair and loneliness I once knew in Chester and Ste-Adele. I had conquered my illness and thought of a line I once wrote in my journal: the warrior laid down his sword on the rock, and the rock turned to marble, and he said, “This is my home.”
Meanwhile, back at home, Anna would rise around mid-morning. Thomas was already up, and like his father and mother, had the good sense, and the free spirit, to explore and invent a life for himself. Anna knew I’d be home for lunch, and then I’d go for a nap for a couple of hours in the afternoon.
There was chaos in the routine of our lives. We – me, Thomas, and Anna – were free spirits and we trusted our instincts. Each of us were on our own paths in our personal lives, but we lived together in harmony.
Dinner at the end of the day was a ritual, where we all came together and ate and talked about our day. During coffee afterward along with a nice dessert, which I brought home fresh from the bakery every day, we talked about our dreams and the adventures we would have and our work. It was always tied together: the dreams, the adventures, and the work we chose to do.
It was an incredible environment to live in, with three incredibly unique individuals, each with a dream, each full of love and happiness. When we went to bed each night, there was no doubt, that the strangeness that found me at the courtyard every day and brought goodness, was now in our home as well.
We loved our home. It was an old farm house that was bought from an old couple who dreamed all their lives to live in Paris. When they were young, and in love, they visited Paris often. They were very glad when we had offered to buy the old stone farm house and move to an apartment in Paris. We were happy for them and happy for us.
Anna immediately made plans to renovate the place and that was her work every day. I came and went, each time being careful not to step on, or trip over, some workman’s tools. Thomas was always watching. This was a great opportunity for him. He especially liked the stone mason. His name was Jacques, and he had taught Thomas that each stone had a life of its own, and that to be a very good stone mason not only required a gifted hand and a good eye, but also a third eye.
“What’s a third eye?” Thomas asked in wonder.
“Well,” said Jacques “It’s the ability to see the uniqueness of the true life of the stone; not the life one imagined it wanted to be, but the true life of the stone, and to anticipate its relationship with all the other stones. It’s like putting together a happy family.”
He couldn’t wait to tell us that story after dinner that night. When I heard the story it made me feel absolutely wonderful. The gentle nature of this mason, with the big hands, and a heart for telling stories to children that fired up their imagination. I spent some time getting to know him … found out he had fathered 12 children.
Thomas’s story made me feel like crying because it made him so happy and because Jacques had taught Thomas something real in a way that only he could. It was this love I always talked about or kept to myself and wrote about. I knew now another kind of love, and because it made my son happy I loved it even more.
Anna was lovingly and caringly restoring the old farm house which we named “SandHill.” It was a good project for her and it kept her busy during her pregnancy and afterward. She photographed the complete restoration in both black and white and colour film. This made for a unique artistic experience for her.
When I looked at the weekly log of photographs, sometimes I felt compelled to write some prose to accompany the photo that moved me at that particular moment. When Anna caught me doing it one day, she came up with the brilliant idea of travelling around Europe photographing buildings – architecture – and I would add the narrative. This would be a book project she wanted to do after the restoration; said it would give her a break and we’d have fun doing it. Prophetically she was right. We took the trip and produced a coffee table book of the best cafés in the world. It made Anna an overnight photographic celebrity, and me, well let’s just say it made me a household name.
Thomas would be starting school in the fall. The summer we spent in Julliard went by swiftly, and it was time to return to Ste-Adele, and to our beloved Marchbanks.

If France had anything to offer it was this: Love. And as long as we were about that we could get through anything.

As it turned out, France became a catalyst for our love, and romance took over our lives right from the beginning. It was a happy time and the beginning of a lifetime love affair with the people, places and things of France.

It was a place where I found that love could hold off my demons just as my writing did.

And for Anna, her love affair with her camera, and with black and white photos, would now take her free spirit to places within herself she never knew existed. She had found the key to her inner world. She blossomed there in the landscape of the inner world, and the kids felt it.

Never had I been so sure of anything. France did that to you. Anna felt the beat of her heart and followed it; I felt the call of my inner voice to write another book. But before I did I wanted to experience France — I wanted to taste it; to embrace it; to know one thing for sure, before I wrote.

We lived for a while in Paris and it was a cold winter. When the spring came we made excursions to different regions of France, some for a day; some for a few days or more. Then one day we found a small village in Provence. Its name struck me like a bolt of lightning: Julliard;

read the rest of the story here >>> and don’t forget to vote if you like it, and hey, spread the news!

Slideshare Zeitgeist 2010


Slideshare posted its annual Zeitgeist with some remarkable observations and findings and links to the most popular slide shares of the year. If you use slide share for whatever reason you will find some helpful data in there.

Some obeservations:

  • Popular presentations have more slides. While most presentations are short popular presentations are longer (63 slides on average).
  • Popular presentations use fewer words.
  • On average women use fewer slides than men.
  • Coleur Locale also applies to presentation length.
    Japanese language presenters use the most slides on average—42 slides per presentation. English language presenters, on the other hand, use the fewest slides per presentation—19.
  • Apple Keynote users make popular presentations. While Keynote was only used by 2% of the presenters, 16% of the most popular presentations were made using Keynote.
  • Business, trends and statistics dominate popular tags. Tags are words used to describe presentations on SlideShare. The most popular presentation tags for 2010 included business, market, trends, research, social media and statistics.
  • Popular presentations don’t use serifs. While 10% of popular presentations used the serif font Times New Roman, the majority of popular presentations included fonts without serifs such as Arial and Helvetica.

Personally I found that going through the most popular slide share presentations (links are in the slide share above) a helpful exercise in presentation technique.

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Confessions of St Augustine, a free download


I was alerted by email that Project Gutenberg has made available as a download “Confessions” by St Augustine.  In Confessions, Augustine shares his story of conversion from sinful living to following Christ whole-heartedly. The book has served as a model for many Christian writers throughout the centuries.

A more detailed outline of the book can be found at Wikipedia here >>>.

Site Review: Dirks Guitar Page – Free Music For Classical Guitar


If you ever thought as a modern player to expand your range and delve into some classical guitar playing beyond the obvious, Dirk Meineke’s page is the place to go.

It is not often that I am so enthusiastic about a site as this one. Most definitely something there for anyone at any level of playing classical guitar. This page is truly a very rich source of classical guitar music, covering the traditional classical pieces and other genres such as Latin and Brazilian music, pop and originals contributed by others all in standard music notation plus tabs. Moreover the songs can be heard in midi which assists in making choices in relation to difficulty and taste.

The homepage very modestly opens with:

On these pages I offer free music for classical guitar. You will find it in three different file formats (TablEdit, PDF, midi), as standard notation and tablature. This way I hope to encourage guitarists to play some of this great music, keep up playing the guitar, pick it up again after not playing for a while or perhaps even to start playing this wonderful instrument at all. Use these files for your personal study and playing, but not for any commercial purposes.

via Dirks Guitar Page – Free Music For Classical Guitar.

My view is that it is a totally awesome site: am that I can recommend for anyone that wants to to explore classical guitar, expand his or her repertoire. Love it! Especially now with the new Savarez strings on my La Patrie classical guitar.

A definitely recommended site. Thanks Dirk!