Fabrizio Sotti Feature at Guitar International

My interview with jazz guitarist Fabrizio Sotti is now available at Guitar International Magazine. Here’s the link. One of the great things about writing on music is that I find musicians and albums I may have missed, and I get a chance to speak with many interesting and creative people. This feature was a pleasure to write. I encourage you to take look at what he has to say and give a listen to Right Now, his new album

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Review: Coursera Introduction to Improvisation

I’ve completed the second week of Gary Burton’s Intro to Improvisation online course through Coursera. The lessons progressed from the first week’s discussion of parallels between language and music to a more theoretical description of ten of the commonly used jazz scales and their applications to major, minor, and dominant chords. These include the modes, the altered scale, the diminished scale, and the Lydian dominant. The assignment for this week was to demonstrate the tonality and color of each scale through playing a brief unaccompanied solo. Here is the link to my completed assignment.

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Review: Coursera Introduction to Improvisation

I’ve just completed the assignments for Week 1 of Gary Burton’s introductory improvisation class. I think it’s off to a good start, and he really throws you right into the thick of things. The first lectures address music as a parallel of language and as a way of storytelling. The first improvisation assignment requires recording a solo over a song form consisting mostly of II-V-I changes in three different keys. There is also a written component in which the students give a brief and general description of the solo performed by Dr. Burton as an example. All materials are peer reviewed, so I’ll update you on that process as it happens. Here is a link to my first improvisation assignment on Soundcloud: Week 1 Assignment

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SoundCloud Page

I just set up a page on SoundCloud where I’ll be uploading my music. Feel free to check it out, follow my stream, and see what I’m listening to. The address is http://soundcloud.com/mikeopmusic

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Review: Coursera Introduction to Improvisation

Today I had my first glimpse of the online Introduction to Improvisation course offered by Berklee College of Music. It is a five-week class presenting some of the fundamentals of jazz improvisation. I’ll be giving a week-by-week review as a I progress through the class, and hopefully, it can serve as a worthwhile resource for anyone considering this class or online education in general!

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Fabrizio Sotti EPK

Here is the full length EPK for Fabrizio Sotti’s upcoming album, Right Now. I’m finishing up my feature on Sotti for Guitar International, to be published mid-May. Check for it then to hear the story behind the artist and the new album.

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Debashish Bhattacharya Interview and Streaming Audio

A new album released  by Debashish Bhattacharya featuring John McLaughlin is available for streaming on the CBC music blog. This album is a departure from Bhattacharaya’s previous albums, which featured traditional Hindustani classical music. I’ll be reviewing the new album, Beyond the Ragasphere, in the next few weeks. In the meantime, enjoy!

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Music Lessons in Koh Samui

I am currently teaching from two locations on Koh Samui. I am available every day in Ban  Lamai and every Wednesday and Friday in Ban Maenam. I teach private guitar, banjo, and mandolin lessons, as well as music theory, jazz theory, ear training, and composition. Private lessons are open to students of all ages, skill levels, and interests.

I also teach an 8 week introductory guitar course for adult beginners. This course meets twice each week, and introduces the basic chords, strum patterns, and techniques used in all styles of music. The class is open to any beginning or intermediate guitarists, ages 13 and older.

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A Link Between Country Music and Jazz

A couple of recent articles / reviews from The Atlantic and All About Jazz touch on some of the interesting overlap between country music and jazz over the last century. Skip Heller’s review of Chet Atkins’ and Les Paul’s album Guitar Monsters and Noah Berlatsky’s article, “What Willie Nelson Understands About Country Music: Deep Down, It’s Like Jazz,” illuminate just two examples of the links between these distinctly American musical styles.

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New Book! Guitar: A Course for Adult Beginners

I just finished printing my new book Guitar: A Course for Adult Beginners. The content is related to that found in my Beginner Guitar Series. However, the book is more focused as a workbook/songbook, emphasizing the methods for building a basic vocabulary and variations of chords, strumming techniques, and rhythms for beginning guitarists. View the front and back covers, and table of contents here: Guitar: A Course for Adults.


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