Paramus, NJ. I had the best guitar teacher, Lou Sabini, who introduced me to superb guitarists like Johnny Smith, Buddy Fite, Tal Farlow, and wrote out chord melodies to standards and gave me a solid foundation with Alfred’s, Melbay’s, and Leavitt books. He taught me how to listen and take parts off records so I figured out Steve Howe’s Mood For a Day when I was fourteen yrs old.
2. Who or what influenced you to get into songwriting, and creating music?
The Beatles in 1964, watching them on the Ed Sullivan Show at four years old, blew me away. Then James Taylor in 1974, knocked my socks off. I love Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, George Benson, Stevie Wonder, Carly Simon. I knew I needed a “dream machine” to hear all the parts that were in my head. I was playing with 2 cassette decks and bouncing tracks until my first multi track tape recorder, a Teac A 2340 4 tk machine when I was seventeen.
3. Does songwriting come easy to you? What is your process, do you start with a track, or write, then place the words to music?
It does. I usually start with a guitar idea, but I have written songs whistling melodies through the park, starting the dishwasher and hearing the drone of the machine, playing bits of piano, hearing a phrase and knowing it should be a title, writing a lyric and adding music to that, finding chords to a drum groove, building a sequencer full of sounds and randomly singing and keeping the melody and lyric that happens, and when I hear of ways I haven’t tried, I jump in and write from there. It’s cool to have a number of ways to warm up the creative muscles.
4. You are also a recording engineer. Do you ever drive yourself mad trying to get the best mix on your own song?
Absolutely. But I recently heard about puremix.net and subscribed and have actually been close to tears I was so happy to have finally found the info I’d been craving.
5. Where do you usually record?
Home Studio, PassaBrown Studios
6. Do you perform live often?
I’d like to do more. I was just playing the Bull Run in Shirley, MA with Bird Mancini, and Kate Chadbourne and we had a great show together. I do shows on stageit.com, coffeehouses, house concerts, small theaters, libraries.
7. Out of all your titles, if you had to pick one to best represent you, what would it be?
That’s a hard question because just like my favorite songs of favorite Artists, I love their performance, or I love the song, or I love the sounds, or the arrangement, production, or the mix knocks me out. So I love my own music for various reasons too. I’d have a different answer for a best mix, vs. fond lyric, or cool slide guitar solo, etc. Also because I grew up listening to all kinds of music on the same radio shows and The Beatles were always experimenting and writing in different styles, I follow my curiosity too. I desire to please my own ears and so there’s a variety and blending of styles and grooves.
8. Tell us about your latest project.
My EP, A Parallel Sunrise (an anagram of my name) features Kathy Burkly, Bird Mancini, Norman Zocher and Kate Chadbourne. I love these mixes because they are my latest, greatly influenced by Fab Dupont, John Paterno and Andrew Scheps. I’m so thankful to these Artists for sharing their knowledge on puremix.net.
9. What is your one single Beatles song to play live?
Here Comes The Sun
10. What can we expect from you in 2017?
More EPs, singles, shows, pictures, videos on youtube, collaborations, and fun.
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Create meaning everyday. Do your thing – practice, write, play, record. Make yourself proud.
Learn to set your intonation and play in tune. Each string has to be balanced at the 12th fret so the guitar is in tune with itself.
Marry the metronome. Listen to the heart-beat of the music. Play in sync.
Use the rest stroke playing with fingers or a pick. Each attack needs the proper follow through for excellent tone.
5. Learn where the notes are on the staff and the fret-board. Fingering charts are free online. Literacy is power.
Develop your picking/strumming hand. Learn how to skip strings. It’s essential for playing accuracy, groove, feel, rhythm, and lead playing. Work on your sense of time. The guitar is not monophonic. Learn how to make two, three, four, five, or six notes sound amazing, too – not just one note at a time.
Your thoughts are your focus. Your emotions are a result of what you’ve been thinking about. Practice how you feel.
Practice good self-care. Eat real food every three to four hours. Get sleep. Drink water. Thirst is the number one cause of fatigue.
Start and end the day under the head-phones. Nourish yourself with your favorite music.
Be always learning. Stay hungry for new adventures, experiences, and inspiration.
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At a theater in the Bronx, kissing through the show. They happened so deliciously, missing Ivanhoe. They would soothe and inspire, speak gentle fire Kindle sweet desire to be together.
At the sock hop, dancing the Lindy, or Coney Island under the moon, loving Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey, giggling through the ol’ tune, Down by the Old Mill Stream.
That wasn’t all she wrote, and they knew why they’d bother. You have to understand the physics of it: It’s for joy, for the fun, cause it’s life, cause it’s love.
On the ranch tooling leather, currying his horse, Or later in the navy an electrical engineering course, Raising baby brothers, learning at school, while typing for a lawyer, cherishing their letters, dreaming together all my love, all my life.
What are you doing the rest of your life? Let’s engage, and be married. You can have 3 children by the time you’re 25, and one more when you’re 34. Parties, camping, cruises, islands, Italy, France and the shore. Bowling, joking, cooking, now and then she’d tell him I’d do it all again.
That wasn’t all she wrote, and they knew why they’d bother. You have to understand the physics of it: It’s for joy, for the fun, cause it’s life, cause it’s love.
A bit of back ground
My Parents were married January 11th, 1958. The thought came to me to write them an anniversary song. I had the desire to write a story song a while back, and months ago I was thinking about writing some up-tempo songs.
My folks & I were watching a movie recently and I noticed out of the corner of my eye that though my Dad had an injured knee and couldn’t put his full weight on it to walk, he & my Mom in sync, were pounding away, feverishly tapping to an up-tempo song coming from the TV for the full length of the song! I was greatly charmed by this. I didn’t say a word. I loved that they were enjoying the thrill of this physical reaction of getting swept away by a dance beat. They loved to dance and were great at it. Their favorite dance they always told me was the Lindy, and their favorite song to dance it to was Glenn Miller’s, In The Mood. Honestly, who can sit still when that awesome song kicks in? I don’t even dance but I feel like flailing around like Jerry Lewis when beats like that happen.
The story they always told me was, they were in a movie theater in Parkchester, NY, he with his friends, and she with her friends. Invited to sit with him, she hopped on his lap and they started kissing. It wasn’t until last week I even thought to ask what the name of the film was.
I had heard stories of how they’d been together since they were 14 & 16 years old. That he had his own horse at a ranch when he was 15 years old where they taught him leather craft. (He was so good at it they asked him back the next year to teach it and attend the ranch for free.) That she worked for a lawyer when she was in high school. That he had adventures on a navy ship and learned electrical engineering. They wrote sweet love letters to each other. My Dad, always signed & still signs his cards to my Mom, “All my love, all my life”. Their friends & my Mom called him, Spock. He knew a ton of things and always solved problems for people. He’d fix everybody’s cars and TVs and if something was difficult for one of us he’d explain, “ You have to understand the physics of it.” And show us how it worked, and how to fix it.
One of my Mom’s sayings is, “Why bother?” I put it on a T-shirt for her when I was in high school. She is an amazing cook, and has a great eye for design. She’s complimented all the time for the way she sets ups her homes and decorates with such class and style. She’s a champion bowler and the best on her team. My Dad’s favorite song is, What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life”. I have a recording of my parents trying to get me, & my brother to talk and sing on a tape recorder, which amounted to only little success. But Dad starts crooning a bit of, Down By The Ol’ Mill Stream. Dad loves photography and film, video. He’d show slide & movies for family and friends. At the end he’d always say, “That’s All She Wrote”.
Last year I saw a card my Mom had given my Dad. And she wrote how much she loved him and that she would do it all again. What a cool thing to say. She has a giant heart and cares so deeply. I love having heard and seen their passion for one another. My audience for this song is my parents. So it’s a gift to them to remember the magic that they have lived. It’s still there.
Writing the song
I filled a few pages with things I remembered, and stories they told me. I looked up dates, and tempos to songs they danced to. I heard the first few chords in my head and got the flavor of what the harmony might be. I wanted it to be something they could relate to, and a sound they enjoyed. It sounds like Tony Bennett, or Frank Sinatra or my Uncle Tony could sing this. The first guitar strumming is like Jimmy Rainy. I was tempted to add a banjo but it wasn’t in the songs I was remembering. A bit of snare drum, and a thumping walking bass played on me hofner, beatle bass, and viola. Often once there’s a first verse I can write the lyrics to make the other versus have the same cadence and shape in the sentences. But with this song, I realized the underlying shape would need to be the chords and measures. The words could float about and melody could change as long as the structure underneath was the same length. I had a lot of fun making it and playing at 198 beats per minute!
ps. It translates to any speakers to listen on, but if you use headphones or a good sound system with bigger speakers you’ll enjoy the bass guitar. ;o)
I have three dachshunds, 3 yrs old, 8 yrs old and 12 yrs old. They all eat Nature’s Instinct dry, wet, and raw food & omega caps. They are very healthy, and super fun. But my little man, Romeo 8 yrs old, has had dry skin since he was given to me. He didn’t even have enough hair on his head & chest when I met him at a yr. old. The Missing Link has been fantastic in helping him get more nutrients and have better skin and actually grow more hair! For years I needed to put Jason’s all natural hand creme on him a couple times a week to keep his skin from chapping. Until recently when we tried Avoderm. WOW! One bag, fed for one of his meal’s per day and he’s a new dog. Super shiny soft, fur and I haven’t had to put hand creme on his skin.
My 12 yr old contracted a whole body arthritis from a tick born virus when she was 10 yrs. old, even though she’d been on the topical protection, Frontline. She was stiff and miserable and in pain. I found, Vet’s Best Aches & Pains at Petco, and give her a half tablet twice a day: and she’s a new puppy. She runs, gallops, saunters, plays, essentially is back in business, normal, able to enjoy life again.
My 3 yr old has had the best advantage of getting on this toothpaste since she was young. Petzlife Oral Care Gel Her teeth still look bright white. I just rub it on their gums and teeth after meals. Super.
What I love is that these all natural products have made my puppers feel better. I hope they work for your furry friends too.
Bolstered By Blue and many other tunes on this record have arrangements that are very complex, with multiple backing vocal parts and various instruments coming in and out. How do you go about composing and then arranging tunes like that?
On Mar 14, 2012, at 12:47 PM, Jordan Lucero wrote:
I loved reading all of your answers!
I have to do an interview for my professional development seminar and I was wondering if you could answer some questions? It’s due by friday so the sooner you answer would be the better! If you could answer these that would mean the world to me! Thank you! Jordan Lucero
Here’s the questions:
1.What is it that initially got you interested in music? What’s your musical background?
2.Did you do anything musically before you came to Berklee?
For Fab Four fan, it gets better all the time
Thursday, April 28, 2011
LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY APRIL 28, 2011, 11:18 AM
BY BRYAN WASSEL
A former Paramus resident has accomplished a series of firsts at Berklee College in Boston: becoming the first woman to graduate the guitar performance program in 1982, the first female faculty member of the guitar department in 1984 and the first female to be promoted to full professor in the department in 2009.
Lauren Passarelli, who was born in Teaneck and grew up in Paramus, developed her interest in guitar at an early age, citing the Beatles as one of her biggest influences. She had a plastic guitar when she was 2, and was truly inspired by music when she saw the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show when she was 4.
“You know, the Beatles never said they were the best musicians or the best writers or anything, but they enjoyed it so much and they just said, ‘If we can do it, anyone can do it,’” Passarelli said. “So I thought, ‘Then I’ll do it too.’”
We’re busy people. You may have always wanted guitar lessons but don’t know to fit them in & get there during regular hours. Online lessons are your ticket to the music. You can set something up with me over the internet. Or you can join JamPlay where there are over 80 guitar teachers, every style, 1000s of hours of taped lessons & live web chats with teachers including me, ’round the clock. Use this code: 55DB3375AA
I’ve always gotten a kick out of learning songs & guitar parts deeply to sound like the recordings that I loved. That was my measure of how well I knew the music & how much attention I paid to the detail that was there.
I have offered to play what’s on the recording, to play the exact guitar parts. It has been this skill that has gotten the attention of many band leaders wanting me to play on their record or join their tour. (All Together Now, Sarah Burrill, Pat MethenyAfterFab) This helps if the artist is used to it, or loves those guitar parts or they have become part of the composition in a significant way.
Steve Gorman (Black Crowes drummer) wrote this a while back in response to a fan letter:
Ringo Starr’s drumming is infallible, untouchable, and he is quite simply the greatest drummer in the history of rock ‘n’ roll music.
So, there’s that.
With this in mind, it would stand to reason that you might struggle to learn his parts, even on so rudimentary a level as Rock Band provides. I will resist the urge to write an endless screed about why Ringo’s drumming is beyond reproach and instead offer a quick “Q and A” to examine your specific points. Continue reading →
Ever since I met Kate Chadbourne we’ve been talking about the creative process & recently on the phone she said three things that I couldn’t wait to share with all of you.
We’re all constantly saying many of the same things repeatedly but there are times when someone can turn the idea just a hair, to give you a glimpse of yet another facet of the idea you’ve known all along, or a new metaphor & all becomes clearer & even more possible, even more tangible & doable & it sparks my desire to jump in & create from this new perspective.
Reach up & grab something from that overhead compartment above you
I have often felt ideas come to me, as gifts, that they may not even be my ideas, but ideas coming from a cool place, that giant creative pool of infinite possibilities & I heard it first. I’ve never thought of it as an overhead compartment that I could simply reach into & pull out a great idea. That’s cool & fun & closer than this giant sky, VAST overwhelming place that we may sometimes think the ideas come from. Continue reading →
There’s every reason on earth to enjoy the creative things you enjoy as often as you choose to. We see ourselves in definitive ways & at various times or ages in our lives we allow ourselves to have & be those creative things. At other times we wait for outside validation or an invitation or just don’t allow ourselves to have that fun anymore. Sometimes a new creative fun comes up but we hold ourselves from it thinking only they can do that art form, I’ve never been good at that & so I’m not allowed to have it.Not true. Not even nice. Who’s side are you on anyway? Who’s voice is that in your head? You are the only one who can validate you. You give to yourself or you hold your self back. You dive in & have the fun or you keep yourself from it.
Enjoy your time. Your life is here & now. It’s your energy, your fire. Explore. Investigate. Wander. Listen. Devour the things you enjoy doing. They’re here for you. You are here for them. You belong together. They equal fun & fulfillment. There’s so much information in books & on the internet on everything you’re interested in. Go for it. Vy vait?
I had a mighty time giving a song writing & creativity clinic with the multi talented,Kate Chadbourne on Feb 23rd, 2010. The juicy sparks & laughs were flying. We could have gone on for hours. The presentation is on YouTube.
Jump in, get wet. Make a splash. Go to your studio & make stuff.
I think there is something necessary & life giving about creative work. A state of excitement. And it is like a faucet: nothing comes unless you turn it on and the more you turn it on, the more comes. But this joyful, imaginative, impassioned energy dies out of us very young. Why? Because we do not see that it is great and important. Because we let dry obligation take it’s place. Because we don’t respect it in ourselves & keep it alive by using it. And because we don’t keep it alive in others by listening to them. You must practise with all your intelligence and love. A great musician once told me one should never play a note without hearing it, feeling that it is true, thinking it beautiful. Writing, the creative effort, the use of the imagination, should come first of some part of everyday of your life. It is a wonderful blessing if you will use it. You will become happier, more enlightened, alive, impassioned, light hearted & generous to everybody else. Even your health will improve. Colds will disappear & all other ailments of discouragement & boredom. – Brenda Ueland
It’s so much fun to have a new project or song or idea in my head. My brain desires to be captivated & chewing on something delicious as often as possible. As an Artist it’s important for me to have something in the works, always stirring & devising, arranging & producing, to be playing with sounds & words & textures just thrills me.
I like to do it as often as possible because it’s as necessary & satisfying as eating & sleeping & breathing. I also feel that it is as easy to jump into the creative flow, as it is to plug an AC cord into the wall outlet to get power. Continue reading →
My first guitar teacher at college, Lauren Passarell, taught me a number of things that I am still learning years after the fact.
After carefully eyeing my picking hand, she faulted it for being inflexible. She prescribed several pieces which made use of the floating, string-skipping picking hand that is necessary for versatility and large leaps. A natural skeptic, I wondered if the effort of changing my technique was worth it, or if the “setback” would somehow slow me down. Many musicians, particularly those who have achieved some level of comfort with a playing style, are reluctant to try new techniques, fearing that it will render their current technique worthless. Months later, I discovered the problem on my own – and returned to her prescription. Now, years later, I am happy to say I have conquered this difficulty. However, I do face many more. I have a bad habit of practicing within my “comfort zone”, even though I am fully aware that two hours of discomfort is probably more effective than 8 hours of comfort.
My current goal is to lay out all of the techniques and concepts that I really don’t want to work on, things that make me feel uncomfortable or weak, and practice them relentlessly, going so far as to forbid any familiar activity for the duration of four weeks. If my playing is significantly changed in that time, I will know I have found another keystone on my path to mastery.
Lauren taught me another important lesson. My usual attitude as a student was that I must push as hard as I can against the wall. Occasionally, I would express my patient frustration to teachers and mentors. Having a need to organize the Universe, I told Lauren that I knew I would get X good if I practiced X amount of hours. For those of us who train ourselves to have high expectations and work hard to achieve them, we tend to want others to validate this view, even going so far as to expect that anyone we respect or admire will share this method. However, Lauren’s response shocked me. She said that it wasn’t the amount of time spent practicing or even how badly I wanted mastery. She told me that if I focus and have the right mindset, these things will find me, instead. The conversation took a turn into quantum physics, and we talked about ever-fascinating concept that light can be constrained as both a wave and a particle, and the view among many physicists that the expectations of the observer can affect the outcome of the observed. She called this a “wavicle”, and when we parted for that lesson (which was one of our last), she left me with this: “Control the wavicles!”
When I listen, I can hear whether my students are ready to absorb what I have to offer. First I need to know they believe in their ability and, at the same time, that they’re willing to work on their weaknesses.
My students know they are accountable for their own greatness. I always encourage them to care about their own development and realize that they are their own best teachers. The real growth begins at the crossroads where my teaching style intersects with the student’s learning style.
Here are 7 thoughts on teaching and learning guitar.
We’re asking you to trust in the Well-being. In optimism there is magic. In pessimism there is nothing. In positive expectation there is thrill and success. In pessimism or awareness of what is not wanted, there is nothing. What you’re wanting to do is redefine your relationship with the Stream. We do not ask you to look at something that is black and call it white. We do not ask you to see something that is not as you want it to be and pretend that it is. What we ask you to do is practice moving your gaze. Practice changing your perspective. Practice talking to different people. Practice going to new places. Practice sifting through the data for the things that feel like you want to feel and using those things to cause you to feel a familiar place. In other words, we want you to feel familiar in your joy. Familiar in your positive expectation, familiar in your knowing that all is well, because this Universe will knock itself out giving you evidence of that Well-being once you find that place.
"Thank you so much for coming all that way and doing such a wonderful job on my song! You have such a great attitude and are so fun and easy to work with. I love the different parts you came up with for the song. It really gives it a different sound. Looking forward to mixing it. Thanks again!"
~ Deborah G.
"Congratulations on your album! It's just amazing that you released this with so many credits to your name -- producer, mixer, photographer AS WELL AS composer and performer! You are very versatile as a composer, thoughtful and original as a lyricist, and of course capable and interesting as a performer."
"I just wanted to thank you for your time, energy, and encouragement during our private lessons and Beatles group courses a few years back. You were always quick with an encouraging word and I very much appreciated that. I've spent the last few years marinating in the lessons you imparted upon me and in many ways they helped me grow and develop self confidence as an artist and a human being. So thank you! I've always admired your dedication to your students, but also to your artistry and passions away from teaching."
~ Holden K.
"On Tuesday evening I hooked up my iPad and played your songs through the outdoor speakers on the main deck and patio where we cooked and hosted a grill and supper by the lake for our employees. MASSIVE hit!!! Absolutely everyone loved your music. We had the entire bay to ourselves and the music rolled over the lake and filled the whole bay. We had a huge fire burning and the embers were sparkling up into the sky as your music was playing. It was perfect. It struck me that someone can create some music, release it into the World, and it lives on."
"So much to say about Blast. Listening now. I've got goose :-) - I mean geese bumps - when I heard the drums in "Let the Music Begin". Your drumming sounds like Ringo ! It's like you have Ringo guesting. And the subtle banjo and then accordion is perfection - I think that's what I'm hearing. The sound of waves and the seagulls in Sea Road is transcendent...I'm off the scale excited by Blast of Love. Cheers and thanks Lauren, you're magic! I'll get back to you with more on Blast. It's amazing."
~ Peter ( in Arkansas)
"Up late listening to music and as usual I'm drawn to your work. Just listened to All The Words again. I heard the geese tonight in the clouds. What to say? Geese bumps. What inspired you to write this? It's short! It's like getting a taste of something wonderful and then realizing that it's done just as you know that you want more!"