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A post from Victoria Fane

Manager: Crown Point

A Great Recital

Thank you to everyone for coming to and supporting our Crown Point Student Recital this past Sunday. Everything about the day was perfect and it was a great show by our students and teachers! I love our recitals because they really show off everything that I love about HGS: our great camaraderie, our great love of music, and our fun!

It may sound cheesy, but days like Sunday, full of love and music, reaffirm for me everything that HGS stands for.

So let me say again a big THANK YOU to all the family and friends who attended, all the students who worked and practiced so hard preparing to perform, all the teachers who sat right there with their students to help them shine, and all the staff who made the behind the scenes of the recital run extra smoothly and hiccup-free! I could not be prouder of every single person I saw that day.

What a perfect start to the summer!


A post from Stephanie Sepiol

Instructor: Voice


The past two days have been insanity and imperfect perfection. Not only have I had the incredible pleasure of singing two motets in the Thomaskirche over the past two days, but I have been able to watch one best friend conduct and sing next to another for the third time in the same space. I am so lucky.

I have learned so much about my craft this week. Each conductor imparts incredible wisdom on the singers: new warmups, new vocal techniques for producing specific sounds, and new euphemisms for achieving ideal vocal placement--my favorite! I am a much better singer because of what I have done this week.

Tomorrow morning, Sunday, is our final service at the Thomaskirche. The Chorale members will head to Berlin to catch a morning flight, and a few of the conductors and older singers--including myself--will enjoy one more wonderful day in this musical city. Tomorrow we will also get to sing one of my all-time favorite choral pieces, Morten Laurdisen's "O Nata Lux."

O nata lux de lumine,
Jesu redemptor saeculi,
Dignare clemens supplicum
Laudes precesque sumere.

Qui carne quondam contegi
Dignatus es pro perditis,
Nos membra confer effici
Tui beati corporis.

O Light born of Light,
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
with loving-kindness deign to receive
suppliant praise and prayer.

Thou who once deigned to be clothed in flesh
for the sake of the lost,
grant us to be members
of thy blessed body.

"O Nata Lux" is from a larger work called Lux Aeterna, which translates from Latin to "eternal light." The Thomaskirche, even in the rain, always seems to be bathed in light, in tradition, in love, in reverence, and in gratitude.

Always gratitude.

Listening Link:


A post from Stephanie Sepiol

Instructor: Voice

In Tune

Okay, so sometimes not everything goes as planned.

By Monday morning, all six conductors had arrived and the workshop was ready to begin. As the clock began to inch toward the scheduled 9:30 downbeat, those in charge began to wonder, "Where is the accompanist?"

When she finally arrived it became clear that due to a communication error she was only just receiving the music that morning, which led to, of course, an interesting state of musical affairs. As she plodded through the not easily plodded Mozart and Bach scores, each conductor began to stress. Could they rehearse at the tempos they had planned? Could she understand the instructions they were giving?

As she would fall further behind the conductor's beat, so would the choir. It was a mess.

After a while, however, it all began to click.

        No matter what mistakes you hear, look. Listen. Breathe together.

Choral singing is all about ensemble--a unified voice. Some people in the room may have a stunning résumé of solo work and personal musical accomplishments, but in a choir, everyone is equal. Every section must have balance. If you are a sports fan, think about it this way: LeBron James played magnificently in the NBA Finals, but his team failed to provide him the support he needed to win the championship. The Golden State Warriors had the league MVP on their side, but Stephen Curry couldn't win the game himself. A successful choral performance is just like a game of basketball! Well, sort of. You might sound amazing. You might sound so good that if the Queen walked in she would knight you on the spot. But you are part of your section, and your section is part of the choir, and it takes the whole choir to make the song sing.

My favorite conductor of the group is a Canadian woman named Kathleen who is patient, encouraging, and meticulous about every detail. If we are not creating the sound she wants, she finds a new way to coax it from us. She is conducting the Runestad "Alleluia," which has some gnarly key changes throughout. She had us warmup by carefully tuning each consecutive key signature before we approached that section of the peice, and from then on each entrance was so much easier to hear.

We were finally melodically and personally in tune.


A post from Stephanie Sepiol

Instructor: Voice

Eine Kleine Mozart in Leipzig

Venite, populi, venite
de longe venite

       Come, o peoples, come;
       come from afar

The city of Leipzig loves its classical music--and not just that of J.S. Bach! Austrian-born composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a child prodigy (could the next Mozart be studying at HGS?!), wrote 41 symphonies; countless concertos for instruments like the piano, violin, and flute; sonatas; duets; trios; quartets; quintets; marches, dances; masses; and just about every compositional style you can imagine! He is even famous for writing his own Requiem funeral service (a masterful work that I got to perform at Carnegie Hall my sophomore year of high school)!

This week, we are performing two of his motets with the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra: Regina Coeli, k.276, and Venite Populi, k.260. Much like a BWV number, the "k" is an abbreviation for the name Ludwig Von Köchel, the man who catalogued his works. It also provides chronology, so we can gather that Venite Populi is the older of the two compositions. Venite Populi is a motet for double choir, meaning that the ensemble is split in half with two separate groups of soprano, alto, tenor, and bass singers. The piece opens with the soprano section of the second choir inviting the audience into the piece with a resounding cry of "Venite, populi, venite!" This begins a call and response form that continues throughout the piece, even in the slower adagio section.

Regina Coeli is a setting of a text in adoration of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. Sounds odd? Remember that Mozart was writing in a very Catholic Austria as opposed to the very Lutheran Germany, where adoration of Mary is much less common. The piece features lush orchestrations that some believe were written as an homage to Händel. This is perhaps especially true of the tri-grouped "Alleluia!" that sounds suspiciously like Händel's famous chorus from his oratorio Messiah.

I am singing both of these pieces for the second time, as we also toured with them in 2012. I was even lucky enough to be able to sing the soprano solo in Regina Coeli in one of those performances! I think Mozart would be thrilled to know that his music still serves as an invitation for people of all nations and cultures to rejoice and sing together et inebriemur vino laetitiae sempiternae!

Or, if you must have your Latin translated, "and become drunk with the wine of everlasting joy"!


A post from Stephanie Sepiol

Instructor: Voice

Kultür Shock!

Wilkommen in Leipzig! Today we joined members of the Chorale who are singing in the master class at the Pavillion der Hoffnung. I was able to see the entire Chorale perform a Saturday evening motet at the Thomaskirche yesterday; it was so odd to be on the audience side! They were, of course, fantastically well- received.

Tomorrow we begin to work with each conductor on their pieces, including two of the acapella works, "Give Me Jesus" and "Prayer." Both pieces are stunning in their own right, but I am especially excited to sing Larry Fleming's arrangement of the African American spiritual "Give Me Jesus," as I sang it in the Thomaskirche with the Chorale in 2010, my freshman year of college. Plus, one of my best friends will be conducting it this time!

René Clausen's "Prayer" is an oft-performed but always beautiful work based on the text of Mother Theresa's daily prayer:

Help me spread Your fragrance wherever I go,
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.

The prayer continues with a message of servitude and devotion, one that inspires me as a singer to focus on my mission here in Leipzig: to spread the joy of music with those that love it most and those who need it most. Often times we as performers get too wrapped up in our own self-gratification. We say "I am doing this for me," and while that is important, we must also consider the other lives we touch. Being a musician provides us with many opportunities to travel and tour, but we have to remember our calling to spread the fragrance of our gratitude as we journey through life.

I'll write more tomorrow when we delve into the business of rehearsing. Until then, bis Später!

Listening Links:
Prayer by René Clausen
Give Me Jesus, arr. Larry Fleming


A post from Stephanie Sepiol

Instructor: Voice

Leipzig and a United Germany (Alleluia!)

Guten Tag! Today is the day that my spectacular conductor friend and I board our plane and fahren nach Deutschland. We’ll arrive in Berlin in the middle of the day (but it will feel like the middle of the night!) and then travel by bus to the Hauptbahnhof, or train station, in Leipzig. Leipzig is a relatively small but vibrant city filled with incredible historical significance—and not just to the music world.

A few blocks from the Hauptbahnhof and directly across the cobblestone street from where we stayed in 2010 and 2012 is the St. Nicholas Church, or the Nikolaikirche. The architecture and acoustics are stunning, and many of Bach’s compositions were debuted or performed there, both during his tenure as Cantor of the Thomaskirche and after his death in 1750. The sanctuary is slightly smaller than that of the Thomaskirche, but the building itself is an enormous symbol of hope and possibility. After World War II, the city of Leipzig was right in the middle of communist East Germany and a state of cultural and religious derision. Speaking against the oppressive communist rule was dangerous, but in the late 1980s and early 1990s, East Germans felt die Wende begin to shift, and a desire for an end to economic and societal oppression led to peaceful protests in the form of Monday night meetings that began in Leipzig’s very own Nikolaikirche. News of the Monday Meetings spread via West German television and the Western world took notice. The Berlin Wall fell. Germany was officially reunified in 1990.

The Hebrew word of praise “Alleluia” is often used as a term of celebration, and Leipzig’s place as an igniter for German peace and freedom makes it the perfect place to sing it. The Bach Choir will perform two settings of the text, both acapella but in contrasting styles. Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia” received its first performance of many on July 8, 1940, a time when the world needed musical comfort. The four-part setting starts slow with long, sweeping phrases and entrancing rubato. Later, the tempo and the choir find a celebratory voice, a glimmer of light in darkness. In 2013, Jake Runestad, a 29-year-old modern composer, used that same text for his energetic, mixed meter romp that finds a moment of peace near the halfway point.

Now, as I pack my music in my carry on (for in-flight score study, of course), I look forward to making musical magic in a magical city.


A post from Stephanie Sepiol

Instructor: Voice

Pre-Departure Practice

Hello, HGS family and friends! I am so excited to share my experiences with you as I travel to Leipzig, Germany, to sing in the St. Thomas Church, the musical home of composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Valparaiso University, my Alma Mater, developed a relationship with the St. Thomas Church—the Thomaskirche auf Deutsch—that began with the Chorale’s first trip to Germany in 2004. I was fortunate enough to tour Germany with the Chorale in 2010 and again in 2012, when the city of Leipzig signed an official Friendship Agreement with Valparaiso University. After graduating in 2013, I became a member of the Bach Choir at the Bach Institute at Valpo. This weekend, I will join members of the Chorale already in Leipzig to form an ensemble that will serve as the liturgical choir for the three services at the Thomaskirche next weekend.

Before we perform for the congregation, we will spend the week intensively rehearsing as part of a master class given by the conductor of the Valparaiso University Chorale, Dr. Christopher Cock. Some of you may have participated in master classes in musical ensembles or other academic endeavors, but in this case it means that six student conductors (some Masters students, some graduates) will get the opportunity to conduct an ensemble and be critiqued by a prestigious conductor like Dr. Cock. These six participants will not only get to conduct my choir but also the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra, a virtuoso chamber ensemble that performs using “period instruments,” or those from the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the instruments they use, like the oboe d’more and the corno de caccia, are unique to the Baroque period and cannot be found in our orchestras and bands (though you might recognize their modern descendants, the oboe and French horn).

The repertoire we are performing spans several different musical eras and styles, presenting a difficult but exciting challenge. I will tell you a little more about the other pieces as we go along, but it is only fitting to start with the man whose musical impact on the city of Leipzig is enduring and immeasurable, Johann Sebastian Bach. The Bach Choir is performing two Bach pieces: BWV 118 O Jesu Christ, Mein Lebens Licht and BWV 180 Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele.

BWV stands for Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis, or Bach Works Catalog. All of his music has a BWV number that categorizes the piece by its compositional type. Both of the works we are performing are listed as cantatas, or choral and/or orchestral works, often broken into several sections (or movements), that center around a musical theme. Bach used congregational hymn tunes to compose a new cantata EVERY WEEK (with a few exceptions) that he was organist and conductor of the Thomanerchor, the boy choir that sings for services at the Thomaskirche.

There are 249 known cantatas, all of which served a liturgical function. BWV 118, originally performed in 1736, translates to “O Jesus Christ, light of my life” and would likely have been used for funeral services. It is only about 10 minutes long. BWV 180, originally performed on October 22, 1734, translates to “adorn yourself, beloved soul” and was written for the 20th Sunday after the Feast of the Trinity. There are seven movements: an SATB chorus, a tenor aria, a bass aria, an alto aria, two soprano arias, and a final chorus of the main musical theme.

Performing these works with a period orchestra in the space in which they were written and original performed almost 300 years ago is a dream come true.

Time to keep practicing.

Listening Links:
BWV 118
BWV 180


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar

My Gift to You: The Beatles

While teaching, we often find ourselves having conversations about our favorite music and bands. This conversation somehow always generates a mention of The Beatles. So many of our students do not know anything about this band. If you desire to be good at music, you should really have a familiarity with The Beatles. So today, in the spirit of Christmas, I am offering up my own little tutorial on this great and revolutionary group of musicians.

To properly educate yourself on The Beatles, you should listen to their music historically. Start with the early years and work your way forward through their career. Unlike most bands, their music evolved quickly and it is very easy to hear this change.

The Early Years

The Beatles spent their formative years in Germany playing cover songs everyday in the clubs of Hamburg. This is where they learned to play, individually and as a group. Their early recordings feature cover songs like “Please, Mr. Postman,” Till There Was You,” and “Twist and Shout.” Their first number one original song is “Please Please Me.” They followed that with “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You.” These early compositions were pure pop music and very catchy.

These songs and their sense of style and pop culture launched “Beatlemania.” They quickly rose to world-wide fame and toured constantly. Their popularity gave them no privacy and everything around them was frenzied and crazy. They did two movies, “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help” which were huge hits and added to their popularity.

Beatlemania took them forward for a couple of years and finally it just became too much for the members of the Beatles. In 1966 they announced that they were done touring and would concentrate on studio recordings only. In 1965 and 1966 they produced two albums, “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver.” Both of these albums are loaded with great songs from Lennon and McCartney and the music showed a new maturity from the writers. The lyrics became more introspective and moved away from the “I love you” aspect of their earlier pop material. Songs like “In My Life,” “Drive My Car,” “Michelle,” Norwegian Wood,” “Taxman (George Harrison,)” “Eleanor Rigby,” Got To Get You Into My Life,” and “And Your Bird Can Sing” show up on these albums. The change in musical sophistication is very apparent.

The Later Years

Freed from touring, rich, and having no timetable in the recording studio, The Beatles decided to produce a record like no other. There next recording was “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Using brand new studio technology and techniques, they pursued odd arrangements, the use of electronics and all kinds of eclectic instruments to enhance their music. The new songs were much more like compositions and the end product shows a deep musical sophistication without losing the “pop” element that made them so popular. Sgt. Pepper is the first “concept album” and needs to be listened to from start to finish. It is forty minutes well spent. Their next album (which coincided with another movie) was “Magical Mystery Tour.” “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields,” both recorded during the Sgt. Pepper sessions, are the two most important songs on this album.

Even though The Beatles would produce three more albums and many singles, the members; John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison , and Ringo Starr, seemed to start losing interest in the band.

The next album was the “White Album,” a wide ranging and eclectic compilation of songs by the individual members of the band. Although the members were becoming disenchanted with being Beatles, the song writing was sharp and on point and the emergence of George Harrison as a songwriter was starting to appear. There are too many great songs on this album to list. Listening to the entire album is a great idea.

The next recorded album was the ill conceived “Let it Be.” The project was supposed to be a back to basics album with the entire process being filmed. It ended up being a documentary of how a band breaks up. But as always, there is tremendous music on this album. “Let it Be,” “The Long and Winding Road,” and “Across the Universe” are all stellar tracks.

The last album recorded by the Beatles was “Abbey Road.” Simply one of the best records ever made, it features songs like “Come Together,” Something,” “Here Comes the Sun,” and “Octopus’s Garden.” The album ends with a medley of little songs that shows the maturity and power of The Beatles. The final song, “The End” sums up their career with the line, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Poetic and beautiful.

As a musician whose career began in the late 1970’s, The Beatles obviously had a great impact on me. They are my favorite band. But as a teacher of music, I also recognize their importance in the evolution of popular music. The Beatles broke up in 1970, almost 45 years ago, yet their influence is still very strong today. If you take my advice and spend a few hours listening to them, try working through their catalog starting with the early years. It is very interesting to hear such a strong evolution and growth as musicians and songwriters over such a short span of years. Most of it is very accessible on the internet. I hope the music will get to you and you can enjoy it as much as I do.

Happy Holidays!


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar

Internet and YouTube Guitar Lessons

As a private guitar teacher, I hear plenty of questions about on line lessons and whether I think they have any value. The simple answer is yes, they have value. But you must understand that for the most part, they are not lessons as much as demonstrations.

A good lesson is interactive. The student is shown a concept, they are asked to demonstrate the ability to work the concept and then they are given a fixed amount a time to practice it and then asked to show some mastery of the concept. The important part of the lesson is that the student can ask questions and the teacher can answer them. The teacher can also correct things and the teacher can also praise a job well done.

The online lessons, especially what I have seen on YouTube, are really demonstrations of tricks. They are a one way dispersion of information. They have value but you are not going to learn the nuances of playing music that way. They often can be a great way to learn a new technique or cool riff. They are not the best way to learn how to play music.

I used to be a guitar player. But a long time ago I learned that what I wanted to be was a musician. The guitar is just an instrument I use to play music. And that is the way I teach. Yes my lessons are full of guitar techniques, fingerings, strumming patterns and so on. But the end result is the ability to use a guitar to play music. Too often, guitarists play in such a way as to impress their audience with their ability to go fast and make cool noises. But the only question that really matters is, are you playing something musical?

The guitar is a beautiful instrument that a good musician can use to make some of the most gorgeous musical sounds know to man. It also is one of the greatest noise makers on the planet. I think it’s cool to rip like Eddie Van Halen but it is equally as important to able to play a simple delicate phrase or strum some nice chords. Online and in the real world, there are many good guitar teachers. But what you really want is a good music teacher who plays guitar.


A post from Erin Fay

Instructor: Piano

Stage Fright

Even the words sound scary together. Youʼre sitting in your chair, hands super sweaty in your lap, heart thumping out of your chest, so many people around you... Then all of a sudden, youʼre the next person to play. You stand up and feel like fainting. Now your hands begin to shake. Oh no! This is the worst. Shaky hands may wind up playing wrong notes. Your breath is short and quick. Your mom and dad are waving and smiling excitedly in the crowd. Everyoneʼs eyes are on you. Should you run away? What if you forget your song? What if you make a mistake? What if you just canʼt play anything at all! But you know you need to do this. You know you can do this. Youʼve been practicing so much and youʼre super prepared. So despite your sweaty and shaky hands, your racing heart, and all the people staring at you in the crowd, you sit down and play. You forget one part and make a few mistakes, but you keep on playing anyways.

Suddenly you start to feel lost in the music. Everyone around you disappears. Itʼs just you and your instrument now. You come to the end- your favorite part- and your heart goes from throbbing to fluttering. You finish the song, and the crowd claps and cheers for you. You may have made mistakes and forgotten notes like you had previously thought, but you got through it! The feeling of accomplishment is so warm and inviting, like no other feeling in the world.

After about 15 years of playing piano, this is still how I feel when I go up and play on stage. What Iʼve learned, however, is that changing your mindset about performing can change everything. Sure there may be tons of people with their eyes on you, but theyʼre not sitting there judging you. Theyʼre sitting there excited to hear you play! If you make a mistake they will probably never even notice if you just keep on playing. If you pretend like theyʼre not there, you may also forget that theyʼre there!

Last but not least, take some deep breaths before, get your mind focused on the music, and try to feel proud afterwards... Because playing your instrument for a ton of people takes a lot of courage.

Interesting fact: Vladimir Horowitz, a famous concert pianist, had such bad stage fright that he had to take a break from performing for about 10-15 years. People had to drag him on stage to play while he fought and yelled at them, but oftentimes when this happened, he winded up having some of his greatest performances.


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar


This is a phrase that I have come to detest. The phrase is being used to mean that you are fabulous or glamorous. But real “rockstars” are neither.

Rockstars are musicians. And they are a specific subset of musicians. Rockstars are famous musicians specializing in a genre of music known as Rock n Roll. Real rockstars produce amazing, timeless music. And that is why we need rockstars. Great rock music voices all of the angst that comes with being human. It decries love, love lost, the unfairness of life, the visceral pleasures of living on the edge, and the dreams that we all share. All of this life stuff wrapped up in a loud, undeniable, beat driven sound that is so appealing to young people but somehow touches us all.

But rockstars are also rebellious, anti society, morally depraved minstrels who tour the world playing music that touches the inner beast in their fans. They all start off doing this because they love the music and have a great desire to be famous and wealthy. And it is what they were meant to do. They generally have no other skills.

A funny thing happens on the way to becoming a rockstar. You get cast into a life of endless touring, the constant pressure of producing new music that is better (or at least sells better) than your last work, you’re trapped with your bandmates in a prison of hotels, buses, cars and stages, and you give up all of your freedom to be a normal human being. And invariably this leads to unhappiness which leads to the trappings of being a rockstar, drug and alcohol abuse, debauchery, and not caring about anything. In the end, all of this misery leads to your band imploding, you lose your friends, the band breaks up, and it’s over. Tah-dah! Now, you’re a rockstar!

So let’s stop using the term “rockstar” as a metaphor for great or amazing. By calling everyone a rockstar, it denigrates the artists who sacrifice so much to produce a music that we all need and love. The truth is, we live in a world that is lacking in real rockstars and we need them. If you really want to be a rockstar, get a guitar, turn your amp up, and scream the rebel yell of dissatisfaction.


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar

An Open Letter to the Staff at HGS Music

Hey Guys, I want to thank each and every one of you, publicly, for the amazing work that you do. We just had our spring recital for the Highland store and I am always taken aback by what I hear and see at these events. Throughout the day, I get to witness well over a hundred performances and each one of them is special. From the beginner that plays a simple piece, to the advanced student that can play in a band with the teachers, each performance is musical and stage ready. And although most of the credit must go to the student, it speaks volumes about the educators that help the students prepare.

I am the owner of HGS Music, but I am also a musician and teacher. I am also an HGS parent, because I have a son taking piano and voice lessons. I get to see what each one of you does from multiple perspectives. As a parent, I love it. It is great to see my child play music and have so much fun. As a teacher and owner, I know how hard your job is. It gives me such pleasure to see how much each of you really cares about your students. And your kids can all play. It sounds simple enough, but I know… it is quite a feat to accomplish.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you guys. We have such a cool thing going; our work is good, the workplace is fun, and we get to play music all day. But my favorite thing is that we really care about our work. That is what comes across at the recitals. Our students are in good hands. And that means the world to me. I thank all of you for your time, your passion, and all the love that you put into your work.

One final note to Jodi, Victoria, Courtney and Alyssa. You guys rock! This event is all about the four of you. You work tirelessly and everything is always perfect on recital day. I always hope that in the days that follow our recitals, parents and students tell you how great the day was. They are 12 hour days and the prep time is really intense. No one knows how hard we work at this but I want each of you to know that I am with you and your work does not go unnoticed.

Thanks again,


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar


I had a unique experience yesterday as a music teacher. I had to talk to a student about making faces after making a small mistake in a song we were playing. Honestly, I did not hear the mistake. But the pout on her face that lasted through the verse made it obvious that she had played something wrong and was disappointed with herself.

Let me preface this with the fact that it is recital time and we were playing the song that she is going to perform. At this time of the year I spend time talking with my students about the idea that playing music on a stage is show business. It is entertainment. It’s important to smile, to play your best, and DO NOT SHOW IT WHEN THE INEVITABLE MISTAKE HAPPENS!

I suffered from this malady for over twenty years. At the end of every show, I knew exactly how many mistakes I had made and when each one had occurred. And I am sure that everyone watching me knew when I had made a mistake. But the key word is “watching.” Most mistakes are not memorable because they happen in a split second and then they are gone. But if you make faces and show displeasure then everyone knows.

I think it is very important to be aware of mistakes. It is the only way we fix them and get better. But we are all human. No one is perfect and playing music means you are going to miss things and play the occasional wrong note. The difference between professional musicians and amateurs is that pros hide their mistakes better.

When I was young, I remember seeing the great Chet Atkins playing guitar on the Tonight Show. He made a mistake in the first verse and then repeated it in the second verse. The host (Johnny Carson for those who are old enough to remember) asked Chet about the “weird” note in the song. Chet Atkins admitted the mistake and then explained that by repeating it, everyone would think it was part of the song! That’s a pro!

So this is today’s lesson. When you make a mistake, smile. You can fix it later. But don’t give yourself away by making a face. Someone told me that when I play, I should play for God. God loves me and doesn’t care if I screw up. That’s a nice thought. So if you ever see me playing my guitar and wonder why I smile so much… that’s right, I make lots of mistakes.


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar

Songs that ROCK!

One of the things that I miss in contemporary music is the notion of how to ROCK. Yes. It still happens but not nearly as often as it should. Here are three songs that I think rock.

Rope by Foo Fighters: This song has the elements of all great rockin’ tunes, awesome guitar riff and thunder drums. This song also features the impassioned singing of one of our heroes, Dave Grohl. As soon as the riff kicks in, well I can’t sit still listening to this. The groove is so infectious and then it breaks into the chorus with its solid chord structure and catchy melody hook. The guitar solo is counterintuitive, more noise than melody, guitar cranked, and then back to the chorus. Very cool song.

Dancing Days by Led Zepplin: The song kicks off with the great guitar riff, so Jimmy Page. The unmistakable drumming of John Bohnam drives this song from the first note. Add the Robert Plant vocal and bass line that gyrates the entire tune from underneath and you got something here kids. But that was never enough for Zepplin. Page and John Paul Jones add all of the layers of counter melody throughout and this why they are Zepplin and the kings of rockin’ your socks off!

Would by Alice in Chains: Alice in Chains was hands down the best band of the 90’s. Great vocals with the never ending drive of their very dark yet cool songs make this band one of the masters of rock. This song starts with the bass playing a line that sounds like a snake crawling over your soul. Then the guitar and big drums come in. Jerry Cantrell’s vocal is the first one you hear shortly followed by the harmony by lead singer Layne Staley. When the chorus comes, Staley takes over with his amazing soul straining and haunting voice. Throughout the song the thunder drums (few cymbal crashes) drive behind the subtle verses and screaming chorus. And then at the end they shift into a different chord line that just kicks down the wall finishing with the unresolved line, “If I would, could you?”

Give these tunes a listen and tell us what you think. Do you have favorite rockin’ tunes? We would love to hear them.


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar

February 9th

February 9, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. I have read a lot about this anniversary and I have been mildly surprised by the coverage. The stories have not been so much about the Beatles as they have been about the cultural event that the performance became. It seemed like everyone in America stopped what they were doing and watched Ed Sullivan that night.

I’ll admit it, I was alive in 1964. But I was way too young to remember that Sunday evening. I did ask my Mom about it and she told me that she seemed to remember us watching it and that my Dad was scoffing at the show. She said that she thought Elvis was way better than the Beatles but as time went by, she ended up really liking the Beatles.

So my little family was part of the event. Can you imagine your family getting together to watch a live band and listen to their music together? And talk about it afterwards? With all of the distractions of our modern world, it seems unlikely. But I really like the idea.

As a music teacher, I obviously get to hear a lot of music and the opinions that follow. And if you know me, my opinions about music flow freely. Both of my sons are musical so even at home, listening and talking about music is a regular part of my day. And one of my favorite things to hear when I am teaching is one of students telling me how much one or both of their parents like a particular song or artist that they like. It seems that music has a way of bringing people together.

And that is my point. I believe that music brings us together Maybe if we all spent a little time with music or any of the arts, maybe we would feel more together as families and as a people.

Note: These thoughts were started by the death of Pete Seeger last week. Pete Seeger was a wonderful folk musician who spent his life trying to bring people together through music. He felt that all of the world’s problems could be solved through song and conversation. We are all diminished by his passing.


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar

The Man

There is a song out there that I keep hearing. It is called “I’m the Man.” Question: If you have to tell everybody, are you really the man?

We live in a society that pushes the idea of success and greatness. But what we don’t talk about is how to act if you do achieve greatness or if you become “the man.”

As the owner of HGS Music, I push the idea that we are much more than music teachers. We are role models. We work with so many young people, being a role model is unavoidable. And we are all musicians, a field that is wrought with large boisterous egos. And your teachers are much more than musicians, they are GREAT musicians. It is a prerequisite to work here. Jodi and I accept nothing less.

I wish we could record the auditions of our teachers. Not a single one of them ever told us how good they were. It was evident the moment they touched their instrument. I’m not talking about good, I’m talking about great. Jodi and I never talk about it, we just smile. It is truly a remarkable thing to be around these incredible musicians.

There is a formula for greatness. Talent + hard work = Greatness. This formula is constant across all fields of endeavor. All of our teachers know this and live it. And this is what we teach. But what we model is how to act when you achieve this.

The talent gives you HUMILITY. You know how blessed you are when hard things come easy to you. The thousands of hours of work required to maximize the talent gives you DIGNITY. I think it is disrespectful to be boastful about a skill that you have worked so hard to achieve. Part of being great is to treat it with humility and dignity.

We are all told as children that we are special and that we are great. But to be great, you need to find your talent and then work tirelessly at it. And if you really want to be the man, don’t tell everybody, just be the man. It will show.


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar

Parents & Lessons

I have been teaching music for more years than I want to admit. While every student is unique, they all fit into a variety of wide categories. Today, I want to talk about a special category of student that I truly love: parents of children that take lessons.

We hear so many questions and comments from our HGS parents. And of course we love the feedback. I wish more parents would ask questions. It is a very important information source for all of us. But some parents go beyond asking questions and sign up for lessons themselves. These people usually have a real interest in learning how to play but they are motivated because their child is taking lessons and they want to know what lessons are all about.

As a parent of two boys who have taken extensive lessons at HGS and as a person who takes lessons myself from time to time, I think sitting in the student chair makes me more sympathetic to what my kids are doing. I’m a little better about pushing practice time because sometimes I don’t have time to practice. Sometimes I just don’t want to. Oh, I still bark at the kids about this, but I do understand where they are coming from.

When I hear them playing the same thing over and over again, I understand through my own experience how important this is. I understand their frustrations and most importantly, I understand the joy of really getting something. It is a great connection that I have with my boys.

What is really interesting is when I talk to a student who has a parent taking lessons with me. They are really interested in what their parents are doing. They tell me about how badly their parent plays at home. They love telling me about when their mom or dad asks them a question about playing guitar. Some of them even end up sitting down and making music with their parent. That’s cool!

Now playing music is not for everyone. But I know that many of our parents swipe their kid’s lesson sheets or books and try it when the kids are not around. If you are one of these parents and you find yourself interested, you should sign up and try taking lessons. It is such a great hobby and all of us need something we can do just for ourselves and just for fun. Remember fun? It is something we all need in our lives!

Private lessons are cool but HGS also offers an adult choir for our singers and we are talking about group lessons for adults on guitar and ukulele. Ask the girls about it if you are interested. People asking questions is the best way for us to know what our friends want us to do!


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar

Comparative Lyrics

Party crasher, penny snatcher
Call me up if you a gangster
Don't be fancy, just get dancey
Why so serious?
So if you're too school for cool
And you're treated like a fool
You could choose to let it go
We can always, we can always party on our own

Selected lyrics from “Raise your Glass” by Pink 78.5 million youtube hits.

Yellow matter custard
Dripping from a dead dog's eye
Crabalocker fishwife
Pornographic priestess
Boy, you've been a naughty girl
You let your knickers down
I am the eggman
They are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob

Selected lyrics from “I am the Walrus” by The Beatles 1.5 million youtube hits.

Do you notice a difference in lyrical style? Which set of lyrics confuses you, or better yet, makes you think? Which seems more artistic? Notice that the Pink’s lyrics have a pedestrian rhyme scheme and simple word choice. Lennon’s lyrics do not rhyme, the rhythm is not a mandate, it flows instead. The word choice is exotic and some of it is nonsensical.

I like to think that art is not dead, it is just on holiday!


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar

Why I love the Guitar

I recently read an article about the disappearance of the guitar in popular music. As a life long enthusiast of the guitar, this article struck me as sad but true. But it did not demoralize me at all. Two of my best friends happen to be guitars and they have always informed me that the guitar is not going away and that there are very logical reasons why they are not being used in popular music.

My music career has coincided with the digital revolution. Throughout this time, people working with digital sound have been frustrated by the inability to reproduce the sounds of a guitar. It only makes sense that this inability would eventually lead to them just eliminating the guitar from their sound palates. Sad but true.

We also live in an age when the real stars of popular music are the producers. Technology has made it possible to produce flawless recordings without depending on great musicianship. Pitchy vocals can be fixed digitally, everything is tracked with a click track, digital recording removes all impediments and barriers that used to exist because of limited tracks, and most importantly, anyone can record flawless tracks in their basement with a computer and the right software.

Which brings me back to the guitar. Guitars do not like digital. Guitarists like tube amps, 1950's technology. Our great effects are analog, not digital. Generating tone by vibrating a string produces a very earthy sound that can not be duplicated by a series of ones and zeros. To capture the great sound of a guitar on a recording requires the right mic placement and a very good musician. This is antithetical to what is going on in modern music and recording.

But my favorite thing about the guitar is that it is a musical instrument. A finely crafted musical instrument requires nothing more than an inspired human being to make it sing. And the sounds these instruments make are joyous and very dear to the human soul. It seems to me that modern music is the soundtrack to a giant party and when it ends, there is going to be a terrible hangover. We are all going to need some peace and solace. The guitar along with all of the other acoustic based instruments will be back.

Luckily, I am a patient man.


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar

Congratulations Students

I just wanted to make a quick post congratulating all of the students who participated in our Spring Recital on May 5. Every time we do a recital, I am always amazed at the talent and hard work that our students put in for this event. It puts a smile on my face and pleases me that my little music school attracts such a wealth of talented students.

I also want to thank the incredible staff at HGS Music for their dedication and hard work. I preach this at the recital but I can not say it enough, these teachers are great and we are lucky to have them in our lives.

I also would like to tell everyone that we know that the recital appears to be a very long event. Not so! Jodi has constructed the day into three recitals with each lasting approximately two hours. We never ask anyone to stay more than the two hour recital in which you or your student participates. For those of you that stay for the whole day, THANK YOU!!!! Your support for what we do is appreciated more than you know.

The benefits of staying for the two hour recital are many. First, the entertainment is pretty good. Second, your student gets the opportunity to see what the other students are doing. It can be very inspirational. Third, it makes me happy which has no real value but I like being happy. And lastly, it is great for the kids in the last sections of the recital to have a full house to play for. That kind of support means the world to them and to us at HGS.

We do two recitals a year and the effort and cost to hold these events are large. We do them because we feel that the opportunity for young musicians to perform in a safe environment is paramount for building performance skills and confidence. Although recital days are ten to eleven hour days for me and my staff, it is our pleasure and honor to do this for our students and families.

So congratulations again to all of our performers and a BIG THANK YOU to all of our friends and families that support our work at HGS Music. Our mission is to build a great music community in NW Indiana and we can't do this without the love and support of all of you!

Dennis Bowman
HGS Music


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar

Listening to lyrics

My son makes me listen to "his music" when we are in the car together. Now, I may be an old man, but this music does little for my ears. So I started listening to the lyrics. Not much poetry or philosophy there. So I thought I would share some of my favorite lyrics. Tell me what you think or share your favorite lyrics. I'm all ears!

"When you're weary, Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry
them all"

Paul Simon

"And in the end, the love you take,
Is equal to the love - You make"

Lennon and McCartney

"Freedom's just another word for
nothing left to lose,
Nothing, I mean nothing honey if it ain't
Kris Kristofferson

"Hanging on in quiet desperation
Is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over
Thought I'd something more to say"

Roger Waters

"And she said losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you're blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow"

Paul Simon

"Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'."

Bob Dylan

"Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the
You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one"

John Lennon


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar

Why We Do What We Do

As the owner of HGS Music, I have to wear many hats. Sometimes I am a store manager, sometimes I am an accountant, sometimes I am a marketing assistant, and sometimes I am the owner. But the biggest hat in my closet, and the one I wear with the most pride, the one I pay the most attention to, and the one that I feel is most vital to our success is being the Director of Teaching.

I started teaching way back in 1979. I was good at it and I always loved teaching. I received my teaching degree from Purdue University in 1994. This solidified my abilities as a teacher and gave me the notion to own a music school. And although the college curriculum made me aware of process and multiple learning styles, what it really did was made me appreciate the value of experience. And experience has taught me that great teachers love what they do and have a burning passion for their subject, in our case music.

The first thing we look for when we hire teachers is that they are GREAT MUSICIANS. Then we figure out if they have the passion and ability to pass on their love of music to students. At HGS Music, we are a community of killer musicians who invite anyone with the desire to play music into our lives. I love hanging out with these teachers because you can visibly see and feel their passion about music. They are immensely gifted and cannot help showing their excitement about playing and teaching music.

And to play music with these people… Look, I have been doing this music thing for a long time and I am an accomplished musician, but let me tell you, the greatest joy of my life is when I get to play music with my amazing staff. And I mean every one of them. They are jaw dropping. And not one of them is a hot dog. They use their incredible talents to make music, not to show off. Our students get to play music every week with musicians that can walk onto any stage in the world and hold their own. They are that good.

As a staff, we are very blessed. The talents we all have are extraordinary. We do not take them for granted. Every teacher at HGS Music works tirelessly at their craft, practicing, learning everyday, creating, writing, and honing our skills so as to never denigrate our great love, music. And this is what we bring to our teaching. We want our friends and students to have passion for life. What better place to start than with music.


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar


I’m uninspired. I don’t want to play my guitar. I pick it up and nothing good comes out of it and the whole thing bores me. I don’t like it when I get like this.

I’ll tell you a secret. I’ve been playing guitar for forty years and I don’t need to practice to be able to play. Oh, certainly the upper reaches of my playing ability will decay quickly but I will be able to play music, albeit a little slower and more basic, simple. But I have learned not to ignore my duty to music when I am bored with the guitar.

What I do when I am bored is I continue to pick up the guitar. I play for short periods of time. I will play some songs I know and although the whole thing is boring me to tears, I will continue and listen carefully to the music. You never know when inspiration will rear its head. So it is important to listen and to listen carefully.

The other thing I do is that I will learn new songs. It doesn’t matter what the song is, as long as it is not too difficult. I am fragile right now and I don’t need any frustration. It is an exercise in listening to music and it keeps me playing. I focus on hearing the notes I am about to play in my head. The music is new so I need to pay attention. It is enough of a distraction to keep from being bored and putting the guitar down.

I also like to play songs I know with a metronome. Again, refocusing on the tempo and beat distract me from boredom and give something positive to focus on. I also play straight melodies (no chords) when I am bored. I listen to the space between the notes and the tone of each note.

None of this will improve my playing skills. But that is not the goal. The goal is to work through the down time. Everything I am doing will maintain my skills and it keeps the guitar in my hands and my ears sharp for listening.


A post from Victoria Fane

Manager HGS Music Crown Point

My first piano recital

It’s January, the new year, and also about the halfway point between the last recital and the next one, which, as it turns out, is a great time for reflection.

I’m Victoria. I work the front desk at HGS. And I’m an adult. I just played in my first piano recital in October. The last time I had a music recital was easily 18 years ago, and I was playing a cello. Needless to say, this seemed like it was going to be pretty different.

I’ve been taking piano with Miss Sara for almost a year now, and I had taken a little bit previously. Learning piano as an adult has been so much different than when I took lessons as a kid. The way I want to learn now is much more in depth and my goals in learning are much more personal. Learning something new as an adult can be very frustrating at times, too, because I can tell I’m always on the edge of understanding or being able to do what I want, but I just can’t quite reach it yet. But when I get there, the sense of accomplishment is amazing. Two years ago, if you had told me that I would actually understand what those little black dots on all those lines were telling me, I wouldn’t have believed you. I may not be able to read all the notes on the staff yet, but I’m the master of the ones I can.

When Sara “jokingly” told me that I should be in the next recital, I really thought she was joking…until she slyly tricked me into perfecting a piece or two (usually, I learn the concept she wants me to and we move on). Once I had it in my head that I might actually do this, I’ll admit, the excitement got to me. Funny as it sounds, it was sort of intimidating to get onto a stage of mostly younger people (who I knew would be way better than me!) but I thought, I’m working hard at this! Why not show off my mad skills? (And why not make my mom and husband watch?)

Sara was great at making sure no one else was playing my songs (I knew some of our awesome students would totally show me up, but it wag going to be better if they didn’t trump me at my own songs.) J She was also amazing at helping me pick songs (something adult? Something slow? Something silly and fun?) I chose something silly and fun, because that is exactly why I’m taking these lessons: to have fun.

The day of the recital was slightly nerve-wracking, but I knew enough to keep calm and not worry about it. I knew I had practiced; I knew once I got up there, I could clear my mind enough to concentrate on my music. If I could do this when I was a kid, I could do it now, right? Sara had another adult in the recital and we were able cheer each other on. And really, what I learned from this recital is that everyone in the HGS family is there to cheer you on. Everyone, from clients to staff, from family to friends, genuinely wants you to do well, whether you’re little or big, young or grown.

I’m looking forward to the next recital. I may not always be moving as quickly in piano lessons as I wish I would (silly, slow brain!) but the recitals are something to look forward to, to work towards. And really, performing in front of people gives me a chance to see how far I’ve come. So it’s time to learn something new and pick something to perform. Time to cheer people on and be cheered on. Time to get back on that stage!

I hope to see you at the next HGS recital! Will you be there?


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar

I just wanted to talk a bit about the Student Showcase that we had on October 21. It is always a crazy day for myself and the staff. It is much work and we fret over the performances of our students. But as the day progresses I am always filled with joy and admiration at the talent and courage of the students. And I always leave the building at the end of the day filled with a renewed sense of purpose about what we do at HGS Music.

So let me say congratulations to everyone that performed at the Showcase and tell you how very impressed I am with music I heard that day. Every performer that went up on that stage played their hearts out. The music was good and it amazed me that my little music school is populated by so many really good musicians. Congrats to all!

I also want to say how much I appreciate the hard work that our amazing teachers do on a daily basis. As the owner of HGS Music, I feel that I get a great measure of our work at the Showcase. I feel that my teachers are the best and that fact was evidenced by the wonderful things we all heard that day. We are all blessed to have these wonderful people in our lives.

Last but certainly not least, I want to thank the parents who work so hard with us and support what we do. We could not do our work without your support. I honestly want to thank each and every one of you for being so great to us and believing in our programs. Jodi and I don’t say it enough but we can't do this without you.


A post from Marc Quagliara

Instructor: Guitar


As a child I watched and listened as my older siblings were taking piano lessons. I was deemed not old enough yet to take lessons, but I was curious and impatient, so I started on my journey of noodling. I would sit at the piano and try to find the songs I heard played. Sometimes I would figure out a small passage of a song but on the best days would create my own. They were simple and naïve and they were mine.

When my parents finally put me in piano lessons my teacher asked me if I knew any songs. “Yes” I said, “I know a little bit.” I played the bit of ‘Louie Louie’ and ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’.

“That’s nice” my teacher said, and then we went about the usual business of learning to read and play music. I took lessons for over two years with no mention of creating music or figuring it out on my own.

I was always compelled to create music from thin air. It was the first order of business when I picked up a banjo for the first time and any instrument that followed. When I was 11 years old I would sneakily play my brother’s guitar and do my best to write a melody before he came home. He always knew when I had played it because I would manage to make it very out of tune.

This want to create music resulted in me receiving a guitar, a very generous gift from my then doubtful parents. I played my guitar every day, careful not to miss a single day of “practice” though I didn’t know how to practice in the proper sense. I would noodle until I heard something that caught my ear and then attempt to figure out how to make it sound that way again.

This was certainly not the quickest way to learn the guitar but it was my best option. After a while I started playing CDs and trying to recreate those sounds. I did not know it then, but I was developing my ear and my sense of style on the guitar. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned the fundamentals of my instrument.

I don’t recommend that anyone ignore the technical aspects of music or their instrument, but I think it is important that as musicians we teach ourselves what we can. One of the best tools for this is, in my opinion, is noodling.

I was never discouraged by my lack of knowledge because I could rely on my ears. If my ears said yes, then I was on the right path. This is probably the reason I have such an affinity for improvisation. Music is often deemed a language by musicians and laymen alike. I think it would be a shame to know a language only by memory or reading and not be able to hold a conversation or at least write down your own thoughts.

As a child must first speak in their own fragmented language, a musician must noodle their own goo goo ga ga as well.


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar

Music is Art

Here is a question that I hear on a regular basis, “Why isn’t there any good music anymore?”

The answer is simple. Music has become a tool to sell things. It is a commodity. And that is why it is simple, dull and boring. I actually call it “processed cheese” or p.c. for short. It has always been here, processed cheese, it just used to be contrasted by bold thoughtful music that did not sell as well but challenged us and made us think, feel, and appreciate. This is the good music that has disappeared. It was art.

So my challenge to every musician that reads this is to dedicate yourself to being an artist. You should make music that reflects who you are and how you feel. Your music should not be created to make money! That is beneath you and the amazing gift you have been given, the ability to make music. Just you and your instrument. Sit down and play, create, refine, create some more. Work until you have a song that you are proud of. The rest will take care of itself.

Artists create beauty. They do not create to make money. It is like the line from the movie “Field of Dreams.” “If you build it, they will come.” So get out there and create beauty. There will be resistance. Sometimes it will feel like you are spitting into the wind. That is okay. The truly great musical artists have always been told that what they do is no good. Mozart played too many notes. The Beatles were turned down by every record company in England. People hated Beethoven, he was crazy and his music lasted too long. Charlie Parker (the creator of be-bop jazz) was so despised that he went to Europe. It was the only place where he could work. Jimi Hendrix, the same thing.

Our job as artists is to change the world. It is not easy but it is worth doing. So this is my challenge, can you be part of a change that the world is so desperately in need of?


A post from Dennis Bowman

Owner | Instructor: Guitar


We are musicians. All of us. We listen to music, we play music, we learn music, we teach music. I have been doing it my entire life. So when people ask me what I do, the answer seems inevitable.

I listen.

Often, music is written on a piece of paper. That's wonderful. I can play the song without memorizing it. So I set my eyes on the paper and let what I see be transfered to my brain and then signaled to the appropriate muscles which allows me to generate the sound on my instrument. Oops! What did I forget?


This is a skill that is necessary to play music, and in the bigger picture, succeed in life. Go to your instrument. Play a single note. Listen. How loud was it? Can you hear the decay (how the note fades away?) Can you hear the vibration that makes the sound? Can you feel the note?


Here's an exercise. Step outside your house in the morning and listen to the neighborhood. Do it again in the late afternoon. Do it again at night. Something as stable as the place where you live sounds different depending on the time of day.


My point. It does not matter where you are as a musician. You can be an expert or a beginner, we all do the same thing. We listen. By listening carefully, you can release the way you feel through the song you are playing. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be musical. Play on my friends and listen.


A Post from Jodi Pesich

Manager HGS Music Highland | Instructor: Voice

For those of you who missed Dave Grohl's (Foo Fighters) 2012 Grammy Acceptance Speech, here it is:

"To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what's important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that's the most important thing for people to do... It's not about being perfect, it's not about sounding absolutely correct, it's not about what goes on in a computer. It's about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head]."

I couldn't have said this any better. In a new world of music that seems to be ignoring guitar (yes, yes...funny coming from the girl whose band doesn't have a guitar player, but I digress..) .."Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl seemed determined to keep rock relevant as he head-banged his way through three performances at the Grammys Sunday night." (The Huffington Post.)

The real reason I love his speech? It IS about what goes on in your heart when you play music. I am most emotional when I sing. It comes from the very depths of my heart and soul.