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May Music Blog

The Fender Stratocaster

Dean Cutinelli here from the Colorado School of Music. Remember we are just a call away to start your private music lessons. We offer guitar lessons, ukulele lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, violin lessons, vocal lessons as well orchestral instruments. We have add a new online department as to provide music lessons remotely. Now on to our discussion about the stratocaster guitar.

The Fender American stratocaster is one of the most classic guitar sound you will hear. Such guitar gods like Jimi Hendrix,

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton have made the Strat part of their signature sound. 

The Stratocaster was the first Fender guitar to feature three pickups and a spring tension vibrato system, as well as being the first Fender with a contoured body.[3] The Stratocaster’s sleek, contoured body shape (officially referred to by Fender as the “Comfort Contour Body”) differed from the flat, squared edge design of the Telecaster. The Stratocaster’s double cutaways allowed players easier access to higher positions on the neck. The classic pickup set up on a strat is 3 single coil pickups and a 5 way pickup selector. Each position on the selector gives you a very different sound. You are given the option to use one pickup at a time or use two pickups at the same time. The strat is also equipped with a volume knob and two tone knobs. The volume is a master volume and controls all three pickups. Each of the tone knobs control the bridge, middle and neck pickup. The classic pickup settings on the strat are the in between spots on the pickup selector. Meaning you are using two pickups at the same time. 

There have been many variations on the strat over the years. You can get different pickup formations. For example you could have two hum bucker picks installed. A humbucking pickup, humbucker, or double coil, is a type of electric guitar pickup that uses two coils to “buck the hum” (or cancel out the interference) picked up by coil pickups caused by electromagnetic interference, particularly mains hum.

Another common variation is to have a different bridge put on the guitar. Some players like a fixed bridge well others might want a Floyd Rose locking bridge installed on there strat. Regardless of the variations this guitar has established it self as one the most classic guitar sound on the planet.

I hope after reading this you have a little better understanding of the stratocaster guitar. Please feel free to contact us and come in for a music lesson from one of our great instructor at the Colorado School of Music in Golden CO. We offer guitar lessons, ukulele lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, violin lessons and vocal lessons as wells as orchestral instruments. 

Thanks for reading!

Dean Cutinelli

CSoM NEWSLETTER … May 2020

CSoM NEWSLETTER … May 2020

The Colorado School of Music provides private music instruction for all ages levels and offer piano lessons, guitar lessons, violin lessons, drums lessons, voice lessons and band/orchestra instruments. Located in the heart of downtown Golden, our current roster is comprised of musicians from all over the Denver Metro area and includes students from Golden, Denver, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, Littleton and Boulder!   

Online Lessons!

The Colorado School of Music is proud to offer online lessons!  As with our in-person lessons, all online lessons are on-on-one private instruction with our talented instructors. Using, FaceTime, Skype, or your favorite video call app, connect with our teachers and take your lessons from home!  We currently offer online lessons Monday through Thursday for all instruments and voice. Call 303-526-9865 or email info@coloradoschoolofmusic.com to get signed up today!

Colorado School of Music 2019 Recital postponed

Unfortunately we’ve had to postpone our annual May recital this year. We’re hoping to reschedule for fall—watch the website and newsletter for details! 

Summer Music

The Colorado School of Music is open year-round and we offer our normal schedule of private lessons throughout the warm months. Summer is a great time to begin youth piano lessons or guitar lessons – or perhaps you’re interested in trying something new like ukulele or drums. School band members – get ahead of your orchestra by taking some private instrument lessons during the break! Great slots are still available – email info@coloradoschoolofmusic.com or call us to set up a summer music lesson today!    

Odd Instrument?  – They’re not really odd, just interesting! The Colorado School of Music has talented instructors who specialize in many instruments. Do you play the trombone or the glockenspiel? Is it difficult finding a djembe teacher? If you play an unconventional instrument and are looking for direction, send us an email at info@coloradoschoolofmusic.com and let us know what you’re looking for – chances are, we have an instructor that can help you!

School Closed Memorial Day – Just a reminder – no lessons on Monday, May 25th in observance of Memorial Day.

Keep practicing, and we’ll see you next month!

April Music Blog

April Music Blog

Improvising over a two five chord progression.

Dean Cutinelli here from the Colorado School of Music. Remember we are just a call away to start your private music lessons. We offer guitar lessons, ukulele lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, violin lessons, vocal lessons as well orchestral instruments. Now on to our discussion on improvising over a two five chord progression. (ii V)

Today I will be discussing different sounds that you can improvise over a minor two chord followed by a major or dominant five chord from the same key. These to chords are related and from the same key which keeps our options fairly limited, but still with great effectiveness. To keep things simple here we will take a D minor chord for a measure and followed by a G7 chord for a measure. (/dmin/G7/) At first glance we can see that These two chords are from the same key of C major. Real quick here is the way your chords appear diatonic to a major key. (I ii iii IV V vi vii’) So this chord progression is said to be a two five in the key of C major. 

Now you want to record yourself playing a simple rhythm with our two chords D minor and G7 in a two bar phrase. First try playing your C major scale as this is the tonic of these two chords. The sound is nice and also my be called a D dorian sound. This is saying the same thing two different ways. C Major is equal to D dorian. If you’r not familiar with the modes and Dorian mode please see my 2019 March music blog, as it’s dedicated to the Dorian mode. After you have a feel for the C Major scale let’s try playing a D minor pentatonic scale including the b5! Very cool rockin roll sound working the fret board now.  This scale works for a few reasons. First our foundation is a D minor chord.

This sets up the D minor pentatonic scale nicely and the G7 chord compliments the sound. If we do the math behind the sound  you’ll see that the notes from a D minor pentatonic scale are D, F, G, A, C. The notes from the key of C major are C, D, E, F, G, A, B,. IF you compare the two scales all the notes are common or found in both scales. There are no conflicting notes. When running the D minor pentatonic scale in it natural order creates this great sound to jam on!

Well after reading this you should have a few different sound options when it’s time to improvise over ii V7 chords. Please feel free to contact us and come in for a music lesson to learn all about improvising and anything else pertaining to music from one of our great instructor at the Colorado School of Music in Golden Colorado. We offer guitar lessons, ukulele lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, violin lessons and vocal lessons as wells as orchestral instruments. 

Thanks for reading!

music lessons
Colorado School of Music

Dean Cutinelli

CSoM NEWSLETTER … April 2020

CSoM NEWSLETTER … April 2020

The Colorado School of Music provides private music instruction for all ages levels and offer piano lessons, guitar lessons, violin lessons, drums lessons, voice lessons and band/orchestra instruments. Located in the heart of downtown Golden, our current roster is comprised of musicians from all over the Denver Metro area and includes students from Golden, Denver, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, Littleton and Boulder!   

Online Lessons

We hope everyone is safe and well! Due to the coronavirus pandemic the Colorado School of Music will remain closed for in-person lessons.

We will continue to offer online private music lessons to our students in the interim — email us at info@coloradoschoolofmusic.com or call 303-526-9865 if you’re interested in signing up!

Thank you!

Thank you to all of our first responders and medical workers, as well as the delivery people and all the workers who are helping us get through this tough time.

Special thanks to our students and parents for their continued support, and to our amazing instructors whose dedication has brought us this far.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those suffering and grieving around the world.

If you have any questions or would like to enroll in online lessons, please contact the school at info@coloradoschoolofmusic.com or by phone, 303-526-9865. Thank you, and we hope everyone stays safe and healthy!

Please Leave a Message-

During the course of a week we field many phone calls from students and parents regarding lessons, scheduling and cancellations. During the afternoon, we often let the answering machine retrieve our messages so as not to disrupt class sessions. Please know that we are very conscientious about retrieving our missed calls and we always listen to our messages. We do not, however, make return calls for lesson cancellations unless requested. If you need to cancel for the week, please call 303-526-9865 and leave a message. Thank you! 

Never Too Old…music lessons for adults!

Music lessons are for the young at heart, not just the young. If you’ve been thinking of renewing your piano lessons or taking your guitar playing to the next level, try a private lesson with us! At the Colorado School of Music we are proud to have many adult students on our roster, studying all different disciplines. Our instructors are experienced with students of all ages, and will be happy to work with you to be sure that your lessons meet your individual needs. 

Adult music lessons are available for all instruments, including guitar lessons, piano lessons, drums, violin, and more.

Stay safe!

Piano Lessons
Piano Lessons

March Music Blog

Dean Cutinelli here from the Colorado School of Music. Remember we are just a call away to start your private music lessons. We offer guitar lessons, ukulele lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, Violin lessons, vocal lessons as well orchestral instruments. Now on the our discussion of the Mixolydian scale.

The Mixolydian  Scale

The Mixolydian scale or mode as it is more commonly referred to is the 5th mode of the seven modes that are derived from ancient greek music. If you were to play a C major scale starting on the 5th scale degree you would be playing G Mixolydian. The notes for the scale would be G, A, B, C, D, E, and F. Yes this can be theorized by say this is just a C major scale starting on G. The model sound can also be described as a major scale with a flatted 7th degree. Again If we take the notes G, A, B, C, D, E and F again you would have the G Mixolydian scale. This mode is great for improvising over a dominant 7th chord. The dominant 7th chord is comprised of a root major third, perfect 5th, and minor 7th interval. There for our notes for G7 are G, B, D and F. Try playing the G Mixolydian scale over the G7 chord to hear how well these fit together.

The History of Mixolydian 

The idea of a Mixolydian mode comes from the music theory of ancient Greece. The invention of the ancient Greek Mixolydian mode was attributed to Sappho, the 7th-century-B.C. poet and musician.[1] However, what the ancient Greeks thought of as Mixolydian was very different from the modern interpretation of the mode.

Who uses the Mixolydian Mode

You can hear this scale used in traditional music, pop, rock, blues Jazz and classical music.  As we are discussing music it’s always best to listen to some different songs that incorporate this scale or sound in there music. A traditional song would be Old Joe Clark. In a classical setting Bach uses this sound in “Fughetta super: Dies sind die heilgen zehn Gebot” in G Major. In popular music give a listen to Clocks by Cold play. In All Blues by Miles Davis you can here it used in a blues context. 

I hope after reading this you have a better Idea on what a mode is and in particular the Mixolydian mode. Please feel free to contact us and come in for a music lesson to learn all about the modes and anything else pertaining to music from one of our great instructor at the Colorado School of Music in Golden CO. We offer guitar lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, violin lessons and vocal lessons as wells as orchestral instruments. 

Thanks for reading!

guitar lessons
guitar lessons

Dean Cutinelli

CSoM NEWSLETTER … March 2020

CSoM NEWSLETTER … March 2020

The Colorado School of Music provides private music lessons for all ages and levels in piano lessons, guitar lessons, violin lessons, drums lessons, voice lessons and band/orchestra lessons. Located in the heart of downtown Golden, our current roster is comprised of musicians from all over the Denver Metro area and includes students from Golden, Denver, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, Littleton and Boulder!   

Schedule changes due to Coronavirus / Online Lessons-

In following with the Jefferson County School closings due to the concerns over the coronavirus, starting Monday, March 16th, the Colorado School of Music is joining the school district in closing our facility for in-person classes through March 27th

Beginning March 16th, CSoM will be transitioning to online one-on-one classes held through FaceTime, Skype, etc.. All online lessons will occur at their normal times and days.

We are facing an unprecedented public health crisis in our community, and in light of Governor Polis’ declaration of a state of emergency in Colorado and the growing number of confirmed cases in the Denver metro Area, we are taking this action to assist in protecting the health of our students, families and teachers. Please consult the CSoM website www.coloradoschoolofmusic.com or our Facebook page for any additional changes to our schedule.

If you have any questions or would like to enroll in online lessons, please contact the school at info@coloradoschoolofmusic.com or by phone, 303-526-9865. Thank you, and we hope everyone stays safe and healthy!

Please Leave a Message-

During the course of a week we field many phone calls from students and parents regarding lessons, scheduling and cancellations. During the afternoon, we often let the answering machine retrieve our messages so as not to disrupt class sessions. Please know that we are very conscientious about retrieving our missed calls and we always listen to our messages. We do not, however, make return calls for lesson cancellations unless requested. If you need to cancel for the week, please call 303-526-9865 and leave a message. Thank you! 

Never Too Old…music lessons for adults!

Music lessons are for the young at heart, not just the young. If you’ve been thinking of renewing your piano lessons or taking your guitar playing to the next level, try a private lesson with us! At the Colorado School of Music we are proud to have many adult students on our roster, studying all different disciplines. Our instructors are experienced with students of all ages, and will be happy to work with you to be sure that your lessons meet your individual needs. 

Adult music lessons are available for all instruments, including guitar lessons, piano lessons, drums lessons, violin lessons, and more.

Stay safe!

Sheet music image from Colorado School of Music
music lessons

February Music Blog

February Music Blog

Dean Cutinelli here from the Colorado School of Music. Remember we are just a call away to start your private music lessons. We offer guitar lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, Violin lessons, vocal lessons as well orchestral instruments. Now on to our discussion of the Lydian scale.

The Lydian Scale

The Lydian scale or mode as it is more commonly referred to is the 4th mode of the seven modes that are derived from ancient greek music. If you were to play a  C major scale starting on the 4th scale degree you would be playing F Lydian. The notes for the scale would be F, G, A, B, C, D, and E. Yes this can be theorized by say this is just a C major scale starting on F.  When you put an F major chord behind the C major scale you now create the model sound of F Lydian. In this example if we think of F as our key center we could also say we are playing and F major scale with a raised or sharp fourth in it. Our notes would be F, G, A, B,C,D and E. Remembering that our key signature for F major is Bb, there for we now have B natural or a major scale with a sharp 4th. You now have again the Lydian scale. This scale is a perfect fit when you see a Major 7th chord with a sharp 4th. Vamp on a F major chord followed by  F Major 7th #4 or try F to G13.  Both progressions will give you A chance to test out your F Lydian scale.

The History of Lydian 

The name Lydian refers to the ancient kingdom of Lydia in Anatolia. In Greek music theory, there was a Lydian scale or “octave species” extending from parhypate hypaton to trite diezeugmenon, equivalent in the diatonic genus to the medieval and modern Ionian mode. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, this mode was described in two ways. The first way is the diatonic octave species from F up to F an octave above, divided at C to produce two segments.

The second is as a mode with a final on F and an ambitus extending to F an octave higher and in which the note C was regarded as having an important melodic function. 

Who uses the Lydian Mode

The Lydian mode is defiantly a particular sound. You don’t hear it used as wide as you would the Mixolydian mode, but it still has its place. An example from the middle of the century is the scherzo movement of Carlos Chávez‘s Symphony No. 3. In the jazz world the Lydian mode inspired the works of people such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane. In popular music the passage beginning at the words “Much as I definitely enjoy solitude” in the song “Possibly Maybe” by Björk shows of the sound of the Lydian scale.The bass line in The Police‘s 1983 song “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” again incorporates the Lydian sound. Many Polish folksongs, including the mazurka, are in the Lydian mode; the first six notes of this mode were sometimes known as the “Polish mode”.

I hope after reading this you have a better Idea on what a mode is and in particular the Lydian mode. Please feel free to contact us and come in for a music lesson to learn all about the modes and anything else pertaining to music from one of our great instructor at the Colorado School of Music in Golden CO. We offer guitar lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, violin lessons and vocal lessons as wells as orchestral instruments. 

Thanks for reading!

guitar lessons
guitar lessons

Dean Cutinelli

CSoM NEWS … February 2020

CSoM NEWS … February 2020

The Colorado School of Music provides private instruction offering lessons for all ages and levels in piano lessonsguitar lessonsUkulele lessons, violin lessons, drums lessons, voice lessons and band lessons and orchestra lessons. Located in the heart of downtown Golden, our current roster is comprised of musicians from all over the Denver Metro area and includes students from GoldenDenver, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, Littleton and Boulder!  Call 303-526-9865 to book a $10 introductory lesson today!

CSoM 14th Anniversary!   

February 2020 marks the fourteenth anniversary of our school here in Golden! We’re very grateful to the City of Golden and the Golden community, our dedicated staff and all of our students and customers, past and present! We’re proud to be entering our fifteenth year providing private music lessons to the Golden community and the Denver Metro Area. Thank you for your continued support! Keep reading in 2020 for information about this year’s CSoM Recital.

Need to Move?

Did your coach just re-structure practice times and throw your schedule into chaos? You’re probably not alone.  We understand the rigors of fall scheduling…so if you find that your music lesson time slot doesn’t fit, call us at 303-526-9865 and leave your name, current time slot and any days and times that work for your schedule and we’ll do our best to re-locate you!

Please Leave a Message-

During the course of a week we field many phone calls from students and parents regarding lessons, scheduling and cancellations. During the afternoon, we often let the answering machine retrieve our messages so as not to disrupt class sessions. Please know that we are very conscientious about retrieving our missed calls and we always listen to our messages. We do not, however, make return calls for lesson cancellations unless requested. If you need to cancel for the week, please call 303-526-9865 and leave a message. Thank you!

The Snow is Here…   

Now entrenched in the cold months, we get questions regarding our policy for winter concerning snow closures. As we have students of all ages from all over Denver, we do not necessarily follow or adhere to  school schedules in respect to snow closures/delays. 

In the event of a snow closure, The Colorado School of Music will post an announcement on our website: www.coloradoschoolofmusic.com the morning of the day in question to announce the closure. Due to our large schedules we don’t always make personal calls regarding snow days, so please check the website when in doubt.

Practice, practice, practice! See you next month!

Vocal lessons and Piano lessons
Kirk Vollack



January Music Blog 2020

January Music Blog 2020

Dean Cutinelli here from the Colorado School of Music. Remember we are just a call away to start your private music lessons. We offer guitar lessons, ukulele lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, violin lessons, vocal lessons as well orchestral instruments. Now on to our discussion about chords.

Today I will be talking about chords that are native to a major key. Every major key has 7 chords. There are many extensions  that can be added to chords that make up the vast variety of chords in music. We will save extensions and altered chords for another time.  The major key is comprised of a major I chord, a minor ii chord, a minor iii chord, a major IV chord, major V chord, a minor vi chord, and a diminished vii*chord. 

Now I am going to break down each chord into what I like to call chord definitions. Your major I IV and V chords are a root, a major 3rd, and a perfect fifth or R-3rd-5th. Your minor ii and minor iii and vi chords are a root, a minor 3rd and a perfect 5th or R-b3rd-5th.  Your diminished chord is a root a minor 3rd and a b5th or R-b3rd-b5th. So for example if we are in the key of C major our major I chord is C and the note are C-E-G. If we wanted to make the C major chord to a C minor chord our notes would then be C-Eb-G. If we want to convert a C major chord to a C diminish chord the note would now be C-Eb-Gb. The next level of chord are your major 7th, minor 7th, dominant 7th and minor 7th b5 chords. I will be discuss these in next months music blog. 

As a musician the chord definitions we help you as you continue to learn the different chord rules definitions and notations you will see through our your musical career.

I hope after reading this you have a little better understanding about the chords that are in a major key. Please feel free to contact us and come in for a music lesson from one of our great instructor at the Colorado School of Music in Golden CO. We offer guitar lessons, ukulele lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, violin lessons and vocal lessons as wells as orchestral instruments. 

Thanks for reading!

guitar lessons
guitar lessons

Dean Cutinelli

CSoM NEWSLETTER … January 2020

CSoM NEWSLETTER … January 2020

Happy New Year!   

The Colorado School of Music provides private instruction offering lessons for all ages and levels in piano lessons, guitar lessons, Ukulele lessons, violin lessons, drums lessons, voice lessons and band lessons and orchestra lessons. Located in the heart of downtown Golden, our current roster is comprised of musicians from all over the Denver Metro area and includes students from Golden, Denver, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, Littleton and Boulder!   

Lessons in the New Year!

The Colorado School of Music offers weekly private music instruction for all instruments! Give the gift of music lessons in guitar, piano, or any of our currently offered instruments or disciplines.   

Here is what we offer:

-Piano lessons for all ages and ability levels. Looking for something specific in your piano study? We have instructors that specialize in many styles.

-Guitar lessons, Electric Bass lessons or Ukulele lessons for aspiring guitarists of all ability levels and styles.

-Drum and/or specialty percussion lessons – learn to jam on a drum kit or explore world rhythms.

-Vocal music lessons for aspiring singers or those looking to pass that big audition! Voice lessons for all ages and aspirations.

Violin lessons with our talented violin instructor. A great choice for both young and old, private violin lessons are fun and rewarding.

-Private music lessons for school band/ orchestra instruments, including (but not limited to) trumpet and trombone lessons, flute lessons, saxophone and clarinet lessons.   

So if you’re someone who’s looking to try a new instrument or rekindle their love for music, try a lesson for $10! To book an introductory lesson, please email info@coloradoschoolofmusic.com or call 303-526-9865 today!

The Snow is Here…   

Now entrenched in the cold months, we get questions regarding our policy for winter concerning snow closures. In the event of a snow closure, The Colorado School of Music will post an announcement on our website: www.coloradoschoolofmusic.com the morning of the day in question to announce the closure. Please check the website when in doubt!

Please Leave a Message-

During the course of a week we field many phone calls from students and parents regarding lessons, scheduling and cancellations. During the afternoon, we often let the answering machine retrieve our messages so as not to disrupt class sessions. Please know that we are very conscientious about retrieving our missed calls and we always listen to our messages. We do not, however, make return calls for lesson cancellations unless requested. If you need to cancel for the week, please call 303-526-9865 and leave a message. Thank you!

Too Young For Music?

We often receive questions from parents regarding the appropriate/best age to start young children in formal music lessons. Of course, all children are different and there are always exceptions, but here are the general guidelines we use:

First, consider the instrument in relation to the age of the student. Piano lessons and Violin lessons are great choices for young children, as both violin and piano lessons have excellent curriculum for young beginners. Piano, in particular, provides a general overview of music theory and makes it easy to pick up other instruments as the student gets older. Some instruments can be difficult for beginners and aren’t as good for young children based on size, complexity, etc..       

Four years old is generally too young for formal lessons. Progress is very slow and it can be difficult to maintain the focus required for practicing. Four year old hands are also often too small.

We feel that six years old is generally the best age for young children to begin formal lessons. Many lesson books and methods are geared toward this age for beginners, and the progress made at this age is both faster than younger students and better learned, as lessons and concepts seem to ‘stick.’

Five year olds music students are in the middle – at this age, it seems to depend on the child. If motivated and interested, the progress with a five year old will be a bit slower, but nonetheless valuable. We’re always willing to try lessons with five year olds – please ask if you have more questions about beginners or you’d like to take an introductory lesson with your young musician. Parents/Guardians are welcome in all lessons!      

Happy New Year! 

music lessons
Colorado School of Music