With so many distractions in the world and in our daily lives it can sometimes be difficult to focus on something as simple as picking up your instrument. While I was practicing this week, I found myself taking breaks in the middle of my practice session to check email, Facebook, and the news.

Many times this would happen when I was about to have a breakthrough or got bored. If I had stayed with the task at hand I could’ve had that breakthrough or committed the piece to memory. After returning from my detour I was much less focused and had a hard time getting back in a groove.

So I ask you, the next time you plug in your guitar…. unplug everything else. Close your apps, hide your phone, your computer and spend sometime with your instrument. You won’t regret it and all of the technology will still be there when you are done.

Our students played a diverse and challenging selection of material to a packed house at the Summer Recital! With everything from Bach to Leon Bridges; gospel and folk songs to jazz, rock and hip hop; piano, guitar, bass and ukulele, this night was a beautiful representation of our little music school. We strive to be rooted in the past and forging ahead to new musical territory. I couldn’t be more proud of all of the performers and hope you take it on yourself to keep hopping up on stage and honing your craft. Not only is the recital a venue to show friends and family what you’ve been working on in your private lessons, but it is a creative outlet to connect with other musicians and students. There is a great deal to be learned from each performance opportunity and it is a gift and privilege that I hope you all cherish.

Big thanks to our Guitar Shed photographer in residence, Cindy Wnek for capturing some great moments at the Summer Recital! Also, big thanks again to the Red Light Cafe for having us back. Until the next one…. keep on Shedding!

P.S. If you haven’t already downloaded the audio from the evening, you can login and download the file from our library page. You can also click on the link below for pictures!

Summer Recital Poster by Kayla Shults

Summer Recital Poster by Kayla Shults

Everyone had a great time at the rehearsal this past Sunday. I’m very impressed by the progress everyone has made since December and also how much our kids have grown! Man time flies looking at these pictures. Looking forward to our Summer Recital this Sunday at the Red Light Cafe! Click here to RSVP.

Click on the picture for the full rehearsal gallery on our Facebook page…

Parker and Tyler

Parker and Tyler

Hard to believe that a year ago I was still in Austin, Texas looking for a space to open a music school in Atlanta. Finding the right space was paramount to making Guitar Shed a reality. There were plenty of obstacles along the way: sound issues, neighborhood, square footage, rising cost of in-town real estate, design, parking, tenant mix and not to mention trying to make this all work across state lines.

After much investigation, I finally stumbled upon a landlord who was supportive of the arts and embraced my vision. It wasn’t until I moved in that I realized I also stumbled upon a neighborhood and community that supported my vision. A few months later, my wife and I purchased a home down the street from Guitar Shed in that same community. Kirkwood has welcomed us with open arms.

When we opened in mid-August, I started with one room and four students (most of them are still taking lessons now). I was teaching guitar, piano, ukulele and bass. Before I knew it we had a piano teacher. I can teach beginner piano, but it was a relief to have a true expert on board! After a couple of months, we had outgrown the one room and it was time to allow for simultaneous lessons. Next, another guitar teacher and voice teacher.

You all have probably noticed the new rooms at the Shed and we are expanding once again. For those of you who have been with us since the beginning, thank you! And for those of you that are just joining us we are happy to have you at the Shed. Learning is a two-way street and our students have inspired us in ways that make us want to be better teachers, musicians and students.

Fast forward to almost a year later and we’re getting ready for our second recital with a full night of music. Looking at the roster, I can’t help but notice the diverse mix of children and adults across multiple instruments and genres.

Looking forward to the next year at Guitar Shed and I can’t wait to see what is in store.



As many of my students know, I have a very “song focused” approach to learning. Songs give us context to work on new techniques and skills and allow us to put theory into practice. They are also the vehicles for creative expression and an avenue to connect with the writer/artist.

One of the things I love most about teaching is that my students are constantly exposing me to new music. It’s been a while since I’ve posted what we are currently working on so here is a small sample of what we’re learning at the Shed….

  • 4 Non Blondeswordcloud-2
  • Adele
  • Albert King
  • Alessia Cara
  • Allman Brothers Band
  • Antonio Carlos Jobim
  • B.B. King
  • Beethoven
  • Bill Withers
  • Bob Dylan
  • Charlie Puth
  • Craig David
  • Dawes
  • Dire Straits
  • Elizabeth Cotten
  • Eric Clapton
  • Freddie King
  • George Harrison
  • Grateful Dead
  • Harold Arlen
  • Hayes Carll
  • Hiatus Kaiyote
  • Incubus
  • Janis Joplin
  • Jerry Garcia
  • Jewel
  • Joe Henderson
  • John Mayer
  • John Prine
  • John Williams
  • Johnny Cash
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Leon Bridges
  • Meghan Trainor
  • Muddy Waters
  • My Morning Jacket
  • Oasis
  • Otis Redding
  • Paul Simon
  • Pearl Jam
  • Pete Seeger
  • Peter Frampton
  • Pink Floyd
  • Portugal, the Man
  • Prince
  • Rage Against the Machine
  • REM
  • Rod Stewart
  • Ryan Adams
  • Steely Dan
  • Supertramp
  • The Beetles
  • The Buggles
  • The Flaming Lips
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Traffic


Ron teaching

Ron in action at the Shed

Your voice is the only instrument you can take with you anywhere you go. Talk about portability. Like any instrument it needs to be nurtured, taken care of and practiced! I have taken several voice lessons over the years and it has made me a better guitarist, songwriter and musician. I also have a greater appreciation for the control that professional singers have over their bodily mechanics.

Our newest teacher at the Shed is one of those professionals and he is a very talented piano player as well. So whether you are looking for voice lessons or already taking lessons on another instrument at the Shed, we can help you take your musical self to the next level. Click here to read more about Ron and sign up for some voice lessons! He currently has 30 or 60 min time slots available from 2-7 pm on Thursdays.


This Wednesday is the first Guitar Shed Open Mic at The Pullman in downtown Kirkwood! What exactly does that mean? Well, this is the first one so it will be a learning process for everyone. But here are some guidelines….

This is a songwriter open mic, so the performance of your own material is encouraged but not required. Before I began writing my own songs, I learned a great deal from performing covers. Sorry, no spoken word or comedy is allowed. While it is important to practice your instrument on your own, I am a firm believer that the real learning takes place in front of an audience. This is a great low pressure way to hone your chops at a neighborhood watering hole. Did I mention they have great food?!

Sign up begins at 8:30 pm but you can sign up at any point throughout the night. Performance slots will be a maximum of 15 minutes starting at 9:00 pm and ending at 11:00 pm. This is a public open mic, so you don’t have to be a student at Guitar Shed to perform or attend. However, I encourage my students to do both! We will have a small PA system with a couple of mics and instrument cables. So just bring your axe, some friends and some songs!


The Pullman

1992 Hosea L Williams Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30317, USA

(404) 371-1115

[email protected]

….our online Guitar Shed Library that is. I am constantly looking for ways to improve my teaching and a
student of mine suggested in a guitar lesson that I should upload some charts to the website (see we are actually learning from each other).

I have begun the process of adding new songs that students are working on every week. Not only does this show other students at Guitar Shed what songs are being learned, but it saves some valuable lesson time. Now I can just print out a chord chart and we can dig right in. Better yet, students can print out a chart at home if there is a song in the library they are interested in learning. Right now, there are only about 30 songs on the site but hopefully one day there will be hundreds.

Also, feel free to explore the rest of the page for other educational resources. Yesterday, I added a list of GUITAR SHED PRINCIPLES that is also posted in the lobby at Guitar Shed. Until next time, stay tuned and keep shedding!

Sign up for our first songwriting workshop with Jimmy Galloway on Sunday, February 28 from 3-5 pm. Jimmy is the man if you would like to learn how to get your right hand in shape, use partial capos, use altered tunings, use loops in your live show, have your gear questions answered, or anything else guitar related. Limited to 15 spots at Guitar Shed in the rehearsal room.

Current students sign up on the calendar via the Guitar Shed portal. Non-existing students click here to send an email and sign up. $20 admission for current students. $25 public admission.

Jimmy Galloway