Welcome to Sten's Guitar Studio's Session Log The place to read about current work in progress, news and in general what's up at Sten's Guitar Studio ( AKA NYC Guitar Studio ). Right now celebrating 12 years as a registered New York City business, 24 years of documented innovative contribution to the New York City music scene, 30 years of teaching and performing on the U.S. East Coast scene, and all in all four decades of activity in professional music internationally.
Enjoy / Sten
NOVEMBER 6 2018
Towards 2019. Guitar Ensemble and More.
Transition times here at the studio. While many old longtime regulars keep returning for years-like all-time ukulele champ William ( pictured below as one half of The Flaming Ukes - and a key contributor to this organizations increasingly sophisticated, growing Ukulele repertoire ) who is based in Bordeaux France, and visits NYC every 6 months. By the same token, as some old regulars move on-new ones come in. Like new Jazz Guitar aquintance WES who hit me up about READING music, a truly great continuous project always, as MUSICAL LITERACY is key to many resonating things in music, and as such incredibly important.
Among other NEWS, group playing and performance opportunities will be offered in the near future, simply as a part of the program. In the works is a regular GUITAR ENSEMBLE in which anyone can participate !
All regular private students may do so, as a part of their regular study program and without additional fee. While old, former students, as well as prospective, students ONLY interested in participating in the guitar ensemble ( without also studying with me, privately ) may do so at the cost of either a seasonal, or short term 'project' sign-up fee.
The initial idea is simply for us all to hold sessions and play a concert to display, show and manifest our work. The repertoire is thought to relate to work in progress, as well as include older works by students, by artists or others. Instruments ( along with any type of guitar ) can include mandolin, ukulele and acoustic and/or electric bass guitar.
If you are interested in playing in a guitar ensemble, where we will be reading, composing, arranging, improvising, interacting, exchanging and discovering music - check out the info here on how to sign up.
On another note VIRTUAL SESSIONS via Skype has really impressed me lately, with it's greatly improved connection stability. To the point where I'm now a devoted fan ( though previously not so much ) of and believer in virtual sessions. While real live interaction of course by far will always be best-no contest, virtual sessions are getting so good these days if you ask me, they're definitely good enough to consider.
SEE YOU ALL IN SESSION Meanwhile, enjoy the season best / Sten
SEPTEMBER 25 2018
October Teaching, Lesson and Session Schedule and More
The October schedule is now posted right here. In general this month there is a fair amount of select ( certain days and times ) openings at both Manhattan locations ( Times Square and Lower East Side ) and in the somewhat more budgeted studio in Ridgewood Queens. As well as for virtual online sessions via Skype. Just get in touch ASAP about the dates and times you are interested in and we'll set it up accordingly.
We would first of all like to congratulate the youngest member of our music club, Ocean on his first birthday in this world, Friday Sept 28th.
Here is an action photo from one of our sessions a few months back.
Somewhat older, but still indeed young is our very talented Jazz guitar friend Corazon Szell who studied Jazz guitar with me through New York Jazz Academy during the spring semester, on top of her regular studies at New York's legendary LaGuardia High School For Music & Performing Arts ( AKA the 'Fame" school ). We recently had the honor and pleasure to refer Cora to NYC"s #1 Jazz guitar store, Rudy's Guitars in Soho where she got a nice guitar designed by famous PA luthier Bill Comins. A great match indeed. We can't wait to hear more of Cora's music.
On another indeed related note, here is a feature in Italian magazine JAZZIT on my friend, recent collaborator and simply extraordinary trumpet player Johnny Lapio,
who came to New York City in March, to perform and record with me. He talks about his international work in general as well as our work specifically. Look for our duo album to be released on the Sonus Rex label this fall. This article is all in italian, so google translate is an option for those of us not fluent. Here is the link plus the excerpt where he talks about our duo work and project.
JAZZIT MAGAZINE ( Italy ) July 27, 2018 Edition
JOHNNY LAPIO IMPROVISING ARTIST PORTRAIT FEATURE
" New York mi ha visto invece prima in duo il chitarrista Sten Hostfalt col il quale, oltre a registrare un disco, ho tenuto una serie di concert in lioghi come lo ShapeShifter Lab di M.Garrison è poi con l'organista Constance Cooper nel Queens. L'atmosfera concertista e stata surreale poiché nei miei giorni di permanenza mi sono imbattuto in un tempo veramente grigio e nevoso, il vapore dei tombini avvolgeva le persone e in due occasioni nelle chiese in cui ho suonato era percepibile chiaramente il passaggio della metrapolitana il cui suono è stato inglobato in manera assolutamente naturale nell'atmosfera del concerto insieme ai colori dei rosoni. Anche in questo caso, in particolare con Sten, c’è stata un’ottima intesa e ho avuto modo di confrontarmi anche con la sua musica microtonale, fortemente innovativa."
SEPTEMBER 15 2018
Fall 2018 Sessions are Rolling
Exciting season ahead, as we first of all thank and send our longtime friend talented young Jazz guitarist and vocalist (and drummer as well) Henry Hunt off to college studies at The University of Chicago, where he will be a part of the University's Jazz ensemble. Via the New York Jazz Academy network, Henry has been an incredibly steady regular at the studio ever since spring 2013, which makes him one of the most consistently attending regular students at this operation ever.
During his 5.5 years of regular, weekly private studies at the studio, in conjunction with high school ensemble studies as well as occasionally also in the Summer Jazz Intensives at New York Jazz Academy, Henry's active participation has been invaluable in inspiring and ultimately contributing to shaping the curriculum at hand and in use as we speak.
We as well as future students
thank Henry again for his participation and contribution to the studio and the work in process here every day
him luck on his further adventures musically and otherwise.
JULY 2 2018
Summer Sessions are Rolling
For many of us, the summer season presents that unique time and scenario for getting into some real playing and learning about music.
Things that can not be easily done in regular weekly sessions can then be laid out as somewhat longer workshop type of sessions.
Learning tunes. Improvisation. Working on rhythm and time. Ear training and Transcription. Recording. Composing. Music Theory and notational skills. These are just some of the many things that students tend to want to focus on in extended double or triple sessions, that may be suitably laid out during the summer season.
Again it is worth noting that what students sign up for and subscribe to is not the immediate surface aspect or general assumption of what the educator in question may appear to typically publically represent as a performer and recording artist, academic alumnus or member of the musician and artist community. But rather the cumulative experience he or she have earned and come to represent over time, since this is what translates to actual knowledge suited for guidance and advice.
The July schedule is posted here. Take a look at the general availability and once you find a date, day and time that works for you, just hit me up and we will go right ahead and schedule it accordingly.
All dates are first come first serve so please schedule at least a full week and ideally even further ahead of time. Short notice requests will not work, as lesson planning requires knowing about all of the overall work and related travels and commitments at least a week in advance.
Thank You and hope you are enjoying your summer so far !
MAY 8 2018
Old Students at Eastman Jazz Camp and in Down Beat
Congrats to longtime ( since 2011 ) star student Andre' Hetu
who just received a scholarship to attend the summer Jazz
camp at Estman School of Music in Rochester NY. Currently
Andre' is finishing up his second year at the high school music
program at the Special Music School at Kaufman Center New
York City. Way to go Andre' ! Do Keep us in the loop, always.
Congrats also to guitarist Andreas Hourdakis who studied briefly with undersigned at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm
back in 2004,
and since has become as member of ex EST drummer Magnus Ostroms band with whom he has toured the world and appeared on recordings alongside 20 times grammy award winning Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny.
Lately Andreas own recordings as a leader has picked up momentum.
Most recently his second album as a leader was featured in a 4-star review
in the worlds leading Jazz publication Down Beat Magazine.
( Some of the ) Other Work in Progress
Developing a Tone on the Guitar
is a study that apart from the traditional coordination
considerations of right hand pick an/or hand modes of
attack in combination with left hand intonation aspects
lately has undergone a few phases including learning
standard melodies by ear ( bypassing the visual aspect
of reading and interpreting a lead sheet )
as well as
getting hands-on closely intimate with the guitar by
re-stringing, intonating and setting the action up as
de-oxide spraying the electrical components.
And most importantly transcribing melodies ( played
on any instrument ) from recordings, which leads us
straight to personal fingerings for interpretation of
notes and musical ornaments (including those not
typically played on the guitar) TONE and SOUND.
Chord Solo Arrangements + Types of Chord Voicings
We have taken time to learn how to make a chord solo
arrangement. Using On The Sunny Side of The Street as
a model we harmonized the melody diatonically
constant structure and used intervals over pedal point.
We also learned about 4-part chord voicings, close
through drop 2 and drop 2 and 4, including some
less common spacings. As well as how to omit chord
tones to derive ( more mobile ) 3-part voicings.
Jazz Guitar Basics
For introductory purposes to the world of Jazz
made direct contact with Jazz harmony by applying chord
voicings and harmonic-rhythmic approaches to common
such as 12-bar Jazz Blues and Rhythm Changes.
We have also explored melodic-harmonic improvisatory
relationship via the pentatonic scale and the blues scale
plus diatonic ( within the scale of the moment ) triads.
In the process discussing rhytmic division, time-feel and
phrasing and fundamental underlying principles call and
response and sound and silence.
Inversions, Relative Minor and Major and he Tritone
Substitute - Harmonic Properties and Implications.
An old student from the studios Park Slope days in
2006-07, nowadays living in Texas hit me up about a
virtuial online ( Skype ) session. He mentioned how he
heard that Thelonious Monk used to call what we now
a mI7b5, "a mi6 chord with the 6 in the bass".
This started our talk about in how we always have a
relative tonal track and sphere a minor 3d away, in
major - relative minor and in major - relative minor.
So Dm7b5-G7-Cmi substituted with Fm7-Bb7-Eb6
( for instance ). The II and I chords being diatonic
relative minor-major substitutions and the V chord
being either a symmetrical diminished ( G7, Bb7, Db7
and E7 )
or a Harmonic Major substitution ( G7 is the
III chord and Bb7 the V chord
in Eb Harmonic Major )
In addition, the tritone substitute on the V chord
opens up the possibilities for cyclical or stepwise
chord progressions. The tritone sub of G7 is Db7,
with parent scale Ab melodic minor, meaning the
diatonic chords of Ab melodic minor may simply be
referred to when creating substitute progressions.
original : Dm7b5 | G7 | Cmi |
from 3d : Fm7 | Bb7 | Ebmaj7 |
dim sub : Fm7 | E7 | Ebmaj7
fr. 5th : Am7b5 | Dm7 | G7 | ( C melodic Minor )
trit sub : Ab7 | Db7 | F#m7b5 B7 |
Note that due to the different available minor
scales, natural, harmonic and melodic as well
as the modes ( phrygian and dorian primarily )
there are a number of available possibilities.
Three inversions also means three harmonic shades,
angles or linear-vertical paths through a chord
progression ( cyclical or stepwise ).
The Community and Musicians Rights Organizations Connection
Speaking of fundamental structures, a humble reminder that there is an underlying format making all of our successes possible. A context that is defended at all cost. Those who know me well also know that I was introduced on the creative music scene of the late 70's-early 80's, when political consciousness was norm and how this has shaped me.
While I over my 40 years as a musician, composer, arranger, educator, producer, calligraphist and music professional have had the great fortune to be engaged by and work for many amazing employers and participated in countless projects with outstanding work conditions, offering creative-artistic opportunities most only dare to dream of. I also know that beneficial, nurturing, productive and 'good' working conditions and circumstances, or fair ones for that matter, in no way are guaranteed to us, but typically have to be strived and fought for.
My membership in and affiliation with the American Federations of Musicians local 802, Associated Musicians of Greater New York-the world's largest local union of professional musicians, and therefore the contractual guidelines provided accordingly, attests to my continuous quest and claim for decent and fair professional conditions always.
Regardless of physical location, format and wrapping, the creative music work we do every day, year after year is built on mutual respect for and understanding
of the cultural traditions that generated it all, and the people so honorably upholding and representing them to nurture and make our collective creative path possible. Any session organized via Stens Guitar Studio subscribe to these standards and adopt a conduct accordingly. Aggressive, demanding or demeaning requests will never be accepted here. Thank You all for participating in building an activity where respect and creative exchange is key.
* In addition to membership in AMF American Federation of Musicians and BMI Broadcast Music Inc, I also do follow and support the social debate, commentary and music industry and work climate scrutiny of organizations Content Creators Coalition ( with among others Marc Ribot, Rosanne Cash as board members ), Justice For Jazz and Jazz Foundation of America. The forums where the people who create, make, teach and communicate music discuss and help improve the conditions according to which it is to be created and presented.
SEE YOU IN SESSION ! / Sten
MARCH 12 2018
Ridgewood Duo Recording Session
It's been busy here at the studio on all fronts,
so posting session logs and such has been more
sporadic as of late, all in favor for keeping the
instruction work and the music sessions going
full speed despite
the increased work load.
Following the March 2 concert with italian trumpet
lion Johnny Lapio, we documented the collaboration
a March 7 recording session here in Ridgewood and
got some interesting takes. Editing, mix & master
follow before a possible release will be determined.
Corporate and Independent Teaching Assignments
My recently added on commitment to instructional
work (teaching guitar, bass, ukulele, piano as well
as beginner drums)
at the worlds leading music retail
chain ever since November
2017, is now mixed with
a Saturday teaching for New York Jazz Academy ( for
the 9th year and ever since the inception) + a few
days dedicated to undersigned's own signature
private instruction, now celebrating it's 12th year as
a sole proprietor registered New York City business.
As usual take a look at the calendar and let me know
which of the open, available
days and times you are
interested in and once given a heads up, go ahead
and confirm it via online advance lesson purchase
(no membership or sign-up fee required). Dates get
booked up quickly so planning a week or more ahead
of time usually makes sense. SEE YOU IN SESSION !
FEBRUARY 1st 2018
ShapeShifter Lab Soundalike Concert
Quite possibly one way or the other influencing
any sessions and lessons during February is the
ongoing work and preparation for the upcoming
FrIday, March 2 ShapeShifter Lab New York City
Concert of Sten Hostfalt SOUNDALIKE featuring
guest trumpet player Johnny Lapio, a celebrated
member of the italian Avantgarde whose work
credits include contemporary prominents Sylvano
Bussotti, Markus Stockhausen and Anthony Braxton.
As we approach the date, announcements and
online, on social media and
at www.sonusrex.com / www.stenguitar.com
WEDNESDAY JANUARY 3d, 2018
SPRING '18 SEMESTER SESSIONS ROLLING
Session signups for the spring '18 semester
are taking place as we speak. Take a look at
the calendar in order to find an open date
As usual, to reserve a date and
time for lessons ( single or on an ongoing
regular basis ) simply purchase the lessons
or sessions in advance all according to
very own prefered setup and location here.
email sten[at]stensguitarstudio[dot]com to
place specific requests for music to study.
2017 Study Focus Projects Included :
( as requested by students themselves )
* READING / SIGHT READING for GUITAR
* STANDARDS on ELECTRIC BASS
* INTRODUCTION to CLASSICAL GUITAR
* JOHN FAHEY FINGERSTYLE GUITAR
* THE BILL FRISELL SONGBOOK
* TETRACHORDS - SCALES - PHRASES
for Rock & Jazz Guitar
& LEARNING the FRETBOARD
* EAR TRAINING & TRANSCRIPTION
* DOMINANT CHORD SCALE OPTIONS
a ) Melodic & Harmonic Minor Modes
b ) Synthetic [ Whole Tone & Diminished ]
* UKULELE INTERVALLIC 3-PART CHORDS
While much of this continues like before
This season I am also eagerly awaiting
study topics / project focus suggestions.
A few already expressed
areas of interests :
* BASIC PIANO & KEYBOARD TECHNIQUES
when learning about harmony, from basic
triads to modern
polychords and hybrids
the piano provides an unrivaled overview.
* POLYRHYTHMS in addition to the common
3 over 2 and 2 over 3 as well as 4 over 3, the
possibilities are limitless. Bengt Holmqvist's
book The Reference Rhythm Method and app
Tuplet Trainer provides a great study resource.
SEE YOU IN SESSION !
MONDAY NOVEMBER 27th, 2017
As you may very well all know this operation is
independently run, as a sole proprietorship and
one man operation in what may quite possibly
be the world's most competetive music scene.
Furthermore it is done so based on the activity
as such alone, meaning with no other financial
backing or source whatsoever available
in the process at all and at anytime.
the actual participants ( students or similarly )
in this activity runs the business as such, based
on actual street-level credentials and reputation.
Without the students - no activity ! Simple as that.
therefore now is the time to signup for any and all
intended sessions and study packs
and it's all done
via leading US e-merchant squareup right here
Thanks again and SEE YOU IN SESSION !
Photo by Bo-Jen All Rights Reserved © 2017
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MONDAY OCTOBER 30th, 2017
BASS AWARENESS: I often find reasons to remind
guitar students that the standard 6-string guitar is a
transposing instrument and much of its range really
is in what we know as the bass register. As an example
5 of the 6 open strings on a regular guitar in standard
tuning is in the bass clef. Not until the open 1st string
do we actually operate ON the staff of the treble clef.
Sten Hostfalt with his stripped '05 Fender Precision, high strung
with LaBella Deep Talking Flats. 'My 5th Mexican : the durability
and affordability of the MIM's makes them a player's instrument,
and an instrument that gets played a lot will always sound good '.
Once we realize and recognize that we as guitarists in
fact already to a great extent operate in the bass range,
then we also realize that is is quite surprising how many
guitarists commonly, comparatively speaking know much
less about the bass and its actual musical function, than
they know about purely melodic or rhythmic playing.
Really hearing, feeling and understanding root motion
and hearing and realizing
harmony 'from the bottom'
is a profound experience that guitar players do have
within reach, since they in fact to a great extent
( once again ) already operate in the bass register.
Awareness of this is what makes all the difference.
Focusing on playing and hearing
both actual bass lines
and the root motion of tunes is often a sort of a-ha
experience for guitarists since it's really all there right
under our noses all the time. Highlighting the bottom
part of it all helps when memorizing tunes, as root
motion tends to naturally activate our aural memory
cerebral attempts to mentally 'photograph'
chord progressions and music, really does not.
In other words, getting hip to the bass and playing in
the bass register-performing this function as such, is
a great way for most guitarists to instantly improve
and develop their understanding of both the guitar,
which as we all know very well, is a polyphonic and
versatile instrument - as well as of music in general.
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SUNDAY OCTOBER 15th, 2017
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER + year 2018 SESSIONS scheduled now. Get in touch to claim a weekday and time, or specific dates by signing up for monthly (3-lesson pack), quarterly (8-lesson pack) or seasonal (12-lesson pack) setups ... SEE YOU IN SESSION !
SUNDAY OCTOBER 8th, 2017
WELCOME TO THE WORLD OCEAN ! Hanging out in the Ridgewood studio on Sunday afternoon, born 09.28.17 in Brooklyn New York and a little more than a week old,
Ocean Theodorou Hostfalt is the youngest ever member of the guitar club and we can't wait to introduce him to everyone and to all of the music going on here.
We are currently mapping sessions for the rest of October into November as we speak, so just get in touch for Manhattan and Ridgewood sessions as well as SKYPE virtual online sessions and Pro-Sessions ( Just re-instated NYC on location / outcall format ! ) along with recording/audio editing and music notation services. For more detailed info visit https://squareup.com/store/nyc-guitar-studio
SEPTEMBER 24, 2017
OCTOBER-NOVEMBER SESSION SCHEDULING
Our CHORD SOLO SESSIONS are in advanced
mode right now with True Polyphonic thinking.
READING and SIGHT READING for GUITAR
The obstacle that the multiple fingering options
of the guitar initially present, will in the long run
prove to be beneficial and a true advantage.
Our MODAL STUDIES started off on two separate
tracks this semester is currently on a hold. Briefly
we hope. We learned how modes are constructed
their significance and both traditional and brand
new ways to access, use and work with them.
Following a couple of years of 'regular guitar lessons'
of learning basic instrument techniques via classic
rock, punk and R & B tunes we have been holding
regular ROCK N ROLL SESSIONS
on the Lower East
Side for a couple of years now. We have documented
much in form of session recordings where we more
or less spontaneously improvise, create and compose
our own material, a long established traditional and
formula for music making that we proudly
enjoy reinforcing, continuing and passing on.
UKULELE SESSIONS started off with a fresh,
brand new run this season. Past few years
generated a lot of material for the uke and
some of it indeed creatively so, saw some
brand new angles and paths commonly not
taken when approaching the instrument.
We are excited to see where this takes us.
INTERVALLIC HARMONY once again
up as a way to get out of standardized and
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BOOKING and CONFIRMING STUDIES
Setting up sessions and booking is easy
whether it's locally in Manhattan or via
SKYPE virtual online sessions purchase
lessons, single, monthly quarterly or
seasonal sets or use any set or setup
on project basis, as often as you like.
Buy lessons here and then coordinate
according to available session times.
Get a general idea of the schedule by
visisting the calendar and then either
call 347-546-0092 or schedule email
As always, all of what the signup
commitment and study process entails
involves, including the policy in
effect for a decade now,
is listed for
quick, easy reference on the info page.
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Microtonal Guitar Works Vol.1 OUT NOW !
15 years of Sten Hostfalts microtonal music
Anniversary digital multi-album compilation.
A multi-album set with four complete works
nine suites and
48 tracks total of music created
for ( and commissioned by ) lectures at New
World School For The Arts Miami, FL, Berklee
College of Music, The Royal College of Music
in Stockholm and Fundacio' ACA XXXV Encontre
de Compositors Festial at Pilar i Joan Miro'
Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Plus a 2006 solo set
recorded at Zeitgeist Gallery, Cambridge MA
( previously released as the CD 'Macroscope' )
and the 2002 solo concert recording initially
CD released as 29 Pieces For The Microtonal
Guitar Live at Knitting Factory New York.
NOW REGISTERING FOR FALL 2017 CLASSES
There is still some space left, sign up here
to claim, reserve and confirm your three,
eight or twelve lesson package.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[ AUGUST 23 ]
Planning fall 2017 sessions.
Weekly ( 3 ) Quarterly
( 8 )
and Semester ( 12 ) packages
available. Manhattan Midtown
Lower East Side and Ridgewood
Queens studio locations/setups.
SEE YOU IN SESSION
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SUMMER SESSIONS ARCHIVED
All programmatic contect for
summer 2017 is now fully archived
and dropboxed as a summary for
each and everyone. Get in touch
if anything needs clarification.
Meanwhile Thanks everyone for
the creative input this summer !
All Rights Reserved © 2018 Sonus Rex
Sten Hostfalt is a SONUS REX rcording artist,
affiliated with Broadcast Music Inc. BMI and
American Federation of Musicians, local 802,
Associated Musicians of Greater New York.