Helen Avakian

Notes From Helen


Guitarists Performance Workshop Online!
April 20, 2020

Guitar Performance Workshop 7:00 - 8:30 PM Mondays April 20 - May 18

Transform Stage Fright To Stage Excite-ment

This will be an in-depth exploration of ways to work with the energy of stage fright and turn it into something positive so that one can perform more effectively and enjoy it along the way. The more a performer enjoys what they are doing the more confidence they have which helps for a stronger presentation all around. I will offer various techniques and tips from ways to prepare in practice sessions to ways to calm down before and during performance. Every class there will be an opportunity for participants to perform and share with the group if they wish to do so. We will also do some group guitar playing activities. This is a topic near and dear to my heart as I have contended with stage fright since I was a child. Years of study and performing have helped me to work with that energy, enjoy performing, compete in guitar contests, and even win the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship! I have helped a great many students gain more comfort onstage. I have seen individuals go from being practically inaudible when singing, or being debilitated with shakiness and nerves when performing on guitar to happily appearing at open mics, playing for loved ones, at parties, and in concert.

"I took Helen's Guitar Performance Workshop, and I will say it really helped me a great deal. I got rid of a lot of fear. It built up an enormous amount of confidence; we (in the class) all made gigantic improvements. I highly recommend this program."
Steve Puntillo, Guitar Performance Workshop Participant, Sun Prairie WI

"I have just completed the guitar performance class. If you have nerves or get shakes when performing then this is for you! We learned several tools to help relax and reduce anxiety. The class was about 5 people and each of us performed a song each week. I enjoyed pushing myself to have a song to perform. Helen records your performance to a drop box to review later. I have gained confidence and am recording myself more often as well."
Scott Lewis, GPW Participant Sun Prairie

"I have extreme anxiety about playing the guitar in public. In the past it has prevented me not only from playing in public spaces but also from playing for my friends at home. Helen is extremely gentle and kind in the way she works with students who have performance anxiety. Not only that, but the way her class is structured— where students have to play for their peers in every class is very useful. I felt my confidence expanded under her instruction. I have decided to take another class with Helen because I felt she helped me a lot."
Dory Lightfoot, GPW Participant Sun Prairie


"When it came down to the competition I was very worried, very nervous. I did a lot about what you talked about in the workshop. I did physical activity beforehand to really clear my mind. I did some of the breathing exercises as well that you taught in your workshop, and overall I thought it was a great performance, one of the best performances I've had for both songs. I just really appreciated what you had to say, and I definitely took that to heart. I thank you very much."
Alberto Garcia, Guitar Performance Workshop Participant  at the Indiana Fingerstyle Guitar Festival, Fingerstyle Championship Competitor Nashville, IN

5 Sessions $125

Individual Lessons on guitar, songwriting, beginning ukulele, and vocal coaching are also available on an ongoing basis meaning you can sign up any time. You can also sign up for a semi-private lesson with another guitarist or two. Contact me for more information and pricing.

To register email, call or text me, and I will provide payment instructions.
(845) 797-6461 info@HelenAvakian.com

 
Groundhog Season Guitar Classes begin March 2!
February 16, 2020

Introduction To Guitar, Teens - Adult Saturday 10:30 - 11:30 am March 7 - April 4
Learn the basics of playing guitar from the ground up; how to hold the guitar, tune, play single notes and chords, accompany songs using strumming and fingerpicking, and how to play solos. Fundamentals of music such as rhythm and song structure will be covered as well as exercises to develop finger strength and dexterity. Lots of “hands-on” experience playing together as a group in a variety of styles tailored to the interests of the group including pop, rock, folk, blues, country and perhaps even a touch of Spanish Flamenco. Students must bring their own acoustic guitar or electric guitar. Instructional materials will be provided.
5 Sessions $100
If these days and times do not work let me know, I may be able to put a group together at another mutually convenient time.

Guitar Performance Workshop 7:15 - 8:45 PM Monday March 2 - March 30
This will be an in-depth exploration of ways to work with the energy of stage fright and turn it into something positive so that one can perform more effectively and enjoy it along the way. The more a performer enjoys what they are doing the more confidence they have which helps for a stronger presentation all around. I will offer various techniques and tips from ways to prepare in practice sessions to ways to calm down before and during performance. Every class there will be an opportunity for participants to perform and share with the group if they wish to do so. We will also do some group guitar playing. This is a topic near and dear to my heart as I have contended with stage fright since I was a child. Years of study and performing have helped me to work with that energy, enjoy performing, compete in guitar contests, and even win the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship! I have helped a great many students gain more comfort onstage. I have seen individuals go from being practically inaudible when singing, or being debilitated with shakiness and nerves when performing on guitar to happily appearing at open mics, playing for loved ones, at parties, and in concert.

"I took Helen's Guitar Performance Workshop, and I will say it really helped me a great deal. I got rid of a lot of fear. It built up an enormous amount of confidence; we (in the class) all made gigantic improvements. I highly recommend this program."
Steve Puntillo, Guitar Performance Workshop Participant, Sun Prairie WI


"When it came down to the competition I was very worried, very nervous. I did a lot about what you talked about in the workshop. I did physical activity beforehand to really clear my mind. I did some of the breathing exercises as well that you taught in your workshop, and overall I thought it was a great performance, one of the best performances I've had for both songs. I just really appreciated what you had to say, and I definitely took that to heart. I thank you very much."
Alberto Garcia, Guitar Performance Workshop Participant  at the Indiana Fingerstyle Guitar Festival, Fingerstyle Championship Competitor Nashville, IN

5 Sessions $125

Individual Lessons on guitar, songwriting, beginning ukulele, and vocal coaching are also available on an ongoing basis meaning you can sign up any time. You can also sign up for a semi-private lesson with another guitarist or two. Contact me for more information and pricing.

To register email, call or text me, and I will provide payment instructions.
(845) 797-6461info@HelenAvakian.com




 
Winter Guitar Classes Begin 1/6/2020!
December 29, 2019

Winter Guitar Classes: 5 Weeks, Mondays in Sun Prairie 1/6 - 2/3
To register email, call or text me, and I will provide payment instructions.
(845) 797-6461info@HelenAvakian.com
 

Introduction To Guitar, Ages 13 - Adult
Section 1, 6 - 7 PM  (REGISTRATION FULL, CLOSED until next time)
Section 2, 10:30 - 11:30 AM (REGISTRATION OPEN, a few spots are still available)

Learn the basics of playing guitar from the ground up; how to hold the guitar, tune, play single notes and chords, accompany songs using strumming and fingerpicking, and how to play solos. Fundamentals of music such as rhythm and song structure will be covered as well as exercises to develop finger strength and dexterity. Lots of “hands-on” experience playing together as a group in a variety of styles tailored to the interests of the group including pop, rock, folk, blues, country and perhaps even a touch of Spanish Flamenco. Students must bring their own acoustic guitar or electric guitar. Instructional materials will be provided.
5 Sessions $100
If these days and times do not work let me know, I may be able to put a group together at another mutually convenient time.

Guitar Performance Workshop 7:15 - 8:45 PM (REGISTRATION OPEN, a few spots are still available)
Transform Stage Fright Into Stage Excitement! : )
This will be an in-depth exploration of ways to work with the energy of stage fright and turn it into something positive so that one can perform more effectively and enjoy it along the way. The more a performer enjoys what they are doing the more confidence they have which helps for a stronger presentation all around. I will offer various techniques and tips from ways to prepare in practice sessions to ways to calm down before and during performance. Every class there will be an opportunity for participants to perform and share with the group if they wish to do so. We will also do some group guitar playing. This is a topic near and dear to my heart as I have contended with stage fright since I was a child. Years of study and performing have helped me to work with that energy, enjoy performing, compete in guitar contests, and even win the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship! I have helped a great many students gain more comfort onstage. I have seen individuals go from being practically inaudible when singing, or being debilitated with shakiness and nerves when performing on guitar to happily appearing at open mics, playing for loved ones, at parties, and in concert.

"I took Helen's Guitar Performance Workshop, and I will say it really helped me a great deal. I got rid of a lot of fear. It built up an enormous amount of confidence; we (in the class) all made gigantic improvements. I highly recommend this program."
Steve Puntillo, Guitar Performance Workshop Participant, Sun Prairie WI


"When it came down to the competition I was very worried, very nervous. I did a lot about what you talked about in the workshop. I did physical activity beforehand to really clear my mind. I did some of the breathing exercises as well that you taught in your workshop, and overall I thought it was a great performance, one of the best performances I've had for both songs. I just really appreciated what you had to say, and I definitely took that to heart. I thank you very much."
Alberto Garcia, Guitar Performance Workshop Participant  at the Indiana Fingerstyle Guitar Festival, Fingerstyle Championship Competitor Nashville, IN

5 Sessions $125

Individual Lessons on guitar, songwriting, beginning ukulele, and vocal coaching are also available on an ongoing basis meaning you can sign up any time. You can also sign up for a semi-private lesson with another guitarist or two. Contact me for more information and pricing.

To register email, call or text me, and I will provide payment instructions.
(845) 797-6461info@HelenAvakian.com


 


 
Fall Group Guitar Classes 2019
October 6, 2019

Fall Guitar Classes: 5 Weeks, Monday Evenings in Sun Prairie. 10/28 - 11/25

Introduction to Guitar, Ages 9 - 12, 5:00 - 5:45 PM
Learn the basics of playing guitar from the ground up; how to hold the guitar, play single notes, chords, and accompany songs. Instructional materials will be provided. Students must bring their own acoustic guitar. Please, no toy guitars. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about finding and choosing a suitable beginner guitar.
5 Sessions $75

Introduction To Guitar, Ages 13 - Adult, 6:00 - 7:00 PM
Learn the basics of playing guitar from the ground up; how to hold the guitar, tune, play single notes and chords, accompany songs using strumming and fingerpicking, and how to play solos. Fundamentals of music such as rhythm and song structure will be covered as well as exercises to develop finger strength and dexterity. Lots of “hands-on” experience playing together as a group in a variety of styles tailored to the interests of the group including pop, rock, folk, blues, country and perhaps even a touch of Spanish Flamenco. Students must bring their own acoustic guitar or electric guitar and amplifier. Instructional materials will be provided.
5 Sessions $90

Guitar Performance Workshop, 7:15 - 8:30 PM
Transform Stage Fright Into Stage Excitement! : )
This will be an in-depth exploration of ways to work with the energy of stage fright and turn it into something positive so that one can perform more effectively and enjoy it along the way. The more a performer enjoys what they are doing the more confidence they have which helps for a stronger presentation all around. I will offer various techniques and tips from ways to prepare in practice sessions to ways to calm down before and during performance. Every class there will be an opportunity for participants to perform and share with the group if they wish to do so. We will also do some group guitar playing. This is a topic near and dear to my heart as I have contended with stage fright since I was a child. Years of study and performing have helped me to work with that energy, enjoy performing, compete in guitar contests, and even win the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship! I have helped a great many students gain more comfort onstage. I have seen individuals go from being practically inaudible when singing, or being debilitated with shakiness and nerves when performing on guitar to happily appearing at open mics, playing for loved ones, at parties, and in concert.
5 Sessions $110

Individual Lessons on guitar, songwriting, beginning ukulele, and vocal coaching are also available on an ongoing basis meaning you can sign up any time. Contact me for more information and pricing.
 

Fall Guitar Classes: 5 Weeks, Monday Evenings in Sun Prairie. 10/28 - 11/25

Introduction to Guitar, Ages 9 - 12, 5:00 - 5:45 PM
Learn the basics of playing guitar from the ground up; how to hold the guitar, play single notes, chords, and accompany songs. Instructional materials will be provided. Students must bring their own acoustic guitar. Please, no toy guitars. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about finding and choosing a suitable beginner guitar.
5 Sessions $75

Introduction To Guitar, Ages 13 - Adult, 6:00 - 7:00 PM
Learn the basics of playing guitar from the ground up; how to hold the guitar, tune, play single notes and chords, accompany songs using strumming and fingerpicking, and how to play solos. Fundamentals of music such as rhythm and song structure will be covered as well as exercises to develop finger strength and dexterity. Lots of “hands-on” experience playing together as a group in a variety of styles tailored to the interests of the group including pop, rock, folk, blues, country and perhaps even a touch of Spanish Flamenco. Students must bring their own acoustic guitar or electric guitar and amplifier. Instructional materials will be provided.
5 Sessions $90

Guitar Performance Workshop, 7:15 - 8:30 PM
Transform Stage Fright Into Stage Excitement! : )
This will be an in-depth exploration of ways to work with the energy of stage fright and turn it into something positive so that one can perform more effectively and enjoy it along the way. The more a performer enjoys what they are doing the more confidence they have which helps for a stronger presentation all around. I will offer various techniques and tips from ways to prepare in practice sessions to ways to calm down before and during performance. Every class there will be an opportunity for participants to perform and share with the group if they wish to do so. We will also do some group guitar playing. This is a topic near and dear to my heart as I have contended with stage fright since I was a child. Years of study and performing have helped me to work with that energy, enjoy performing, compete in guitar contests, and even win the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship! I have helped a great many students gain more comfort onstage. I have seen individuals go from being practically inaudible when singing, or being debilitated with shakiness and nerves when performing on guitar to happily appearing at open mics, playing for loved ones, at parties, and in concert.
5 Sessions $110

To register email, call or text me and I will provide payment instructions.
info@HelenAvakian.com
(845) 797-6461

Individual Lessons on guitar, songwriting, beginning ukulele, and vocal coaching are also available on an ongoing basis meaning you can sign up any time. Contact me for more information and pricing.
 


 
Intro Guitar Classes Begin 1/31/2019!
December 8, 2018

Introductory Guitar Classes in Sun Prairie, WI Begin January 31!

Start learning guitar in the new year and you can be playing songs around the campfire this summer! You will also be able enjoy playing guitar in a group right away. 

Introduction to Guitar Group Class

Learn the basics of playing guitar from the ground up; how to hold the guitar, tune, play single notes and chords, and accompany songs using strumming and fingerpicking. Fundamentals of music such as rhythm and song structure will be covered as well as exercises to develop finger strength and dexterity. Lots of  “hands-on” experience playing together as a group in a variety of styles tailored to the interests of the group including pop, rock, folk, blues, country and even a touch of Spanish Flamenco. Students must bring their own guitar.

Ages 13 - Adult
Thursday 7:30 - 8:45 PM
4 Sessions 1/31 - 2/28 No class 2/14

$80
Instructional materials will be provided.

Ages 9 -12
Tuesday 6:30 - 7:15 PM
4 Sessions 1/7 - 2/11 
No class 2/14
$50
Kids Method and Songbook, Hal Leonard Guitar Method (preferred) or Guitar Method for Kids, Hal Leonard Guitar Method required.* 

Further Instructional materials will be provided.

* If you could use some guidance on what kind of guitar to get and/or where to purchase the Hal Leonard Method book please let me know. I am happy to help!

TO REGISTER email, call or text me, and I will provide payment instructions. (845) 797-6461

Individual lessons for guitar, songwriting, ukulele, and vocal coaching for guitarists also available.

Call or email me for individual lesson rates. info@HelenAvakian.com (845) 797-6461

 

Further Detail In Conversational style in case you would like it. : )
When I moved to the Madison WI area from New York I left behind a very full schedule of teaching up to 11 college classes (some credit, some credit free) and 35 individual students a week plus performing and writing music. For the past several years I have been teaching part time with a couple days a week at Guitar Center Middleton and a small number of on-line and home studio students plus summer sessions at Girls Rock Camp Madison. This January 2019 I will be expanding back into teaching Introductory Guitar Classes. I taught these classes for 15 years to students from ages 7 - 85. I found it very rewarding as the students tended to progress well as a group and a really fun group personality would emerge each time. It seemed that having peers to watch as well as the teacher helped inspire everyone, and we were able to make some very nice music that would not have been as big and full otherwise. Some of the students went on to more advanced classes and/or private study with me. I am fortunate to stay in touch with a number of them. Many are still playing, some are performing regularly, some are also hosting their own performance nights at local venues and some have gone on to be music educators as well.

I look forward to seeing who comes to these Introductory classes and what kind of music we will make together!


 
Acoustic Guitar Magazine Review of "Notes from Helen"!
August 4, 2015

Just out in the September issue of Acoustic Guitar Magazine: "Helen Avakian's first all-instrumental CD is an impressive introduction to the winner of the 2014 International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship... (Avakian) deftly serves up a wonderfully eclectic program that showcases the breadth of her talent as a solo guitarist working in a wide variety of styles... Guitarists will find much to marvel at: The arrangements are consistently imaginative..." Plus there are favorable to comparisons made to musicians I have long admired, such as Will Ackerman, Alex de Grassi, Micheal Hedges and even the Grateful Dead! I am so thrilled to appear in a magazine I have been enjoying since the early 1990's and before! An ad for the Walnut Valley Festival appears on the same page, a very cool and perfect juxtaposition! I first heard of the WV Fest from Acoustic Guitar, again back in the '90's when I read about National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion, the amazing Muriel Anderson. In addition, "Notes from Helen" would not have been made when it was if I had not won the International Guitar Fingerstyle Championship myself last September. The prize money and boost in confidence inspired me to record the CD.

 


 

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