Testimonials

"I had taken guitar lessons with Az for almost two months. I've got to say I had experienced the meaning of professional. I started playing fingerstyle guitar by myself and I thought what I was doing was right. However after a few lessons with Az. I found out I was able to play some pieces that I thought I wouldn't be able to play after many years later. Az knows every solution of my difficulties and they are very helpful. Az is very creative. He could change a song to my tunes which sound awesome. Anyways Az is an amazing guitar teacher and guitarist. I would love to have lessons again!" 

Jeremy Hou, Auckland, New Zealand (Skype Lessons)

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"I have been playing electric and acoustic guitar on and off for about 18 years. Being primarily self-taught, I focused on just learning songs that I wanted to play and completely ignored all other aspects of developing my playing - from theory to technique, and everything else in between.

I joined Az because I became frustrated with my inability to fully understand what I was playing, and I wanted to learn how to improvise and translate the licks I heard in my head onto the fretboard.

Learning from Az has been transformative for my guitar playing. He is equally as gifted as a player, as he is as a teacher, and he has helped me develop into a much more well-rounded guitar player with noticeably improved playing ability.

Part of Az’s “special sauce” is his ability to take complex, seemingly daunting material, and translate them into easy-to-understand bite sized concepts in a manner that made it incredibly easy for me to grasp - where previously I had failed at learning the same concepts online/through other material.

Highly recommended!"

Anand Krishnan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Electric Guitar Student)
 

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"I completed a two month Introduction to Fingerstyle Ukulele Course with Az or more appropriately “Dr Az”. He will look and listen and “diagnose”. He can pinpoint your idiosyncracies and pull down the stumbling blocks of each individual’s personal development. He has a mind so attuned to the finest details and he can really open doors that you cannot imapgine. He has an open mind that is ever willing to absorb and digest new styles and thinking. He is able to break down complex ideas into simple concepts. He can transgress all barriers to transform each individual’s creativity and musicality. He strives to understand each individual so that he can inspire one to rediscover their passion.

Last but not least, Dr Az is a passionate artiste who is true to his art and he sincerely strives for the betterment of all musicians alike."

Cheng Lan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Completed the Intro to Fingerstyle Ukulele Course)

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"Not only is Az a thorough and inspiring teacher, I loved how to customized the lessons to cover areas that would enhance my skills as a singer-songwriter, I don't think I've ever enjoyed homework that much! Az's mastery of the instrument translates into his lessons but technicalities aside, it was the way he made me feel - always encouraging - that marks him as as true teacher whose love for sharing surpasses all else."

- Bihzhu, singer-songwriter

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"Sometimes I feel that Az Samad is like a mini Berklee to me, I know it sounds weird...

I come from China, before I met Az, I’ve already play guitar for years, and really tired of this instrument, I’m not just hit the wall, walls are the only thing happen when I play guitar. I’ve seen many guitar players and I know that they can’t help me, probably I could help them (sorry for my arrogance). Also, I’ve seen some high level guitarist too, and they still can’t help me, because teaching is a totally different thing, just like I don’t know how to teach you my mother language.  

Then occasionally I met Az, watch him playing, he’s so good, and I go back home google him... Worth trying... you know...

Every time I taking the class is like a Jazz Improvisation Session, me and Az, nobody knows what’s gonna happen, so much fun and efficient, coz I won’t spend times on the things I already know."

 

- QuYuan Leo, Sound Engineer, Former Radio DJ, Guitarist

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"I recently took an 8 hour package deal with Az, as a songwriter i basically hit a wall in terms of composing. My main goal was to expand my understanding of the guitar in order to enable me to diversify and be experimental with how i structure my chords and to write new songs.

Az was very structured in his lessons and took the time to understand what my goals are and worked very closely with me to achieve that goal. He was very open with most of my questions and made the lessons very fun and informative.

As a result, I have now rediscovered my passion and this course has definitely helped with craft as a songwriter and performer by pushing myself to be more imaginative."

- Rashdan Harith, Singer-songwriter, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

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"I have been a guitarist for almost 10 years and thought I could just get by with chords and melody. Learning from Az has been an amazing experience, every lesson has multiplied my knowledge of music and just went I thought I learned enough about a particular thing, he amazes me with his depth of knowledge and wisdom. I always look forward to the next lesson, never knowing what I may learn and discover every session. Az Samad's lessons are tailor made for anyone, be it an aspiring musician, a music enthusiast or an advance player, he has always something to offer and in spades. He is a brilliant maestro but an equally great mentor if not better!!"

- Benjamin Khong, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Completed The Jazz Guitar Masterclass Course in Oct 2013)

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"When start learning with Az, I want to learn something different or new from the way I playing. Not only learn jazz and fingerstyle but his vast knowledge of guitar and music have inspired me. His teaching method and explanation are brilliant, friendly and easy to understand. I found a huge improvement in playing and knowledge after learning with Az. Lesson with Az are definitely fun! "

- Aaron Ac, Rock & Jazz Guitarist, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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"Thank you Az Samad for the workshop & it is a pleasure sitting in your workshop for the 2nd time since Yr 2006/7. I can tell you have a passion for teaching and sharing & hope to catch you in action again soon. Beautiful sound from your Lowden even when it went direct to the PA system."

- Teik Guan Kam, Guitar Workshop Participant, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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"As a singer, who plays guitar just to aid the process of songwriting, the thought of taking guitar lessons from Az was a little intimidating. I thought that I would be out of place because he's so skilled - how on earth would he deal with a novice like me? But one visit changed all of that. He's so friendly and easy to communicate with, so our lessons were never boring. I had no intention on ever becoming the next guitar legend, I just wanted to play better so I could write more diverse music, and Az clearly got that. These were by far the best guitar lessons I have ever taken because it didn't 'fix' me, it enhanced me. I told Az what I wanted to learn, and he tailor-made my sessions to constantly adapt to my learning pace and comfort levels. I learnt so many new interesting chords and techniques that I could apply to my writing immediately. I was a very basic player before starting with him, and my viewers left me comments saying they could sense a change just after 2 lessons! Az's lessons are so individualistic that it not only made me a better guitarist, but a better artist due to his insight."

- Keana Reinu, Singer-songwriter, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
 

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"Az was a wonderful teacher to have at the Thomas Leeb Bootcamp. He touched on core topics of composition and phrasing in a way that was approachable and meaningful. He equipped us with tools that we can now use to help in our building processes."

Kyle Horn, Percussive Fingerstyle Guitarist, New York City, NY

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"We all know that Az is a fantastic guitarist and teacher, but it is his attitude towards his craft which strikes me the most. Az's joy when he plays the guitar is more than infectious, and I feel that beyond technique and musicianship, this is something many can and should learn from. I have had the absolute pleasure of being more than just a student of Az, but also a good friend. Az has a vast knowledge of guitar and the music industry, stemming from years of professional experience, and what he has shared with me has been invaluable in my endeavours as a solo musician. It has been a wonderful experience learning from him, in both his exceptional skill at the guitar and his admirable attitude."

Neil Chan, Fingerstyle Guitarist, Singapore 

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"Az has an amazing ability to teach in a way that makes it so easy to learn, I managed to learn so much in just a short span of time. Having a familiar and comfortable way of playing after many years using the guitar for songwriting, the lessons with Az was an exploration of new sounds and ways of playing that  inspires new material. Looking forward to experiment. Thanks Az!"

Mei Chern, Singer-songwriter, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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"Az is one of the most passionate and approachable teacher that I have known. I have always wanted to learn to play a guitar but having a hectic schedule at work, I didn't pursue the interest thinking guitar lessons will be a routine and not feasible to be built into my plan. Having said that I realised that Az provided a flexible solutions to deal with the situation. Afterall my goal is not to sit for exams or to add stress to the learning experience. So indeed we managed to work on a plan for lessons to be managed with a balance of my work schedule of which I appreciate the most.
Being a beginner, I had to shop for a guitar for the first time and Az helped me out by taking time to share his knowledge on what are the things that I should look out for in buying a guitar and made the whole experience less intimidating and enjoyable.
I enjoyed taking classes with Az because he allowed me to progress at my own pace and he would translate 'technical' terms in a basic manner that can be understood easily for a beginner. There is always room for questions and creative approach taken by Az to explain the 'why' and 'how' throughout the lesson.
Indeed he has planted a seed of interest to continue to learn to play the guitar and making it a fun and fruitful experience for me."

Samantha Lee, Beginner Guitar Student, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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"I was lucky enough to have a 2 hour lesson with Az each weekday for two weeks. Prior to meeting Az I was a competent electric rhythm and lead player. Having a degree in composition I had good theory knowledge and interest in analysing music. I was hoping to expand my acoustic playing techniques and to have challenging conversations about music in general and guitar in particular.

Each lesson was unique, this was great for me as Az and I did a very satisfying mix of playing and talking. We challenged each other and enjoyed the exchange of knowledge and opinion on music playing, composing, listening and also life in general.
When demonstrating techniques or pieces Az was very patient and considerate and moved at the pace that suited me. He also allowed me to video key aspects of lessons.
Each day I looked forward to the lesson and wondered what it would bring.  I was never disappointed, the lessons were stimulating, challenging and fun.  
Each day I left wanting more, but also intellectually spent as we covered a lot of ideas and materials in each session which suited my level of understanding and skill.
I am a much better player following our series of lessons, I have a friend in Malaysia and I learnt a lot about music, playing and life through my interactions with Az.
Thank you Az for sharing your knowledge, passion and skills with me. With eternal gratitude. Mat "
Mat, Acoustic Guitar & Music Theory Student, Christmas Island, Australia 

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"Like most guitar enthusiasts, I started off young, enthusiastic and eager to learn, but eventually lost my zeal and got stuck in a rut with the same licks and chord progressions. Even though I wanted so much to learn about jazz guitar playing, the online resources available kept me away with their complex lingo on jazz standards and music theory. So when I heard about Az, I immediately called about classes.

I can remember the first class with Az so vividly, the way he handles guitar classes is truly a breath of fresh air. Always smiling and warm, he unravelled the basic jazz chords, as well as their arpeggios within the first lesson. I remember driving back and trying to recall all that I had learnt, and telling my mom how much I had enjoyed the class. Moreover, taking classes with Az has reinvigorated my desire to improve and practice harder than before. He has also opened up my playing from being a purely 'pentatonic scale' player to venture beyond my comfort zones on the fretboard. To put it in a nutshell, I've truly rediscovered my passion for the guitar.

From my experience with guitar teachers, I can testify that not all great guitar players make great guitar teachers. But Az is the exception to this rule, and I can't wait to get back to classes with him, so that I can continue learning! "

Arwin Goo, Jazz Guitar Student, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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"Studying guitar with Az Samad is awesome. The 2 months of Jazz Guitar Masterclass is a kickass journey for me, made my money well spent. Haha. Az Samad's teachings is so well structured. Talking about soloing over changes, I spent most of my time finding more licks to solo, so that I don't play the same licks over and over again in every song. After I started Az Samad's lesson, I understand that being able to play a good solo is more than just practicing licks ! Hahaha. Good one.

We talked about how to explore and practice chord voicings, melodic comping, writing lines over changes, rhythmic and melodic motif development . Trust me, Az Samad is a friendly guy and it's really easy for me to get information from Teacher Az in any topic related to guitar. At least enough for a year to practice I can say. Hahaha.

Now that I've completed this 2 months Jazz Guitar Course, I feel better at understanding about Jazz Guitar. One of the most important information that I've got from Teacher Az Samad is, there are too many things for us to practice, we have to be sure what is our goal and we want to achieve so that we can have a good direction to plan for our every practice session. Really appreciate all the information I got from classes and I'm PROUD to be Az Samad's student !      =)"

Chee Seng, Music College Student, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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"Before I join Az's class I had already learn and play for 4 years but all the while, my overall playing still quite stiff especially the percussive techniques that I learnt from Youtube. After getting his lessons, my previous weaknesses such as playing with no emotions, stiff techniques have removed! Moreover, after the lessons, I get to learn many things that are more than my expectations. Aside from the percussive techniques, I'd even discover my own play style and learn the way to compose guitar fingerstyle music. Aside from these, Az is also a very helpful and friendly mentor as he always provides me with good resources and suggestions even outside of class time. Finally, I can say is that my guitar playing skill has been ultimately reached the next level."

Lai Ze Ren, Fingerstyle Guitar Course Student, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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"Learning with Az has been a unique experience, full of many paths and unexpected turns that have lead to satisfying places and better playing.  Until recently, I've been a self-taught guitarist for the past 30 years.  Initially, I figured we would need to spend time working on my incorrect ways of playing.  But that didn't happen.  Az saw these not as bad habits, but as other ways of playing.  He urged me to build and add new voicing and phrases, as a way to add to my collection of existing techniques.  In a very short period of time, I've found myself exploring the fretboard with a renewed sense of wonder and curiosity that I haven't experienced in years, and as a result, my playing and compositions have benefitted greatly.  Az is probably one of the few instructors who knows how to engage his students, customize lessons, and enable you to discover what you're truly capable of."

Eric Hausmann, Multi-Instrumentalist & Composer, Skype Guitar Student, Portland, Oregon, USA

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"I have owned a guitar for 10 years before I finally decided to do something with it, and I picked the right teacher. Az seems to have a knack for mind-reading as he is able to dissect and explain the music to me even before I know what questions to ask. His emphasis on learning the basics well has helped me build a sound foundation to progress much faster.

One of the most helpful tools that Az uses well is technology. His videos of the songs and techniques that I'm learning let me review the lessons on my own, and has helped me learn so much better. Guitar is fun!"

Carolyn Hong, Beginner Guitar Student, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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"Az is a guitar genius. Studying jazz guitar with him is a most eye-opening, musically-inspiring journey. His really unique approach to common musical challenges never fails to amaze me. What's best is Az teaches one "how to fish instead of giving him/her a fish", i really appreciate how he teaches one how to apply concepts, how to approach musical raw material and how to practice - which is knowledge that I can apply throughout my musical journey in life. His teaching style is really great too, as he is really friendly, concise and to-the-point. What's really cool too is that Az can make genres like funk sound really good on a classical guitar hahaha ! Az's mastery of any musical material he is working on is so admirable. I daresay Az is my most favorite guitar teacher !  :D"

Sapphire Ng, Music College Student, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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"My lessons with Az was one of my most fruitful and provocative experiences in my 'guitaring' adventures. Being a guitar teacher myself, i noticed that Az's teaching technique is comprehensive and he would always managed to keep 'boring' subjects interesting and fun for the students. I was always excited to attend his classes although it would take 5 hours to reach his apartment (I'm from Penang, by the way!)!! Besides being an awesome performer, he's a great teacher and he'd emphasize on details of techniques from various perspectives. Flexibility is his 'middle' name and I'm happy that each lesson is somehow customized to my needs rather than a fixed or rigid syllabus. Thanks Az! "

Richard Leong, Professional Guitar Teacher, Penang, Malaysia

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"I'm a self-taught guitarist and have been playing for 12 years now. I started with piano lessons till Grade 5 but I never quite liked the piano, so I taught myself guitar instead. Thanks to the internet and Youtube, I've managed to learn quite a fair bit - till I hit the ceiling of free self-learning about 5 years ago. Try as I might, I could never get myself to the next level, and I started giving up and thought "this is the best I'll ever get". That was until I met Az.

I signed up for four weeks with Az, with high expectations and "big problems" that I wondered if we could cover in time. I wanted to master the fretboard, be able to play further than the 4th fret, understand jazz basics, play some harmonics - stuff like that - and I figured we'd need months and months for that. Az blew that out of the water - I knew how to master the fretboard within my first hour with him. Mind = blown.

In the weeks to come, Az not only taught me all I wanted to learn; he also corrected the many little errors I had in my playing that I never knew existed, and taught me so much about the guitar that I now have enough practice material to last me at least 6 months. All in very easy-to-understand lessons with no funky guitar jargon. He's incredibly easy to work with, is really patient, and best of all - he *knows* what exactly to teach and how to achieve my goals that there is no wasted time. I've learnt more in those 4 weeks than in my 5 years fumbling around in the dark.

True, Az's prices are premium prices - it's no secret that you can take normal guitar classes for a fraction of the price. But you don't get "normal" teaching with Az - you get customised, condensed, *premium* stuff that you absolutely cannot get anywhere else for this kind of price. Don't let the casual, down-to-earth look fool you. This guy knows his stuff, and he is amazing at teaching that stuff to you.

If his credentials listed in his website isn't enough to convince you, then let me leave you with this: If I had a choice to go back in time and decide whether or not to sign up for Az Samad's uber-premium classes - I would. Ten times out of ten. And I'm already planning to continue my classes once I've mastered what I've learnt so far.

Just sign up with him already. You will not regret it."

Michael Kwan, Tech Geek & Guitar Enthusiast, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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"Az Samad was amazing when he came to work with us as the Jazz Consultant for the Young KL Singers' 10th Anniversary Concert, Popzzical! Knowledgeable and funny, he helped us understand the historical context behind Ain't Misbehavin', making good use of YouTube videos to highlight the different ways the song could be interpreted. He was also instrumental in getting us to groove properly for the rhythmic Sinaran, with his engaging and effective advice that was very easily grasped by all 40 of our members. He definitely helped us bring out the best in our jazz numbers for our concert. Thanks, Az!"

Yin Zhen Yao, Producer, Popzzical 

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"I'm a 30-something, tone deaf IT professional and a father of 3 kids under 6. My previous music education ended after my third piano class when I was about 8 and the only other instrument I played and was decent at in school was the triangle. If Az can teach me to play the guitar like a warrior mariachi and tell apart mexican and spanish finger styles, imagine what magic he can work for you and your guitar. His brilliance on stage is only overshadowed by his patience and creativity in teaching. He doesn't just show you the techniques, he makes you fall in love with the guitar."

Wu Han Ngeow, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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"I was interested in learning more about song writing, but have always had the fear of writing my ideas and having others listen to them. I had a Skype session with Az and learned about many a variety of valuable things, such as where to get an idea and how to translate that idea into a musical composition. I wrote my first song (Night, in Farsi, “Shab”) in 15 minutes, and I was actually pleased with it. It is amazing how creative one can get if the motivation and excitement is behind a project. Az gave me the motivation to get started. I am not a composer and did not study composition at music school, I am a vocalist who has very little knowledge of the 'rules of composition,' yet, Az created a very friendly environment that taught me and my boyfriend (an engineer) how to get our ideas organized and use them in making some very fun musical projects.

Sara Renee Morajev, Professional Vocalist & Music Educator, Livermore, California.

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"I have been playing for about five years before enrolling with Az Samad. I have gone to a few guitar classes before but I remained stuck in a rut. It was frustrating.

A friend suggested Az Samad whom he saw performing and true enough, his vast musical knowledge and performing experience helped me a lot. My guitar playing improved by leaps and bounds. His approach to teaching guitar is very systematic, helped greatly by his personality that truly inspiring. We started with minor pentatonic before moving to major pentatonic. By my third class, listening to a song became a new experience and I could identify and understood the mechanic behind the songwriting, as if a veil has been removed.

With the help of Line 6 JM4 looper, I practiced what I have been taught and voila, I found myself jamming for hours. The best part was when my wife complimented my playing. Initially she thought it was the stereo.

If you are serious about guitar playing, I recommend my sifu very highly. Go to him and you will be surprised by how fast you can improve. He inspires me to improve and he will do the same to you too."

Hisham Zaman, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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"My name is Amirhooman and I major in music and before taking classes with Az Samad I was lost I didn't know how to get my tone how to apply the theory on my playing and much more in one sentence AZ SAMAD WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO PLAY THE GUITAR AND NOT THE GUITAR PLAYING YOU and my playing changed from the first hour of the class. And he is a true mentor."

Amirhooman Hesmati, Music College Student, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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"I learnt more than I ever did in the past few months with my previous guitar teacher simply because he (Az) can effectively get the message across while keeping the subject matter simple. You won't regret it!"

Arthur Song, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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"Az Samad is a wonderful musician and teacher. He is familiar with a vast array of guitar styles and techniques from classical to contemporary. What's more, he knows how explain the guitar in simple terms."

Eli Harrison, M.Mus. student, San Francisco, California. 

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"Az has a flawless technique for teaching guitar concepts, and is one of the top guitar players in the Bay Area. I highly recommend him for lessons or gigs!"

Keith Hunter, SJSU Music Education and Trombone Performance major, San Jose, California.

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"Az Samad is not only an incredible performer but has the ability to explain the techniques behind his phenomenal playing. His knowledge expands from Classical to nearly every contemporary style under the sun. Along with his teaching skills, Az has the ability to truly inspire his students to be outstanding musicians. Mr. Samad's teaching style is perfect for beginner, intermediate and advanced students!"

Alex Upegui, SJSU B.A. in Vocal Performance, San Jose, California.

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"Through our weekly guitar lessons, Az has inspired me in fingerstyle guitar. Our musical pursuits in class as student and teacher have broaden both our musical interests in terms of genre; our sources of music come from the current Top 40s to videos on YouTube, to classical sheet music. Az is an awesome teacher who is passionate about every song he plays."

Johnny Wong, High School Student, Fremont, California.

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 "As a student of many guitar instructors, Mr. Az Samad stands among the greats. His humble and patient approach, along with a wide breadth of knowledge, combines to create a perfect learning environment. Mr. Samad has an innate ability to pinpoint problem areas and focus your practice in a way that is enjoyable and highly productive. Simply put, a lesson with Mr. Samad is a truly 'Azesome' experience."

Mason Hutchinson, SJSU Undergraduate, San Jose, California.

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" My lessons with Az has turned out to be one of the most valuable and worthwhile experience throughout all the time I've spent on the guitar. It is not just the instruction of technique but the impartation of his experiences, thoughts & observations, interjected with humour and good advice that sets him apart from the rest. Highly skilled and an excellent teacher, Az is a must for anyone looking to improve themselves as a guitarist. "

Aidan Chung, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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"Az Samad was born to play teach and play the guitar! He is a natural! His style of teaching is easy to understand. Each time I met with him I was amazed at how easily he could get his point across. Every time I asked him a question in class, he was always knew the answer. Az is an excellent teacher! He is patient, kind and an expert at his craft! You will do well to learn from him."

Barbara Ramos, SJSU Music Education Major, San Jose, California.

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"As a private student of Az, I can simply say that no other private lesson I've attended was as comprehensive for both practical & theory. Not a single minute was wasted. The session I attended filled me full of new knowledge & vision that I later applied to my very own music.

Az was so helpful that he was even willing to let me organize a group workshop for my guitar community, ACPickers. Everyone who attended the workshop had nothing but good things to say and were satisfied with the overall output! I'm already looking forward for the next one which is coming soon at the end of the year!

Az is not only a great performer - full of sense of humor but also great educator who is willing to teach and share all that he has learnt and experienced!"

Yowech Yong, Guitarist and Music Teacher, Malacca, Malaysia.

Beats & Bytes

Teaching Highlights

Upcoming Workshops:

Currently scheduling workshops & speaking engagements for 2013-2015. Interested in organizing one? Contact Az here!

Mon, Sept 9: Singapore | Fingerstyle Guitar Workshop at Maestro Guitars and Ukulele, Esplanade | 6:30 PM

Currently scheduling workshops for 2013-2015. Interested in organizing one? Contact me here!

Recent Workshops & Talks:



10 Mar, Sun, 1pm & 3.30pm (Mosaic Music Festival, Singapore)

Mosaic Music Makers: In A Chord –
Guitar workshop for Absolute Beginners
 [SOLD OUT]

Thomas Leeb Residential Acoustic Guitar Workshop [SOLD OUT]
(with Thomas Leeb, Jon Gomm, Mike Dawes, George Lowden, Wilfried Lepuschitz and Az Samad) 
Turracher Höhe, Austria, July 13th - 19th 2013 

Thomas Leeb Residential Acoustic Guitar Workshop
(with Thomas Leeb, Jon Gomm, Mike Dawes and Az Samad) 
Turracher Höhe, Austria, July 6th - 12th 2013  

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2013, 6pm (ICOM, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
The Secrets of a Successful Touring Musician
with Az Samad & Gabriel Lynch (FB Event Page)

Tues, Feb 21 | University of Asia and The Pacific, Philippines
Campus Workshop Tour in conjunction with Philippines International Jazz Fest

I've Conducted Workshops At: 


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Online Lessons/Transcriptions

Truefire.com Lesson - 4 Exercises For The Right Hand (US$0.99 - includes MP3 and PDF file)

Free Lessons:

Hybrid Chords and the II-V-I Chord Progression (includes MP3 & PDF)
CAGED Fingering Concept
Ideas on how to learn a song
Latah Setinggan Transcription - A section
Score/Transcription for Senja Mula Menangis

And more free lessons on:
www.achordaday.com
guitarharmony.blogspot.com

Selected blog posts:

On composing (March 5, 2004)
On the creative process (March 31, 2004)
Music and inspiration (Jun 1, 2004)
On attending Eric Roche's Residential Guitar Workshop (Oct 10, 2004)
Different aspects of the guitar (Oct 14, 2004)
Random notes about the guitar (Oct 29, 2004)

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I've taught at:

Northern California Music & Art Culture Center (NCMACC) , San Francisco, CA

SF Guitars Not Guns (Beginner and Intermediate Group Guitar Classes) - San Francisco, CA
The Music School, Sunnyvale, CA
Berklee College Of Music (Faculty, Berklee Summer Guitar Sessions 2007 & 2008) - Boston,MA
The North Beach Teen Program Guitar Classes @ Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center - San Francisco, CA
San Jose State University (Co-teacher for Guitar Fundamentals Class and Teaching Assistant for Jazz Improvisation I Class)
De Anza College (Teaching Assistant for Intermediate/Advanced Guitar Class)

And conducted music workshops at:

Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, USA. 
Freight and Salvage, Berkeley, California, USA.
Culturefest 2008, Pipestem, West Virginia, USA.
San Jose State University, San Jose, California, USA.
Evergreen Valley High School, San Jose, California, USA. (Guitar Outreach w/ Steve Lin)
International College Of Music, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Malaysian Institute of Art, Taman Melawati, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
AC Pickers @ Freeman Guitars, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Guitar Collection Subang Jaya, Malaysia
Music Hut, Damansara Perdana, Malaysia
Young Choral Academy, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Damansara Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Kl SingSong Festival 2006

« Thinking Of Guitar Lessons? | Main | Lessons for All Musicians »
Wednesday
Oct122011

Wanna Learn Percussive Fingerstyle Guitar?

Imagine having the creative freedom to play all those amazing percussive fingerstyle guitar music you’ve seen - without spending hours of frustration figuring out difficult techniques on your own while watching a video on YouTube...

  • Does fingerstyle guitar confuse you?
  • Does it take you such a long time to learn something? 
  • Do you feel like you’re not playing a fingerstyle guitar song correctly?
  • Have you been learning all these songs but don’t know how to write your own?
  • Do you love what you’re playing but you just don’t understand what you’re doing?
  • Do you ever wonder how do your favorite guitarists make what they play look so easy?

I know how it feels to be stuck. I’ve spent years gigging, writing music, touring, performing at festivals and still felt like I didn’t know anything. Then, I met a guitar teacher who would shape my musical direction for the next five years.. Suddenly, I was inspired and studying with him open up new possibilities for me.

That wasn’t the only time. Every once in awhile, I would meet a teacher that would make me see things from a different perspective. He or she would make me find creative ways to make music. Improvise. Compose. Perform. Go to the next level.

I have to say that I was one of the lucky ones. Many of these teachers are just not accessible to most people. The problem is most of the time, these teachers are scattered all around the world. Hectic touring and teaching schedules. But, I was so adamant with the desire to learn - that i searched for them. I would read guitar magazines, books, go to guitar forums and later YouTube for hours. I found the best guitarists. I researched who they studied with. Then, I looked for these world class music educators.

And found them.

I’ve studied with world-class musician-educators from the UK, Austria, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Germany, Russia and more. I’ve taken private lessons, workshops, college classes, Skype lessons and masterclasses.

What I learned in the end was something that no singular music school in the world could have taught me.

Now, what if instead of travelling all the way across the world (what I did) - you could study and learn how to play guitar like that, right here in Kuala Lumpur?

What if you didn't have to travel the world to access this exact world-class music education?

Imagine if you could...

  • Finally get that song out of your head and onto the guitar
  • Make your simple song sound fuller with percussive acoustic guitar
  • Compose and arrange songs in an alternate tuning (and understand what you’re doing)
  • Play with relaxed and comfortable fingerstyle technique so you you'll great (and feel great!)
  • Practice efficiently so that even 5 minutes of practice could bring great results

Basically, you’ll have the freedom to create better, more creative music. And you’ll have fun!

As a guitarist-educator, I’ve often met many guitarists who have amazing enthusiasm, passion and musicality. Many of them however face the frustration of not being able to get the sound they have in their head out onto guitar. And as such, their music growth feels stunted.

At first, I began by helping show some ways of developing their skills, or another way to make their song more interesting...

...after a while, I realised, that it’s better to give the creative freedom to the guitarist, so you can explore your own music, style and expression on your own. After all, I remember, that was the biggest value I received from the best teachers I learned from.

So, based on my experience and the frustrations of the guitarists whom I’ve met and worked with, I’ve put together a music curriculum unlike any other. It’s seriously nothing you can find in any other conventional music school, that I can guarantee, cause I know. I’ve been there!

The Only Contemporary Fingerstyle Guitar Curriculum Specifically Designed for Aspiring Guitarist-Composers

Whether you’ve just starting to get into fingerstyle playing, or already been learning songs, learning modern fingerstyle guitar will open avenues to take your music growth to new levels!

You will learn:

  • Cool Percussive Fingerstyle Guitar Techniques that you can use in your music
  • 6 different ways to play harmonics on acoustic guitar to extend your melodic range
  • Fingerstyle Strumming Techniques that make arrangements sound bigger
  • Right Hand Fingerstyle Technique for Steel String Guitar (and what I learned from some of the best classical guitarists in the world)
  • How you can start to play, compose and improvise in DADGAD tuning (and sound great!)
  • Composition Techniques you can use to make your songs sound better immediately
  • How to learn complicated fingerstyle guitar techniques (and why most fingerstyle guitarists don't groove!)
  • The secrets of extremely effective practice techniques (how to get better results from everytime- even in a 5 minute practice session!)

You will get SIX jam-packed 2-hour sessions where you’ll learn a whole integrated approach to fingerstyle guitar. You will also learn how to work on posture and relaxed playing techniques, so you’ll avoid that dreaded tendinitis injury (which is not fun when you have a performance, right?)

In this course, you’ll learn percussive fingerstyle guitar techniques used by guitarists such as Michael Hedges, Andy McKee, Eric Roche, Thomas Leeb, and Jon Gomm. 

We will start from the very basics, uncovering the different percussion sounds available on the instrument, play basic guitar drum grooves, and learn how different guitarists exploit these textures in their pieces.

Combined with alternate tunings, harmonics and other cool guitar tricks, you'll learn how to incorporate these ideas in your own music, arrangements and performances!

I will break down our sessions to focus on THREE core skill areas that will lay the foundation for your creative fingerstyle guitar freedom.

When you enroll in the course, you will learn...

  • Contemporary Fingerstyle Guitar Techniques

Picture yourself making music with percussive guitar techniques, grooves, harmonics that will transform your playing. Imagine all the songs you will write with your expanded palette of sound. Won’t it be fun to hear yourself playing like the very acoustic guitarists you love? 

But, this is not just a techniques class! Technique alone makes for flashy acrobatics for your fans but to really move people, you need more than just this. So, you’ll also learn...

  • Fretboard Harmony

Be able to play in DADGAD, a useful alternate tuning that will give you new ideas for your arrangements and original compositions.  (My compositions are all either in DADGAD or standard EADGBE tuning!) 

Imagine being able to play a melody, different harmonic colors and really understand what you can do on the guitar! I’ll show you specific concepts that will give freedom to find music you’ve been hearing in your head on your guitar!

Still, it can be overwhelming on your own to find a way to combine all this new knowledge that you will learn...

  • Composition Approaches

Have you ever seen a guitarist who’s amazing technically but when you hear their composition, it sounds like a bunch of random ideas stringed together? 

Don’t be that person! 

When you study with me, you will learn how to avoid that. 

I will show you techniques that I learned while studying Jazz Composition at Berklee College of Music AND how you can use it in your very own fingerstyle guitar compositions!

In fact, at the end of the 3-month course, you will have composed at least one complete original fingerstyle guitar composition! And... if you’re up for the challenge, you might even write more with all the new knowledge that you will learn!

Here's a composition written by one of my students, Lai Ze Ren after he completed the course:


How will you learn all this?

  • A total of 12 hours of personal one-on-one private instruction. The classes be 6 sessions of 2 hours each. We’ll meet once every two weeks.
  • 25 Specific Exercises designed to develop your technique so that you can master what you’ve learned. These are focused exercises that develop your command of the guitar.
  • 5 Etudes that combine the different concepts so that you can see how everything you learn fits together (the etudes prepare you to compose your own songs!)
  • 3 Transcriptions of my compositions for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels (one of each) so that you can expand your repertoire while developing your guitar skills! We will also be looking at the transcriptions so that you can see how I combine what you’ll learn in my own music.
  • E-mail support - get direct access to me. You can message me if you have problems with the material! Depending on the topic, you may get additional material to help you practice too.

You’ll get a custom designed course which is a culmination of my 14 years of teaching experience. This material combines what I learned from my 6 and a half years in the US* and the clinics, private lessons and guitar workshops in the UK and Austria studying with master fingerstyle guitarists such as Eric Roche, Thomas Leeb, Alex de Grassi, Jon Gomm, Don Ross, Stuart Ryan, Teja Gerken, Peter Finger, Jacques Stotzem, Steve Baughman and Vicki Genfan!

* at Berklee College of Music (both as a student and later a faculty member of the Summer Guitar Sessions) and San Jose State University. 

Here’s what one of the students who completed the Percussive Guitar Course had to say:

"I've gained a better playing sound from Az Samad's fingerstyle short course than from 6 years of classical guitar classes. Az has an incredibly technical ear and vast knowledge of technique which allows him to give lessons that improves your guitar skills from the very beginning. The lessons are structured in a way that allows you to learn new things at a comfortable pace yet flexible enough to accomodate musical experimentation.You'll also produce an original composition by the end of the course, and be equipped to produce many, many more."
Lutfi Hakim, Percussive Guitar Course Student, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

__________________________

Here’s how my lessons have helped previous/current students:

"Can't wait to practice guitar and add these tools you've given me into my songwriting. You're an AMAZING teacher and guitarist, hands down!"  
Grace Sng, Emerton Records Artist, Vancouver, British Columbia

__________________________

"I learnt more than I ever did in the past few months with my previous guitar teacher simply because he (Az) can effectively get the message across while keeping the subject matter simple. You won't regret it!" 
Arthur Song, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

__________________________

"We all know that Az is a great guitarist, but he's an exceptional teacher. Learning guitar with him totally exceeded my expectations. It's not just his attention to technical detail that improved my playing. He adjusted the teachings to my current level of skills and, most importantly, taught me what I want to achieve. Within the first two lessons, I understood the guitar better than I ever had before. I no longer need a chord book. Best of all, I now have the freedom to compose new chord progressions, experiment with new sounds, play around with fingerstyle dynamics, and take my songwriting to a whole new level! Songwriting has become fun again :) Anyone who (like me) has been frustrated writing the same kind of songs over and over again will find new inspirations after learning with Az. You won't regret it."
Lisa Zahran, Singer-Songwriter, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

  __________________________

"Az Samad is a wonderful musician and teacher. He is familiar with a vast array of guitar styles and techniques from classical to contemporary. What's more, he knows how explain the guitar in simple terms."
Eli Harrison, M.Mus. student, San Francisco, California.

__________________________

"Az has a flawless technique for teaching guitar concepts, and is one of the top guitar players in the Bay Area. I highly recommend him for lessons or gigs!"
Keith Hunter, SJSU Music Education and Trombone Performance major, San Jose, California.

__________________________

"Az Samad is not only an incredible performer but has the ability to explain the techniques behind his phenomenal playing. His knowledge expands from Classical to nearly every contemporary style under the sun. Along with his teaching skills, Az has the ability to truly inspire his students to be outstanding musicians. Mr. Samad's teaching style is perfect for beginner, intermediate and advanced students!"
Alex Upegui, SJSU B.A. in Vocal Performance, San Jose, California.

__________________________

"As a student of many guitar instructors, Mr. Az Samad stands among the greats. His humble and patient approach, along with a wide breadth of knowledge, combines to create a perfect learning environment. Mr. Samad has an innate ability to pinpoint problem areas and focus your practice in a way that is enjoyable and highly productive. Simply put, a lesson with Mr. Samad is a truly 'Azesome' experience."
Mason Hutchinson, SJSU Undergraduate, San Jose, California.

__________________________

" My lessons with Az has turned out to be one of the most valuable and worthwhile experience throughout all the time I've spent on the guitar. It is not just the instruction of technique but the impartation of his experiences, thoughts & observations, interjected with humour and good advice that sets him apart from the rest. Highly skilled and an excellent teacher, Az is a must for anyone looking to improve themselves as a guitarist. "
Aidan Chung, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

__________________________

"Az Samad was born to play teach and play the guitar! He is a natural! His style of teaching is easy to understand. Each time I met with him I was amazed at how easily he could get his point across. Every time I asked him a question in class, he was always knew the answer. Az is an excellent teacher! He is patient, kind and an expert at his craft! You will do well to learn from him."
Barbara Ramos, SJSU Music Education Major, San Jose, California.

__________________________

"As a private student of Az, I can simply say that no other private lesson I've attended was as comprehensive for both practical & theory. Not a single minute was wasted. The session I attended filled me full of new knowledge & vision that I later applied to my very own music. 

Az was so helpful that he was even willing to let me organize a group workshop for my guitar community, ACPickers. Everyone who attended the workshop had nothing but good things to say and were satisfied with the overall output! I'm already looking forward for the next one which is coming soon at the end of the year!

Az is not only a great performer - full of sense of humor but also great educator who is willing to teach and share all that he has learnt and experienced!"
Yowech Yong, Guitarist and Music Teacher, Malacca, Malaysia.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What kind of acoustic guitar should I bring? What type of pickup is best for this style?

Any steel-string acoustic guitar will do - I can recommend specific ones depending on your budget. 

I've used different pickups on different guitars, LR Baggs, AERs, K&Ks, Fishmans etc. It depends on what you're looking for. Typically, some kind of piezo or contact pickup in combination with a mic pickup works for this style. 

Can I use a classical guitar for the class?

If you like, you can also use a nylon string guitar. One of my students in the first batch opted for this. Although more challenging for some of the techniques (and low tunings), you will still be able to learn all of the material. 

Do I need to do any traditional sightreading for this course? 

There will be some notated examples but it will come with tablature and fingerings too. The course will be hands-on, less about reading and more about getting the techniques and concepts together. I'll help you step by step! =)

What are the prerequisites for this course? Do I need to have a certain song repertoire?

The prerequisite is some playing experience - no song repertoire needed! We'll build the repertoire and skills during the course! 

Where will the classes be held? 

Classes will be at my apartment in Bangsar, walking distance from the Bangsar LRT station. I will e-mail you the exact address and directions before the first class.

How many students are you taking for the class?

For the first enrollment (January to April 2012), I’m taking only up to 5 students for this course.

In the second enrollment (September to December 2012), I'm taking 5 students as well.

For the third enrollment (April to June 2013), I'm taking only 3 students.

In the fourth enrollment (September to December 2013), I'm taking 3 students.

In 2014 enrollments, I'm taking 3 students for each enrollment. 

Why so few students?

For you! I want each of my students enrolling in this course to really learn and be successful in their fingerstyle guitar adventure! 

To do this, I need to give attention to your individual challenges in learning this style of music. Also, by teaching you one-on-one, you get personalized lesson pacing with the course material! Some parts of the course may be easier for some of you. Some may be more difficult. This way, you get the whole course that mirrors your natural learning pace. =)

How long is the course?

The course runs for 3 months, with a 2-hour class every two weeks. 

The main reason I’m offering the class like this is to allow you to really learn the new techniques well before the next class. Also, because most of my students have busy schedules, this allows optimum time for you to absorb and practice what you’ve learned. 

How much is the investment for this course?

You could spend RM115,000 a year and study at a music college in the US or Europe to have access to the kind of amazing teachers I’ve studied with. 

You could easily spend RM10,000 or more to just attend a 5-day guitar workshop in Europe (and study with three to four of the teachers I’ve studied with). I’ve done that before and would recommend it if you can. But, I know that most people aren’t ready for that.

Or, you can enroll in this course and get:

  • A guided step-by-step fingerstyle guitar 3-month course held right here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • A total of 12 hours of personal one-on-one private instruction. The classes be 6 sessions of 2 hours each. We’ll meet once every two weeks.
  • 25 Specific Exercises designed to develop your technique so that you can master what you’ve learned. These are focused exercises that develop your command of the guitar.
  • 5 Etudes that combine the different concepts so that you can see how everything you learn fits together (the etudes prepare you to compose your own songs!)
  • 3 Transcriptions of my compositions for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels (one of each) so that you can expand your repertoire while developing your guitar skills! We will also be looking at the transcriptions so that you can see how I combine what you’ll learn in my own music.
  • Your very own fingerstyle guitar composition! You'll be composing throughout the course and in the end have your own original piece that you can perform for your family, friends, gigs and concerts!

Contemporary Fingerstyle Guitar Course (Version 2.0)

  • A total of 12 hours of personal one-on-one private instruction. The classes be 6 sessions of 2 hours each. We’ll meet once every two weeks.
  • Personalized Additional Lesson Videos (RM330 Value)
  • Progress Report PDF (RM55 Value)
  • Class Notes/Recap Sent Via Email To You (RM660 Value)
  • E-Mail Lesson Support During Package Duration (RM990 Value)
  • You get a RM4,195 value in the course!

You can choose between two options:

1. Complete Payment (Save RM360) : One-time payment of RM1,800 

2. Installment Payment Plan: Three monthly payments of RM720  (That adds up to RM2160)

Enrollment is limited to 3 students only. I look forward to help guide you in your your fingerstyle guitar adventure.

If You're Ready To Take Your Guitar Playing To The Next Level,
If You Want World-Class Fingerstyle Guitar Instruction,
If You Want Personalized Paced Lessons That Focus On You,

To book your slot, send me a message here: http://www.azsamad.com/contact 

Please include:

  • Your name and location  
  • Your musical background (how many years you've been playing)
  • Your favorite fingerstyle guitarist
  • Your favorite fingerstyle guitar song (include a YouTube link if possible)

I look forward to hear from you. =)

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