Testimonials

"One of the biggest problem guitar players face, myself included, is getting stuck in a comfort zone of familiar licks and not breaking free of that rut. Before I met Az, I was comfortable with playing what I usually played as it seemed to work, but deep inside, I knew it lacked a certain quality that all my guitar heroes had in their playing. 

I wasn't sure of what to expect at one of Az's classes as I am self taught and never really taken a proper formal lesson, but the classes opened up my eyes on minute details on what I was lacking, like how important it was to put as much feel and tone in your practice as you would when playing an audience, which is not so easy when you're trying to play as cleanly as possible and in time. 

Az also opened up my understanding of the fretboard, giving context to things I already knew how to play, and the reasoning behind how and why certain chords or licks are the way they are, which really helps in songwriting and improving the quality of your playing as you understand what to pick to play, phrasing, and what works well together. It's almost like relearning a language you already spoke casually, but now you know how to sound educated! Worth mentioning is how Az let's you pick your favorite musicians, whom you will usually know most of their songs or playing as a point of reference in improving your understanding and playing, especially from a songwriting standpoint.

Even though I only took one class (albeit intensive), I am more concious of what I play, and put more value in each note I play. My situational awareness of where I'm playing is also better, as the theory part really helped in knowing where to go next.

I guess all I have to do now is practice. (I promise to get that finger roll thing down next time we meet Az haha)"

- Fariz Shakir​, Songwriting and Guitar Student

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"I've been taking jazz guitar lesson from Az for the past 13 months. It's a really satisfying process as Az slowly 'demystify' jazz to me step by step. I came to realise that jazz is not as scary as i thought when you have the right guidance and a great teacher. Az made the process of learning to play jazz really fun. I strongly recommend to anyone who wanna learn how to play jazz or improvise to take lesson with Az! His enthusiasm and passion will definitely make you a better player!"

Seng Jinn, Jazz Guitar Student, Singapore

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"The Az Samad Jazz Improvisation workshop was fantastic, it gave me the opportunity to see what is supposed to happen at practice for it to be effective. The fact that it was done over two instruments (the keyboard and guitar) gave further insight to how this can be applied. I feel like I've hit a plateau in my guitar playing due to the way I practiced, because I wasn't aware of practicing effectively, as I am a self taught musician. But this workshop truly helped me in the sense that I am now more aware and practice deliberately with the tips I've learnt rather than just doodling with my instrument as I have before. Loved the puns, the content and a chance to watch Az perform!"

Joshua Khor, Jazz Improvisation Workshop Participant

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"Lessons with Az are an absolute pleasure and regularly the most enjoyable 2 hours of my week. I have now bolstered my knowledge of music thanks to Az's relentless enthusiasm and encouragement. His lessons are structured and well prepared with the focus on what you want to learn rather than what he wants to teach you. Great guitarist, great teacher, great guy. I wouldn't hesitate at all in recommending him to any guitar player of any level of skill looking for a teacher and a mentor."

Ranveer Singh, Jazz, Harmony and Composition student

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"I saw Az performing during an Incitement meet up last December. I've seen him perform in TedxKL last year but it never occurred to me I'll be taking classes from him a couple of months after that. I always had an interest to pick up guitar during my school days so I was really glad I met Az that day.

When I first began, I thought he's going to teach me some basic songs and scales, maybe start with a nursery rhyme or something.

During my first lesson, it was like a crash course on introduction to guitar.I had zero experience before this but I learned how to tune the guitar and I could remember every note on each string because the method he taught me was so simple and the lessons stuck with me until now.

What surprised me the most was how I had the freedom to choose what I wanted to learn.

The first song I chose to learn was "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana.

That's how I learned about power chords,strumming patterns and it took me a while to get it but Az taught me to break apart the song and practice one small part a time. I basically learned how to dissect the song, into the strumming pattern or playing the chords. Sometimes it might bejust one scale at a time until I master it.

What I've learned from Az through out this 12 classes were, your fundamentals have to be strong. It might take hours to practice a simple strumming pattern, to get the right sound or finger style or even choosing the right guitar pick but at the end of the day when it all comes together, it's just amazing.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the way he used technology and internet to learn guitar in a more efficient and enjoyable way. I don't know if many people do this but he's always looking for a new app or site that will help his students to learn better.

I've gotten more confident now that I'll be able to tackle any piece of music or song by practicing one little thing at a time. No matter how daunting it may seem, I know I'll be able to take up the challenge now."

Shatish Rao, Beginner Guitar Student

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"It has been a pleasure to work with Az. I started lessons with him because of my Berklee audition, but in the end, I came out as a better musician and individual because of his encouragement, motivation and knowledge as a Jazz educator. He’s taught me that a mere interest in an idea is not enough to master anything. Rather, it is only through your own volition and commitment that you will experience any form of improvement, and I am thankful that he’s demonstrated this to me. Moreover, he makes his lessons intellectually challenging yet fun, difficult yet satisfying and, above all of all, rewarding as you learn more than you initially anticipated. Thank you for everything Az, I look forward to working with you in the future!"

Foo Jeng, Berklee Audition Prep Student

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"I have been learning under Az Samad for the past one and a half years now, and I cannot thank him enough for the substantial amount of knowledge, skills and support that he has ‘bestowed’ upon me. 

I am a classically trained pianist for a huge part of my life until I entered university. There I was blessed to be given the opportunity to take up the genre of music that I love, which is jazz. 

It may sound strange to some for a pianist to take lessons with a guitarist, but assure you that that was the best decision I made. 

I signed up for lessons to learn Jazz Improvisation, wanting to gain a better understanding and appreciation for the vastly colourful genre that jazz is, or WHAT jazz is. Over the months, we also covered Jazz harmony, and even touched on the methodology of composition. 

My lessons with Az were very heavily based on theory and aural. We analysed quite a number of jazz standards by breaking down the form, melody and harmony via the lead-sheets. 

To be more specific, the piece that made a huge turn in my learning process is the analysis of a bebop jazz number, Confirmation by Charlie Parker. Since then, bebop didn’t seem all that scary and intimidating as I finally could make sense of the style of music. 

Back to the topic of a pianist learning from a guitarist, my lessons were indeed of a very different experience. Despite the fact that I do play the guitar and understand how the instrument functions but I am unable to imitate physically exactly what is being played due to the difference in instruments. If I were to watch a pianist play, I would be able to see precisely how the fingers are being placed and knowing the exact notes just by watching him or her. 

This situation turned out to be a fantastic learning environment after all, whereby my aural listening skills were greatly enhanced. After a year of lessons with Az, I have certainly been performing a lot more and with a high level of confidence of the music that I play. 

Overall, the one thing I have learnt from him that will forever be a part of my journey of music-making is that everything can be broken down into simple and easily accessible and comprehensible bit-size morsels." 

Kirsten Long, Pianist, Vocalist & Educator

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"I just want to say that these last 11 lessons with Az helped open up an entirely new world for me in terms of playing finger-style jazz guitar. While I’m still struggling to get my playing to a level of professionalism that is required for a public performance I believe I will get there some day if I continue to be diligent in rehearsing and practicing.

Az, you have not only been a great mentor and a kind and patient teacher but extremely generous in sharing your skills, wisdom and experience with me. For this I cannot thank you enough. What I have learned from you are not just the half a dozen standards or so but more than that I have learned how to work out songs by myself, thanks to your tutoring.

I wish you the very best in your teaching and performances and will do my best to catch your gigs wherever you play."

Joe Edwin, Jazz & Fingerstyle Guitar Student

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"Az Samad had been one of the most inspiring guitar instructor I’d came across. Not just his skills and techniques that make him a great teacher, but his level of understandings, experiences, thoughts and patients. What I learned most from Az is the way and method he uses to learn and practice, from breaking apart a song and analyse it note to note to fixing some basic foundation that many had ignored but would actually make a huge different in our playing. Learning with Az had been a wonderful experience.”

Joyie Xinyuer Lai, Jazz Guitar, Harmony & Fingerstyle Guitar Student

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"Taking the 2 months Jazz Masterclass with Cikgu Az was really an interesting and important journey for me as a Jazz guitar student. I learn tons in these 2 months studying with him about jazz. He covered with me so much materials in just 2 months time, from basic chord voicings to good tone quality and I really appreciate his enthusiasm and also his patients as he teaches. Through these lessons I learn the importance of learning tunes in different parts. Learning the melody and to be really familiar with it. Learning aspects of harmony in terms of comping and also chord voicings. Improvisations through the melody lines and also chord melodies.

There was an advice which I also will remember is when I said I am very scared in performing in front of people. Cikgu Az bluntly but kindly told me that if I continue to be scared why would I want to perform in the first place? That made me think real hard. I wouldn't say that I have overcome my fears completely but I trying to overcome them step by step. 

I really learn a lot from Cikgu Az and he really helped me alot in improving my playing. I hope to have more masterclasses with him in the future and also hopefully one day I could actually perform with him. Thank you so much Cikgu Az! "

Eric Tan​, Jazz Guitar Masterclass Student

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I've been playing guitar for almost 7 years and also studying music at the UiTM Faculty Of Music majoring in classical guitar. I also took a private lessons with a few guitar teachers outside ,both classical and modern guitar. Learning with Cikgu Az Samad was really the best musical experience for me .His knowledge in music was really doubtless. One thing I admire about Cikgu Az is that he never stop  learning ,you can always see him taking lessons and go for music workshops even some small workshops for beginners. He will always share what he learned from the lessons. Cikgu Az has thought me many things and solved most of my problems in guitar playings, theories and etc.

I took jazz & harmony lessons with Cikgu Az . We learned on understanding about voicings (drop 2, drop 3 , drop 2&4) , how & when to use the voicings, choose the right voicings, using inversions to change from 1 chord to other (nearest) chord. Learn about chord "tensions" 9,13,11 etc . How to apply it on guitar instruments. Learn about modal interchanges (borrow chord from other modes), starting from secondary dominants and then to modes. 

Cikgu Az also showed me how to apply all the things i've learned about jazz harmony on classical music . He thought me on understanding more about classical guitar repertoire rather than just working on technical stuffs, fingerings and tone. We learn how to analyze the chord progression , cadence , chord characteristics and how to plan/divide a music phrase . Understand more about what the composer wants . We also learn the story about the music , how the chords/cadence/phrase relates to the stories.

All the methods that he used was simply incredible and easy to understand. He always have good ways on explaining things to students. Also all the materials that he gave me (homeworks , book suggestions and many more) were really great and helpful! 

So, I do strongly urge all "Music" students out there (especially to my colleagues at the Faculty of Music,UiTM) dont matter classical or modern or what instruments you're doing to take lessons with this great Music Teacher. Really worth the money and time."

Saiful Hazman​, Jazz & Harmony Student 

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"Az Samad's guitar masterclass was inspiring, enlightening and entertaining all at once! For the 3 student performers, we saw how applying Az's advice resulted in an immediate and tangible improvement in their performance.

It was a wonderful session not only for the selected student performers but also for the rest of us in the audience. The Institute of Music looks forward to having Az again."

Justin Lim, Head of Contemporary Music Program, The Institute of Music, UCSI University

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"During my 7 years as a guitar student, I took private lessons with over 10 guitarists. Some of them being classical guitarists, some rock guitarists, and some jazz guitarists. Some of them being world-class performers, Berklee College of Music professors, or active guitarists in the local scene. But studying with Az Samad was definitely one of the most profound and musically enriching experience for me. His continuous and incessant passion and curiosity in guitar, motivated and inspired me to constantly work harder. Az also showed me that there is no limit when it comes to guitar, and there is always something to practice. On top of that, it is clearly evident that Az wants all of his students to succeed. Every single week, Az would go over and give feedback on all the materials I worked on, and he constantly gives information and opportunities that will benefit me or his other students. Lastly, it is absolutely unbelievable how much knowledge Az has. For almost every lesson, I would come in with different topics and questions. We covered so many different styles and topics such as: bebop line building, compositional techniques, classical guitar techniques, solo guitar, transcribing, Bach, pentatonics, soloing strategies, and so much more. For every one of these topics and questions, Az always seem to know the detailed answer, and more importantly, ways to improve and solve the question/problem I had. Az, thank you so much for all that you've taught me!"

Chris Lee, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Jazz Guitar Student)

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"I have been playing and writing songs for decades, so I wouldn't just go to any normal teacher for help, since I already know more than just the basics. Az, however, is the most knowledgeable musician I know personally, so it was a no brainer for me to seek guidance from him. I was stuck in a rut a few years ago. Picking his brains for ideas on what to explore within the context of my own music was refreshing. He was also able to correct general sloppiness in the way I played within the first few lessons. I made significant progress overnight. It’s the small things that make a difference. The guitar is very much a tactile instrument but he was able to intellectualize and explain different concepts on playing in a very accessible way. I never took lessons for any extended amount of time when I started out as a kid but I am glad I took the time to study with Az. You can never stop learning whether you're 14 or 40."

Tabh Chandra, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

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"I started holding guitar ever since high school, and I have always wanted to play guitars like John Mayer, Wes Borland, Jimi Hendrix, Miyavi and Ken. But sadly, I fail to inspire myself to put significant amount of effort to practice guitar as much as I should.

As time goes on, I realized that my skills didn’t improved, and I have decided to take guitar lessons to break the barrier of just playing open and barred chords. Finding a guitar teacher in the heart of Kuala Lumpur was a big challenge, but then I stumble upon Az Samad’s page. That’s when my musical journey began.

I signed up for one of his Jazz lessons. In my mind, classes will be like doing repetitions of a jazz score or playing a certain scale shape while a guy with a rotan who will point out the mistakes that I have made. Typical Asian style. But our first encounter proved me wrong, where we exchanged experiences and the challenges that I faced when I play guitar. Name it, we covered the foundation from holding a guitar, finger position, sitting, standing, postures etc. While some might find it unrelated to guitar playing, it is the basics of playing good music. 

What makes it interesting is that even if I signed up to learn guitar, I ended up learning much more, and started to see and to hear music differently. We went through American music history through Jazz and also more theory heavy topics that was explained in a simpler manner. Cikgu Az always finds a way to make something complex easier. Modes, chords, voicings, scales, arpeggios. Prepare yourself for a nifty musical ride.

Cikgu Az encourages people to understand and to find their own sound. Play what you feel like playing. Emulate and then make it your own. These simple recipes led me to adopt a different approach in my playing. I have always like how John Mayer sounded during his transition from pop to bluesy days. Continuum and Try are two of my favourite album. We dissected two songs meticulously (Gravity and Another Kind Of Green), and the outcome was staggering. Let’s just put it this way. It’s all about the finer things that makes a song so brilliant, and that’s what I learned most from Cikgu Az.

I would totally recommend anyone who wants to learn music, be it guitar, violin, strings, ukulele, name it, to learn with Az. A great teacher can help you save a couple of years of bad habits and unnecessary time wasting. Go beyond open and barred chords, and embrace the musical journey."

Fahmi 'Kei' B., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Jazz Guitar Masterclass & John Mayer Electric Guitar Style Class) 

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"I wish I took a few guitar classes with Az when I first started--it would’ve saved me a few years worth of frustration! Instead of teaching me 20 songs and a few flashy techniques, Az thought me how to learn whatever I wanted. He really helped open my eyes to ‘invisible techniques’ that rhythm guitarists use to get the effect that they want. The only negative thing I came away with from the class is a new-found obsession with creating Youtube lists and finding folk songs with subtle tempo changes. You have been warned!"

Ariff, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Singer-Songwriter Guitar Course Student) 

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"The general saying out there is that one is either a performer or an educator and never really both. But I think Az has got both sides down pat and he even covers this in one of his lessons. So not only do you learn technique, but you do learn some stage/ performance craft as well! I initially started out nervous and thinking I wasn't smart enough to be able to fully comprehend everything. But Az brings music into an understanding that you can personally relate to, and by my 12th lesson I felt more confident in my playing and was more conscious on what I was doing around the fret board. Az also knows how to bring out hidden knowledge in your subconscious to a whole new level and you will then say to yourself 'WHOA!' *brain explosion*"

Li-Ying, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Electric Guitar Student)

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"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

__________________________

"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

__________________________


"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.

__________________________ 

"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

__________________________ 

"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

__________________________

 
"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.

__________________________ 

"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 

__________________________

"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.

__________________________ 

"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.

__________________________

"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.

__________________________

"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.

__________________________

"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.

__________________________

"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.

__________________________

"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.

__________________________

 "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.

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: 


___________________

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)

______________________

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

Saturday
Aug182012

Guitar Teaching & Learning Resources

Here's some things that you may use to help your journey in learning guitar.

[March 13 2014 Update]

[Download 20 Cool Open Position A Minor Chords PDF here]

[Download 20 Cool Open Position A Minor Chords PDF here]


[Sept 13 2013 Update]
 

Download this printable poster here: 
1. US Letter Size Poster
2. A4 size Poster

 Download the above poster here: 
1. US Letter Size Poster
2. A4 size Poster

[Dec 3 2012 Update]

Here are 15 Jazz Guitar Chords You Must Know!

[Download 15 Jazz Guitar Chords You Must Know PDF]

[Download 15 Jazz Guitar Chords You Must Know PDF]

[Nov 26 2012 Update] 

Learn triads in G! 

[Download Mastering Triad Inversions on Guitar in G PDF here]

[Download Mastering Triad Inversions on Guitar in G PDF here]

[Oct 19 2012 Update] 

Do you have trouble finding the right size manuscript to write down your guitar ideas?

Do you love computer notation but sometimes just want to write something fast by hand?

Here's a blank guitar manuscript with TAB PDF file you can print out to write your creative ideas! =)

[Download Blank Guitar Manuscript with TAB PDF here]

[Download Blank Guitar Manuscript with TAB PDF here]

[Oct 18 2012 Update]

[Download G7 Jazz Lines Using Arpeggios PDF here]

G7 Jazz Lines Using Arpeggios Lesson

Listen To The Examples Here:
 

How to practice:
1. Play the G13 chord
2. Play the G7 arpeggio 
3. Alternate playing the chord and the arpeggio
4. Slowly play Line #1 (a few notes at a time until you can play the entire phrase)
5. Alternate playing the G13 chord & Line #1. This will get the sound of the line over the chord in your ears and fingers.
6. Repeat for Line #2.
7. Try writing 2 of your own lines. Experiment & have fun! =)

[Download G7 Jazz Lines Using Arpeggios PDF here]

 

 

[Download G7 Jazz Lines Using Arpeggios PDF here]

[Oct 17 2012 Update]

 Here's a piece I wrote for intermediate guitar students looking to learn more chords in the key of A minor. It's inspired by the classical guitar studies I used to play when I started learning guitar.

You can listen to it here:

[Download the Chord Study in A Minor PDF here]


[Download the Chord Study in A Minor PDF here]

[Oct 12 2012 Update]

Here are 23 open position C Major chords that I was exploring today. Maybe you'll find one that you'll like or haven't used? =)

[Download the 23 Open Position C Major Chords PDF]

[Download the 23 Open Position C Major Chords PDF]

One of the things I use a lot are blank chord diagrams to draw interesting chord forms that I find on the guitar. Here's a template that you can print and use. It's the same one I used to write the chords above! =)

[Download the Blank Chord Diagram Template PDF]

[Download the Blank Chord Diagram Template PDF]

Monday
Aug132012

Learn Jazz Guitar in Kuala Lumpur

 

To register, e-mail me here: http://www.azsamad.com/contact 

COURSE ENROLLMENT IS CURRENTLY OPEN!

COURSE ENROLLMENT IS OPEN!

To register, e-mail me here: http://www.azsamad.com/contact 

Imagine playing your favorite Jazz Standard like your favorite guitarists -
without getting frustrated figuring out how to turn random scales, chords, licks and vocabulary you’ve been practicing into music...

  • Have you been learning Jazz Guitar but still get stuck?
  • Do you learn how to solo but everything still seems so rigid and lick-based?
  • Do you ever feel like you ‘sort of’ know a song but never really get it? 
  • Does your single note soloing sound epic BUT your comping sound boring?

A lot of people buy instructional books, watch YouTube videos, download lessons from the Internet...

But that’s easy to do. Information is easy to find but...

The question is:

How much of this is getting into your actual playing?
How can you actually sound more awesome?
How can you improve your improv?

Welcome to the [Jazz Guitar Masterclass] Version 2.0

In this epic 3-month course, you’ll learn Jazz Guitar by directly working on the repertoire.

You’ll learn a song and you learn it inside-out.

The same song is studied:

  • melody+ harmony (via chord melody)
  • harmonically (comping) 
  • melodically (improv)

What is the course format?

  • We meet for a total of 6 classes. 
  • Each classs is a 1-on-1 private lesson.
  • Each class lasts 2 hours. You get 12 hours of lessons in total. 
  • We work on 1 song for one month. You will master 3 songs in-depth during the course.

And, in the process, you’ll learn how to create idiomatic Jazz phrases, understand how to memorize the song, comp beautiful voice-lead phrases that enhance the music, and be on the way to being an awesome confident Jazz Guitarist.

This is how the classes will be:

[1st Month]

Class 1

40 min - Harmony
40 min - Improv 
40 min - Chord Melody 

Class 2

20 min - Review of material
40 min - Harmony
40 min - Improv
20 min - Jam / Recording / Analysis 

[2nd Month]

Class 3

40 min - Harmony 
40 min - Improv 
40 min - Chord Melody 

Class 4

20 min - Review of material 
40 min - Harmony
40 min - Improv
20 min - Jam / Recording / Analysis 

[3rd Month]

Class 5

40 min - Harmony 
40 min - Improv 
40 min - Chord Melody 

Class 6

20 min - Review of material 
40 min - Harmony
40 min - Improv
20 min - Jam / Recording/ Analysis (REVIEW of 3-month progress, next steps etc.) 

WHAT YOU GET:

Learn how to sound awesome on a song
Learn it inside-out & master the song
Recordings + Critique of your playing in every class.

Some of the concepts we will be covering in the classes:

1. Improvisation
Arpeggios
Phrasing Concepts
Building Lines
Approach Notes

Basically, you'll learn how to create lines that sound Jazz AND you'll understand how it works! 

Here's an example of how you use triads in your lines:
 

2. Comping
Voicings 
Voiceleading Concepts 
Walking Bass Lines 
Bossa/Samba Grooves
Melodic Comping

Don't just sound like you learned some chords from a book! You'll learn the chord voicings that the Pros use AND how they use it! After every class, you'll be one step closer to voicing mastery

Here's 3 videos that give you an idea of some of things you'll get to learn (but even more in-depth and personalized when you're enrolled in the course!):

How to Play Walking Bass Lines:
 

 How to Play Jazz Guitar Voicings:

How to Use Melodic Comping:
 

3. Chord Melody

3 (THREE) Chord Melody Studies - one every other class

Choices:

Autumn Leaves
Beautiful Love
Blue Bossa
Misty
Satin Doll
Stella By Starlight
Someday My Prince Will Come
My Favorite Things

You'll learn how to play idiomatic Chord Melody arrangements inspired by Solo Jazz Guitarists like Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Ted Greene and Ben Monder!

[NOTE]: The arrangements will be specific to your level so if you can already play a chord melody version of the song then you'll learn how to take your arrangement to the next level! 

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

"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)

__________________________ 

"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

__________________________ 

"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

__________________________

"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'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.

__________________________

"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.

__________________________

"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.

__________________________

"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.

__________________________

"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

__________________________

"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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"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.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How long is the course?

It’s a 3-month course. We meet twice a month, once every 2 weeks.
In total, you get 12 hours of world class guitar lessons.

2. How long are the classes?

Classes last for 2 hours with two formats:
(a) 3 class blocks of 40-mins each.
We cover 3 main areas to help you develop jazz skills: harmony, improvisation & chord melody.
(b) a review session of 20 mins, two 40-min blocks covering harmony & improvisation and a 20-min jam + critique session to help you plan your next steps.

3. Are these group classes?

No. These are all 1-on-1 private guitar lessons. You get 6 private lessons.

5. What will I learn?

In the classes, you’ll learn how to accompany, improvise and play a solo version of the song we study.

6. If I repeat the course, will I learn something new?

Yes, if you repeat the course, you’ll learn new harmony concepts, different ways to improvise and more advanced chord melody arrangements.

7. Can I repeat the course and work on the same three songs?

Yes, you can. Although, I would actually recommend picking different songs so you increase your repertoire too!

8. I'm a beginner in Jazz Guitar. Is the course suitable for me?

Depends. If you've played some Jazz Guitar before, know some scales, arpeggios and licks BUT you're having problems connecting all of it together - then, this is for you. However, if you've never played any Jazz, then I would recommend you taking my weekly one-hour guitar lessons. [Click here for weekly Jazz Guitar Lessons!]

9. Do we work on 2 songs at once or 1 at a time?

We work on 1 song per month. Each month has 2 lessons, each lasting 2 hours. That's a total of 4 hours per song, with a total of 6 classes (12 hours of instruction) on 3 Jazz Standards of your choice (from the given list).

10. What's your musical background? 

I've been teaching & studying jazz guitar for the past 14 years.

I lived in Boston for 2 years where I pursued my Bachelor of Music in Jazz Composition and Performance (Summa Cum Laude) from Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA. Some of my teachers included Mick Goodrick, Jon Damian (teacher to Mike Stern & Bill Frisell), Bret Willmott, Hal Crook, David Tronzo, Rick Peckham and Steve Rochinski.

I also spent 4 years in Berkeley, California and during that time, I obtained my Masters in Music (Jazz Studies) from San Jose State University. My primary guitar instructor was Professor Rick Vandivier and at that time I also studied with John Stowell. I also participated in workshops with Adam Levy (of Norah Jones fame), Julian Lage, Taylor Eigsti and Mark Levine.

I’ve relocated back to Kuala Lumpur since June 2011.

How much is the investment for this course?

You can choose between two options:
Complete Payment (Save RM480) : One-time payment of RM2,700
Installment Payment Plan: Three monthly payments of RM1,060 (Total fees: RM3,180)

Enrollment is limited to 3 (THREE) students at one time. I look forward to help guide you in your your Jazz Guitar journey.

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

COURSE ENROLLMENT IS CURRENTLY OPEN!

To register, e-mail me here: http://www.azsamad.com/contact 

Please include:

  • Your name and location  
  • Your musical background (how many years you've been playing)
  • Your favorite Jazz Guitarist
  • Your Choices for the 2 Jazz Standards you want to master

I look forward to hearing from you. =)

Wednesday
Aug012012

Fingerstyle Guitar Video Lesson Course

Improve your fingerstyle guitar skills today!

Become a fingerstyle guitarist from the comfort of your home via the brand new Fingerstyle Guitar 101 Course!

Click here for the full details:
http://azsamadfingerstyleguitaracademy.usefedora.com/course/fingerstyleguitar101/

[About the course]

  • Imagine playing a melody on guitar and then adding the bassline - and then the chords to it.
  • Imagine making it sound as if there were two or more guitarists playing but instead when people look, it's only one person and a guitar!
  • Imagine creating a sound that's like an orchestra on a single guitar!

This is the world of fingerstyle guitar.

Names like Tommy Emmanuel, Don Ross, Chet Atkins, Michael Hedges, Alex de Grassi, Thomas Leeb, Sungha Jung, Mike Dawes and more all play their own brand of fingerstyle guitar. What unites them is an understanding of the fundamentals. How to hold the guitar, how to make the kind of sounds that makes people cry and get into a trance when you play guitar.

In this course, you’ll learn 3 fingerstyle guitar pieces. These are intended to be short pieces tightly condensed with a lot of technical and musical information. Although you will be able to play these pieces after studying them in this course, the main goal is to actually understand the concepts behind them - to understand how I’m playing these pieces. The results you’ll get by really digging deep into the videos is that you’ll start to see what to practice and how to practice these techniques. Later on, you’ll be able to use the same techniques on songs you may already play or new ones with more conviction, better tone and stronger delivery.

There are 3 modules in this course. Each covers a particular approach of fingerstyle guitar playing. By understanding the strengths of each approach, you will be able to make a better decision on what technique you want to pursue further.

Learn how Fingerstyle Guitar Academy can help you play fingerstyle guitar.

Learn how Fingerstyle Guitar Academy can help you play fingerstyle guitar.

Friday
Feb102012

[Video Lesson] How Do I Understand Modes?

This video is an expansion of a blogpost about modes I wrote back in 2006. 

[The Short Version]

Essentially, there are two ways of learning modes:

1. Derivative Approach
2. Parallel Approach 

Derivative is taking a major scale and starting it on different notes.

Parallel is using the same root note and flattening or sharpening the notes to get the other modes.

i.e.

Derivative: same notes, different starting notes

Parallel: different notes, same starting note

[Additional Resources]

Click here for Guitar Tabs of [The Major Scales + Modes Starting on C]

Click here for [All This Modes Stuff Summarized in A Chart]

*****
[ACTION STEPS] How can you learn this better?

1. Understand the Parallel Aproach process I explained in the video & apply it to another Major Scale.
2. Play a 1-octave Major Scale on your instrument & change one note at a time to get different modes.
3. Pick one mode and improvise using it over a one chord backing track.

Wanna Learn More?

Find out more about my....

-> Guitar Lessons [Click here] 

-> Music Lessons for all Instruments [Click here]

Thursday
Dec012011

Jazz Guitar 101

Jazz Guitar 101:
How to Practice Jazz Guitar...
...and Actually Sound Better 

Do you love jazz guitar?

Do you thrive on the freedom of improvisation? The thrill of being on the edge when you hear all these amazing musicians? 

Everything sounds spontaneous. But, as most of us know...

Nothing great comes without preparation. 

In the words of Winston Churchill, "Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential."

But how do you make every effort successful?

Great jazz guitarists don't practice the same way most people do.

They all have a personal approach.

They all understand how to maximize their time when they practice. 

You too can get amazing results, consistently once you have the right mindset and approach.

Kick Start Your Jazz Guitar Playing:
How To Practice & Learn More in Less Time 

Do you get confused on what actually to practice when you finally have time? Here are 7 things to practice and why they are important. 

Are you always staring at a lead sheet? Do you get lost without a chord chart in front of you? Learn 4 steps to really memorize a jazz standard and get freedom on the bandstand.

Do your practice sessions seem like a drag? Do you feel like your progress has become stagnant? Understand this process to get out of that rut.


And there's more to come...

…So make sure you enter your email address, and sign-up for e-mail updates. 

Join my newsletter for a FREE 7-song acoustic guitar MP3 compilation & to be updated of new blog posts, videos & exclusive content.

 

100% privacy and I promise never to spam you.
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