MusicLaunch Guitar Turns 5

Can you believe that as of April 6, 2018 MusicLaunch Guitar at Malden YMCA is officially 5 years old?


As we come together to celebrate Healthy Kids Day tomorrow, 11AM-2PM at the Malden Y, Saturday April 21, 2018, we also celebrate this important program milestone!

Congratulations, Mr. Devin!!!

I’m so proud of your efforts and determination in making MusicLaunch Guitar such an awesome program for all the Malden YMCA kids that have participated over these 5 years! As someone that helped plan the start of the program, meeting with you at a Dunkin Donuts to sketch out the idea on napkins in the Fall of 2012, I’m so proud to see it having gone this far.

In addition to Mr. Devin, we’d like to recognize and thank:

  • the Malden YMCA’s commitment to the program
  • the Malden Cultural Council, which helped fund the program in the first {HOW MANY?] years
  • Members of the Boston Classical Guitar Society, who helped purchase the program’s guitars in the first year
  • Instructor Bradley Stone
  • Former Instructor Raley Beggs
  • Former Interns Jon Kim and Tommy [Last Name]
  • Parents and their wonderful kids

I was going to get a cake with this image, but then, that didn’t seem to really fit the “Healthy Kids Day” theme!

MusicLaunch Guitar Turns 5!

MusicLaunch Guitar Turns 5!

Here’s to the next 5 years!!!

Duet Ten (FUGUE): Practice Video

Mr. Devin and Mr. Raley play through Duet Ten, also known as the Fugue from Violin Sonata #3 (BWV 1005) by J.S. Bach.

Mr. Devin is playing the MELODY

Mr. Raley is playing the ACCOMPANIMENT


Happy Practicing!!

Duet Eight: Student Practice Video


Mr. Devin and Mr. Raley play through BOTH parts of “Duet Eight”.

Raley Beggs – The First Noel

Hello Malden YMCA Guitarists and Parents!

As our Malden based guitar community makes final steps towards the end of the guitar session and the end of the year, I wanted to take a moment to share with you a Holiday music favorite on the instrument we are all so passionate about—guitar! Please follow the link below and enjoy!



Happy Practicing,

“Mr. Raley”

Right Hand Charts: Student Work Showcase

Student work: A trace of a hand with Right Hand finger names.

Student work: A trace of a hand with Right Hand finger names.

Last week Mr. Devin assigned the Level 1 class homework to trace their hands and write the finger names for the right hand onto the drawing to help remember the names of the fingers on the right hand.

In guitar, we have names for each finger:

  • Thumb = p (pulgar)
  • Index = i (indice)
  • Middle = m (medio)
  • Ring Finger = a (anular)
  • Pinky = c (chiquito)

These names come from the Spanish names for the fingers and are above in parenthesis. (This site also references the finger names for guitar:

Student work: A trace of a hand with Right Hand finger names.

Student work: A trace of a hand with Right Hand finger names.

Great job Level 1 class! Bravo!

All Stars Students Learn About Scales!

One thing that is tricky about the guitar is that the guitar has all of the correct (intended) notes right next to all of the wrong (unintended) notes. This can make it a challenge to learn a new piece of music on the guitar.

That is where scales come in handy!

If you memorize where the correct notes are in a scale, you will save a lot of time learning new music. This is because much music shares the same scales. Remember the scales and you can spend more time memorizing harmonies and melodies unique to each song and not what notes it has.

In order to impart this important knowledge to his students, this week Mr. Devin drew up the following charts and pictures on the whiteboard:


On the left is an image of a stair case, which is a great metaphor for a musical scale. You can go up and down in pitch on a musical scale similar to the way that you can go up and down a stair case. On the right side is a chart that maps out where the notes are on the guitar.

Working on Rhythm This Week.

There is math in music! There is also music in math!

Today, students learned how to read rhythms by making “rhythm clocks”.

It may look complicated at first, but it is easy. Everything starts from the “whole note”. From there, we can cut the rhythmic durations in half to get a “half” notes. Cut the durations in half again and you get “quarter” notes. Starting to see the pattern?



Students worked on rhythm and meter by looking at it as “clocks”. Thinking of note values as being on a clock is helpful, because beats repeat themselves in a meter, much the same way that the hands on a clock circle around and around.

Try making some at home on your own!