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The Real School of Music - Blog

Thomas Byrne

Thomas Byrne is the founder and CEO of The Real School of Music.

Recent Posts

Real School Students Win Big At National Competition!

Posted by Thomas Byrne on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 @ 52:12 PM

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Tags: entertainment, voice, students

Real School's Lydia Harrell Wins Top Spot for Sony Tribute Album!

Posted by Thomas Byrne on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 @ 34:09 AM

BREAKING NEWS: Real School's Lydia Harrell has been selected by Sony Music to headline its upcoming Bob Marley Tribute Album and International Tour! Recording begins in late January, with live performances in South America scheduled for later in 2012. 

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Tags: #realschoolofmusic, voice, faculty, Dave Reffett, berklee college of music, Sony, Lydia Harrell, Real School of Music

A Holiday Gift from The Real School of Music!

Posted by Thomas Byrne on Mon, Dec 19, 2011 @ 57:02 PM

By: Thomas Byrne

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Tags: Holiday music, real school, faculty

Real School Partners with Rock School Scholarship Fund!

Posted by Thomas Byrne on Wed, Dec 07, 2011 @ 46:08 AM

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Tags: scholarships, rock music, rock & roll, Rock School Scholarship Fund, real school

Real School Is Now Accepting Daddy's Gift Cards!

Posted by Thomas Byrne on Sat, Oct 29, 2011 @ 05:09 AM

The Real School of Music has enjoyed a long history with Daddy's Junky Music, and it is with great sadness that we see this venerable institution fade into the pages of history. As we reflected upon this sad news, we asked ourselves, "What can we do to help?" Then we had an idea...

To honor the memory of Daddy's, and to provide relief to those who have been affected, Real School will now accept Daddy's Gift Cards though the end of 2011!

The good people at Daddy's are heartbroken over their loss. They faithfully served the music community for nearly 40 years, but the banks now control the company and it remains unknown how Daddy's Gift Card holders will be treated. We at Real School view it as our duty to try and provide local musicians with some relief the best way we know how.   

Naturally, some rules will apply, but we've worked to create an offer that represents real value to loyal Daddy's customers. What better way to honor the memory of Daddy's!

Here's the fine print:
  • Unused Daddy's Gift Cards can be redeemed at Real School's Burlington campus through December 31, 2011. To allow for holiday gift giving, lessons can be scheduled for anytime before April 30, 2012.
  • In addition to receiving credit for their Daddy's Gift Card, all Gift Card holders will receive a free trial lesson on the instrument of their choice (even advanced players can benefit from lessons!). If the Gift Card holder then opts to enroll with Real School as a roster student (minimum of 8 lessons), then they can apply the full value of their unused Daddy's Gift Card up to $100 toward tuition.
  • Since Daddy's Gift Cards are not printed with specific cash values, Gift Card holders will need to provide a receipt to claim any amount over $25. However, even if the receipt is not provided Real School will still honor all Gift Cards at a minimum value of $25.
For questions about this program, please feel free to call us toll free at 888.881.REAL (7325) or email us at info@therealschoolofmusic.com.
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Tags: real school, music lessons

Daddy's Closure Marks The End Of An Era

Posted by Thomas Byrne on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 @ 11:09 AM

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Letter from Real School Parent

Posted by Thomas Byrne on Thu, Oct 20, 2011 @ 32:10 AM

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Tags: piano lessons, real school, voice lessons, music production, Free Trial Lesson

Real School Instructor Dave Reffett Plays on an International Stage!

Posted by Thomas Byrne on Mon, Oct 03, 2011 @ 04:04 PM

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Tags: guitar lessons, real school, music lessons, Dave Reffett, Metal

The Value of Listening to Alternative Musical Styles

Posted by Thomas Byrne on Fri, Jul 08, 2011 @ 39:01 PM

By: Erik Ringstad

Why should you learn and listen to other styles of music that may be outside your main interests?

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Tags: guitar, practice, performance, real school, faculty, education

Real School's Erik Ringstad Discusses "3 Musical Heroes"

Posted by Thomas Byrne on Wed, Jul 06, 2011 @ 23:08 AM

The Beatles are my first musical heroes. Believe it or not, I became a Beatles fan when I was just three. I spent years at the turntable as a kid listening to them, and watching their TV cartoon on Saturday mornings (anyone remember that?). My friends and I even pretended to be them, and gave concerts to our parents, with tennis rackets for guitars, boxes for drums, and pillows for amplifiers!! Their amazing songs still hold up today. For me, they are the greatest pop songwriters ever. How they could write something so simple and make it sound so right, so often, is astounding. They also were the model for bands that write and perform their own music, as that really didn't exist on any large scale before they came along! As an instrumental solo guitarist, I have played their tunes a lot at gigs, and they usually work great on the guitar as solo pieces, too -- a testament to their strong melodic and chordal sensibilities. Check out The Beatles' "Oh Darling" here!

2. Steely Dan
Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. Well, they were categorized as rock when they were active in the 70's, but they used jazz harmony in ingenious and nontraditional ways, mixed with rock rhythms and virtuosic solos in their music. What a combination! They were my bridge into jazz. I used to learn a lot of their tunes, and I could play their music, but I didn't understand a lot of what I learned from them (unlike most of the other music I learned back then) until I went to music school and learned about harmony. Then, I really came to appreciate them even more -- genius songwriters who used the best studio musicians in the country to realize their vision. They combined sophisticated musical concepts with cryptic, sometimes subversive or blue lyrics, along wiht brilliant performances. I don't think any other band has managed to push the envelope of extended harmony in rock like Donald and Walter.  The AJA album for me, was a landmark recording that perfectly encapsulated what they were about. Check out Steely Dan's "AJA" here!
For me, the all time underappreciated genius was Frank Zappa. Frank was a prolific composer of rock, classical, jazz, avant garde music, who dabbled in many musical styles. He was a singularly unique guitar stylist (no one played like him), and he wrote music that could be funny, sarcastic, silly... but  even then it was also dense, difficult, serious, and beautiful. Franks was a social satirist, a politically active rabblerouser, was extremely intelligent and dedicated to his craft, and stone cold sober (yes, that's right!). I also consider him a role model. He hired great players for his bands and exploited their unique talents. He was a strict disciplinarian as a bandleader, rehearsing his bands hard every day while preparing for tours. This helps to explain how his bands could pull off some of the most difficult music ever written for rock bands. Check out Frank Zappa's "Inca Roads" here!
Who are your musical heroes? I'd love to hear from you!


Erik Ringstad is a guitar instructor and is Real School's Director of Curriculum, and serves on the Faculty Leadership Team. Erik has been writing and recording original music for 25 years, with approximately 1,000 titles to his name. In 2006, Erik completed a new recording entitled Reflections, a solo project consisting of original ballads and jazz. He has also been performing with fellow Real School instructor Vykki Vox for 12 years.

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Tags: guitar, practice, performance, real school, faculty, education