Author Archives: Web Meister

Write 20 Songs in 12 Hours!

MARKOne day, as I was searching on Amazon, I came across a book called The Frustrated Songwriter’s Handbook. What I took away from it was a way to get you into a super focused head space for writing. You block out 12 hours straight – I usually try and go 7 am – 7 pm – and in those 12 hours, your task is to write 20 songs. I know, impossible, right? Wrong! The first time I did it, I *only* managed to write 17, but I’ve done it a number of times since, and every time I’ve gotten at least 20 done. Sometimes I end up with a number of fiddle tunes, especially when I’m nearing the deadline and am three or four songs short, but usually they are pretty complete. Anyone else tried something like this?

Kids Can Write Songs

IMG_9607I had the great pleasure of working with the 4th graders at Morris Elementary School last May. Our goal was to write a song about the joys and wonders of living in Morris, so I spent an hour with each of the three classes, singing, talking about how some songs tell stories, and doing writing exercises. What I came away with was quite a long list of the things the students enjoyed/thought about/found unique about Morris, and then I took that home and wrote and recorded the song for them. It was very satisfying for me, and from the looks on some of the faces, I think the students enjoyed it, too! (Photo courtesy of Morris Sun Tribune)

Great gigs, with great folks

'53 Swingbillies trio

I’ve had a very exciting couple of weeks! This photo was taken at a National Night Out event in Minneapolis. I was joined by Tom Schaefer on fiddle and Dean Harrington on guitar. We played some swing, some gypsy jazz, some bebop and some Western Swing, and about 10 minutes after we finished, the skies opened up! With some help, all the PA and band equipment got safely stowed, but it was quite exciting!! I also played with the Daddy Squeeze band in River Falls, WI. It was a gorgeous night, right by the riverwalk.

I’ve been really lucky to meet some of the world’s finest players, and guitarist extraordinaire Richard Smith is one of them. If he’s not the best Chet Atkins/Jerry Reed style player in the world, he’s far ahead of the guy in second place! I got to join him, along with my good friend Jon Garon (of My Favorite Guitars) at a house concert, then again with Jarrod, Tyler and David Walker from Florida – also fabulous pickers, and great guys. We’re going to repeat tonight, then it’s on to Larryfest in WI tomorrow and Friday, where I also get to play with the one and only Clay Hess! What a ride!

Welcome to My New Website

Mark KreitzerWelcome to the Mark Kreitzer website! I’m so glad you found me (or returned – even better!) This is a place where you can find out about my gigs – solo, with the Mark Kreitzer Band, the ’53 Swingbillies, and with some of the other bands I perform with like Patty and the Buttons, the Mill City Hot Club and Daddy Squeeze. I will also be letting you know about my ongoing projects, like the The Americana-Roots Music Project. I’m also going to be posting regular blogs about topics like my upcoming music theory book for folk/bluegrass musicians, my experiences gigging, teaching, and songwriting. Please have a look around, listen to some music, watch some video, learn about the bands and come back often – and please send your friends to look, too!

Welcome to My Teaching Blog

IMG_9607Here’s my first blog about teaching! I’ve been teaching since about 1970, when I taught guitar at William’s Music in Sioux Falls, SD as a high school student. Since then, I’ve also taught German, French and English at the High School and College levels, as well as continuing to teach music. I have since included teaching songwriting, clawhammer and bluegrass banjo, mandolin, mandola, mandocello, fiddle, dobro, bass and ukulele. I’ve also given workshops on harmony singing and arranging. I’m interested in sharing some of my techniques and things I’ve learned over the years which I find useful and helpful, and I’d love to hear from you about your challenges, successes, questions, etc about teaching and working with teachers.

Welcome to My Songwriting Blog

Welcome to the first blog on songwriting. The first song I wrote was completely forgettable, except that I wrote one! I was in junior high school, and my friends and I had been listening to music, and we decided we could write, too. It took a few years (and much maturing) along with listening to hundreds of great songs before I actually wrote anything I was proud of. I’d love to hear your stories of what got you writing.

Welcome to My Music Theory Blog

Welcome to my first music theory blog! I began learning theory before I realized that that’s what it was. If you started with piano lessons, like I did, then you experienced the same thing. We learned to read music, and it wasn’t even a question of whether or not it would happen. If you stuck with it long enough, you started to play bass lines and chords along with the melody, and maybe you learned to talk about it in those terms. How about you? Did you ever have someone explain what you were/are playing in musical terms? Is so, do you find it helpful? If not, *could* you find it helpful?

Welcome to My Gigs Blog

'53 Swingbillies trioWelcome to my new gigs blog. I want to share news about upcoming gigs, stories about memorable gigs (both positive and negative!) gigs I’ve been to as an audience member, etc. So, here goes – my first paying gig was way back in 1968 (if memory serves..) I was in a band called the Disciples, and we had learned five or six songs. I don’t remember who thought we were ready to play, or who hired us, but I distinctly remember playing those same songs over and over again. Awfully embarrassing! What is the first gig you remember?