My Education, Accolades, and Experience
I received my Associates Degree in Jazz Guitar from Bucks County Community College and my Bachelors in Music Education from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA. During my education, I worked teaching guitar lessons and as a band instructor for a number of studios in the Philadelphia area. I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to hone my skills as a teacher and a musician during that time. I have pretty much consistently been in one band or another since I was 14 and have been lucky enough to play with a number of extremely accomplished musicians.
My Approach to Teaching Guitar Lessons
The first thing I’ve noticed is that everyone has their own way of learning and getting motivated. Some students are coming to lessons as accomplished musicians already, and are looking for very rigidly structured curriculum to take them to the next level of musicianship. On the other hand, some students come to guitar lessons to casually acquire a new skill in a relaxed and fun setting. One thing I’ve found to be universal is everyone’s personal connection to music. I have found no better way to get a student to excel then by learning the music that they love, especially if they are new to their instrument. It’s easy to gain at least some of the fundamental ideas from any song.
One of My Practice Techniques
One of my favorite practice techniques to teach is to overshoot the Beats Per Minute on a piece of music or a line that a student is struggling with the speed of. The basic idea is to practice (and most likely fail at) the piece at a tempo higher than the actual tempo of the song for enough time for your brain to at least get used to trying it at that speed. Then, when you go back to actual tempo, it should feel much more manageable.
My Favorites in These Four Styles
- Rock - The Beatles
- Pop - Justin Timberlake
- Jazz - Wes Montgomery
- Classical - Claude DeBussy
My Favorite Quote
“You’re always a half step away from the right note.” -Charlie Parker
How I Started Playing Music
My first experiences with music lessons were piano and drums when I was around 8-10. I enjoyed those lessons, but wouldn’t say that I was passionate about music or those particular instruments at the time. My parents were pretty much forcing me to take lessons. I remember wanting to stop because of the anxiety I felt before lessons, especially if I hadn’t practiced that week.
I never lost my curiosity for music, however. A few years later, I started really getting into listening to music and discovering how much there was and how amazing it could be. I took it upon myself to seek out guitar lessons and started a band with my brother and my closest friends. It was with them that I came to the realization that music, specifically guitar, was my life’s calling in one way or another. Once I started teaching, I really felt like I could make a difference in people’s lives. Not to mention being able to play music all day ha-ha. That’s not so bad.