A young man named Brian Gatheru recently found me online and wanted to ask some questions about guitar for a school research project. The interview focused on my beginnings as a guitarist, the learning process, the timeline involved, and continuing education.
As I answered his questions, I had a nice little trip down memory lane to when I began and what my life – my “Six String Life“, as I like to call it – has been like since I decided to devote myself to this great instrument.
I’ve posted the questions and answers below for your reading pleasure. If you’ve got some playing experience, you may see yourself in some of my answers. If you’re relatively new to guitar studies, then maybe my answers will give you some perspective or even something to shoot for. (more…)
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. – Calvin Coolidge
Ryan Sullivan – or “Sully” as his friends call him – is a beginner guitarist. He’s an adult student in his mid-30s, has a family, and owns his own business. Earlier this year he decided to take the plunge and fulfill his dream of learning to play guitar, so he called yours truly. (A brilliant decision, if I may say so.
Anyway, Sully and I have been powering through private sessions since the spring but it hasn’t always been an easy road. Although he loves music, he had never played an instrument before and had no real idea how lessons worked. Much to his surprise, Sully also didn’t seem to be particularly “natural” in the music learning process – as he would admit to you, everything was a struggle, from the fingering of chords to strumming in rhythm to understanding TAB notation on paper. He thought it would come to him much more easily, but every day was a battle.
What Sully does have in his favor, however, is serious determination and an inordinate amount of self-confidence (more…)
Although I live a pretty awesome life – I really can’t complain about much – this summer has been a tough one for me in one particular way: I’ve had to say goodbye to some long-time students as they’ve graduated from high school and are preparing to go off to college and embark on the next chapter of their lives. It’s an exciting time for them, but I’m still sad to see them leave.
Although one of these students just started lessons in 2012, most of them have been with me for years – some for 5 years or more. You get to know someone pretty well when you meet with them every week for a few years. You learn about them as people and you grow to be friends. I’ve been blessed to make some terrific friends in recent years, who started as 7th- and 8th-grade goofballs and are now on the cusp of adulthood. They’re also pretty darn good guitarists.
In this installment of Student Success Stories, I want to feature two former students, Alex Fang and Harry Foard – who happen to be long-time friends, as well – that have taken the leap from guitar student to guitar major at the college level.
I reserve a little extra pride for the guitarists who have the requisite passion for music to pursue it in college. It’s certainly not for everyone, and quite a few of my guitarists are capable of playing music at the next level. But these two guys have actually taken the leap and I couldn’t be more excited for them! (more…)