I started playing guitar when I was 6 years old, but didn’t really get serious until high school. I started lessons learning my open chords and how to read music. Eventually, I learned a few scales and then started learning my favorite songs and solos. I graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1989, moved to Los Angeles where I gigged for about 10 years, and finally settled in Asheville, North Carolina where I teach guitar, play in bands, teach computer programming/hardware, and write computer text books. I’m grateful to Peter Marks (my first guitar teacher from 6 years old through junior high) and Bob Loiacano (my guitar teacher through high school). They provided a great foundation on which I have built my musical life. Thanks guys. Good teachers are important!
Learning to read music early and teaching computer programming have taught me how important the fundamentals are. Learning your chords, basic music theory, and how to read both tab and standard notation set the groundwork for being able to use scales, play songs, and make music. Learn your chords kids. Open chords, CAGED chords, barre chords, ‘jazz chords’, … Everything – I mean everything – revolves around chords!
I teach online via Skype, FaceTime, Google Meet, or in person through the Asheville Music School. Due to COVID-19, I am currently only teaching online.
While the studies are composed and transcribed pieces of music, the Jam Tracks are for you to practice improvisation skills. Use those scales and arpeggios you’ve been practicing to improvise.
Studies apply what you’ve learned in lessons to musical ideas. Playing scales and exercises with a metronome certainly has value, but come on! You’ve got to use what you know to make music!
Everyone starts somewhere. Playing music is a lifelong journey of constant learning and improvement. I think it’s comforting to know that not everyone became a great player overnight. It takes years to hone musical chops and ideas. So here’s part of my journey starting from when I became serious about the guitar.