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2014 - Induction into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars
Learning music is not always easy, but it certainly is a rewarding experience for those who push through in understanding how to play. Music wasn’t always easy for me but it slowly became my passion, and it all started in 2005 when I joined the elementary school orchestra and got guitar lessons from my father on the side. I wanted to play music like some of my favorite musicians at the time — like John Lennon, Chuck Berry and Beck. By High School, I had already formed three bands, and composed & recorded a solo album on my own. In 2013, I started my music degree at the University of Colorado Denver, and graduated in 2018. I’ve learned many different instruments since I got involved in music, but guitar is my main instrument. However, what I find most gratifying about music is the combination of multiple instruments together, forming an arrangement. Although my goal is to let you lead the way as far as what you’d like to know, I believe that understanding how your instrument can be placed into the larger picture is a key aspect to learning music, and very enjoyable.
I began teaching music informally around 2010 when some of my friends started becoming more interested in learning music. I remember always playing music around my friends, and some of them would ask questions regarding chords, melodies, and basic music theory.
After having failed music theory in high school, I pulled a ‘180’ in college, passing all my music theory courses with 90-100% scores. So, I felt I’d be a trusted candidate to start tutoring classmates and friends in music theory. In 2015, I did just that, while using guitar and piano as a base instrument for the music theory lessons. Some of the students I provided music theory tutoring to ended up getting bass guitar and guitar lessons from me up until 2019.
As for my experience as a musician, I’ve played in three orchestras/ensembles, seven bands, I performed and produced music in three solo projects, and have written too many songs to count!
I like to begin with understanding what the student wants to learn guitar for, whether it’s learning their favorite songs, they have an interest in joining a band, or they simply want to learn guitar for instance. From there I like to gauge the student’s level, and then set goals accordingly.
For beginners, I start with fundamental material — instrument acclimation and adjustment, learning chord basics, and some sheet music introduction. From there I walk through how to learn the first song.
For intermediate students, among many lesson objectives, I introduce scales, a focus on right hand technique, some composition, and an introduction to music theory.
For advanced students, I introduce more complex chords (like barre chords, extended chords, common jazz chords), complex melodic technique, higher-level music theory, and composition.
Aside from my basic lesson structure, I’d like the student to direct lessons too, whether it’s picking a particular song they would like to learn, playing a particular style, or come with any questions whatsoever. Although these won’t be completely free-form, I’d like these lessons to be open to the student’s direction, and I certainly want them to be fun!
From my experience in receiving music lessons when I was younger, I had a difficult time putting forth the time and effort for lessons that were classically run. I had a lot more fun with music when I’d learn at the pace I wanted to learn, and work on pieces I felt most interested in. I certainly don’t want this to be a boring, or draining experience for students, but a time in which students can come to me with interests or questions regarding their goals in music, or even song ideas! Most of all, I want to be the guide for a fun and creative experience.
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