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Bachelor Degree: Centre College , Master Degree: Universidad de Alcalá
2013 - Austin's Best Bluegrass Band
2018 - Austin's Best Bluegrass Band
Hello! Jeff here, I've been playing music since the age of 8 when I learned the drums. I taught myself guitar at the age of 13, and at the age of 23 I moved to Austin to become a professional musician. I joined a raucous bluegrass band called Whiskey Shivers, and have since played thousands of shows, locally, in 40+ states, as well as Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and all of the UK. We were awarded the "Best Bluegrass Band" by the Austin Chronicle in 2013 and 2018. We've been featured on No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain, the NBC tv show Revolution, the Daily Show (back when it was John Stewart still!), NPR, CMT, Rolling Stone, BBC, and were in the major motion picture musical Pitch Perfect 3. On top of being in a successful touring band, I play a lot of solo shows, play pickup bluegrass gigs around Austin, and play with my side project Robin Alice. With 14 studio albums under my belt, I have hundreds of hours of studio experience, and have recently gotten into producing records too.
I've primarily had private guitar students in the past, truthfully nobody has ever been consistent. They were all generally beginners but were at various stages. I hope they're still out they're playing guitar! Prior to becoming a full time musician I taught music lessons with the Boys and Girls Club of Austin, from October 2012- Jan 2014. After this I left my position to tour heavily. Most of the "teaching" I do these days is more like "trading" licks with other guitarists, or teaching freebie licks to beginners in jam situations.
For beginner and intermediate students: I begin with the end; or rather, an end product. I ask questions like: What sort of music inspires you? What music do you love? What music could you not live without? What music do you aspire to make? Which musicians do you look up to? Depending on the answers, we can figure out a song / artist / style to choose as a goal together. Then I personally learn the chord structure and melody. (In the rare case that they are completely directionless, I'll choose a popular song that they can easily listen to on their own.) From there, I start teaching the fundamental techniques of the instrument, and continually refer back to our song, for why the technique is important. For advanced students: I still use the end-oriented approach, only we can either skip the fundamental techniques. I'll tighten up any technical mistakes / bad habits the student may have (keeping in mind that everyone's hands and styles are different).
Not everyone will become a professional musician, but I do believe, everyone's life can deeply enriched with increased musical comprehension. No matter what the students goals, I'm here to help them accomplish that. If they want to reach the bare minimum and become a bedroom hobbyist, that's cool! If they want to master a song to play to a small group of friends, I'm here for them! Even if they have true aspirations of becoming a professional, I'm prepared to share both my knowledge of music, and any pertinent wisdom I've gleaned from my experiences.
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