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BS, Recording Arts, Full Sail University
I am a guitarist of 11 years, mostly self-taught. I started learning with the RI Philharmonic music program, then learned on my own by playing with my church band and playing my favorite rock albums by ear. I studied Recording Arts at Full Sail University, which gave me a deeper understanding of the process behind music production, and gave me exposure to new kinds of music to expand my pallette of musical expression. If someone asked me what's my favorite type of music, I now simply show them my Spotify playlist as it's gotten to the point where I can't pinpoint a single favorite, and the amount of music I've heard is too much to describe simply. Having returned to my home state of Rhode Island, I continue to play with my church band and continue to heighten my skills as a guitarist, with the hopes of writing my own original material and continue to invest the gift of music in those around me.
I have taught guitar since high school. I have had a ranging experience from teaching middle schoolers, to high schoolers, to adults. With each student, I assess where they are with their knowledge of the instrument, as well as how far their passion for music goes. In high school, I simply taught the fundamentals of the guitar as I knew it, making sure that my students played guitar correctly. As I grew musically and in my teaching methods, I understood that mixing in songs that my students knew into their lessons actually boosted the desire to play, and also made my job more efficient in conveying the reasons for good fundamentals while allowing a student to enjoy playing guitar. I continue to teach guitar through my church band, by instructing up and coming guitarists in the methods and techniques needed to play in the major services.
A total beginner will usually start by learning chord progressions that are specifically in a major scale progression (ex. C-Dm-Em-F-G-Am-Bdim). Using chord progressions allows my students to grow accustomed to the feel of the guitar and the fundamental hand strength needed to play, as well as the finger dexterity needed to play certain chords. This fundamental also introduces them to major scales, and the sound of chord progressions in the major scale. I also start my students with memorization of the fret board, starting from the low string down to the high string. After working through these fundamentals, I will have my student tell me a song they like, and I write out a sort of chart or diagram that gives the student the opportunity to play the whole song, which develops the endurance of guitar playing as well as the long term memory needed to play full length songs. Eventually, we go into more advanced topics like playing actual scales, complex chord shapes, refined picking technique, modes, and any other high level topics that a student may introduce in a song or artist of their choosing.
I'm a rather relaxed individual, and I don't like making my students feel pressured into achieving a specific goal in a strict manner. My attitude allows students to accept mistakes as part of the journey of guitar playing, while at the same time understanding that it is the correction of mistakes and discipline to play correctly that segways into higher level playing, and that the ultimate drive behind guitar playing is the passion to learn and expand their horizons either by attempting new techniques or ideas, or simply being exposed to new types of music. By allowing a student to dictate part of their musical growth, a student comes to understand the passion of music while allowing me to unravel the technical ideas behind the musical concepts they wish to explore.
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