Beginners Mind Guitar
“In the beginners mind there are many possibilities, but in the experts there are few.” - Suzuki
One of the most powerful educational experiences I have ever had was learning how to make friction fire with a bow drill set in high school. If you are not familiar, this is literally rubbing two sticks together (there’s more to it than that, but you can google it!). In order to successfully do this, it requires great patience and diligence. Fail, try again, repeat. Until one day, you finally create the burning coal that is ready to be blown into a flame. You realize, “if I can do this, I can do anything!”. It is a rite of passage experience. It builds character. Learning how to play the guitar is like this. It takes a tremendous amount of patience and hard work, but when you start to see sparks, it makes it more than worth it.
I have been playing guitar for almost fifteen years and am currently working on my degree through Berklee College of Music. I have been releasing albums on a label (Yep Roc Records) and touring the world for the last 9 years. I’ve gotten to work with many of my hero’s and I continue to write, record, produce, and perform. One of my biggest passions is teaching beginners (and higher levels) how to play and understand music on the guitar. I emphasize beginners because of the name I have chosen for my lessons, “Beginners Mind Guitar”. If we are doing it right, I believe that we are all beginners. As soon as we think we know something, the opportunity to learn more about it vanishes. The way that I both play and teach is experimental and improvisatory in nature. There are rules and methodology involved, but there is also a large space in the center of it to let go and allow things to happen. If you are a fan of music, you will understand this. Some of the best moments on recordings or the stage take place when a musician “stops thinking” and just plays. In order to get to the point of being a Jedi master on the guitar (which I hope to be someday) where you can “stop thinking and just play”, there is a lot of work that needs to happen. However, it is my belief that taking a traditionalist approach will not get you there; or if it does it will be a slow hard climb. I don’t focus on learning how to read music for this reason. I focus on learning how to understand the instrument using only concepts that will be helpful in playing it. Learning to read can be important, but training the ear and having proper technique is paramount.
I teach all ages currently from 8 year olds to 60+. I love teaching on Zoom, and I also teach in person through Princeton Music Lessons (in my hometown of Princeton, NJ). My lessons are either 30, 45, or 60 minutes. Rates and FAQ can be found at www.princetonmusiclessons.com.
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