As I look back over my life, I discover I have been many things. Linux enthusiast, perpetual student, and Infantry Marine are all titles that can accurately describe me. One of the few constants in my life, however, has been the desire to play music. I have been a student of guitar for almost 20 years now.
I grew up in a house mostly devoid of music. My parents are simple people, needing very little to get by in life, so I grew up without the presence of a lot of media, including music. One day, in a friend’s car on the way home from school, I heard my very first rock n’ roll song – November Rain by Guns N’ Roses. I was totally hooked! I couldn’t stop listening to my local rock radio station, and I slowly started acquiring albums. Each time I discovered a new genre of music, it was a total revelation. Classic Rock, Folk, Blues, Jazz, Funk, Electronic… each one seemed like a whole different world of sounds and options. I received my first guitar at the tender age of 16, along with private lessons. In my early twenties I decided I wanted to study music in school. Unfortunately, in the course of my studies, improper technique resulted in painful repetitive stress injuries, and I figured my time as a musician was pretty much over.
Fast forward to the end of my time in the USMC Infantry. Because of the physical fitness requirements of my job, I had discovered that my repetitive stress injuries had either subsided or completely disappeared. Motivated by extreme boredom, I purchased an Epiphone semi-hollow archtop to play around with blues and jazz changes, and began taking my guitar off base to practice and play. This sequence of events led to the most defining experience in my development as a musician. I was discovered by the Chief Warrant Officer of the MARFORPAC Band, and he offered me the opportunity to spend my remaining time in the Corps playing with them. In case you’re wondering, I can tell you that those young musicians are among the best in the world, and it wasn’t easy to keep up with them. But the high standards of musicianship pushed me forward into heights that I had never before reached in my playing.
Today I am passionate about imparting what I know to my students – that “talent” is just a word for aptitude, but hard work and proper guidance will take a musician much farther than any other element. That even a “hobbyist” guitarist can become brilliant and learn how to connect the dots between their music theory, technique, and feelings so that they can fluidly express themselves through their art.