A Bit About My Method
Learn any song in the world!
Although there are many resources on the internet for learning songs, most tend to be inaccurate or in many cases, a resource doesn’t exist at all. I specialize in listening to songs by ear and re-producing them on any given instrument that I teach. This talent has helped me to learn thousands of songs over the years. It also enables me to accurately analyze most any piece and create an arrangement that fits the needs of the student. Teaching the song exactly as it is recorded or written is usually the goal, however, students often need an arrangement that is simplified or easier to play than the original piece.
One useful format that I utilize is called a “composite arrangement”. A composite arrangement is a notation that compiles the parts for the many different instruments in a song into a transcript written for one single instrument. The vast majority of songs can be transferred from instrument to instrument, simplified, compiled, or arranged in a way that meets the needs of the player. Using these techniques, we can learn any song in the world, even if I’ve never heard it before. You pick the song and I will show you how to play it. Any song, any skill level.
Personalized, Comprehensive, Fun.
We can assess some goals and decide the path for the student as we go using a personalized method.
My method is focused on three fundamental applications: Performance, Technique, and Theory. I allow my students to choose which they would like to focus their time on. It's my belief that if the student is empowered to choose their path they will be more enthusiastic about practicing and hence a better musician.
Performance is the act of playing a song or piece, in other words: learning to play other peoples’ songs. This is what most students tend to focus on for the first several years while I sneak in the technique and theory as we go.
Technique is the “how” portion of the process and can include things from scales and rudimentary exercises to general recommendations as simple as how to hold a guitar pick or how to use the piano pedals.
Theory is the “why” portion of music education. Music is not only art but also contains science. For most, it's a completely different language and it can be a daunting task to try to figure out why music works the way it does. I strongly recommend having at least a minimal understanding of theory if a student ever intends to write music or improvise with other musicians. However, it is not imperative to understand in order to perform or even to have great technique. As very many have shown, you don’t need to have an extensive understanding of music theory to become a great musician. Many young students find it to be boring or hard to understand, as such I leave it up to the student or parent whether this is something they want to focus on. Personally I'm a theory nerd and I love to teach it, from a basic level to a quantum level!
I take an individual approach to each student based on their specific needs. There is no “one size fits all method” in music. A student’s needs are dictated by their goals. Goals can vary greatly from student to student. Some students may not necessarily know what their goal is. That’s okay! Joy is the ultimate goal and as long as you're having fun, we can define some goals along the way.
Defining Goals: Professional Track Vs. Recreational Track.
One important distinction to make when setting goals is to define the difference between a “professional track” musician and a “recreational track” musician and decide which the student is inclined toward.
A professional track student is one who is “on track” to become a professional musician. In other words, someone who plans to play or write music for a living and advance a career in music performance or composition.
A recreational track student is one who wants to simply play for the joy of music. For instance, someone who would like to be able to play around campfires, parties, or family events. Or even someone who would like to play music by themselves for their own satisfaction.
There is a spectrum of students with goals everywhere in between playing by yourself to playing for a stadium. I look forward to helping you achieve your goals in a relaxed, low pressure environment. I've designed my studio around comfort for growth and creativity.
As a performing artist, I've written over 50 songs in the last decade as being a professional performer has been my true passion. If songwriting is something you're interested in please don't hesitate to ask and we can explore the other side of music, the composition and songwriting behind the performer.
I was raised in a mountain community bordering the Uinta National Forest east of Heber, Utah. I began playing piano at 5 and started improvising my own tunes at that age on a small organ. Singing, playing piano, and writing music, were already passions for me at a very young age.
When my hands were big enough, I picked up my brother’s guitar at 8 years old and have never stopped playing since. Living in the mountains before the era of high-speed internet required that I learn songs by ear and therefore I spent many years honing my ability using cassette tapes, cds, or “napster” songs from the internet.
I began formal guitar training at age 8 and have continued my education for over 25 years. I was ultimately granted an apprenticeship through Utah Conservatory, a local school for music and theatre performance. Throughout my younger years I played alto and soprano sax with Jazz-band. I was enrolled in multiple classes each day of independent music composition as well and it was here that I began to really write music and gain a higher understanding of the Piano and Guitar.
Most of my learning was focused on Guitar and Piano. I loved Jazz and Popular music but learned quite a bit of classical pieces as well. ("Popular Music" being anything contemporary, not referred to as "Classical Music").
Throughout life my music taste evolved through many different genres of “popular music” from jazz and pop to grunge and punk. From progressive and indie to folk and blues. Eventually I found my home with folk, roots, and classic rock as my preference. Country and Blues are the two pillars of American music and I began to learn the advanced guitar techniques of some of my favorite artists such as Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, CCR, and Pink Floyd. Learning classic rock songs took my playing to a whole new level.
I formed several performing bands throughout my teens and when I was 20, the band "Red Dog Revival" that I played nationally with for 8 years. All the while, I taught guitar lessons full time in Park City as my main source of income. As a group of 3 or 4 rock musicians our band played a large array of original music focused on fusion of genres. We also played countless classic rock covers and would often play sets that were 3 hours or longer. Playing in a rock band provided me insight and experience into the world of band management, studio recording, and touring.
Eventually I would graduate my apprenticeship with the school I worked for and be moved into a basic faculty position. I became the first and only teacher at the time to exceed the school director in student retention, advancing me quickly up the rungs of the latter from an “apprentice” to “basic rate faculty” to “advanced faculty” and finally to “veteran faculty” within a 5 year span. I had quickly become one of the most popular teachers at the school. I attribute this success to my personalized approach and patient temperament.
During my time with the school, I also hosted an open mic each week on Main Street in Park city. Hosting open mic required that I learn a large volume of songs very quickly which helped me develop a method I now use to teach others to do the same. Along the way I collaborated with an array of local musicians playing different instruments such as Keys, Harmonica, Ukulele, Mandolin & Banjo.
Currently I perform for restaurants, bars, or any given event public or private. Mostly around Park City I specialize in taking requests from an enormous catalogue of covers from any genre or original music as a solo or duo act.
It’s now my pleasure to teach and rehearse out of my own studio and serve the community in something I find to be invaluable: the joy of music! I’ve spent a great deal of time and energy putting the right touches on my studio in order to create a safe environment for education, growth, and creativity. It's my hope you’ll enjoy playing music in this space as much as I do!