A quick sum up of my background:
And now it’s time for the unnecessarily long rundown of my background:
I was born in Connecticut and started playing guitar when I was 15 years old. Back then, my influences were rock ‘n’ roll and heavy metal. I was inspired by popular rock bands of the early ’90s such as Motley Crue, Metallica, Poison, Megadeth, Def Leppard, Faith No More, STP, and Alice in Chains. I played in a few bands in high school and took music very seriously, sporting the stereotypical, long-haired rocker look. After high school, I grew out of that phase and decided I needed to travel the states. I did so for many years, falling in love with the west. During these years, I played guitar regularly, but shifted my focus towards alternative and jam music. Honestly, I didn’t know what I was doing as a lead guitarist… yet.
Eventually, I decided to go to college in Arizona. When I saw the music program at ASU, I fell in love and decided to follow my true passion and major in music. It was the jazz program that attracted me. Unfortunately, I had very little experience in jazz and miserably failed my audition. So I signed up for all the jazz classes I could take and went back to lessons, studying under students in ASU’s jazz department.
Over the next year, I was introduced to music theory, scales, improvisation, the metronome and jazz guitar. I finally solved the mystery of how to use a scale over a chord progression, play in a specific key, and how keep a beat. The next semester I auditioned again, but once again failed to be admitted as a music major. Luckily, the jazz classes were still open to me; only the classical core music classes were off limits. I continued to learn jazz theory, played in jazz combos, and practiced six hours a day. I was determined to get into the music program, and the next semester they finally let me in (but I suspect it’s only because they appreciated my determination).
I will admit that I was one of the delinquents of the program. My ability to read music was poor, but I worked hard to figure it out. Music never came easy for me. I was never a natural. My rhythm was bad, my ears were untrained, my technique needed work, but my heart was unstoppable. It was during these years that I became a professional musician. I overcame my lack of rhythm by learning to use a metronome, I corrected my bad habits, I learned to read music, and I became a performer by falling flat on my face until I figured it out. Because of my determination and wonderful instructors, I succeeded. Some of those instructors include Chris Champion, ASU jazz guitar professor; Chuck Marohnic, jazz department director; Mike Ozuna, ASU jazz guitarist; Raul Yanez, jazz department TA; and Randy Tucker, a private instructor who helped me tremendously. These people believed in me and helped me reach my goals as a musician.
Outside of school, I began to play in a modern jazz trio called Jack Russell and the Terriers. For better or for worse, we played jazz weekly at coffee shops, the First Friday art festivals, weddings, parties, and even snagged some corporate gigs. We were all inexperienced but got better with diligent practice and tenacity.
It took me almost two years to actually get into ASU’s music program. Two years that also happened to be the time when I learned the most. After all that, I was officially a music major for only one year. That’s when I was allowed to take all of the classical core classes, such as classical theory, piano and sight singing/ear training. I must admit I learned more in the hallways and classrooms of the jazz department, but these classical classes challenged me in new ways, especially ear training and sight singing! After a total of three years of studying music, I began to feel burned out. I practiced to the point of almost physically hurting myself and ahead of me lay a year of classical guitar required for my music degree. I took classical lessons to prepare for this grueling requirement, but when it came time to start the next semester, I realized I was finished. I had gotten what I needed from the music department and I didn’t need a piece of paper to prove it. It was at that point when I decided to change my major.
During my years studying in the music program, I always worked part time teaching lessons privately, as well as at music stores and Gilbert’s community center. I accumulated three years of teaching experience and realized I was really good at it, so decided to become an education major.
For the next two and a half years, I pursued a secondary education degree to teach high school history (seemed like a good idea at the time). During this time, I continued to write, record, and play music. I was in a local experimental jam band called Buddhatech and we rocked the Tempe scene for two years. I also continued teaching guitar lessons and taught beginner and intermediate workshops and a music theory course for the Town of Gilbert.
After completing my student teaching I graduated from ASU in 2006 and after experiencing the public school system, I decided I did not want to be a school teacher after all. However, I did graduate from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education (with honors!). I dabbled in various jobs for about year, but I realized that teaching guitar was what I was good at. I decided to make it my main source of income. Throughout college, I had spent all of my leftover student loan money on music equipment and a small music studio. I moved into a warehouse in Tempe and started the band Formula B, a local funk/rock/soul sensation. I advertised lessons with fliers and on the Internet and here I am today, one of the most successful guitar instructors in my area. I moved my operation into a house in Scottsdale in 2008 (good A/C is not overrated) and this is where I currently have my music studio.
I also occasionally compose music for films. I produce a wide variety of electronic music through synthesizers and keyboards in addition to playing guitar. I also play bass, ukulele, keys, sing, and know a few drum beats. While teaching lessons is my main gig, I also perform, record and occasionally work as a sound professional. For 8 years I played lead guitar in the female-fronted hard-rock band Frequis. We performed quite often in the Phoenix area and developed a loyal fan-base that allowed us to play large venues and tour. While we are currently in-active, we have two albums out and you can check us out at www.frequis.com or just type FREQUIS into YouTube.
Above all, I am a creative musician. I have always written my own songs and I am attracted to bands that play original music. Lately, I have been enjoying playing in cover bands as well. I am a fan of rock, blues, acoustic, jazz, metal and experimental music, but I have a great appreciation for all music. I believe that if I don’t like a particular song or band, then maybe I am just not listening hard enough. This crosses over into my lessons. I never discriminate. I teach my students whatever their hearts desire, whether it’s rock, punk, heavy metal, blues, country, pop, kids’ music or whatever else inspires you, I am always willing to help you reach your goals.
Call, text, or email me to schedule a lesson now!