Musical Background and Teaching Experience
At this stage it's probably a great idea for me to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about my musical
background and professional guitar teaching experience. And why is this so important?
The answer's simple. It gives you the confidence that the lessons that you'll get when learning electric
guitar from me will be of an extremely high standard. It also helps confirm that you'll get…
- Organized, accurate and clearly-communicated information.
- Trustworthy guidance and advice.
- Lessons that will effectively help you reach your short-term and long-term musical goals.
- Lessons that are based on real-life playing experience and over 20 years teaching experience.
I'll try to keep it really brief, but I don't want to leave too much out…
My Musical Background:
I've been playing some form of musical instrument for the last 35 years. The first instrument I formally studied
was one that many people learn…the piano!
I was lucky enough to study classical piano for nine years starting at the age of eight. This really helped me
to develop an understanding of music and music theory. It also helped me learn the practice techniques used by
classical pianists. But my piano days were soon to be a thing of the past. I had discovered a much better
I started playing guitar three months before my 18th birthday. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with
the instrument. I would usually practice at least 3 hours each day after school. In the weekend I would often
practice up to 10 or 11 hours a day. It would be a fair comment to say that I was obsessed! The styles of music
that interested me most at this time were metal, blues, funk and rock. I worked VERY hard at these styles of guitar
playing for around 7 years. But then a new obsession was about to start…
In 1997 a friend introduced me to jazz guitar. And I fell in love with it! I particularly loved the guitar
playing of Wes Montgomery, and proceeded to spend countless hours transcribing, learning and analyzing his solos
off albums like "The Incredible Jazz Guitar Of Wes Montgomery". (Click HERE to see part of one of my incredibly messily-written transcriptions). I
learnt a lot about jazz doing this, but I felt I needed some formal training…
After a year of intensive jazz practice, in 1998 I headed down to Wellington (in New Zealand) to start a
Bachelor of Music (Performance). During my three years there I was fortunate enough to study and play with some of
the best jazz musicians in New Zealand including Noel Clayton, Leigh Jackson, Colin Hemmingsen, Paul Dyne, Nick van
Dijk, Norman Meehan and Roger Sellers. During my studies I learned about jazz improvisation, jazz composition, jazz
arranging, music theory, ear-training and ensemble playing.
It was particularly life-changing to study with Noel Clayton and Leigh Jackson. They are probably the two best
jazz guitarists in New Zealand, and I definitely learned a LOT from them. I thought I was a really good guitarist
before I started lessons with them, but then I saw them play! It was a very humbling experience, and it definitely
drove me to become a better guitarist and musician.
In 2000 I completed the Bachelor of Music (Performance) from Massey University in Wellington. (Click
HERE to see a scanned copy of my certificate).
Over the last 26 years of playing guitar I've had experience performing in situations ranging from speed metal
gigs to freelance jazz gigs. But I have to say here…
Even though I love playing guitar and consider myself to be a pretty good player, my main passion is teaching
others. I love the buzz of seeing my students improve their playing. I also love the challenge of breaking down
complex musical concepts and explaining them to people in a very simple way! So let's take a look at my teaching
My Guitar Teaching Experience:
I started teaching guitar on a professional level when I was 21. I gotta admit I wasn't very good at it
initially. In fact I sucked! But over the last 23 years of teaching I've worked hard and have improved a lot
as a teacher. A heck of a lot. I've taught guitar in a wide variety of situations in Auckland, New Zealand
- High Schools
- Music Schools
- Internet Teaching (via Skype and online courses)
- Master Classes on improvisation and technique development.
- Private Teaching (Both one-to-one and group settings)
In April 2008 I relocated from New Zealand to Melbourne, Australia where I set up a successful guitar
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