Teaching

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Libido sciendi, a lust for knowledge, an ache for understanding is incised in the best of men and women. As is the calling of the teacher. There is no craft more privileged. To awaken in another human being powers, dreams beyond one’s own; to induce in others a love for that which one loves; to make of one’s inward present their future: this is a threefold adventure like no other…to teach, to teach well, is to be accomplice to transcendent possibility.” (George Steiner, Lessons of the Masters, 2003).

I teach guitar, music history, music entrepreneurship, and humanities in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. By combining a rigorous Bachelor of Arts curriculum set within an interdisciplinary department, our Music Program offers the best aspects of performance training, academic scholarship, creativity and innovation.

Our broad-based guitar program encompasses several stylistic categories – including classical (Medieval and Renaissance literature to the avant-garde of today), to jazz/fusion, rock/metal/other popular styles and improvised/creative music. All students are required to read music and improvise, regardless of stylistic interest. You may learn more about the program here: https://www.uccs.edu/vapa/index/music.

For students who cannot study with me in person, I offer two online instructional courses, produced by The Great Courses. Each course provides over twelve hours of instruction at a very reasonable price. The first course ‘Learning to Play Guitar’ assumes one has no previous knowledge of the instrument, and covers basic chords and scales, music notation and tablature, and exposure to a wide variety of styles: https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/music/learning-to-play-guitar-chords-scales-and-solos.html. A follow up course, ‘Playing Guitar Like a Pro’ explores songwriting, improvisation, and more advanced techniques: https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/music/playing-guitar-like-a-pro-lead-solo-and-group-performance.html. I am also a co-founder and guitar faculty for the Twisted Spruce Music Foundation Guitar and Composition Symposium, which pairs performers and composers from all over the world. For more information on our annual event, please visit: https://www.twistedspruce.org/.

Having taught a great diversity of students, I always tell them to abide by two maxims: Know Thyself, and the Latin phrase nil satis nisi optimum – ‘nothing suffices but the best’. By this, I mean that one’s personal best—based on each of our talents, limitations and work ethic—should be put forward every day. Keeping this in mind and dutifully re-evaluating oneself maintains a growth mindset and ensures consistent improvement.


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