1. Do you just teach guitar, or do you teach other instruments as well?
I teach guitar, and I also teach bass (guitar). I also teach music theory for people who want to learn about music. Some people just want to talk theory, even during the lesson, and others just want to play and not worry about the theory.
2. Now, you also do some recording for people — tell me about that.
I do demo recording for students and others too who aren’t students. I have a small recording studio at home to help my students mostly. I don’t have a giant set up, but it sounds as good as the bigger studios do. I mostly save the studio for my students; that’s what it is really there for. I help them gather their music in a demo recording to help them take it to the next level.
3. How long have you been doing this?
I’ve been teaching for 15 years, and the last 12 to 13 years I haven’t needed any other job. I teach probably 50 to 60 hours a week, seriously.
4. Do you work for yourself or a company?
I work at Private Sounds-Music; that’s where I teach. I rent a room there to use to teach, but I’m self-employed.
5. About how many students do you work with each week?
Basically, my whole week is divided into half-hour slots. I do 60 to 80 of those slots each week. During the school year, that number is closer to 80 than 60. I don’t turn people away, so some weeks, I have had up to 90 slots.
6. What kind of training do you have?
I took music theory, music history — a lot of online classes from the Berkley School of Music. I don’t have a degree. I am a master of music theory though; I love it. I don’t force it on people though. Some people just want to play the guitar in their room or around a campfire. They aren’t interested in all the theory stuff.
7. How much do you play yourself?
I teach eight hours a day, and then I’ll play maybe four hours more than that. I record people too, so I don’t sleep much. I’m playing guitar 12 to 14 hours a day. That is totally not an exaggeration either.
8. What’s the hardest thing about learning the guitar?
The hardest thing is first figuring out the direction the person wants to go and then getting them comfortable holding it. If you can get them going with those two things, and they put in some practice time, they will play. You need to get them comfortable with the guitar in their hands. It does take a bit of practice — not hundreds of hours but some — and they will see results. My theory I teach by is to get them actually playing the instrument. I think that is really important.
9. Have you ever had anyone who just couldn’t play?
Honestly, I’ve only had to tell someone that once, and it came down to they didn’t want to learn. I’ve not really seen someone who can’t play.
10. Who has been your most unusual student?
To be totally honest, I have a few that want a psychologist, not a guitar teacher. They just mostly want to talk, not play. I bought a book on teaching guitar, and it even said that sometimes you get people who want to hang out and not play.
11. Who is your most successful student?
I have a kid named Josh Hernedez who plays in a death metal band, Viraemia. You can see his stuff on YouTube. His playing is mind-blowing.
12. What do you charge for a lesson, and how do people sign up?
I charge $60 for four, half-hour lessons per month, or $90 for four, hour-long lessons per month. I’m the only guy who charges only $90 for an hour lesson. The best way to get a hold of me is at 419-741-0820 between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. or during other times at 419-296-8000. I do lessons when people can come — like I’ll try to help third-shift people who need a lesson at midnight. I have really crazy hours. I never sleep anymore.