This page is to help visitors get to know me as a teacher. I’ve been teaching guitar professionally for more than thirty years, and have been fortunate to have many students that have gone on to successful careers themselves. My teaching philosophy is to develop students’ ability to create their own success, as performers, composers, and teachers. My teaching method is based on excellent pedagogy and emphasizes playing process over product. My guitar students learn how to practice effectively, how to meet and solve technical and musical challenges, how to concentrate effectively in demanding situations, (a crucial skill for music performance) and how to believe in themselves through a demonstrated pattern of success in their study.
My teaching approach has been shaped by my own experiences, of course, and by the teachers that I have been lucky enough to work with over the years. I think it’s important professionally in our time to have a certain versatility as a musician, especially at the onset of a professional career when musicians are frequently asked to function well in a variety of settings. When I work with graduate and undergraduate students, I help them develop skills, strategies, and attitudes that will assist them in the difficult task of building and sustaining a career in music. Here’s a video that highlights some of my students at UTSA:
I especially enjoy working with younger students and have an excellent record of success in helping young guitarists develop technically and musically to the point where they can consider a professional career. Many of my pre-college students have excelled at elite music programs around the country.
Most importantly, I try to instill in my students a positive self-relationship and strong hierarchy of musical values. Music is about sharing, and it’s important to develop the self awareness and respect for peers that drives the excitement about sharing music with others. This type of development is a complex process that includes building a community based on shared experiences within a group of students.
Here’s a reprint of an article I wrote originally for the GFA journal Soundboard, for an issue that focused on technique:
One of the more important aspects of pursuing a career in music is developing the ability to build one’s own career. This is something that collegiate music programs are finally starting to understand the importance of. I directed the Music Marketing program at UTSA for eight years, and developed an entrepreneurship in music course as part of that program. I also spent many years building my own career as a performer, composer, and teacher before I was lucky enough to hold a tenured position at a university. Here’s an article on entrepreneurship I wrote for soundboard, and use for the basis of a presentation I’ve given many times.