ABOUT US: History, Experience, Resume
I’ve been performing and playing guitar for over 50 years. Like many musicians my age I remember watching the Beatles on a small black & white TV and the impact it had on my desire to play guitar. In 4th grade my parents enrolled me in the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music playing the trombone. I learned a variety of critical music skills in a formal brass band setting. Meanwhile, a friend let me borrow his Sears "Stella" guitar and I was instantly hooked. I was living and breathing all styles of music at a very young age and loving it.
Initially self-taught on guitar by listening and playing along with popular groups of the time (Led Zeppelin, Cream, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, BB King, Clapton, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Doobie Brothers), my formal guitar education began at Nova Music Studios in Pasadena, California. There I studied under Don Better, Dave Koonse (L.A. Studio Musicians), and Gunnar Eisel (Professor at Cal State), often using the Berkley College of Music - Hal Leonard Guitar Method. I have since used that course with my own students, and include music theory, ear training, and music appreciation as part of my own curriculum.
My formal music education background includes degree in Music (Classical Guitar, Jazz, and Voice) & Music Education from California State University – Los Angeles where I was President of the CSULA Music Council and graduated with two years on the Dean’s List. The curriculum included advanced music theory, choral and orchestral conducting, honors choir, jazz and ensemble arranging, music composition, jazz improvisation, instrument repair, as well as a series of instrument classes in the four orchestral groups (Brass, Winds, Strings, Percussion). I loved these classes and to this day can make decent music on almost any instrument.
While attending colleges in Pasadena and Los Angeles, I had access to what I think were some of the top Hollywood studio working musicians/educators in the music industry. My classes included music theory from Greg Killian, improvisation classes from jazz greats Gary Foster, Claire Fisher, and Bobby Bradford. I played in several pick-up groups in and out of school and was the “house” accompanist for several rock/pop and jazz performance classes in college. In evaluating my senior recital on classical guitar, my professors gave me high marks on musical interpretation and execution.
I’ve attended master performance clinics with The Art Ensemble of Chicago, John Abercrombe, Branford Marsalis, and Michael Brecker. I’ve performed as a solo tenor for an honors choir performance for the Catholic Cardinal of Los Angeles, was hand selected by Roger Wagner to perform in a Master Choral performance in Los Angeles, and had the honor of being the music arranger and guitarist for the stage band - "The Starlighters" - at a large music event produced by Lou Wasserman and attended by Henry Mancini at the Celebrity Theater in Hollywood.
While I've always continued to play music, my life took a left turn and spun me into a successful career in pharmaceutical sales, sales training, and internet marketing. After almost 20 years in sales, marketing, internet marketing, and sales training at BASF, Knoll Pharmaceutical, Glaxo-Wellcome (now GSK), Duke University, and a few failed dotcoms, as well as a great 4 years as Acoustic Guitar Guru at Guitar Center Raleigh, I decided to form Backwoods Music Studio. Thanks to the support of my family, our terrific friends, the surrounding community, and very strong positive word of mouth over 20 years, BMS has grown to more than we could have dreamed. 400 plus students and still rockin'.
Backwoods Music Studio was been formed with the firm intent of helping people find their music, and in contributing more to the cultural growth of our surrounding arts community.
'HAVEN'T YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO PLAY?'