The Early Years Before Teaching Guitar in Cardiff
Before moving to Taff's Well, Cardiff, my musical guitar journey started at the age of seven with piano lessons in Pontypridd, the trumpet followed at secondary school and I was introduced to the guitar at thirteen. My best friend was Phil Campbell, who eventually played with Emmy winning rock band Motorhead for over 30 years as lead guitarist.
He showed me a few chords, and I was away! There were no formal lessons or tutors I knew of, I wanted to be able to play the songs and music I loved, so before I pursued the path of academic study, I taught myself to play by ear.
Practise is the Key
Inspired by the likes of Richie Blackmore, Micheal Schenker and more local guitarists such as Tony Bourge and Dai Shell, I played with all sorts of bands through my teens and early twenties. I learned the art of copying different guitar styles, stagecraft, writing, recording, while practising every second I could.
A huge part of talent in any discipline must surely be the ability to enjoy practising without looking at the clock. I was lucky enough to have this trait in abundance. It was around the age of 23 that I hit a musical learning wall and really didn’t know how to improve (no internet then and still no tutor). By chance, I was incredibly lucky to hear about a guitar teacher by the name of Iain Scott who had moved to Penarth.
My First Guitar Teacher
Iain was a former session guitarist from London who had attended the famous Guitar Institute of Technology in LA, USA as student - taught there, and moved to Cardiff. Here was a guy who knew everything I didn’t and I was so grateful that he was teaching near to me. Three years of lessons later, he was appointed head of guitar teaching at the new Guitar Institute of Technology in London which is now the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance.
After spending a year travelling back and forth to the new college every Saturday taking in as many courses and private lessons as I could, I made the decision to enrol full time.
Teaching all the Guitar Playing Styles
From early classical, rock and blues roots, I studied jazz, funk, fusion, finger-picking, theory and all the modern styles of music that I teach today. You have to stretch your horizons if you want to be good at anything, but the rewards are huge. Pure talent will not make you a good musician, you have to develop it. There’s a musician in all of us – how do I know? Because music touches us all, and in so many different ways.
Enriching your life with Music
I’ve clocked up over 45 years of playing, teaching, writing and recording experience and wish that I was able to find a good tutor when starting out as a guitar player. These days, that needn't be the case. By developing the basics of guitar playing such as technique, rhythm and timing with a tutor, you will earn the right to play the music which means so much to you. To play an instrument is not a privilege, it’s an earned skill, and one that will enrich your life and stay with you for the rest of your life.
"The best way for a student to get out of difficulty is to go through it."