I’ve been performing and playing guitar for over 40 years. Like many musicians my age I remember watching the Beatles on a small black & white TV in my parents bedroom and the impact it had on my desire to play any instrument. In 4th grade my parents enrolled me in the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music playing the trombone. I learned the importance of music theory and musicianship in a formal brass band setting. I continued playing Trombone, but 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 played, life spun me into a successful career in pharmaceuticals and marketing. After almost 20 years in sales, marketing, internet marketing, and sales training at BASF, Knoll Pharmaceutical, Glaxo Wellcome, Duke University, a few failed dot-coms, and 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, BMS has grown to more than we could have dreamed.
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?'
Most people dream about some day meeting thier favorite musicians. I get to teach mine!
I've been a student of Mr. Rob for several years now and I have enjoyed every moment. Truly a gifted teacher, I have learned much under his guidence.
Rob was my guitar teacher from 8th grade until I graduated high school, and was an amazing teacher. He is patient with beginning students and tests the skills of advanced students, allowing them to conquer any song or skill they wish to learn. As a beginning student, Rob was able to give me the confidence to continue practicing and playing guitar, and inspired me to play long after my lessons ended. Rob's extensive understanding of music theory allows him to customize his lessons, for he is able to utilize this knowledge to teach the quickest and most complicated of riffs and songs. Additionally, Rob cares about his students' personal lives, instilling deeper connections. I would highly recommend Rob to students of all ages and skill levels.
My son Trevor began taking group guitar lessons when he was in 5th grade and immediately loved the guitar and wanted to play it all the time. He continued with individual lessons throughout middle and high school. Rob was highly recommended by our neighbor whose sons took lessons from him. Trevor started lessons with Rob in 11th and 12th grade. Trevor really enjoyed the lessons and greatly improved on the guitar and overall as a musician. Rob's vast knowledge of music and guitar and passion for music really helped my son get to the next level. We have had an outstanding experience with Rob and would highly recommend him!
Over the past 7 years, both of my sons have taken guitar lessons from Rob. He is obviously well educated and has a lot of experience. Rob is a great instructor - he personalized the lessons for each of them and got them excited to be playing. My oldest is now away at college; but my youngest is still taking lessons and he looks forward to them every week. I love listening to him play. Thanks Rob!!
I'll first assess where the student is at musically. A few years of piano? Recorder in grade school? Absolute beginner? Then I'll start them on a path that's appropriate for that level.
We'll watch the pace and be sure that the student is able to absorb the weekly techniques and drills. All students move at a different pace and I'll push them to find one that keeps them challenged while they progress.
Once basic skills are established we will move quickly towards playing songs with simple chords and strum patterns. Students are encouraged to find music they like and we work to motivate them by avoiding the drudgery of traditional pedigogy.
Over 40 years of playing experience as amatuer, student, and professional.
Degree in Music Education from Cal State University Los Angeles - Classical Guitar and 2nd in Choral Music. President of the CSULA Music Council.
Private lessons in both classical and jazz guitar began at Nova Music Studios in Pasadena, California
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.
Left a sucessful position in pharmaceutical sales and marketing at GSK to start my own lesson studio.
Word of mouth and exposure as a playing professional kept us full the first few years.
We've been word of mouth since 2002!
All ages. Typically my demographic has been school age 8-9 and up. I've taken kids from not knowing how to hold an instrument to graduation from High School as advance players.
Lately, my demographic has shifted to more adult students and even some retired folks.
You're never too old, so...
'Haven't You Always Wanted To Play?'
Love going up to Merlefest in Wilkesboro every year with the same group of guys.
We see good music and jam in our camp compound all night!
There are a lot of people out there claiming to be music instructors. Even the chain guitar stores offer lessons now. HOWEVER...
Ask yourself. Is your music instructor qualified and road worn? Do they have the credientials? Can they teach from experience? From the heart?
How much of the lessons comes from an established lesson plan? How do you adapt your teaching to problem areas specific to the student needs (i.e. hand strength, timing and coordination, pitch recognition)?
WHY are you motivated to play.
WHERE do you see yourself in terms of skills in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years?
HOW dedicated are you to a discipline, and how much time and effort are you REALLY willing to commit to learning musical discipline?
WHO inspires you musically. What artists, musical pieces, performances get you excited to want to play?