I have been a musician and guitarist since 1985, when I first started screwing around with a friend's cheap Strat-copy, and over the years I have developed a versatile and entertaining style of guitar playing. I have been in several bands (Hot Buttered Elvis, Bloody Meri, SUPERFAMOUS, CB Radio) and have extensive experience both on stage and in the recording studio. I love all kinds of music, from blues and blues-based styles like rock and jazz, to more esoteric and atmospheric genres. These days I devote much of my time to writing songs and instrumental music.
Other than two years of band in middle school and one year of music theory in high school, I am essentially a self-taught musician. I first started teaching not long after I started playing, when many of my teenage friends would ask me to show them everything I was learning. The vast majority of my early years as a guitarist were spent devouring Guitar Player, Guitar World, and other music publications. I still maintain that these are an invaluable resource for any musician interested in improving. I taught formally at Audio Light & Musical in Norfolk Va for six years, teaching upward of 30 students per week. I relocated to the Northern Va area in 1997.
I do not use a particular method book, but utilize a more practical, hands-on teaching method. I liken it to trying to memorize a foreign language dictionary. You may be able to accomplish that, but you are not going to be able to converse without actively talking with someone who speaks that language. Music is another form of communication, and the most important and rewarding aspect is being able to play with others. I focus right away on rhythmic studies, synchronization of the hands, and being able to feel the "groove" inherent in all styles. Only after a certain confidence is reached do I present more theory related elements like intervals, scales, arpeggios, counting, harmony, and musical structures, as well as reading and writing both traditional notation and tablature.
I encourage students to learn to play rhythmically more than anything, and I show them early in their study how to concentrate and LISTEN. To be a successful musician, a player needs to lock in with other musicians (especially the drums). Along with that, the most important aspect of practicing in the beginning stages is being able to truly hear what is happening when learning a new technique, song, or piece of music. Part of that involves learning how to hear every detail and nuance of what your hands are doing, and how that relates to the instrument and the subsequent sounds created.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Chris makes you feel comfortable right away. He's very good at teaching to your level, whether you're a beginner or an expert. His demeanor will make you feel relaxed because he doesn't take himself too seriously. He is an excellent player in his own right but is not intimidating. He always challenges me, which in turn makes me feel more confident in my playing. His non-traditional method of teaching is different from any other instructor that I've had. I've learned more in six months than I had in two previous years of lessons.