"I started playing gigs even before I felt I was ready. But that's the beauty of the music business—there's so much on-the-job development. The constant discomfort from taking on things before you're ready can be corrosive, though—you need to be able to manage it. The balancing factor is when the task itself is exciting and inspiring, and you know it's right. Then it just becomes a question of how much approval you need, and in what form."
"I'm kind of the oddball. I'm here because a lot of people are curious about this technique, fingerstyle. I show them how to take melodies on the guitar-solo line melodies-and play those melodies while playing the chords at the same time. You're trying to get two layers going. You're using mostly your thumb just to play the lower notes of the chord while the fingers pick out the melody notes on the upper strings. The fingerpickers do that in such a way that the thumb is alternating back and forth on the string, being the rhythm as well. So I'm not just playing the chord under the note, I'm recreating a beat: boom-chick, boom-chick, boom-chick."
"I feel that reading music has even more value for developing your improvising than we have previously thought. While reading and improvising may seem opposite, they are mutually supporting activities. Reading can be a way of thinking even more precisely about what you want to play. This is what an improviser does."
"Berklee is the best school in the world for its kind. The musicians here sum up such a wide spectrum of the industry, from performance to writing to MP&E. They're the best of the best. These are people who are proficient in their business because they've been in the business. There's not another conglomeration of such talented faculty anywhere in the world! You combine that with excellent course structure and continuing efforts to improve the educational aspects of the system, and you get a real win-win situation here. You add to that state-of-the-art facilities and you can't do any better anywhere else."
"Good musicianship is about the fundamentals; it doesn't have to be intricate to be good. Technique is fine, but it's not everything. I stress accompaniment skills and time feel a lot. For most players, time feel is probably the most important skill, because you're usually part of a rhythm section. Your job a lot of times is to complement what's going on, so you have to be really good at listening to and interacting with other musicians. That's what makes great players great."
"I see a lot of people who are interested in blues and jazz, and those are the main areas that I love to work in. Students come in who are already blues players, wanting to work on elements of jazz, and students come in who are jazz or rock players, wanting to get more blues into their playing. I try to make students as complete as I can all-around, on guitar skills, rhythm guitar playing, and soloing. If they're interested in playing over changes, we work on that; if they want to get more into real, straight blues, I'm happy to go in that direction, as well. We dedicate a good amount of lesson time each week toward the personal strengths of the style or styles students are interested in."
"The joy of the guitar is that it has so many different sounds and stylistic approaches. It has a harmonic sound unique to itself, and it can closely simulate the sound of a horn or voice through various techniques like string bending, hammer-ons, and tapping. I think many other instruments have greater difficulty accomplishing the versatile sounds that a guitar can make. Piano is ultimately the best instrument harmonically, no question, but I still believe the guitar is a more versatile instrument in terms of varied sounds and styles."
"You can't sound good if you don't sound good. Sound is probably the most fundamental musical element. It's the thing nonmusicians, even newborn babies, know instantly if it's good or not. There are so many facets to what makes a good sound, but I think what captures it best—the basic definition of technique—is touch. It's also that your sound must be coming from your ear internally first, then you shape it on the instrument. The answer is not in the equipment. The answer is in your own hands."