It’s in our nature to evolve, to want to improve ourselves and to better our skills. With the immense world of internet and online instructional videos, this is a great time for you to be learning anything. But…
…what if the amount of information you find is so overwhelming you don’t know where to start?
…what if you’ve already played and practiced for many long hours and still aren’t seeing any real results.
As a teacher I see students come in for various reasons. Everyone has their “thing” they want to achieve, and a thing they need from me as their “coach”. That “thing” depends from person to person. Think about it, what is YOUR thing you want to achieve, what do you think you’d need most from YOUR teacher?
Some feel they do great on their own but just need to be held accountable for putting in the time to practice. I’ve also seen students get angry and so frustrated with themselves to the point where they want to quit music all together. In those cases, teaching is more than just about building a skillset on the guitar. It is about something much more personal.
This is the main reason I am always very student oriented. None of my lessons/classes are the same. The people I teach shape my lessons to a great extend. This is also why not every teacher will be a great match for you, and that includes me. The teacher who’s best suited to teach you, next to having the skill and knowledge, is the one you can connect with best. It’s the one you trust.
For that reason I have some basic questions I ask my students before I teach a single technique/lick/song. Here are some of them:
- what are your goals on the guitar?
- what are you struggling with most?
- what do you feel is holding you back from progress?
- how much time do you have for practicing?
- how many days a week could you pick up the guitar, even if just for 5min?
- what are you looking for in your teacher?
Even though they are obvious questions, answering them will give you a clearer picture of where you want to go and who is best suited to help you on your journey.
…the path I walked as a musician
Picking up the guitar
I started playing when I was 16-17 years old. Learning the chords to “Hotel California” from a friend really changed where I would be going and what I would be doing later in life. Even though I had been surrounded by music and instruments all my life I never really considered playing anything until I started strumming those first chords. It’s a passion that is still here today!
In those first years I absorbed just about anything guitar related, of course filtered by my own music preferences(Rock and Metal at the time). One of my first teachers taught me to be openminded about music and introduced me to new music on a weekly basis. He would give me a tape and say:
Listen to this, at least 5 times. You can like it, dislike it, but I want you to listen.
The first tape he gave me was “Friday night in San Francisco” by Al di Meola, Paco de Lucia, and John McLaughlin. I must have played that tape a thousand times over. I was amazed by their improvisations, technical skills, passion, and musicianship. Whenever he would give me another tape I would listen!
Studying at the Conservatory
About 4 years after I played those first chords I started studying Jazz music at the conservatory of Amsterdam (Hilversum at the time). I would later on switch to Rotterdam where they had a world music department where I’ve spent many happy years playing Jazz, Argentinean Tango, Brazilian music, Latin, Latin Jazz, Funk, Pop, Rock, etc. I’ve never really specialised in a specific style but rather absorbed as much as I could of all styles! After graduation I started to broaden my horizon even further by delving into fingerpicking, classical music, and specifically learning all about Barrios and Tommy Emmanuel who’s skills became a new goal.
The beginning of YGW
Since the age of 19 I’ve been giving guitar lessons to students of all ages at home and around my 27th birthday I started teaching at a large music school in the Netherlands. There I taught private lessons, group lessons, large workshops, and music projects. Since 2006 internet has been becoming increasingly more important in my lessons leading to the foundation of Your Guitar Workshop. Though I have to give credit to Karsten (one my my students) as he jumpstarted my debut on youtube.
Moving to Canada and teaching at Selkirk College
Since I was about 30years old, I knew I wanted to move to a different place. I love mountains, snowboarding, mountain biking, climbing, all the outdoors activities. In that regard (as lovely as Holland can be), we used to live in a boring place with little to offer. So in 2015 we moved from the Netherlands to Nelson BC. By coincidence (if there is such a thing in a small town like Nelson) I learned about a job opening for a position of Guitar Instructor at Selkirk College. I went for it and since then I’ve been lucky enough to teach with some of the most wonderful colleagues I’ve worked with over the years.