Thirty years of guitar.
Brooklyn, New York.
In April 1984 at the age of 12, I picked up my father’s beat up acoustic guitar and set out how to learn how to play it. Up until I started guitar, I had dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Personally, I didn’t care for winning and losing, so I stopped playing organized baseball. Music seemed the way for me. I was passionate about learning and wanted to learn how to play guitar. At the very beginning, I took some informal “lessons” with a family friend, learned a few power chords and took off from there.
6 months into that, my uncle bought me my first electric guitar – an imitation Les Paul. I was so excited.
Then about a year later, I took 6 more months of lessons with another family friend (who was actually quite good) and then basically became self –taught. My youth was spent listening to hard rock, heavy metal and 80s shred. I practiced at least 4 hours a day. In my later teens I discovered jazz and fusion. This was a time before kids had a plethora of after-school activities to choose from. Would that have made a difference for me? All I know is that I lived to play guitar. I would often fall asleep playing it. It’s all I wanted to do.
I became one of those rock guitarists in my late teens who felt that I needed validation by learning classical guitar. There were many out there – longhaired metal heads plucking the nylon. (I didn’t have long hair though). So, right out of high school, I enrolled into the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music as a classical guitar major. After 2 years of studying classical guitar, I eventually switched focus and finished with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition.
I managed to get in the conservatory as a primarily self-taught rock musician. I didn’t have the type of music background many conservatory students had. My parents were hard working Italian immigrants. They would ask me to sing while playing and I could never do it seriously. So, I made fun of Italian style folk songs. I played only two chords (D and A7) and improvised lyrics in Italian and broken English.
(Now as a band/guitar teacher, I can “sing” and play at the same time fairly well. I would have never imagined that happening. Life is funny.)
I wanted to play fast. I wanted to make noise. I loved feedback. I wanted to learn as much as possible about it. And as much as I loved the guitar, I learned that I hated it too. I fantasized smashing it into pieces. It was the perfect vehicle for my angst and sometimes it still is. I’m just not a kid anymore.
Long story short; I went on to get a Master’s Degree in Music Composition. After traveling some winding creative roads and getting lost too, I became a composer and use lots of guitar in my music (I have 4 albums available).
30 years of guitar and I see myself as a composer first and foremost.
Read some of my other blog posts to learn more about me and to hear my music.
Queens, New York.