Can you see the guitar strap on my shoulder?
That square jawed skinny lad you see in the picture was me at
the beginning of my guitar love affair.
Here's the story.
I met a girl. I was 17. We were in love for a while then she broke my heart.
One night I was sat wallowing in self pity at losing my first love watching a movie called "Crossroads". It was a story about the blues.
There's a particular scene where Eugene, the guitar playing protagonist was playing blues, because his love had left him. The sound his guitar made resonated with the feelings I was suffering. I was compelled to get a guitar because in my mind I knew it would help me heal to make those same sounds.
"The blues ain't nothin' but a good man feelin' bad, thinkin' 'bout the woman he once was with".
I had been playing guitar for 3 years. Obsessed, I used to go to the local guitar store,
(which was church to me) to steal licks and tricks from anyone who would come to peruse the guitars and amps. I was a sponge soaking it all in.
One day, an old school buddy popped in to the store for some bass strings. We got talking and he mentioned he was going for an audition at a new music college in my hometown of Huddersfield in Yorkshire. I had only dreamed of this notion. I'm a working class lad. The likes of me didn't go into further education.
Excited and Intrigued I asked If I could tag along...maybe there was more musical knowledge to be sucked up! When we rocked up I spoke to the course tutor and auditioned on the spot with a guitar they had there. they offered me a place straight away. I was home. I loved it there and joined in on as many projects as I could. I also discovered I could sing! This led to making a living in club bands.
I also started teaching guitar one on one as a side hustle to make some money for living expenses. Teaching music in rehabilitation centres I learned a ton about people and motivation.
4 years later in my last tutor meeting my tutor asked me if I wanted to be a guitar teacher at the music college. I was stoked. But, the reality was I needed to educate myself on how to educate. I completed my teacher training just as my original band split up, (another heartbreak!). I decided to really dive into to helping the local music scene promoting bands, putting on events and running a PA hire company.
Soul Solution - (2nd on the right)As the frontman/singer.
One of the many adult guitar classes through the years.
Teaching in formal education settings was a grind and I was very often isolated in a small room for hours.
I decided to setup a dedicated private teaching space. So, in 2006 Ricky's school of rock was born. I wanted to have a team of tutors to bounce ideas and make cool things happen. (I also secretly wanted a place I could start a band and have a space to rehearse and record songs).
With my wife Kerry by my side the small studio became 6000 sq ft with an on site venue and a staff of 14 tutors. It's truly an amazing space! Band programs, choirs, songwriting classes.
We've done just about everything!
In 2009 I realised I could record and share private videos with my students by using YouTube.
Accidentally I set one video for one of my guitar classes to public. That video took off and has over 1.5 million views on YouTube. This made me realise I could teach more than the 30 1 to 1 students I had a week. I could put out videos that would help people all over the world.
the secret to all this is, I'M STILL OBSESSED with learning and playing guitar. The great thing about teaching is "when you teach you learn twice". If you teach for over 30 years, you have a ton of great guitar knowledge to share.
My goal is to share EVERYTHING I know. No holding back. I consider it to be my legacy.
My hope is to teach things that kindle the fire of learning the guitar so you don't give up on the dream.
We sacrifice so many things in life. Dreams are what give us hope and meaning.
I will teach as long as I can move my fingers and press record on the video camera.
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