Miami Guitar Teacher | How to Get Good at Guitar
Hi! This is Dyce Kimura, I am a Fort Lauderdale and Miami guitar teacher. Today I’m going to talk about the topic of how to get good at playing guitar. I’m going to be talking to people that want to become a pro. I’m going to be just addressing a lot of issues and challenges that you might go through and give you some real practical experience and advice.
A little background on myself; I’m a full-time Pro and Miami guitar teacher. I’ve been playing guitar for 30 years – 30+ years, actually. I’ve been playing full-time since 2002, so I’m shooting this video 2016. My only source of income full-time for the last 14 or 15 years has been playing guitar. I don’t say that to toot my horn, I just want to give you some context of where my advice is coming from. I also work as a full-time guitar instructor so I deal with beginners constantly every day. I deal with intermediate. If you are a beginner click here for a beginner blog. I deal with advanced and I deal with people who want to make it as a Pro. I myself have made it as a Pro. I have a lot of experience to offer and a lot of insight to discuss with you today.
Miami Guitar Teacher Tips
So let’s just get right into it. First I want to talk to everyone with this question; and the question is how good you want to get at guitar? If you could get as good as you want to get and your wildest craziest fantasy could come through then how good would you get? That’s the question I want you to put in the back of your mind – we’re going to constantly revisit that question during this talk. And the other question I want to ask you as a Miami guitar teacher is what are you willing to do to get good? And of course, the other question I want to ask is what are you not willing to do to get good? So these are important things; how good you want to get? What are you willing to do to get there and what are you not willing to do to get there? Because getting good is difficult and you’re going to run into challenges and first and foremost, you want to know what you’re made of. So I just want to put that on the table as we get into this discussion.
I really want to talk about pros. Shooting for a pro; I’m a pro and a Miami guitar teacher, and I understand how you feel. Being a pro is a really big commitment and it’s going to go back to the very first thing I asked, what are you willing to do? And what are you not willing to do as a pro? So it’s obviously about sacrifice. I had to give up everything to be a pro. I grew up in Japan, I am an American citizen, but I grew up in Japan. I re-moved to America, because I wanted to be a pro in America. Americans get criticized heavily for all kind of things in the world, but one thing that America is great at is rock ‘n roll. Oh yeah babe! We invented blues, jazz, funk, R&B, rock ‘n roll, hard rock, heavy metal, rap I mean, we invented everything when it comes to music so this is the place to be. London was great too – Uk invasion – but of the two, I took America. Anyway, so I love playing in the United States and I moved back to America for playing here and it cost me everything: it cost me financially, I lost my mother because my mother lived out in Japan, I lost my family out there. I was all alone, but I was driven and committed. So what are you willing to sacrifice that actually really becomes a big deal?
So I want to talk about what Buddy Guy said one time in an interview; he said, “if you’re jamming in a room and you’re the best guy in the room and you look around and you notice that you’re the best guy, then you need to find a new room,” that’s what he said. I interpret that to be if you are the biggest fish in the pond then you need to find a new pond. Remember, the goal was never to be the biggest fish in the pond; the goal is to be the best version of yourself as you can possibly be on the guitar. So that’s something that you need to do. So also I’m going to give you some advice as a Miami guitar teacher that I got from Slash and this is from a magazine, but in an article they were interviewing like 10 different guitar players. I can’t remember everyone, but I know a few there was Yngwie Malmsteem, Slash and then Steve Vai and Joe Satriani and a couple of others. But hey asked them what’s the one thing that you would tell someone who wants to get good at guitar? What would you tell them if you could only tell them one thing? And they all had really good answers. Yngwie Malmsteem said that you need to know theory and then he said if you know the theory everything comes together. I am a Miami guitar teacher. I know a lot of theory, but at the time when I read the magazine I didn’t know a whole lot of theory so I was like, “okay, that didn’t help me.” And then Joe said, “you just need to follow your passion, you just got to really follow your heart.” And I said, “Okay, that kind of helped.” And then Steve Vai he said, “you just need to practice, practice, practice.” I said, “Okay, I do that anyway.” And then the one that really helped me was Slash he said, “you just got to get out and gig all you can, man!” And believe it or not that piece of advice was the most beneficial for me and why is that? Because Slash was saying, just get out and gig and this was in the midst of being uneducated. Slash was pretty uneducated musically. Being underfunded, he was broke and the homeless when cut appetite for destruction. But the thing is when you are in the middle of the battlefield you start learning how to fight. When you’re in the scene and you’re actually gigging you’re not just learning concepts in your bedroom, you’re not just downloading courses off True fire, you’re not just taking lessons from a Miami guitar teacher, you’re actually out there on the scene playing for people and you’re playing with people and you’re playing music which is songs about people and humanity, by the way. And then you’re playing with people and then you’re paying for people, so all of a sudden everything that you’re playing starts to materialize and come together; this is really, really important. This will give you the bird’s eye view to really understand what’s important, because you have to fight to keep the main thing, the main thing.
Miami Guitar Teacher Experience
There are all kinds of distractions as you’re coming up on the scene that is going to take you away from the main thing. What are distractions? Well, one distraction could be girls – for guys it could be girls and for girls it could be guys. Having kids – and it’s funny, because I have 2 kids; actually, me and my wife have a third kid on the way now, but my guitar teacher when I was 16 said, “Dyce don’t be having a bunch of kids all over the place with just strange random women,” I said, “why is that?” He said, “well, you’ve got to be really careful.” So you start having kids you’re going to have responsibilities. You start having financial responsibilities and obligations and duties to raise these kids, you’re not going to be able to tour, and you’re not able to work. If you were keeping your overhead low, you keep yourself out of debt, you drive a little humble car, you rent a little apartment and you’re ready to tour. You are practicing, but you are ready to tour and, let’s say, you make very little money. You could be making, let’s say, $300/$400 a week playing guitar and then you’ve got to make ends meet by either working at Pet Shop Boys or cut lawns on the side or whatever, but you scrape by with $500/$600 a week and you can actually make it and scrape by and make a living having a humble life and you could get pretty good and get ready to have more success, but if you pick up more obligations like having babies then you could end up getting screwed. I’m not saying that babies are bad or wrong. If you’re married and you and your wife are ready to have kids and financially this is a good decision then go for it. I did that at 30, by the way, after I was very established in my professional career as a Miami guitar teacher. I got married and after I got married I had a couple kids. So now when I need more money my wife says, “go play your guitar, we need more money.” Because I’m an established pro as a Miami guitar teacher, that’s the only way I make money, so if I need to make more money, my wife is like, “yeah, go play the guitar and make me money.” She’s not resenting me and saying, “are you going to go play guitar with the boys on the weekend? You know I’m working 3 jobs and you haven’t taken me on a date in 6 weeks.” It’s not like that; it’s like, “no, no go play the guitar.” So I’m set up right now to play all the time.
So I had to sacrifice and I want to talk about that, for instance, relationships. And I’m not telling you what to do about kids or relationship or anything, but if you’re chasing all these relationships and if you’re just in a relationship just for the sake of being in a relationship may be you should focus on the guitar. If it’s not true love and you’re just wasting time or trying to have a little too much fun, listen! Focus on your guitar. Don’t worry about trying to get what’s her name’s attention. Play your guitar and become great at that guitar and you’ll not only get her attention, but you’ll be fulfilled when you can do that. So that was a mantra for me; I not only gave up my home in Japan and all my connections and childhood friends and living with my mother and everything and then financially I came to America and I shaved my head and became a mover and did whatever I had to do to survive until I can make it as a full-time Pro Miami guitar teacher.
I went full-time in the first 2 years and I that bring us to the next topic. If you really want to get good at guitar, you want to try study the scene that you’re in right now in your city and figure out as soon as possible how to make money either as a Miami guitar teacher or by other means. And if it’s not in your genre; I don’t care if you’re in the screamo or punk or heavy metal and the only thing that’s paying is for you to playing Frank Sinatra, go learn the Frank Sinatra. If you are really going to be a true musician in the truest form and you are not already a bona fide superstar artist, then don’t put up any walls or defiance or ego about what you’re going to do or what you won’t do. If you look playing music and you love guitar then do everything that you can do. I’ll give you an example – you see Hendrix on the wall behind me. I came here loving Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn I wanted to play blues rock and for whatever reason I came to Miami. It’s a long story why I’m in Miami, but I’m here working as a Miami guitar teacher. People in Miami love Bob Marley, so I started getting jobs playing at restaurants for happy hour. There was a lot of singers/ guitar players around town so I had to do something to be unique and have a niche and so I decided to go and learn a bunch of Bob Marley songs. So I only played Bob Marley, so I was the guy that gets booked and I would say, “yeah, I will play Bob Marley, that’s what I do.” And I love Bob Marley, by the way, and I fell in love with Bob Marley after I had to learn to play his stuff for work. Then I was like, “man! I love Bob Marley, but it wasn’t my first choice, not because I would not like Bob Marley, because I didn’t get exposed to a Marley. So don’t limit yourself with what you think you know about yourself. Be open to whatever, but the most important thing like I said is get into real gigging situations where you’re making money at your craft.
Why is it so important to make money at your craft? For many reasons, first of all it’s going to ground you and anchor you in the scene. You’re going to start to know what you’re going rate is. You’re going to start to know what people want and what people are willing to pay for and you’re going to become very good at giving off polished results. A pro musician or Miami guitar teacher can deliver on demand. Nobody is asking you what your favorite band is, they just want you to play what they want and play it now. And there’s a lot of maturity that comes with being able to do that that’s going to be necessary whether you end up doing your own stuff full-time or you end up being a cover guy full-time, but you always want to be able to fall back on being able to make a living for yourself even if your solo album doesn’t sell. The other reason that you want to start making money is that if you were making money playing music even if you don’t like what you’re playing but it’s the only way you can make money, look at the alternative. So let’s say you spent 8 hours a day playing, let’s say you’re working as a Miami guitar teacher and showing a 9-year-old how to play Miley Cyrus or something, God forbid! You know in my early days I actually did have to learn a whole Miley Cyrus album, her second album, the Hannah Montana oh my gosh! And it was a humbling experience for me. I was struggling financially and I had a client and he was a good client, good paying clients and he wanted me to teach his daughter and she wanted to learn Hannah Montana. And I was like a bona fide rock ‘n roll badass, I mean, I had tattoos, I had long here I was like raw and I’m here learning Hannah Montana and teaching it to what’s her name and I had to because I had to pay the rent – humbling experience. But it was good and now I don’t have any resistance; you want to learn Taylor Swift, you want to learn Selena Gomez? Bring it! I actually – because I’m kind of a higher level pro I actually don’t take on a request that anymore, but I was able to mature through that and then now become more exclusive Miami guitar teacher. In other words, I pass the test there was no resistance in me to be like, “I’m above that.” Try not to do that.
Pro Miami Guitar Teacher
And the alternative is if you’re not making a full-time living playing or working as a Miami guitar teacher, what are you doing? Are you are working at the gas station? Are you working Publix or you’re working at a furniture store or you’re cutting lawns? You’re doing something that’s not music. So I’m getting better, and better and better at playing guitar and I’m getting paid for it while someone else who had too much ego to learn that stuff now they had to invest the time in something else that actually took time away from their craft and so they started going down in their guitar skills while I went up, you following what I’m saying? So I never looked at it as a waste of time, I really didn’t. I looked at every experience as something to benefit from.
I want to talk about bands. Get in a band. Get in as many bands as you can. At one point I was in five gigging bands plus doing lessons plus during rehearsals plus doing shows plus doing solo gigs plus doing the writing sessions plus working as a Miami guitar teacher; you better believe it. Plus buying instruments and buying gear and getting it repaired and maintained and just running all over town like a chicken with my head cut off, but I loved it, I still do. I love to play and I love the exciting life and I love all the people that I get to meet. Get in band it goes with the Slash thing ‘gig all you can’. If you want to read more about how guitar teaching has changed recently click here.
Get all the experience you can and if you’re just starting out I’m talking to you. If you are watching this you’re probably not already a pro or a Miami guitar teacher, so I’m talking to you, don’t be so sure about what kind of music you like or you don’t like, just play. If there’s action to be added, get the action. I’ll tell you a little about myself again on the Bob Marley gig. I needed work and that there was a band that was hiring and they were hiring on South Beach and they wanted reggae. They were a reggae band and I knew the club owner and that they knew me and they wanted to hire me and they were like, “we want you to do this reggae thing.” And listen, I had no experience playing reggae and I don’t even like reggae because there is not big guitar solos in reggae and I was all about the big guitar solos. When I got into this band I was only non-Jamaican guy in the band – turns out it was my favorite, I mean, I had the best time ever playing with these guys. I love reggae, man, I love it, love it, love it I don’t know if I mentioned how much I love it. If you really know how to dig into that groove, it’s so infectious and I remember I had a great time. I even went to Jamaica and listen to some great reggae out there, some amazing reggae. So I’m a huge reggae fan, I ended up being a huge Bob Marley and a huge reggae fan and I just love it. I love to play. I love to teach it as a Miami guitar teacher. I love to sing it, so who to thunk it? I guess I didn’t have it all figured out even though I felt very strongly about it one time, but I learned something from it. So you can learn something from playing jazz. You can learn something from playing salsa. You can learn something from playing pop. You know, one thing I’ve learned from teaching pop songs is that a lot of them have amazing chord structures. I’m a rock ‘n roll guitar player and I remember I had to teach Britney Spears song when I first got started as a pro Miami guitar teacher – this is my dirt, folks, this is my most embarrassing moment as a pro. I had to teach – I remember the song, it was Oops I did it again by Britney Spears. Britney didn’t actually write that, but she sang it and I remember the embarrassments I had to play it and learned it, but after I learned the chords I was stunned at how amazing those chords are. Those are some really sick chords and I was like, “man, I never thought that chords could be so cool.” And so I started really studying pop music and the chord structures can be amazing because I was your rock guy I was like E, G, A and then C, D like vodo child that was all I could do. And so everything was about this guitar solo and the whole song was just building up to the solo and it didn’t have character and I’m learning these pop songs and I remember that humbled me, that Britney Spears song.
Anyway, definitely enough about her; Actually, I do want to talk a little bit more about Brittany. I remember in 2008 I saw a video of her with a shaved head and she was hitting the windshield of a car with an umbrella and she’s like screaming at this guy in the car when she had a shaved head with tears running down her face. Let me tell you, this rock ‘n roll music scene will chew you up and spit you out. I watched the best of them go through it, I’ve gone to stuff myself. So I looked at Britney go through that – no judgment here, folks. I look at her now she’s a mom with 2 kids. I haven’t seen her in the papers in a bad way recently, so I’m assuming she figured some stuff out and I give her props. It’s really hard to deal with the mooches and leeches in the music business and it’s really hard and to deal with her issues she had drug problems. It’s not easy navigating this thing and sometimes people are really talented, but they’ll get taken down because they can’t figure out how to deal with all the self-destructive forces in the music business. So you’re dealing with wisdom and who to become your friend, who to not let become your friend, when to say no and step away from dysfunctional or destructive situations, you know what I’m saying? These are all forces, I mean, it’s 2016, it’s May and I’m shooting this. Prince just died because of an opiate overdose and so did that guy. So it’s like you could be on the top of your game, but have an area of your life go out of control and you’re done. So that has a lot to do with what’s really important too; not enough people give that enough thought until after it’s bit them in the behind.
So I want to talk a bit about the music school. You could go to music school or learn from a Miami guitar teacher. I know some really good friends that went to music school. But there’s a danger with music school and it actually has nothing to do with music school at all, but has to do with you the student. I’m really only talking about you right now. Music school, what’s good about music school? Well, you get to go there and they teach you music and you’re around musicians 24/7. You’re around people that will inspire you and stoke your flame, you get excited, you can learn from them, you can make lifelong friends or connections, you can play and bands, you could get discovered all kinds of wonderful things, right? What’s bad about music school? Well, you might incur like $80,000 of personal debt that the government won’t let you wipe out even after you declare bankruptcy, which is not attracted, by the way.
But there’s an even bigger problem with music schools and it’s not necessarily with the music school, but the people who are in it. Often there is this unspoken expectation and I’m a full-time Miami guitar teacher and I see this all the time with the kids and they’re having this conversation with their parents and back and forth to go to music school or audio engineering school and the expectation is if I can just get my parents to pay for me to go to music school then 4 years later I’ll come out of this music school factory and I’ll be a musician and I’ll be pro level and just have my wonderful life as being pro Miami guitar teacher. That’s just not the case, man; all you’re going to get when you get out of music school is a piece of paper that says you went to music school. And if your music school is out of state, now you’re going to come back home. You’ve now spent 4 years of your life investing in relationships that are outside of demograph, so now you can’t even capitalize on the 4 years of people you’ve been jamming with. You’ve got almost zero to none real life gigging experience and so you may understand music, but you don’t know the music business and it is a business. So you could have not gone and not gone into debt with that tuition and have been working, scrounging, hustling may be living in your parents basement for a while, it’s humbling, but 4 years later you’re 4 years into the scene or working as a Miami guitar teacher. You’ve got 4 years of experience hitting the streets and pounding the pavement and meeting other players and coming up with gigs and bands and try to turn them into moneymaking situations and after 4 years you’re probably making some money. Or you could get this piece of paper and you don’t play the crap out of a major scale, let’s say, you know your music theory you but you don’t know anything about music business. Now, what I’m saying is very, very general; it’s not true for everyone and it’s not even fair so if it doesn’t apply to you, I apologize. But I’m just saying there is a danger on that side of the pendulum that music school or engineering school will solve all my problems and you learn a lot of really good stuff at school, but – let me put it to you this way, if somebody is really tenacious to learn the guitar from a Miami guitar teacher and won’t accept no for an answer and will practice 8 to 14 hours a day and will play at every opportunity at the drop of a hat with anyone; that individual will thrive and do amazing in music school, but that individual will thrive and do amazing without music school, like Jimi Hendrix. So it’s like great if you can do it if you can afford it or your parents will pay for it then have a great time, enjoy yourself. A lot of musicians are not in that position and they’re dealing with other factors. So if you’re putting your hopes up in music school and then you’re all bummed out that you can’t go now, no, don’t accept that for an answer just continued to grind and make the most out of where you are at and what you do and you can do you.
And by the way, speaking of schooling, you can do it online nowadays or from a Miami guitar teacher. You can do everything online, so do it. You can go to night school and you can learn, if you’re really committed to learning. I’ve learned so much stuff. I’ve bought courses online, I’ve gone and YouTube and I pretty much learned everything I could ever want to know and then maybe 3 or 4 times that. I don’t even use the stuff I know. Anyway, there are a lot of resources out there.
Also something that I suggest for kids that are just getting their feet wet is to get a job at your local music store, absolutely. I live in Miami in the Fort Lauderdale area. I’m actually in Hollywood, Florida; but just about everyone that’s anyone goes to Guitar Center every 60 days. The guitar store in Hallandale is like a major store in my area, but that store – I’m talking about everyone. I’m talking about all the big-name pros and Grammy award-winning artist. I have seen so many big time musicians there and producers and engineers in Guitar Center. In 60 days just about this whole city of musician pro just at one point walk through those doors. And you could get a job working the front door or you could be a stock boy in the back or you could be answering phone, do something! I got a job at guitar Center as a Miami guitar teacher. I’ll confess I had a little bit of savings, because they don’t say anything. I worked there for 3 months and I was determined to be a pro in America. I worked there for 3 months and I made 1000 business cards and then I had made a little website where you could hear my music and I put my website on my business card. This was for Myspace, this was 1999. I went to the music store and I started working there and I made so many connections in 3 months that I had 5 bands that were gigging working bands and I had enough students to teach them and I could teach full-time and play full-time and quit my job at the music store within 3 months. Not everybody could do that, but that’s not bad for someone who just got off the plane from Japan. And I think I had a lot more tenacity just because I came from another place.
So if you have to up and relocate don’t think that’s something that’s going to work negatively against you. If you need to go to Nashville or LA or New York or wherever you’re going to end up going – London, Tokyo it could be good. I came here and I came to Miami as a Miami guitar teacher and I had such a fire to get good. I thought I was good in Japan; I was living in the fourth largest state,
4- 5 million people and I was 19 years old and I thought I was all that and then I came here and these Americans, they were amazing. They were ripping my face off and I’m talking about at the local pub. There would just be some kid playing, I’d be like, “dude, that guy is so good I can’t even believe it.” I ran home and would start practicing 8 to 10 hours a day again, because I needed to get rocked and I realize that you want to rock somebody’s pants off, if you want to rock somebody’s face off on a level that they can’t believe what you just did you have been rocked, does that make sense? You’ve been rock and stimulated on such a level that now you can give out stimulation or just mind blowing playing on that kind of left, but first you have to get impacted. So run and get impacted at every opportunity that you can. If there is a great musician in town then go try to see him or get a coffee with him, try to hang out with him, try to interact with these people. They’re going to rock you. And a lot of people, it’s crazy, I meet people and they are afraid of it, they’re afraid of something to rock them, they are afraid of anything or anyone that’s going to challenge their mind-set or their thinking and I’m like, “why do you want to be in your current thinking?” Your thinking is the problem. You know a lot of people cling to their personality and they’re defensive about their personality like, “no, I’m an introvert and I don’t like to talk to people and I don’t like…” Well then who cares, if you really want to get good it’s going to require you go shake that person’s hands and talk to them and get up on stage and to lose yourself and play and put it out there. I was very much an introvert and shy and scared of people and I had to learn how to get out there as a Miami guitar teacher. It eventually changed to my personality, but if I were to cling to my personality and say this is my personality and so therefore, I don’t do these decisions and I don’t do these actions and because I don’t do these actions I got disqualified from stepping into the scene. And then at the end of the day, I’m just licking my wounds in my bedroom and going, “okay, that’s my personality and that’s my faith it’s really not fair.” No, your personality is killing you. Change your personality it’s your personality. I’ll give an example of how I changed; I was really shy guy, believe it or not, and I had long hair when I was a kid and I would just wear my hair over my face and I would just hide my face behind my hair when I played guitars when I do shows and I couldn’t find a singer. I was 21 years old and I could not find a lead singer for my band and I just sang and I sucked. And I didn’t know what to say and I wrote my own lyrics and my lyrics were wacky and I sang them. And some people loved them and some people criticize it. Some people made fun of me, but I didn’t want to let people around me stop me from what I came to do. I came all the way from Japan to do this thing and I sang.
And by the way, I want to talk about that real quick. I came from Japan to play and I would hit Miami and I would hit the clubs and the bars to play and I would get on that stage this ferocious fire. I would attack that stage with fire that people never- not that they’d never seen, but they were like, “where did you come from, kid? You just came out of nowhere.” And I’m like, “man, you don’t understand, I have been waiting for years and saving my money to be here. I rode on a jet plane for thousands of miles to get here for this one thing to come out in the middle of this little sleepy town in the middle of, I don’t know, homestead or something and sit and wait for 2 hours to this open mic to get on stage and play my 2 songs on that old tele that I had to borrow.” But when I did it I gave it all I got, because this was my moment. I came all the way from Japan to do the exact same thing I was doing in that bar. And the other people there they just had not had the journey I had. Let’s say, they are locals, they grew up here. They are playing at the bar tonight, that’s they’re job. They’re making 150 bucks, whatever. They get out of bed at 2 o’clock, they drink a six-pack then they saunter on over to the bar. They put their amp on stage and tune up and get ready. And it’s like another day at the office, but me, when I was trying to look for work and coming into the city I just had my teeth out. I’m telling you, if you can get in situations that challenge you, you could get good, you could really discover who you are and what you’re made of. So don’t be shy in doing that.
Anyway, back to the singing thing; I encourage everyone to sing, believe it or not, I am also a voice teacher, not only a Miami guitar teacher. It took me a long time to learn to sing I really, really sucked. I did not respect singing, I had a bad voice. I’m now a professional singer. I work as a singer and I want to tell you that you can learn to sing. But why am I telling you to sing? You have to understand the perspective of the lead singer even if you’re not going to be a singer. You know why it’s so important? Because everyone listens to the singer, so if you don’t sing or don’t even know what it feels like to sing you won’t know what your guitar playing feels like in the context of the singer. So if you really want to get good at guitar start singing a song or two. And you notice a lot of great guitar players can sing. Like I said I wanted to do a Steven Ray Vaughan thing – Stevie sand and so did Jimi, so did Clapton, so did Buddy Guy. All these heroes they all sang. Like now, John Mayer, you go hear him and it’s the John Mayer band. There are some great guitar players that’s you’ve never heard of, because they don’t say. So learn to sing and if you can sing then you’ll understand singers. If you understand singers, singers will want to play with you. It’s crazy how that works, isn’t it? The more you understand singers; in other words, you can play and get your volume under their voice you don’t overplay and chase them off stage and you’re playing stuff that’s conducive and it has hooks you’re not just waiting for the guitar solo. Plus your mentality, you’re bringing something to the table. If you’re in a band partnership and you’re partnering with the singer try to bring the 51% to the table, don’t just sit there with your E minor pentatonic licks and wait to get discovered by a great singer that’s going to catapult you into fame. Be all that you can on your own, to be as big as you can be. When you meet someone else that’s great at what they do they’re like, “man! Wow. You’re singing and you’re playing and writing – this is amazing.” No, I hate your voice, but I love the fact that you’re writing because you’re already in that mentality of what you need to be to collab. And who knows you might end up being a decent singer or you might end up being a backup singer. Who to funk it that I could sing lead and be a professional singer. It took me a lot of work and a lot of years – took me about 16 years to get to where I’m at now, but for the first 6 or 7 years I sucked and I worked at it too. But I’ve been really enjoying the last 10 years my, voice has really changed and matured. But you can do it; you just need to try and learn.
Other things that you can do other than work at a music store or as a Miami guitar teacher and network – get on Craigslist. I used to be in Craigslist every day. Craigslist for the personal ads, backpage.com or social media, but use the web. Create a YouTube account, get on Twitter get on Facebook, get on Instagram. I remember when Myspace came out and I met George Clinton on Myspace for crying out loud. I ended up networking with big-time producers like Timberland, Lil Wayne – I don’t work with these people now as a Miami guitar teacher, I’m a Christian artists and a Christian worship leader this is back in my BC days. I met so many people on social media. And Myspace was great, because it was actually for bands and then it got populated with people that were using it as a social media site – this was before Facebook and then it got taken over by spam and Internet marketing and then it got like just a really bad. But for a while there they had something going on with the music and I like to post my music on Instagram. Just recently they allowed me to do 1 minute posts instead of 15 seconds post. Of course, I’m all over YouTube as a Miami guitar teacher. I do a little bit of Twitter and a lot of Facebook, but get on social media and I meet so many musicians they are so overwhelmed with just to learning scales and chords and songs and gigging. That is too much, they don’t want to learn the technology and that’s to their lost. You should really, really learn the tech. Like I said, you need to get to work and start making money playing music or as a Miami guitar teacher. The more money you make playing music the better you’re going to get music, does that make sense? And also the more you learn tech, the better you’re going to get. Get a website. Learn SEO, building back links and start blogging. Make YouTube video covers of your favorite stuff or videos of your stuff and give it away, folks. I mean, it’s not the 90s anymore; everyone can get everything for free. I see this from artists all the time, they’ll put up a video of themselves, like, their latest video that cost them $5000 in the studio and they’ll put up 1 minute of it and then they’ll say, “download the rest at this link.” Don’t be ridiculous! You’re an amateur or semi-pro and no one’s ever heard of you or your music and we’re not going to go to your link and buy it. Give it to us for free. If I really appreciate it and I become a fan I will support you. And you need to create platforms that I can support you. Make donate button on PayPal or make a Go Fund Me account and sell T-shirts and sell higher-quality music. Add the lo-fi quality stuff on YouTube and then sell the high-quality stuff in album form. Give people a platform to be able to support you full-time, but don’t be so naïve, this isn’t 1995, this isn’t even 2005 this is 2016 when I’m making the video. A lot of you may be seeing this video even later, but give your stuff away for free or else people won’t trust you. What you want is to create real fans and super fans that are going to follow your every move and withholding stuff is not a way of doing it. Figure out a way to monetize what you’re doing, but give away your music, absolutely. And that’s great, because I know that Napster and everything called it the big revolution, but it’s happening and you can’t stop it.
Talking about tech, as a Miami guitar teacher I really don’t have to pay for everything I can rip everything off YouTube. I can rip everything that I see with software on my mac like voila. There are all kinds of stuff. For chords, I learn chords off tabs. Certain sites lock it down with passwords like Echords I use as a Miami guitar teacher. Even that I can go in and do screenshots and just take it and print it out. There is no way to really stop a tech savvy person from getting whatever they want for free. So learn the rules, don’t be pissed off about it. Learn the way the Internet is nowadays and there are still plenty of opportunities to market and optimize and create a business. And by the way, I want to say the word business; I want to stress it to you. If you’re going to be a pro musician you are in business. And if you’re a pro musician I want you to know that the IRS sees you as a 1099 sole proprietor or a W-2 is what I fill out. You’re in business, you may think of yourself as all artsy fartsy and you don’t want to talk money and stuff. No, no, you’re quoting people. You’ve got an hourly rate as a Miami guitar teacher. You’re giving out quotes for may be tabbing something or songs your writing. There’s going to be a quote for you to perform a certain night or what to cut the band, how much you cut the sound engineer, what are the cost to rent the PA, how about to rent the truck or to get the stuff to the show. I mean, this is all maths, this is all business, embrace it! This is a business and the better you get at doing a business, the longer you’ll survive. Don’t get turned off by that, because the sooner you embrace the fact that you’re in business and you need to get good at business in order to succeed the better of a chance you have to having a good career. If you strike it rich and you’re like the next Ed Sheeran, that’s great. If you’re just making 25 grand a year doing little odd job music here and there, wouldn’t it be great if you could make 50 grand or 100 grand or only work 2 days a week at 50 grand and have 5 days a week of just riding and swimming by the pool. I mean, think about it, the more you apply yourself and figure out ways to monetize what you’re doing the better off you’re going to be because you’re able to live more comfortably and you’re able to spend more time playing with the music you want to play. I’ll give you an example, the music that I really want to play and the people that I really want to play it with – right now currently in my life in 2016 there is no money in it. We’re not in the situation to do what we want to do; instead, we do what we’ve got to do as a Miami guitar teacher. But if I made so much money playing the music doing what I’ve got to do; in the overflow I could take more days off and do the projects that I want to do and even eventually figure out how to monetize of those projects. So money really becomes a deciding factor. Part of the opposite scenario for a second, imagine you quit making music and you had to go get a job at Walmart, you are no longer a pro musician and now.
So a lot of people, they put up barriers but they don’t embrace it all the way. Anyway, I want you to realize too that this is a marathon run. I’ve been playing for 30 years and I’ve been a Miami guitar teacher for 15 years. I’ve been in this town of Miami and Fort Lauderdale for 16. I started as a small fish, now I’m a big fish, sorry, I’m not trying to brag but I definitely enjoy the reputation that I have now. I have a massive online presence as a Miami guitar teacher, so I have lots of reviews on Google and other platforms and I’m a Miami guitar teacher and I’m definitely the most renowned, I think, in this the area. Maybe there’s a few that are out there, but they’re not competing with me on the Internet and on social media at the level that I am. And I’m not saying that to toot my own horn, but I’m just saying that to you so I can establish some credibility here. Obviously you’ve heard of me if you’re even watching this video, but this is all really important. This is a marathon run and the way that I got to where I am at is that I started valuing relationships and people. You understand that you live in this city and so does everyone else and the people you love live in this city and they’re not going to go anywhere, they’re going to be right there with you. And the people you hate are right here, they’re not going to go anywhere. So quit talking bad about people. Quit doing stuff that hurt people. Mind your own business and build up your music and encourage other people. Eventually, the cream rises to the top. I came in as a guppy and nobody had ever heard of me and nobody cares; now, a lot of people they know what I’m about and I make a good living doing what I’m doing as a Miami guitar teacher, because I put in 16 consistent years. So it’s hard for some ‘up and comer’ now to just totally knock me off my horse, you understand what I’m saying? And somewhere you’re in that totem pole and you’re going to have your day too. If you keep doing the right thing, you’re going to build a reputation, you’re going to build a clientele, and you’re going to build a legacy. So you want to be able to see things – the maturity of seeing the big picture. Never mouth off the people or just be really careful about how you interact with people knowing that they’re not going anywhere and they all know people too. So you really do thrive off your reputation as a Miami guitar teacher.
Anyway, let me take a look here see if there’s anything else I wanted to cover. I think I’ve covered everything. I definitely talked about a lot of. Please ask me questions in the comment section. I read all my comments and I answer all the best that I can. Just really try to enjoy it, chase the fire, chase the passion that’s the best thing that I can tell you. Get out and gig all you can and try to do what you love to do. At the end of the day, what’s going to motivate you is your love to do it. And by the way, one last thing, I saved the most important thing for the end. Music is not about music. Yes, there are notes and there are triads and chords and scales and modes and music theory, but it’s really not about music. Music is actually about people. Music is made up songs and these songs have lyrics and these lyrics are sung by people and the lyrics are about people, they are about you and they’re about your life and your perception and your feelings and you’re reality and your desires and your hopes and your dreams and your heartaches and your heartbreaks and your joys and your tragedies. And you are a person and you’re playing with other people and there are issues there and there are relationships there and there’s love and there’s hates and there are all kinds of stuff. And then you people are writing and singing these songs about people and humanity and you’re playing for people. So it’s all about people. So learn how to really love you and you’ve got to learn how to love yourself, you’ve got to learn to love and delight in people to enter into their pain and enter into their joy, that’s what it means to be a musician. People look up to musicians, because you’re channelling humanity. We are the opposite of most people.
Most people live their lives in a way that they don’t feel pain and they want to protect themselves from pain and they want to make enough money or be sexy and good-looking and have a nice enough car that everyone thinks they are cool and have a nice house and have enough furniture so that they never actually have to feel pain. And in doing so they’re actually building themselves up to be invincible. They’re wearing expensive suits, they’re putting on makeup and fixing their hair and putting on my shoes and they are all, “how are you doing?” “Oh, I’m doing fine.” “How are you?” “I’m doing great.” It’s all about being powerful and presenting yourself in your best possible light and never really opening up about what really makes you think, what really breaks your heart until they get alone in their car and they put on their favorite song and that was blues just jerks a tear out of their eye. But you’re the blues guy; you’re the guy playing on the other side of that thing. You’re actually the guy living life and you’re the opposite. You’re actually wearing your heart on your sleeve. You’re actually on stage you’re crying in front of people. You’re living your life out. Maybe you’re like Britney Spears with the umbrella hitting the car with the shaved head. You might have your day, you might have your turn and hopefully you do. My old guitar teacher he said, “go out and fall in love and then get your heart broken,” and I said, “why would you tell me to do that?” He said, “well, then if you played a love song I might believe you, but right now you’ve never loved anyone but yourself so you look like a selfish prick when you play guitar.” And I was like, “oh well, let me get a refund…” But how true is that?
So what’s really what people want to hear is about your humanity and your transparency and your experiences and your vulnerability. So don’t try to live your life to protect yourself. If you’re going to move to LA to LA or if you’re going to make it work in small town USA or Orlando or Tampa make it work, but put yourself out there and don’t hold back, don’t play it cool because it’ll all flash before your eyes. It’s all about humanity, it’s all about peace, that’s what music is about.
Anyway, so don’t forget to subscribe or like. Send me a message or comment. I would love to hear from you. I hope this motivated you. This was a big long speech that wiped me out. Anyway, have a good night or I’m going to have a good night the day – have a good day and I’ll see you in the next video. Bye.