John Stocks

John S.

Portland, OR
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Learn finger-style and/or plectrum (pick) style playing techniques... chords, scales, rhythms, riffs, tips & tricks... we'll learn whatever you need to know, to play the kind of music you choose.

About John S.

Originally from Minnesota, I have lived in the Portland area for the past 25 years with my wife, Ruth, and two children.

My formal music education began in 1979, in my home town of Minneapolis. I studied guitar, music theory and composition at the West Bank School of Music, MacPhail Center for the Arts, University of Minnesota (Jazz Studies), and locally, w/ Eric Skye.

Some of my musical influences are: Pat Metheny, Tony Rice, J.J. Cale, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Leo Kottke, Ry Cooder, Jimi Hendrix, Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Taj Mahal, Doc Watson, Jerry Douglas, Mark Knopfler, John Hiatt, Elvis Costello, Prince, Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Beatles, Stones...

My teaching experience began back in college when my guitar instructor, Billy Bernard ("first in class" GIT graduate; performed with Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Rufus Reid), decided to give me his "overflow" students when his schedule was full. I fell in love with teaching and have continued to teach ever since.

I have a lot of experience teaching children and young adults; I taught beginning and group lessons in Duluth, Minnesota for two years and for years after that in Superior, Wisconsin, where I ran a guitar program and developed the group lesson curriculum. I have had great success teaching all ages and playing levels, and feel comfortable teaching most playing styles (fingerstyle or plectrum/pick).

My musical journeys have given me a broad base of music knowledge and performance experience; I have studied and performed many styles of music with numerous groups and ensembles over the last 35 years; Pop, Rock, Country, Folk, Bluegrass, Blues, RnB, Funk, Latin, Jazz, Big-Band... I currently play with a bluegrass/neograss/americana group, SwitchGrass.

I consider myself a musical "generalist" because I don't really play or specialize in any one style of music. I am a multi-instrumentalist with interest and experience in many different styles of music. Guitar is my main instrument, but over the years I have become proficient on Mandolin, Banjo (5-string and Tenor), Ukulele, Bass, and Harmonica. Playing multiple instruments and styles helps me to see music and musicians from many angles; I can help a student become a well-rounded, thoughtful musician, not just a "guitar player."

Over the years I have been involved with numerous aspects of the music business, including Radio DJ, Music Buyer for a music chain, and I owned and operated a local music store for 12 years (CDs, DVDs, Games, Guitars, Amps). I have obtained an obscene amount of knowledge and information about musicians, recording, instruments, and the music business in general, and I believe that these experiences give me an extra broad perspective and help to make me a better music teacher.

I am the father of two very active and talented children, one with A.D.H.D. and the other with dyslexia, so I do have some experience dealing with and teaching children that are hyperactive, impulsive, and have learning disabilities. I believe that studying, practicing, and playing music has been extremely helpful in my children's intellectual development and has played an "instrumental" part in building their character and positive self-image.

*** Lesson Details ***
Each student will have a customized program tailored to meet their personal aspirations, playing level and level of commitment. The student should be realistic in their goals and make sure that they have committed a block of time every day to pursue their music studies. Lessons aren't cheap, and time is valuable, so I always strive to keep the student on track and using their practice time efficiently and effectively.

Everybody learns at individual rates and respond differently to different teaching styles, so I will always try to adapt my lesson materials and approach to match the personality and drive of the student. Does the student just want to learn some songs for fun and relaxation, do they want to play in their friend's band, or do they want to become a professional musician and perform at Carnegie Hall?

Whatever your musical dreams and aspirations are, I can help get you there and pledge to always keep your lessons fun, organized and inspiring.

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Depending on your goals, interests, playing level, age, etc., lesson topics can include:


Basic Guitar Knowledge >>> learn the parts of your guitar and how everything works; how to tune, change strings, set-up, and maintain your guitar... you won't want to play much, if your instrument doesn't play good and sound good.

Proper Guitar Technique >>> good posture; holding the guitar and pick properly; efficient right and left hand techniques; building hand strength and calluses... things you need to produce a good, solid, musical tone.

The Language of Music >>> naming the notes; standard and "tab" music notation; naming chords; basic music terms and concepts... things you need to know, to learn and communicate about music.

Chords, Scales, & Rhythm >>> (5) main chord types, (5) main scale types, and learn various rhythm styles, and the (supreme) importance of solid tempo and timing... the primary tools you'll need to play music.

Learning and Performing Songs >>> the process of how to learn and practice a song; reading and interpreting sheet music, "TAB," and chord charts; learning to "play by ear;" picking the right key for you to sing in; how to use a capo; how to play and sing at the same time... hint: repetition is your friend.

Music Theory >>> chord and scale construction, harmonized scales, chord inversions, chord extensions & substitutions, passing chords, scale modes, chord-scale relationships, improvisation, etc... things the advanced and serious music student need to know.

Alternative Guitar Techniques >>> "open tunings," "slide guitar," "harmonics," "chicken-pickin," "palm muting," etc... advanced tools and tricks to create a wider palate of sounds from your instrument.

Song Writing >>> I can help you develop your original song ideas; basic song writing and composition techniques; song forms; building chord progressions; building melodic phrases; using different rhythms and time signatures; merging words w/ music... stuff you'll want to know, if you're itching to write your own tunes... hint: that music theory stuff comes in handy.

Learning other Instruments >>> If you already play guitar and have ever thought about learning a second instrument, I can show you how to take the knowledge and techniques that you've learned on guitar, and transfer them over to the Bass, Ukulele, Mandolin, or Banjo; I can also teach you how to play the Harmonica, which is a really easy and fun instrument to learn... Impress your friends and add spice to your jams!

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No matter what your ultimate musical goals are, I want you to learn practical tools that you can use and build upon for the rest of your life. I want to help you and inspire you to become the musician that you aspire to... Let me share my love of music and years of teaching and performance experience with you.

*** Studio Equipment ***
I have a complete, full-blown studio available w/ drum kit, hand percussion, bass rig, guitar rigs, keyboards, and P.A. system. I have digital and analog recording equipment with lots of software, hardware, plug-ins, and other miscellaneous musical toys to play with. I have instruments here that you can borrow for your lesson, in case you don't want to or can't travel with yours.

We can record/videotape your lessons and upload them to the TakeLessons.com web site for you to reference any time you want, which is pretty darn cool and high-tech, and quite handy when you forgot what you were supposed to be practicing for the week.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I currently don't give lessons outside my home studio.

*** Specialties ***
I am a multi-instrumentalist (Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Banjo, Harmonica, Ukulele, Percussion) and would call myself a "generalist" in that I can play a number of instruments in a number of different styles and don't really specialize in any one... my strength is my diversity.

I am at home playing fingerstyle guitar (ala Mark Knopfler, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, etc.), or with a plectrum (pick). My style lends itself best to roots-based Rock, Pop, Folk, Blues, Soul, Country, Bluegrass, and Jazz.

Along w/ my years of performance and teaching experience, I also have a good amount of instrument repair and maintenance experience, so I can show you so some tips and tricks and help you keep your instrument performing it's best, while saving yourself a ton of money at the guitar repair shop!

Reviews

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5.0
9 Reviews
5
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tiki H.

Lessons for my 9yr old son

John is very knowledgeable and very entertaining and fun for my son to learn from. You can tell he has a natural talent and has a passion for what he does. He has been helpful in so many ways and went out of his ways several times to help us in our endeavors to get the right equipment for my son. He has a wide knowledge in the music field and I feel confident that he could teach well in about any music area. You can't go wrong if you choose him for a teacher, young or old.

Posted May 13, 2014
DavidP2

knowledge packed lessons

John loves to teach and it shows. In the 3 lessons we've had so far, I've learned more about music theory than I did in 2 years with a previous instructor. He does a good job building information towards my goals with skills development and theory that can be used for anything I'll want to play in the future.

Posted Sep 6, 2010
ReneeK1

Motivated Tenor Banjo Student

John, I really like the Glory of Love arrangement that you prepared for me. It is coming along nicely and it will be wedding worthy in no time at all.

Posted Jul 27, 2010
BrentB

Harmonic lessons

John is an excellent teacher and thanks to him and his skills about basic blues harp (harmonica), I was able to fulfill my goal of performing with a local Blues Brothers tribute band. I highly recommend John for harmonica and guitar training!

Posted Jul 5, 2010
susanw

Great teacher

John is a great teacher. Always well prepared and has lots of new material for me. He is very encouraging and gives positve feedback. He can also give negative feedback in a way that is helpful; He lives right around the corner from me so that is a plus, but even if I had to drive miles to my lessons I would!

Posted Mar 17, 2010
JoelH

Feedback

John is flexible and very knowledgable. He is prepared and has done a great job so far.

Posted Mar 10, 2010
JeffW1

John is great. He is teaching my 8 yr old daughter. She really enjoys the lessons and is learning a lot.

Posted Feb 26, 2010
ShannonG

John Rocks

John has made learning the guitar so much fun. He is such a great teacher. I give him 5 stars!

Posted Dec 7, 2009
SteveM2

Great lesson. lowering the strings helped.

Posted Oct 24, 2009

Photos & Videos

6 Photos & Videos

Experience

Music Store Owner
Jun 1998 - Jun 2009

Turn Around Sound

Owned and operated a local music store, buying and selling CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, video games, and musical instruments and accessories.

Education

Bachelors
Sep 1985 - May 1989

University of Minnesota

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