I am an honest and focused instructor who strives to create successful learning opportunities for my students at every turn. No matter the genre or context, I aim to foster a deeper love of music and performance.
After one year as a computer science major at UT, I had a sudden realization that maybe computer programming wasn't for me, so I decided to find a new field to pursue. Without any formal musical background, I decided to try my hand(s) at music at Laredo Community College where I earned my Associate's Degree in guitar performance. Since then, I successfully transferred to The University of Texas at Austin where I was one of only a handful of music education students to take lessons with the world-renowned and critically acclaimed recording guitarist and teacher, Adam Holzman.
Now the holder of a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Studies with an emphasis on classical guitar, I view at all my chances to teach as opportunities to share the joy of music. I think it's incredibly important for my students and myself to feel comfortable, yet concentrated in order be truly open and curious. I provide my students with great tips from which they can monitor their own progress and spend time reflecting on how much they're learning. I also can help with music theory and history to create deeper musical learning about our art's structure and context. I've gained incredible experience and insight as a theory instructor, ensemble conductor, and private teacher for guitar students during my time at UT Austin, and I'm excited to share my evident passion with my students so that they may discover an untapped love for art themselves.
Let's make music together!
*** Lesson Details ***
The answer to the classic question "How do you build a house?" best sums up the first half of my lessons: "Start with a strong foundation."
First, we'll focus on technique, set-up, and technical exercises. Whether we're doing warm-ups through left or right hand finger patterns, scales, chord shapes, or strumming rhythms, careful attention to good technique free of tension, discomfort, and pain is crucial.
The second half of my lessons focus on repertoire. This ultimately is my favorite part of the lesson as my students get to make the most music! Whether a small section of a piece, or the performance of an entire study, my goal here is to further ingrain musical confidence. This is also where I evaluate progress and consider when and where I feel my students are best ready to advance to.
I don't just love classical music, so I think it's very important to consider what my student wants to learn and I take their feedback into account when choosing the tunes we play. I provide great tips and ask thoughtful questions that help my students evaluate their own learning and progress.
After three months, my students will have learned at least 2 (often more) pieces, etudes, or songs, and hopefully find a love for music making and the whisperings of their own artistic voice.
*** Studio Equipment ***
Rehearsal rooms available which includes piano, mirrors, chairs and music stands.
*** Specialties ***
· Guitar ·
Toby listens and watches attentively and is focused on choosing the best steps to increase his students' skills in all areas of playing the guitar. He is patient and supportive, and I would recommend him to anyone wanting to learn guitar or refine the skills you might already have.
· Guitar ·
I'm a mom of a guitar student. My son took classical guitar for three years with the University of Texas Strings Project, where Toby was one of a team of excellent guitar teachers. In those years, Toby was the instructor for my son's ensemble group for two semesters.
Toby has a very unique style of teaching. He is able to communicate with students effectively, even when they may be of different levels of learning and even age. He is always aware of the strengths of each student, and able to use those strengths to build a stronger, more confident player.
My son will continue to play the guitar because of the strong foundation of basic skills he has learned. Thanks to Toby and his clever, calm presentation to help make my son a lover of guitar.
· Guitar ·
Having never taken any guitar lessons prior to meeting with Toby, I learned a great deal about classical guitar technique, reading music, and just becoming more comfortable with a guitar.
Toby takes things slow and is very thorough, which is great because he really lays a solid foundation of basic techniques and understanding. He will be sure you don't develop any bad habits.
Toby is earnest and genuine. He seems to really want his students to succeed and become passionate about the craft which he is so dedicated to. I really enjoyed my time learning from Toby. Highly recommend.
· Guitar ·
I am a beginner student and had no prior knowledge of playing any form of instrument, because of this I was intimidated and worried I would be unsuccessful at playing guitar. Toby has made this experience the complete opposite from what I was expecting and I actually look forward to our classes. He has built up my confidence and I feel very comfortable in asking questions or expressing concerns I have. I began taking classes with Toby every week for about a month and have already learned so much. He is very patient, encouraging, and makes learning the guitar fun! I would highly recommend him.
· Guitar ·
I took lessons from Toby for two years and I had a great experience! He always made learning fun, and easy! It was great having him as my teacher, because he always made sure to work around my strange schedule. He is a great guitarist and guitar teacher! He always made sure to challenge me with harder and harder songs, and made sure not to move onto the next song until the current one was perfected! He taught me so much more than just how to play the music, he taught me how to put emotion into the music, how to feel the music! I would definitely recommend him to anyone!
~Conan, high school freshman