About Guitar Lessons With Todd
"Todd is a very gifted and motivated guitarist with an uncommon aptitude for teaching."
"Todd is passionate about teaching, and dedicates himself to this with utmost energy and purpose. He is always extremely successful in producing a high level of achievement with every student." Jeffrey Van
One of the most important duties of a competent instructor is teaching students how to practice. This is just as true for the rank beginner as it is for the advanced student, or even professional. Everyone can learn to play music and play it well if given competent instruction. Learning to play well is learning about the mind and body, and how to use it to one's potential. As the awareness of the self is refined, not only is the playing improved, but the potential for greatness is elevated. Learning to perform music with security and confidence is fun!
After playing professionally for four years, I began teaching immediately while working on my bachelor's degree. I continued teaching through my graduate studies and developed the most successful guitar studio in the Twin Cities. I have recently moved to Cincinnati.
During my graduate studies, I also taught and developed curriculum guitar classes at the University of Minnesota, growing the program from 4 to 17 sections.
Like most people, my first experience with the guitar was less than ideal. I enjoyed playing, had a nice teacher, but in spite of my hard work, I wasn't achieving the goals I wanted to achieve. I didn't know how to practice, and I had no sound technique. As a young adult, I was fortunate enough to find a teacher that wouldn't lie to me. I will speak more about that at the end of this description. The point is, I had to endure remedial training in order to become the player that I wanted to be. During the process, my passion for teaching was quickly realized.
Because of my remedial training, I remember exactly how I learned to play many years ago. Further, teaching has always been a focus in my own training through the years. It saddens me to hear many people say that they have tried to learn and couldn't. Or perhaps a student plays, but expresses dissatisfaction with their abilities to play music for others with security and confidence. Such things are no fault of the student, nor is it because of any lack of ability. Rather, it is due to incompetent instruction. It isn't as if a student learns to play in a class room environment with the curriculum geared towards some group; it is a one-on-one setting! Something I repeat often to my students is that what I ask of them should be challenging, but it should never be confusing. A student should know exactly what they are supposed to do, why they are supposed to do it, and they should see results from their effort. If these things aren't happening, the it is their teacher's fault. I have been doing this for decades. Most people teach because they have to teach. Few enjoy it: especially working with beginners. Because of my training and passions, I not only love teaching others, but it is also my purpose in life.
I received my Doctor of Music Arts and Master of Music from the University of Minnesota. I chose to study with Jeff Van because he is one of the most musical guitarists I know. He is more than a guitarist, or musician. He is an artist. He also taught me how to tap into my unconscious mind and learn from the self in finding difficult solutions to complex problems. Before that, I completed my Bachelor of Music at the University of Kentucky under Rodney Stucky. Rod not only put me through the repertoire emphasizing good practice and study habits, but constantly drilled me, switching our rolls of teacher and student.
Prior to that, I studied in New York with muti-gold medal winning Ricardo Cobo, and also in Baltimore with Julian Gray of the John Hopkins Peabody Institute. All of my training was made possible by my hard work and the first teacher that didn't lie to me: Tom Poore. Tom is now established in Cleveland. At the time, he was a student of Aaron Shearer, and he was the one who put me through remedial training.
Even as a child, I knew that I wanted to make music a career. When I first entered college, I was fascinated with the roles and guidance that my mentors provided. Further, I had to undergo remedial training in order to correct past mistakes and become the player I wanted to be. Unfortunately, this is a common problem in music study. I became passionate about helping others to avoid the pitfalls I had to endure. Those pitfalls made me the teacher I am today, but they wasted years of study and practice prior to finding an excellent teacher. I am passionate about helping students learn to play the guitar with security and confidence.
The MTNA was founded in 1876 with the goal of advancing the value of music study and music-making to society while supporting the careers and professionalism of teachers of music. With nearly 22,000 members in 50 states—and more than 500 local affiliates—the MTNA is the preeminent source for music teacher support, where members embody like-minded values and commitment to their students, colleagues and society as a whole, while reaping the rewards of collaboration, continuity and connection throughout the lifetime of their careers.
Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) is the America's leading classical guitar organization founded in 1973 at the National Guitar Convention sponsored by the American String Teachers Association (ASTA).