What is YOUR STORY? Share with fellow community members here!

Alright, so following the incredible experience that was the Virtual Hangout earlier this week, I was blown away by the incredible stories you've all shared with us.

 

That got me thinking: we have such a diverse group of users here in these forums, and we know so little about our respective life stories!

 

I couldn't believe the fact that some of you have been playing for over 60 years, while others had just started this year, that some of you are doctoral students in music, while others had never received a single "professional" guitar lesson - and that some of you played in successful rock bands while others work in music therapy for the elderly.


So let's do it - tell us a little bit about your life story here!

 

It could be about how you got started with the guitar, about the kind of work you do (with or without music), about the things you've experienced in music, or about anything else!


↓ Here, I'll start us off! Check out the first reply below for some facts about me! ↓

35replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • Some of you may know that I am a citizen of multiple countries, but did you know that I actually have 4 places that I consider my home?

    That's right - I moved from Romania to Germany when I was 17, then to the UK at 21, then back to Germany at 23, and to the United States at 26!

    You might know that I am pretty good with computers for a musician, but did you know that when I was a kid, my biggest question in life was whether I would go into music or computer science?

    Did you know that my music charity project in West Africa led me to organize Nigeria's first-ever series of masterclasses? Bought myself a fancy camera to document it, taught myself how to edit video, then turned the whole trip into a documentary (which you can watch here).

    I then proceeded to leave the expensive camera on a plane in Mexico 🤦‍♂️ and never saw it again. Then when Covid hit and I started streaming, I bought myself the same model - and to this day, that is my main streaming camera you see on all my shows.


    Alright, who wants to go next? Tell us one fact about yourself, and we'll go from there!

    Like 3
    • Mircea What an incredible journey you got so far, I'm amazed by how talented you are in everything you do and at the same time how friendly and generous you are as a human!

      Like 2
    • Mircea That's great to read all those things about you! I have to say, when I was a teenager, my sister would joke that, for my birthday, she wanted to get me a guitar lesson with Eddie Van Halen (R.I.P.), who was one of my guitar heroes. Now here I am, sort of getting lessons from, and hearing all about, a guitarist who I consider to be far superior to Eddie (and that's not a knock against his greatness). Life is surreal.

      Like 3
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Community / Live
      • Mircea
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Eric Wow, thank you so much for that 😀 that is such an honor, I don't even know what to say!

      Blaise Laflamme Thank you! So glad to hear you think that 😁

      Like 1
  • Mircea Ok here's a fact about me... that's funny because we also share this interest in computer science as I started programming computer at 8 and playing music on guitar at 10. I went from one to the other a few times, or even both at the same time during the last 40 years. However there is no way this time I won't do music for years, I missed it too much!

    Like 2
    • Blaise Laflamme Thanks for sharing that, Blaise. I was a computer science major for a while in college, too. It's pretty ironic because today I only use technology when I absolutely have to. I didn't even have a Smart phone until last September, and I'm not too sure my life is better with it! 🙂

      Like 3
    • Eric I just read that from your post, that's funny how many people I know are doing both... it looks like some metal schemas are similar between computer science and music perhaps? To me it appears you have done the best choice for you and your lifestyle, for what I've seen you look well grounded and balanced 👍

      Like 2
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Community / Live
      • Mircea
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Blaise Laflamme that is amazing! You are right, there must be some similar pattern somewhere - I know plenty of musicians who are horrible with technology, but also an inordinate amount of those that are extremely talented in both. (Many of those friends of mine work in tonebase, in fact!) Thanks for sharing, it's so good to have you on board here on the forums!

      Like 1
  • Well I began playing at age 13. My mother would sit on the floor and strum guitar and sing old folk songs like "Vincent's Song" or "City of New Orleans". One day I asked to show how me how to do it, and I haven't turned back since. I really wanted to play hard rock, such as Led Zeppelin or Van Halen. I was fortunate to get a teacher who did show me some of that, but also taught me how to read music and the basics of music theory.

    When I got to college (where I studied computer science and math), I found out there was a guitar teacher there, and that I could get credit for taking lessons, so I signed up. Then I found out he taught classical guitar. I said, "Why not, I'll give it a try." Within a few months, I decided I loved it and sold my Gibson Les Paul and got a classical guitar. It's the only one I have ever owned, and that was in 1989.

    After college, I had a life change and decided to study theology (yes, you read that correctly) in Rome, Italy (yes, you read that correctly too). I spent five years there. I still played guitar, but it definitely took a back seat, which is a real shame.

    For the last 20 years, I have taught theology at a High School in Rochester, New York (my hometown). I didn't really start playing regularly again until maybe five years ago, when I discovered all the great stuff on the internet related to classical guitar. I basically fell in love with it again. Now I try to play every day, at least a little. It can be difficult with a full-time teaching job and two teenage children, but it is one of those things that keeps me going, and reminds me that life is beautiful.

    Thanks for reading (hopefully I didn't put you to sleep, like I do to my students every day!).

    Like 3
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Community / Live
      • Mircea
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Eric Eric, that is so cool! I had no idea! I went through a hard rock phase as a teenager too - fairly close to the age when you did the same. Such a coincidence!

      I had no idea you were a theology teacher, and likewise that you lived in Rome! I am a big fan of that town, by the way. I remember finding cheap (€20) flights to Rome from Germany and just flying over there on random weekends to escape the gloominess of Düsseldorf, with the added bonus of some incredible pizza and unmatchable backdrops - now those were some good times! 

      So happy to hear you're back to playing the guitar regularly and you're sharing your process with us here on tonebase! 😁 thanks for taking the time to write that.

      Like 2
  • My story begins around 1972. I was 15 years old and yes I was a fairly musical boy, played the mandolin in the school mandolin orchestra and sang in the school choir.
    One day a friend showed me his guitar and two chords (today I know that A major and D major) --- I liked it because I could play many notes at once (mandolin, like the violin, did not give such possibilities). I decided that after graduating from elementary school I wanted to study in a music school, but ... it had to be a cello or a flute.

    Imagine my disappointment when I was sent to guitar class because I was "too old" for the cello. I was devastated! What a horrible instrument! Only Gypsies and village musicians at weddings played on this! I was devastated .... until in the first few lessons my teacher played a few flamenco and classical songs .... I fell in love with guitar at first sight (not always with reciprocity).
    Unfortunately, for various random reasons, I didn't even finish my first year of study. I continued to learn the guitar on my own, on the guitar which my dad bought me in the German Democratic Republic and brought it home by motorcycle - it cost 90 German marks ... After that time, I decided to take the secondary music school exam without graduating from primary music school (this is the Polish system) and - surprisingly! - I got straight to the second grade (high school lasts 6 years) ...
    Then everything went smoothly: a diploma, studies at the Academy of Music in Łódź and a teaching career. I've never been the type of stage musician. On stage, I felt stressed, scared and "out of place" - hence the choice of pedagogical path. Yes, I played often and with good results in many projects, but teaching absorbed me completely ...
    Today - as a pensioner - I mainly arrange for guitar solo and for chamber ensembles with guitar. Because I like to work in the comfort of my studio, I am earning extra money as a music engraver and occasionally as an arranger (mostly writing for a brass band where I play and sometimes conduct it). I am glad that despite my age, I am still invited as a studio and contract musician to record a variety of music, from classical to jazz, pop and rock (I also play electric guitar, acoustic guitar and other stringed instruments). Recently, in the Płock Symphony Orchestra I "pretend" a mandolin (example below from 3:04 😄 ) and, when necessary, play the guitar part ... I love playing with the flute and violin and accompanying beautiful singing girls in my favorite Bossa Nova style 🙂

    Like 1
    • Marek Tabisz Thank you for sharing your story, what an interesting path you have! By chance, for us, you were too old for cello 😂... then we have met! We have in common that I also learned music and guitar by my own from the age of 10 to 16, there was no teacher around us, but I was an eager learner!

      Like 1
    • Blaise Laflamme just like Segovia - when you learn alone you never have a conflict with the teacher 😄😄

      Like 1
    • Marek Tabisz haha... so true... by chance not all teachers are uncompromising!

      Like 1
  • PS. And here is my photo with orchestra and..... "mandolin" 😄

    Like 2
  • Although I loved music as a child I was never particularly musical and I couldn't (still can't) sing and although I wanted to, they wouldn't let me study violin. I was bought a pretty cheap steel string guitar when I was about 11 and I learnt a few chords etc I toyed with the idea of playing Santana but not too successfully but none of my friends played so it sort of took a back seat. It wasn't until I left school that I bought myself a nylon strung guitar (not too expensive) and tried to teach myself. It was in my mid twenties when I first started taking lessons and took a few exams but then family, work and other commitments (through my sons I somehow became a scout leader for 10 years) took up a lot of time and although I still tried to play I couldn't devote as much time as I would have liked. I did start studying for a diploma (which I never actually achieved - it's still an ongoing fantasy) and had a few duet concerts with on of my teacher's other students.  I still harboured a dream to study music and in my late forties noticed that a university about 40 miles from Kendal where I live had a contemporary music course. At the time I was working 50 miles from home and went past the town on my way to and from work so I managed to work and do the course part time so I got a Batchelor's degree in Contemporary Music although to be honest I didn't do anything with it - I don't think Kendal, where I live has a big avante-garde population. A long story but I bought myself a bass guitar and then somehow got invited to join a local band. Unfortunately the band started taking too much time and my classical guitar was suffering so I stopped the band to concentrate on the classical guitar. I've now retired and at last I can spend more time playing guitar - although other things keep appearing to take up my time (grandchildren) and I have to get up really early to get enough time to do the daily exercises and studies. Up until the pandemic, for the last few years I have been having occasional lessons with a retired concert guitarist - Neil Smith who studied with Brouwer in Canada and has performed with Sir Simon Rattle so I am hoping to resume studies with him soon (if he is still willing to do it) and who knows - maybe get that diploma eventually.

     

    It's interesting that quite a few of you are involved in IT as that was also my profession - nearly 40 years in programming and analysis!

    Like 3
    • Derek Thanks for writing that, Derek. The twists and turns of life always amaze me. It's easy to wonder what would be different if we chose different routes, but then we wouldn't be the people we are today. I'm thankful that music has been one of the constant threads.

      Like 1
  • Derek said:
    It's interesting that quite a few of you are involved in IT as that was also my profession - nearly 40 years in programming and analysis!

     Ha ha ha!! My second profession is chemical technology engineer - parallel to the music school, I studied at a chemical technical college - I wrote my thesis on the X-ray tube 😄

    Like
    • Marek Tabisz Wow that's interesting Marek. I would have liked to study physics - I keep reading up on Quantum Mechanics but it's a bigger mystery than music!

      Like 1
  • Derek said:
    I keep reading up on Quantum Mechanics but it's a bigger mystery than music!

     Sometimes I think music is bigger mystery 😄

    Like
  • Saw this thread, having joined tonebase recently and going through the forums.

     

    Hmm, there is definitely a CG and IT connection because let's add another IT professional to the room i.e. me.

     

    Compared to all of you here, I am pretty much a beginner to Classical Guitar.

     

    Began my Guitar journey in 1986 (14Y), Spent a bit of my life (till about 25-30Y) noodling through electric and acoustic but did not really connect to it. Also life caught up and I decided that whenever I do restart, it would be classical guitar. I am from India, and there is a rich tradition of music. But classical guitar, its sound, structure and beauty resonates to me.

     

    Mircea saw your video on your trip to India and Nigeria just to collect a guitar !! Wow, what an amazing person you are. Loved the video and the way you show the best aspects of each country and its people.

    Like
  • I am a bit slow in participating in this. I am also going to defy the CG/IT connection – being a devout IT luddite.

     

    I began guitar at 11 (1962!!!)  learning (very slowly) folk music and pop tunes. I  became interested in electric guitar a couple of years later and played rock guitar for about 8 – 10 years (Clapton
    (Cream, solo), Jeff Beck (Yardbirds, solo) and Hendrix were my idols - having seen all of them in concert). After I began college I was no longer playing in a band and sitting on my bed trying to play rock guitar solos by myself had lost its appeal. I decided to change and thought I would try Jazz. I went to a guitar store in Dallas, Tx (where I am from) to sign up with a guitar teacher to learn jazz. When I met with the teacher he told me he no longer taught jazz but he taught classical guitar instead. I thought, ‘oh well, why not’. On the way home from my first lesson I stopped at a record store (!) and bought a classical guitar album to hear what I had signed up for. The album was John Williams Variations.  I remember listening to Bach’s Chaconne and thinking, WOW! I am going to learn to play THIS?!!! (45 years later I’m still thinking “I’m going to learn to play this?!”). Other than a few months with that teacher I have been on my own. I would alternate between being very involved to not touching the guitar for periods of time. 

     

    In 1977 or so, I was in Austin, TX and decided to sit in on music classes at UT. I got thru about 2 years before I moved to Tennessee (to live in a log cabin in the Smoky Mountains). While attending UT I started working at a restaurant. Those 2 interests have pretty much defined me since. I continued to work in restaurants and study music and guitar on my own. While living in Seattle I again sat in on music classes, this time at UW. After a couple of classes I was accepted as a graduate student in music history. I studied for 2+ years but did not complete my graduate degree. 

     

    Around this time I had the classic midlife crisis and decided to go on a big adventure. I spent 9 months bicycling solo from Hong Kong to Singapore. I had never toured on a bicycle before though I was riding fairly regularly at that time. That was an amazing trip. In China, I met a Chinese photographer that was planning a trip to Tibet with a couple of other people and decided to join them. I put my bike in storage when I got to Bangkok and flew to Sichuan, then to Lhasa where we rented a car and drove a cross Tibet to Katmandu, Nepal. From there I took a bus across India to Calcutta before flying back to Bangkok and continuing my bike trip to Singapore. When I flew back to the US I landed in SF and decided to stay in the bay area. I resumed my work in restaurants and began studying photography (something I picked up in my travels) I also met my wife who was also studying photography. We moved to Oakland, had a daughter and about 15 years later decided to get married. We opened a restaurant (Aunt Mary's Cafe) in Oakland in 2008. I decided to retire with the pandemic, though my wife has continued as owner. With retirement I have decided to once again to focus on becoming a better guitarist and musician. I discovered Tonebase and feel it has been very good for me. 

     

    I apologize for the ramblings …. But then, I am old.

    Like 1
    • Jack Stewart what journey Jack! I'm happy you discovered Tonebase and have met you here... I hope to see you next soon in challenges or hangouts!

      Like
    • Blaise Laflamme Thanks Blaise. I have been a bit selective in my participation because they offer so much here that otherwise I wouldn't get much practicing done!

      Like 1
    • Jack Stewart you're so right... it's hard to keep up with everything going on here... I understand you as it's the same for me 😅.

      Like
  • first post on guitar side...

    I've been a member on the piano side of tonebase since that is my main instrument which I've played for decades, but I started teaching myself classical guitar shortly after the pandemic started (so over a year).  I've been relying on online resources (mainly thisisclassicalguitar) and it helps that I already know music but I've finally reached a level where I was looking for a bit more variety with instructors and more interactive content.  I've learned so much from tonebase piano I wanted to give the guitar side a try and am already impressed with the few lessons I've watched.  I've lived in San Francisco for about 20 years and have 2 kids (one at UCLA and another in high school).   I've lived many other places in my life (Seattle, midwest, even France for over a year), but SF is my favorite place.   I'm hoping to participate in the latest community challenge even though I'm bit a late to the party.   

    Like 1
    • Brett Gilbert Welcome, Brett! Bradford Werner's site is spectacular, and I use his resources a lot. Being on Tonebase has really accelerated my progress. The recorded material is great, but I have particularly enjoyed the forums and live content, especially the challenges. They are created and structured so that guitarists of every level can fully take part. I've done four of them so far, and we're in the middle of another one with Sergio Assad's new pieces. So check it out and begin participating if you like - we'd love to have you!

      Like
      • Brett Gilbert
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Thanks for the warm welcome!  I saw some of your videos for the latest challenge and they sound great and are inspiring. My goal is to get through sketches 1 and 2 if I can.  Piano is a bit behind guitar as they've only had one challenge (which I did) and it's nice to see all the activity on this side of tonebase.  Now I just need to find the time to keep up on both.  See you around the forums...

      Like 1
    • Brett Gilbert Thank you for the kind words. Sketches 1 and 2 would be a great goal. They’re both more complex than I thought at first. Keeping up on two instruments (and on life) has got to be difficult. Right now, I’m fortunate enough to be a teacher on summer vacation. Pretty soon though, I will have to start getting ready for September and the time with guitar will have to decrease.

      Like
      • MartinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert Hi Brett, we are excited to have you here and awesome, that you enjoy both tonebase piano AND guitar! 

      We are at the moment in the second of week of our Sergio Assad Challenge, you can find all the information for that in the dedicated forum (←click!). Those Sketches (which have been exclusively composed for tonebase) increase in difficulty, but Sketch 1-3 should be doable! If you have any questions on these pieces, share those with us in the weekly threads, we are an enthusiastic community and like to help each other out, because this challenge is all about motiviting and inspiring each other! Glad to have you here 🥳

      Like
      • Brett Gilbert
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Martin Thanks for helping get me up to speed, and I've already looked at some for your helpful videos for this challenge as well as your recent live stream on bwv 999 which was great (although a bit beyond my current level).  It looks like you also have virtual masterclasses, and looking at that forum it appears that you are waiting for one more submission (because 3 are needed to start a new class).  If so, I will try to prepare something this weekend (even though I'm no where near the advanced level of the 2 current submissions) as well as sketch #1.  Very excited to be part of the community and get feedback since I've been learning in a vacuum. :)

      Like 3
    • Brett Gilbert Welcome Brett! I'm amazed you're playing both piano and guitar, wow, I have an hard time organizing myself to play only one 😅... I hope to see you around in streams and challenges, people here are more than friendly!

      Like
    • Brett Gilbert That would be great if you could submit for a masterclass!

      Like
      • MartinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert Another submission for the Virtual Masterclass would be great!

      Like
Like1 Follow
  • 1 Likes
  • 2 mths agoLast active
  • 35Replies
  • 183Views
  • 9 Following