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! ↓
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!
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!
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!).
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.